Two of my dearest homeschooling friends hosted a Fall Party this weekend. Perfect weather for it, too. We had outdoor games such as a “caramel apple walk”, treasure hunts, egg-and-spoon relays and a picnic-bonfire with a guitar-led sing-along time.
At the outset, I found myself with another mom, slightly older than me and a complete stranger, behind the scenes in the fishing booth. And as we hooked candy to clothespins and tugged away at fishing lines, we chatted about life, our faith, and homeschooling. Sharing from our hearts. Complete strangers with strong common denominators.
Afterwards, at home, I told my husband about it–through tears. Now I’m not easily given to tears. Perhaps they came more easily because I was losing my voice and in the beginning stages of a bad cold. Or perhaps it was our hugely busy week or my 2 A.M. bedtime the previous night. Mostly I think it culminated from weeks of feeling discouraged about the many flopping hats I’m attempting to wear in this life.
It really hit home to me the other day in the grocery line, when the friendly cashier asked me if I was still homeschooling. I told her I was and we talked about how busy life was, and that it never slows down. Then I said something in kind of a flippant manner:
“Homeschooling takes so much of me I have no time for other hobbies.”
I may have said it flippantly, but I’ve been really down about the lack of writing time since school started. I fear that my novels will still be waiting in their files when this computer crashes, and if they somehow survive on my flash drive it will be years before I get back to them. Part of me is okay with that. Part of me is viewing homeschooling as a sacrifice, which doesn’t feel good at all. Because really, what are mere books–which may never get published–compared to the lives and futures of my children?
I’ve held a lot of these feelings in because everyone in this world makes sacrifices. And I’ve got the most wonderful job in the universe…sometimes I wish the payscale was better…but that’s why my moments in the fishing booth were such a reward to my soul.
There are people who look down on families that choose to home educate. They’re always touting the perks of public education, they’re making good money with their two incomes and able to not only “keep up with the Joneses” but leave the “Joneses” in the white-out of their private jet streams.
I’ve been surrounded by these kinds of people lately, and buying into the lies of discontentment. Not seeing the wealth I have within arms reach. My children! My few little acres of promise here in the country. My freedom to love God, and to teach my babies to love Him (and enabling them to learn everything else they need to know). My hard-working husband who wants me here alongside him at the helm of our little world. Our amazing marriage. My parents and sisters who are my biggest cheerleaders in this homeschooling journey. Loving in-laws. My friends, new and old.
Homeschooling is hard! It takes hours of planning, especially now that I’ve got a 4th grader to keep up with (!)…it means saying “no” to many things I’d love to be doing. But it also means maxing out on family-love, and discovering awesome truths about this life together. It’s a team experience, where one looks out for all, and all look out for one. That kind of genuine love is a by-product of this lifestyle.
Not saying it can’t happen outside of homeschooling, not at all. My husband is proof that it can, as are many others. But it’s a truth of which I needed reminded.
And I was reminded. Behind the humble cardboard partition of a homemade fishing booth, which incidentally, was plastered with botanical pictures and scientific facts.
All in all, a very educational and enlightening experience.