Tuesday, December 17

Homeschooling Update, An Elf & A Calm, Christmas Holiday

The Rogers have officially completed one semester of homeschooling. We began our year pretty early... August 4th. I did this, because I had NO idea how long it would take to get through our lessons. I also did not know if TOT would create school distractions and get us off schedule. And, finally, I knew that this week would be crazy. So, I wanted our school to be finished.

Last year, I nearly had a nervous break down (literally!) during this week. I like to do special "happies" for my TOT directors allowing TOT to be part of their schools, so that takes up time. On top of that, each child had Christmas festivities at the school every day, we were preparing Christmas gifts for each of their teachers, I needed to be at the school for several events, and their we multiple parties as the week came to a close. I COULD NOT keep up! I quickly became Scrooge! It was all too, too much!

Seriously, there's so much frustration this time of year over what is a distraction of Christmas. Every year, it seems we (I'm definitely including me here) choose one, specific Christmas "extra" and rebel against it! This year, it's obviously the Elf on the Shelf. I agree that it can get out of hand. As I said on Facebook, we DO have elves. But, we've never put much thought into them. Scotty moves them to a new location each night. A few of our spots are "favorite" for the elves, because they land their repeatedly during the Christmas season. I've been so intrigued, though, as people rebel openly on Facebook and other social media outlets about the unnecessary time waste of the elf, but these people never question the other crazy things we do for our children during Christmas. School events, gifts for teachers, parties, etc. I'd venture to guess monopolize so much more time that moving a crazy elf. But, those things are just accepted as things we HAVE to do.

Well... I just couldn't do it one more year. This particular week last year WIPED ME OUT, and it took EVERY BIT OF CHRISTMAS BREAK to get over it. This year, I can breathe. I spent all day yesterday getting TOT gifts together for the week and ready for teachers while my children enjoyed their first day of Christmas break. And, after I teach my last class of TOT on Thursday, I'll start my break and get ready for another semester. As this one comes to an end, though, I'm thanking God for freedom. That will forever be the word that summarizes my experience this first half of our homeschooling experience. I've been extremely convicted for 5 months now about all of the things that I did for so many years, because "it's just what you do". I've realized that I didn't HAVE to do those things. But, in choosing to, I gave up my freedom to make decisions that are necessary for MY children and MY family.

There have been other lessons to be learned that haven't been as fun to learn. For instance, a messy house exposes every, single one of my flaws. And, when you homeschool children, the house is never completely clean. When I would take the children to school, I could leave it nice & tidy. It would stay that way at least until they got home. Now that they are home, we clean up after breakfast, but everything gets yucky again as we prepare for lunch. Then, we clean up AGAIN! But, once school is done, they begin to play (which is good) and the house is messy again. This may seem small. However, a messy house exposes my flaws. So, this one little area has greatly increased my prayer life as I strive to get a grip so that my children aren't permanently scarred over cups left on a counter top.

Another lesson... a schedule is GOOD; but, sometimes, flexibility is BETTER! Ahhhhh...... The Lord has stretched me here. I love a schedule! I love boundaries, and I just feel much more secure when a good, workable schedule is in place. To some degree, that is a strength of mine. Chaos is NEVER good. A basic schedule with homeschooling is necessary.... The kids have to get up, shower, get completely dressed, eat breakfast, etc. every morning. We start school close to the same time each day. But, beyond that, circumstances arise that can't be planned for, and that's O.K.! God has shown me OVER & OVER that I am consistently trying to move past and miss the lesson of the moment, because I can't adapt the schedule. This one lesson has been the catalyst for God showing me I must LET GO of my agenda. Do I NOT plan? Absolutely not! But, I'm more aware of the blessings all around that I could never plan for. They are gifts (not burdens), and I am learning to expect the unexpected and trust The Lord to guide me through it.

There's not a whole lot of "meat" to this post. However, I promised I'd update on all of homeschooling adventures. And, I haven't done that very well. The semester has brought about some tough moments and tough days. But, overall, it's been way more positive, much easier and more freeing that I could have ever imagined. Again, I say, I don't know what the long term future will hold for us. But, for now, I'm just grateful that The Lord called me to step out and then provided confirmation after confirmation that we'd made the right choice.

I don't know where you are this week and what is going on. If you're in the rat race with more events and more gifts to give and more parties to attend than you know what to do with, I know how you feel. I'll pray that you can breathe..... And, I'm not saying yank your kids out of school and home school :). But, maybe prayerfully consider what doesn't HAVE to be done and what doesn't provide a meaningful Christmas experience. I'm doing the same. I'm asking the Lord to show me what I can cut out of the schedule, so that I can breathe and focus on Him. For me, it was and is much, much more than an elf!

No comments: