Things I Learned this Term (or, Enjoying the Journey) pt. 4 – Be who you were made to be

Be who you are

We only get one body, and we have to take care of it. We have to eat right, move plenty, and rest well in order to be about to do the hard work of mothering. Unfortunately, the hard work of mothering can get in the way of a mother taking care of herself, or of a father taking care of himself. We need to do our best without obsessing. I do best when I eat at home, walk several miles a day, and sleep at night. But it is hard to do all of those things while I am also trying to be a teacher, mother, driving, cook, launderer, and write. I get frustrated because I can’t do all the things for all the people at the same time, and I have to prioritize. Only Jesus can be all things to all people. The rest of us can try our human best, but we can’t do all the things. We don’t always control our situations, but we can control ourselves and our thoughts. If we choose to look at the world through a lens of grace and a sense of wonder, we have the freedom to intentionally look for Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. We have to feed ourselves also, so choose the artists/composers/poets for your children that you want to study so that they also interest you. What did you learn today?

What about YOU

That said, we also have to be realistic with ourselves about what we can do in a day, in a week, in a month, in a term, in a year. I have long been in a situation in which my To Do lists are a mile long and rarely completed. This doesn’t allow for any rest or downtime. I am making progress on some of my necessary habits, but I haven’t gotten as much of Anna Karenina or Norms and Nobility read as I want to, and I’m regularly waking up in a panic because I know that my day holds too many necessary tasks. I have a couple more weeks of this level of crazy before things start to slow down. I’ve intentionally scheduled Jon and I a few days away over our spring break. They will be working days away, but we will eliminate household responsibilities and hands-on parenting in order to concentrate. I look forward to summer break.

  1. How do you best learn? How do you best teach? What do you love?

I love books. I like pens and paper and music and poetry and order and languages. Jon loves math and logic and science and chaos. So, at our house, we’ve worked to teach our kids to love those things also. While the more orderly of us constantly struggle against the chaos of the others and we work to instill reasonable habits of putting things away, we also demonstrate to our children that they should love music, books, languages, math, logic, and science. Your children will learn to appreciate what you appreciate, so if you want them to love music, you need to listen to music with them. If you want them to learn to love books, you need to read in front of your kids, read aloud to your kids, and show that you value books by owning some. Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses.”

It isn’t about you

You don’t have to already love everything that you want your kids to love. You do have the privilege of choosing what you think about and what you listen to and read and watch. You don’t have to know advanced algebra to teach arithmetic. You can learn as your students do, staying ahead of them enough to guide them. You don’t have to read Latin already to include Latin in your homeschool. You just have to be willing to learn algebra and Latin. It’s like everything else – you can put in the time to learn and teach the subject, you can pay someone else to teach the subject, or you can not teach the subject. If you don’t teach Latin, you’ll need another way to get a foreign language credit. Algebra must be taught in order for your student to progress in both logical thinking and mathematics. Learning it well will increase their ACT and SAT scores and earn them better scholarships. You can consider good math education as an investment that will pay off later.

Feeling inadequate? Great! Because His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

Give your Best Effort. Do it afraid.

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