The forgotten value of homemaking fills every nook and cranny of these pages.This morning I have been tweaking our weekly schedule a little. No great changes, but just some adjustments that will hopefully help our days run a little more smoothly (and neatly), and gently in the coming months. Fitting in pockets of study around our outside commitments, and pockets of housekeeping around that, and finally pockets of rest and mother culture to round out our days. As I was working on this, I found myself thinking back to my first years of homeschooling, about my strengths and weaknesses as a mother, teacher and homemaker.
In thinking back, I remembered how I struggled to fit everything in that I wanted to. How I struggled to find a place of peace and balance with all the responsibilities I was now trying to fulfill in my life, my children's lives and my husband's life. Chaos and confusion reigned in my mind, heart and emotions. (Actually this sounds a little like where I am at the moment - except now it is outside commitments that are causing the struggle - but the principle's remain the same.)
That struggle ended when I finally stopped and took a good hard, honest look at myself. I came face to face with my weaknesses - the very things that were making our new homeschooling lifestyle difficult. And instead of pretending to myself that I could improve, do better, work harder, sleep less, magically become more organised etc, I accepted those weak points, and began to work with them. Starting from where I was, not where I wished I was. Working with the person that I am, not the person I hoped to become. Working with the resources, space and house I had, not the ideal space of my dreams. Being honest, and real.
Are you messy? Perhaps you are impatient? Are you a social person, that likes to go out every day, and struggles when you need to be home for a few days working with your children on your own? Do you have to work within a very strict budget? Are you a procrastinator, or a work-aholic? Do you have chronic ill health, or care for someone who does? Do you have paid-work commitments? Or perhaps you are so neat and organised that you are closer to an army captain than a mother?
If you take an honest look at those things, and begin to work with them, you just may surprise yourself at how well things may begin to work out.
Show me a mother with an enduring love for her children and I'll show you a mother who meets the requirements for home teaching. With love comes the self-sacrifice, daily discipline, kindness, patience and determination needed to set her children's feet on the paths of righteousness, skill, and knowledge. She who sows seeds by home teaching, overtime will reap the fruits of her labour. My three children who are now grown - all studied at home to grade twelve. I am no longer their teacher and yet I relive those days on the pages of this book. This is probably because although they were exhausting years, they were some of the best years of my life.Karen Andreola, Lessons at Blackberry Inn, p223