Sunday, January 27, 2013

Homeschool, WHAT?!

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a poor candidate to be a homeschool mom.
It's not that I don't like the idea.
It's that I stink at teaching school.
Part of the reason is that I just don't enjoy it and don't want to do it.
Nor do I like doing any type of 'kid' activity.
Hence...the poor candidate I am.

Not liking kid activities also makes me a poor candidate to be the mom of 10 kids.
But God wanted to show others that He is still in the business of doing miracles.
So He gave us 10 kids.
And they are reasonably well adjusted in spite of my weaknesses in many areas.
I do adore them.  They are the source of incredible blessing to me.

About a month or so ago, I was asked to share our adoption story with some of the women at our church.  I explained to them how I was not cut out to be the mom of a large brood but that God had stepped in a picked up the slack.  (Lots and lots of slack.)  I was encouraging them to step out in faith if God was leading them to do something that seemed crazy and it was on the tip of my tongue to say, "You me homeschooling or something like that."

I'm pretty sure I didn't utter those words out loud.
I know from past experience that if I do say something like, "I won't,"  or "I'll never," it won't be long before God will say, "Oh yes you will."
He laughs when He says that.
It's not a mean kind of thing.  He doesn't force me.  He just invites me in a very persuasive kind of way.
And I can't resist Him.
Mostly because I have learned that if He asks me to do something, there is a ton of blessing involved and it's in my best interest to go along with Him.
So basically, it's selfish on my part.
I want the blessing.

So recently, He started in with the homeschooling thing.
You DO remember that I tried this once and was an EPIC FAIL, right?

Yes, He remembered.
But He had a different plan.
One that involved video teaching so that I don't teach the subjects...I just make sure they are doing them and grade their tests, etc.
But wait....I tried something similar and failed at that too.


He continued to lay it on my heart and gave me lots of Scripture DAILY with things like, "Don't be afraid."  "I'll be with you."
He reminded me that our income had been shrinking lately and it might behoove me to find a way to cut our expenses.  (Thank you, Mr. Obama.  Not that I'm bitter...just speaking the truth.)

I asked the kids if they would want to be homeschooled.
They did.
Their response was enthusiastic, to put it mildly.

Everyone knows that once you mention something to a kid, you HAVE to do it or they will bother you incessantly until you follow through.
We parents just can't stand up to the reproachful eye of a 7 year old who says, "But you SAID you would."

So we took the plunge.
We ordered the videos and books.
They came in box after box.
And I wanted to cry.
I was so completely overwhelmed.
I sent a distress signal via text to Jeff...."We needs more shelves!"
We have an IKEA not far from where he works and he headed over there and brought us a bookcase with cubbies so we could put the incredibly huge amount of stuff away.  Love that and decent quality.

By the third day we were crying.  I was so frustrated trying to figure out the schedule.  After I apologized for losing it, we all decided to soldier on and make the best of things.

And it got better.  I've been praying a lot.  God is amazing.  He always comes through!

Let's recap, shall we?
I am not cut out for this.
But God is....
And He gives me what I need.

I realized at the end of every tiring day....
I had JOY in my heart.
The kind of joy that comes from God when we obey Him.  A supernatural kind of joy that makes no sense.
Because obviously, homeschooling 8 kids shouldn't fill a person like me with JOY.  {snicker...}

And the kids?  They LOVE it!  They have been telling me over and over how much they love being homeschooled and in spite of my pathetic attempts, they say they love having me for a teacher!  SaraGrace says she wants to be homeschooled for the rest of her life.   All I can say to that is that God is still in the business of performing miracles.

We have had so much fun together (even though we had those moments of crying)! 

I am so thankful that He has called us to do this!  I am looking forward to what He will do with ALL of us as we spend each day together.

I took some pictures of the older kids in their PJ's doing school but since they are party-poopers, they have forbidden me from posting any of them.

So here are some boring iPhone shots of the 'school room.'

All of their pencils, erasers, etc. are in buckets with their names on them.  They can carry them around the house if they are doing their work in a different room.  The older kids don't want the little kids in the school room when they are on the computer, so the little ones come down to the kitchen to do their workbooks.

They each have a cubby--which SaraGrace informed me was for kindergartner's--and I informed her that I didn't much care.  Baaahahahahahaha   That pile of paper in the right corner is a huge paper chain they made on Friday that stretches from one end of the house to the other.  We are going to try to hang it up.  The curriculum came with an art project for each week but since we are starting in the middle of the year, they can do the projects from the first semester.  They did one each day and had so much fun.  I think I'm going to have to find an art idea website for them.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

I will keep you posted on our adventure. 


Krista said...

Love it! :) Pinterest is my idea-go-to website for everything. I'm sure you can find oodles of art project ideas for kids on there for every topic, season, book, etc. It's wonderful!

Angie said...

Oh, Karen, I am praying for you! Tears and frustration are a "subject" at our that brings us closer and closer to the Lord! Truly, though, I do love being with the kids. If only I didn't have grammar and algebra...:)

Jennifer P said...

Wow! Now we have more in common than ever. Including the appreciation of God's amazing sense of humor. You couldn't have convinced me with a million bucks that I would have 10 incredible kids. What I have learned is that sending your kids to school is hard, and keeping them home is also hard but what you can't do when they are gone all day is "redeem the time." Glad your kids are all on board. Enjoy the adventure!

Marina said...

All the more reason to come visit us in Ottawa soon - field trip for school purposes! ;) Excited for you and your family as you proceed in this new adventure!

Lori said...

I love this post!

So you are homeschooling ALL the kids? Last time I talked to you I thought you said you were just starting out your big kids?

How wonderful!!

I am thinking about doing the ABeka videos next year, too. When you have time, email me with how you like them so far!

Chinamama4 said...

Thanks for posting this - the timing is excellent for me. Our 3 older girls are doing great in public school, but our little guy has been dealing with a lot of emotional and behavioral issues that are related to his first 2 1/2 years in China. My mind keeps creeping toward homeschooling him for Kindergarten next year (we are in Illinois which is a very homeschool-friendly state). Your story is a good reminder that, no matter how much I kick and cry and dig in my heels, God may be calling me to do something WAY out of my comfort zone, and He will give me the strength (and patience) to do it.
Oh, and get thee to Pinterest for a zillion ideas from teachers and other homeschoolers!

Kat said...

AWESOME! God leads in wonderful ways. I always said, "Wow, they must be pretty amazing moms to home school. I could never do that!" I've now been home schooling for five years (our eight...the youngest three toddlers just started this year) and our oldest is graduating this year. I found out it's not amazing...just our God is! :)

Our oldest two weren't home schooled until 7th and 9th grade. They were scared and nervous, but by month two BEGGED us to never go back. They are now a senior and junior.

It's one of the hardest things I've every done, but sooo worth it!!!! Congrats on this new adventure!!!!

Contact me if you need a cheering section :). Everlasting_Momentum at verizon dot net

Kristin Ferguson said...

It's about time you joined us crazy homeschoolers! You only need 2 things to homeschool--kids and a STARBUCKS around the corner. I have both so I'm good to go. ha ha ha Can't wait to hear about your adventures as the rest of the school year progresses!

Cari said...

I have occasionally thought about homeschooling our two youngest, after having the experience of homeschooling one child last year, however, for the first time in 17 years I will actually have all my children in school (full day). Freedom, right?! Well, I still can't shake those thoughts, so I will continue to pray about that possibility. My girls will be in Kindergarten & 3rd grade next school year, so you have to let us know how the video lessons go for your kids this year. Prayers for you guys, but I have no doubt that you'll get teacher of the year award...It's a major award...ya know? ;)

JoyBelle said...

I could have written this post! This is our first year of homeschool and I feel so inadequate. But through Him I can do ALL things and we are chugging along. There are many days of tears, frustration and there are many times my girls gush, "You're the BEST teacher ever!" On the hard days we take a break, do jumping jacks and eat a snack to reset.

I like most crafts but I do not like "kid art" or "kid crafts" either. My 7-yr-old is the crafty one so I let her take lead of all that, LOL!

Kim K. said...

Congratulations. I'm proud of you. In case you need another suggestion for an art website for kid-friendly projects, this is my go-to site:

Kristina Addington said...

Here is a quote I have prominently displayed in our school room, "Be thankful when you're tired and weary because it means you're making a difference."

Julie said...

I am so happy to stumble onto your blog. I have six (soon to be seven) kids. My two youngest are in school and the rest are at home. I know God is telling me to bring the younger ones home next year and I am overwhelmed at how to do it all. I am also not into tons of lesson planning and crafts. I would love to know what curriculum you have chosen! Thanks Julie

Sean and Lisa said...

Yay Karen! Ah God...He does have a sense of humor, doesn't he. LOL! So glad to hear things are going well...I've been homeschooling for way too many years to count and I STILL have crying days! LOL! So excited for all of you!!

Kristin Ferguson said...

AHEM! Red Wings? You haven't converted to a Bruins fan yet? Either one is detestable in my sight...especially since the Bruins beat us last night. waaah! Hope you had a good day today!

Janet said...

We still have crying days too--and I've homeschooled for 12 years.You mentioned pajamas...HS saves money on clothes! And I bet feeding the kids lunch at home is WAY cheaper then school or packed lunches.
I am thankful for the freadom to HS, and can't imaging doing it any other way!

Lisa said... are an inspiration to me. I, too am not a "kid person", yet God clearly has called us to foster care. I don't get it...why not pick someone who actually likes kids. But its exactly as you HE can very clearly get the glory. NONE of it is in my own strength. You'll do great, because greater is HE that is in you. :)

Difference2This1 said...

I love checking in on your blog as I can....your family is amazing :) I checked in today knowing the general part of the country you live in to see how you faired in the storm (we were prepared but didn't get it in DE) and saw your comments about homeschooling. I question every day why God gave me 6 kids thus far when I clearly am wired for...way less. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! LOL! All the best in the certainly is a test of endurance when they stay home with you!! :) Blessings, Jennifer