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my revelations in our homeschool – {& Rico Suave, Brad and David}

The kids and I got to Skype daddy-o today in Zambia. He got to see our precious Beatrice (our sponsored child) today!

You can follow along with the adventures of Rico Suave, Brad and David on Kristin’s blog at

It was SO good to see him–and hear his voice. The children LOVED hearing from him–and Parker told him daddy, “Daddy! I want a brother from Zambia who is my age!” (Daddy laughed…but he didn’t say no;) Seriously, can I just say I love the hearts of my children!!! I could just gobble them up and their precious hearts for the world. Seriously–they aren’t asking for Wii, video games, the latest this or that–but an orphan to be made into a brother. What more could a mommy dream for her children???

1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

Luke 6:45 “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

What a JOY it has been to be at home with them more this year. I am NOT going to lie and say it’s been easy. It has to date been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Let me tell you why. It’s been hard because I am a pretty selfish person. I was used to breaks while they were at school and the littles at preschool. I didn’t realize until now how much time in my day was centered around ME…even if it was fiddling around on my email, organizing making myself feel more put together, and this or that–while right now I’m not even sure what I did with down time but one thing is for sure momma doesn’t have it any more. YET–I’m finding such JOY as the GOOD far outweighs the sacrifices!

Here’s where the hard parts are: I have MORE undone laundry. More yuck not scrubbed in the sinks and toilets. More unread emails in my inbox. And I’m not going to lie–but I’m definitely much MORE tired at the end of the day. SO–those are the sacrifices.

Some things I didn’t realize until now:

…I didn’t realize how detached I was from my children’s education experience. I was trusting someone else to know how my children best learned and what they needed to learn. In just 2 months, I’m already seeing HUGE difference in their learning styles–how challenging it is for me (1 teacher) to successfully teach in those 2 styles. I’m a former teacher–and this is such a JOY for me…and something I could NOT do in a class of 10, 15–let alone 25.

…My kids used to hop in the car after carpool and I thought I was involved in their education by my asking, “What did you learn today? What is your homework?” And then helping them complete their homework and fix their book bag for the next day. Okay–y’all don’t laugh at me…but I really thought I was involved in their actual learning experience…but I didn’t know how much MORE I could add to it…how much more I could challenge them…and how much FUN it would be to learn together. There have been some rather teachable moments in the going deeper–and knowing what I know now–if and when my children return to “mainstream school” whether its private or public–I will not make this mistake again. It won’t just be up to teachers or others what my little are learning and how far they are going or how deep they are going. Whether they have an enthusiastic teacher or not–I know I can now take their learning to the moon and back…and the best learning really does take place exploring together and dreaming about what else can we discover??!! Before…I was TOO BUSY to even see this…and I’m thankful to see this while they are still so young.

…The heart moments…the tough moments…the moments of wrongdoing. There are SO many teachable moments through out the day that come up–like EVERY 10 minutes–when something is said that needs to be prodded, nurtured, encouraged, corrected or explained more deeply. I don’t have a timeline to meet or have to quickly move on. We can take a time-out from math in a teachable moment of reading that needs to be extended to discuss a heart issue. And in this process…I’m seeing more beautiful and more difficult things in both my children hearts and mine. Together–we are being refined. We are studying the Bible together in the morning for our reading time…and today I watched one of my little one’s tears well up in her eyes as I told the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Tears were unexpected for this story–but sadness was felt at the masses not knowing God, doing wrong and possibly being destroyed. We talked it through–we marinated on it together–and then we wrote prayer requests down and prayed together. I’d be happy with ending school right there;)…but we did follow it with phonics, more reading and math today. But oh my–it would have been just fine to end it right there as my dear child received more in those moments than I think she could have gotten in any regular classroom setting. The innocence–the pure of heart–instead of moving this child on to the next thing or skipping this precious quiet time as a family all together because we’d typically be rushing out the door…this child is being shaped…by one of the people who loves her most in the world and sees the heart of the matter…and can water it.

There are also moments of being naughty–that I know as a school teacher with 25 in the room…I would have simply taken away recess, not given a sticker or given a yellow light card to and had to move right along for the sake of the other 24. But I get to hone in on that one sheep that has gone astray. There were days last year my kiddos would hop in the car and they didn’t get a sticker that day. Or they got on “yellow”…or heaven forbid–RED…and that was that. The positive reinforcement was a sticker or negative consequence was sitting out during recess. Thankfully those occurrences were rare–but they DID happen. I do know that it is impossible for a teacher to sit with a child and talk through the heart that has chosen the wrong thing and love them wholeheartedly through it…it has nothing to do with the teacher but the other 24. That is were the sacrifices we are making as a family to follow the Lord in what He has called us to start to make sense. To have the privilege to tenderly walk the sheep back to where I know that heart belongs…and show LOVE through it…makes it all worth it. That one sheep is worth the sacrifices.

…I didn’t realize how much FUN we would have together! I thought I couldn’t do it…that I might go nuts…that the world would think I was weird (although I did keep saying “the Pioneer Woman–she home schools–and she is cool, right?!)…that my kids might not get too far ahead or even worse too far behind…BUT all of those fears are slowing fading away as I see my children growing together even closer…as I hear my son asking “Can we bring home a brother from Zambia daddy?”…as I watch Laney and Parker get Isaac out of bed and dress him for his day…as I hold back laughter at Frankie-baby sitting in a desk raising his hand and shouting, “ME!!! ME!!! ME!!!” to the question: What’s 8 + 6?? And his shouting, “B! B! B!!!!”

Yes–the sacrifices–which I once thought I needed–I no longer need as much as this. And I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for the bigger pile of dirty laundry, the added layer of scum on the tub, and the awful hairdos I seem to have sported since our school began…because those not-so-fun reminders are really reminders of the sacrifice–and how worth it this all is. I know much of the world probably looks at me and thinks I’m crazy, but I wouldn’t trade these days for anything…and as I live them–I’m holding on and cherishing each and every one.

megan - October 4, 2011 - 9:00 am

My little guy is only 9 months old…but the more I hear about homeschooling, the more interested I am in it!

Sandi - October 4, 2011 - 10:24 am

I homeschooled for a year. It changed the way we do everything from family games to homework. I learned little things like my oldest is a visual learner & aces vocab/spelling tests when I make paper flashcards with pictures from google images. Even weekend fun trips incorporate learning in ways that I probably wouldn’t have thought of unless I had homeschooled. I am so thankful for that time & the treasure trove of silly, happy memories. Cherish those moments, you are getting the opportunity of a lifetime!

Rory - October 4, 2011 - 5:05 pm

Totally agree about the homeschool revelations! While I am so thankful for that one year of preschool my oldest had with her amazing school and teachers, I would not trade the past (almost) 3 years of homeschooling to have back more “me” time. Oh, some days I look at the piles of laundry and what to crawl in them so no one can find me, but even in those hard moments I am blessed with an opportunity to show my children Christ, to be around them (cause Lord only knows it goes by too fast), and to genuinely get to know my children and enjoy their company. We have seen the best and worst of each other, that’s for sure!:) You’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work in the trenches and know there are other mamas in the foxhole with you.:) Your kids are gonna turn out awesome!:)

Rory - October 4, 2011 - 5:07 pm

sheesh. nice advertisement for homeschooling when this mama can’t even spell!:)

Emily Schulz - October 4, 2011 - 7:58 pm

oh, I need to hear this today and let it sink deep. It’s been a LONG one at home with my 4!!

Desiree - October 5, 2011 - 12:16 am

What an awesome post Andrea! I couldn’t agree more. I thank God everyday for the opportunity to homeschool my children. The moments we can be present for are so worth being behind on housework! Thanks for your heart!

Lisa - October 5, 2011 - 11:00 am

So lovely to hear these encouraging, real words, Andrea.

D - October 6, 2011 - 1:33 pm

I love your blog. I teach a preschool class (3 through 5) and I have definetly incorporated some “homeschooling” tactics in the way I teach.

JJ - October 6, 2011 - 10:41 pm

I love to hear this Andrea. I’ve been homeschooling for 3 years now and even though it gets really hairy some days, I would never ever change it or go back to the way it used to be. I keep reminding myself the importance of “being in the world, not OF the world.” My kids too have the hugest hearts for the orphans and they are not distracted by all the things that kids typically are when they go to a school every day. I love being able to raise little God warriors, after all that is the most important thing in life. It’s not going to matter how much money they make (because they went to 10 years of college and were the smartest in their class), or if they play pro sports, or if they are the most popular at their high school if they have a weak faith in the Most High. I can totally relate to what you are going through right now too. My husband is in the military and gone A LOT. We have 5 kids ages 1-9. I’m hoping we can connect in March at the retreat. Is there still room?