Moments in a Fishing Booth

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.

5 thoughts on “Moments in a Fishing Booth”

  1. wow Mary! I have to honestly think how blessed you are being able to homeschool in the first place. As you know my children have always been in the public school system and although we’ve been blessed with the education levels they’ve experienced I’ve always wanted to homeschool too but my dh is against it. Just imagine, you get to input so much more into your children than what they get at school and you get to do it in a loving blessed way. btw I’m so glad you got to meet another “kindred mom” – I love those times :-)

  2. We had one of those fishing pond things at our Hallelujah Party last week…and it was fun to marvel at the mystique of that simple game back when we were kids. Watching their faces light up but at the same time register some sort of recognition that SOMEONE is back there…too fun.

    Yes, it’s a life of many sacrifices and as I’ve blogged about one that will stretch and grow you, as you add students, each with their own learning style and personality. I know one day we’ll look back on these years in wonder and awe and glad we did it. God is doign amazing things.

  3. Amy, the kindred mom thing was like finding an oasis in the desert. Actually, the whole evening was special in that way. I think it’s so important for homeschoolers to encourage one another to stay the course. I really appreciate your words of encouragement too, more than you know! Thanks, friend!

    Jana, you’re right. My hope is that these times of discouragement are few and far between so that I will have no regrets when they’re all grown up! Logically, I know my problem is 1) we’ve been way too busy lately, and our school time has been rushed, and doubled up on in order to keep up with the pace and 2)We’ve been fighting off colds for a month now, and I’ve finally succumbed this past week. Nothing like feeling icky and still having a schedule that won’t stop to make you feel a failure…

  4. What a great post, Mary! I’m right there wishing I could enjoy hobbies I used to do and the sleep I used to get at night. But I wouldn’t trade homeschooling for anything. There are days the sacrifice feels crushing. And then there are days when the work gets done, my kids tell me I’m a great teacher, and I know they’re actually “getting” the things we’re studying.

    Those are the days I try to remember.

    It also helps so much to have friends at church and in the blogworld who remind me of the truth and the privilege homeschooling is. Thanks for being one of those awesome people!

  5. Thanks for stopping by and being an encouragement yourself, Amy W! And thanks for being honest about the struggles, that there really are highs and lows, even amongst the best of us. But you’re right, the sacrifice *is* worth it, and being around those that appreciate it, makes a world of difference.

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