When we moved to Erie eight years ago and I decided to homeschool for the first time, I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought I understood the benefits. I was wrong on both accounts.
It didn’t take long before I realized what I thought would come naturally to me was actually quite difficult. I can remember the day Tony came home from work to find me crying on the back steps. “I can’t do this. It’s too hard.” But I don’t quit easily, which is sometimes more because I’m stubborn than anything else. So, I tried again the next day. And the day after that.
What I couldn’t have foreseen when I started was the immeasurable benefit of T.I.M.E. I would never give up the countless hours curled up on the couch reading to my kids or the many adventures we have taken together. I am so grateful to be able to do life with them.
I didn’t know my time with Austin would be so short, and despite our many frustrations over math work, homeschooling gave us so many gifts. Treasured memories and relationship not only with me, but with his siblings.
Last year, we decided to enroll our middle son, Tyler, in a small private school because he had been asking and we felt the timing was right. But I missed him when he was gone, and I’ll be honest, when the world turned upside down and quarantine hit, I was glad to have him home again.
I don’t yet know what this school year will look like. I’m learning to make plans and then hold them loosely. I’m still homeschooling our two youngest (11 and 7), and it seems as though every year I worry that I’m messing my kids up. Overcome with responsibility, I forget about the privilege it is to be home with them as mama and teacher. I forget about God’s grace and mercy, and how I’m not as powerful or in control as I think I am.
Last year, I was trying to make up for lost time with Addy and Trenton who both started school during crisis points in our family and who have suffered immense loss. I feel like I spent the whole year scrambling and getting nowhere. Maybe I can look back on that year and give myself grace for trying and for understanding that our family was doing the best we could.
This year, for the first time in a while, I’m excited to homeschool again. I’m nerding out over all the new books and resources and activities we get to try. I’m looking forward to spending time with my kids (and trying to convince Tyler that virtual is the way to go 😉) I’m grateful for this opportunity and know it will hold value even if I can’t yet see it, even on the days when I cry and we are all frustrated and I want to quit.
Homeschool, for us, is more than education, it’s about building relationships and making memories and shaping people into adults and developing character and chasing dreams. ✨
“The next time you look in the mirror, remember these words: Brave One.
“And when you hit the wall with homeschooling, a month or a year from now and wonder if you can go on, you’re going to hear a whisper. Brave One. You might try to ignore it, even laugh it off, but trust me, these words will haunt you.
“From this day forward, your name means Brave One.
“Courage, dear heart.
“You are brave. And don’t ever forget it.”*
*Call or the Wild + Free by Ainsely Armet