Back in 1999, when the idea of homeschooling first became a reality for our family, I really felt like there was no way it would last. I didn't feel competent to teach my then first grader. Plus, I had a baby under 1 and, for the first time in a long time, felt lost in my life. I had worked for so many years. Now, suddenly I had two children to care for and a husband who wanted me to be at home....not somewhere else working eight hours a day. It felt like a curse at the time. I had the same attitude that sadly, many mothers have toward their children. "How in the world can I deal with these kids all day long, much less be responsible for their education?" That was the daily burning question in my mind.
Nine years later, I cannot imagine life being any different than it is now. I can't imagine putting my children on a bus and sending them off to public school for most of the day. Sure, there are days when I want to pull my hair out. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that. There are days when we get nothing done besides cleaning up messes (and there are lots of those). There are days when the girls want to sleep late. We have days when they don't want to school at all. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Mom, can't we take the day off from school?" There are many days when we run into problems with math concepts and I think that we will never get through them. There are days when I want to quit. There are days when I wonder why God entrusted me with these two souls to care for. There are days that I am ungrateful because He hasn't given me more.
It never fails though. Days like today come.... days when I look around and see the mess and think, "what's the big deal?" When a friend emails to say that she sure is glad I want to take the rest of the month off from our joint Latin class because we both have lots of holiday obligations to deal with. Days when another friend emails me to tell me that it is complete bedlam at her home and we have ourselves a good laugh. And days when black hand prints all over the wall brings a smile to my face. In comparison to what God sacrificed for me, my problems and complaints are nothing. Less than nothing even.
I am thankful for children. I am especially thankful for my own children. I cherish the privilege of spending every waking hour with them. I am thankful for the wonderful journey of educating them at home. I am thankful for one's ability to read a 900 page book in a day and for her continual complaints of how she will never use Algebra or Biology in her future. I am thankful for the other's musical and creative ability and for going at her own pace when it comes to math. Maybe most importantly, I am thankful that I have black hand prints to wash off of my walls.