“You seem so happy,” my mom commented for not the first time in the past two months. And she is right. And the best part? It’s not just a fleeting, savoring-my-favorite-flavor-of-ice-cream happy. It’s a bone-marrow deep joy bubbling up in my soul. It has caused me to pause and reflect on our current station in life.
You know what I didn’t see coming with homeschooling?
The complete and utter transformation of my heart. God is so good, and He knew that this homeschooling thing – it would be more than just a “thing” for me and so very much what I needed to be a better mother. (Please note that I said “better,” not fantastic or great or even just good. Each of these revelations listed below is coupled with some embarrassing admissions on my part about my human nature.)
- It makes me a more intentional mother.
Some mothers are really good at this, even without homeschooling. I am not. I do not naturally find ways to tie learning into our daily life, mostly because I am really bad about doing everything myself because it is quicker and easier.
Homeschooling has caused me to include my boys in more daily tasks and to find the teaching moments as we go. We baked blueberry muffins last Friday. The boys scooped and measured; Creed wanted to count how many holes were in the muffin tins, so we skip-counted by 3s to see how many there were; we talked about how baking, blue, and berry all start with the letter b. Yesterday while reading our morning Bible story, there was a footnote about the Minoans, one of the civilizations mentioned in the CC timeline song. Creed was so excited to recognize the word. None of these are solely “homeschool” practices, and I am certain that they are things my mother did with me when I was a child. For some reason or other though, I am much more intentional in our daily life now that we have a focused school time as a small part of our day. Our actual instruction time only takes 45 minutes – 1 hour, but I find that it bleeds over spontaneously into the rest of our day.
- It makes me a more patient mother.
It is a rather pathetic character flaw of mine that I am more patient with people I am not related to than with my family. Nothing is more humbling than the moment you realize that truth about yourself. Seeing my children as students has caused me to be more patient with them. But never fear – one can not simply turn off “mom mode.” They will always be first and foremost my children. 🙂 The role of teacher/student though has definitely been a positive change around our home.
- It makes me a more peaceful mother.
Because I did not want school time to fall to the wayside, I have tried to establish a routine for our little school-house. Oh my! That has been such a boon to my housekeeping skills, as well as to my attitude towards chores. I am easily overwhelmed when there are many items on my to-do list. When my environment is cluttered, so is my mind. When my mind is cluttered, I lose my patience. But knowing that there are built-in times in my day when I will get x, y, or z done has been such a relief to my mind. I can rest and focus on our Morning Basket when I know that during Morning Break, the boys will play and I will do dishes, make beds, and start laundry. I can concentrate on Table Time knowing that after lunch, I will finish laundry and do what ever daily task that needs tending to.
Above all, I am reminded of these words from Scripture: “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) More than at any other time in my life, I feel certain that I am living out the good works that God had prepared for me. I have always felt called to teach; my time as a public school teacher is full of treasured memories. But there is a peace beyond telling in my current role as a teaching mama. What joy it has been to seek out “the good works that God has prepared” and to “live in them.”