This morning when I woke to work, a war was raging across the homeschool table. Nearly every plastic color block shape and cubed math manipulative we own was at attention; formed into tanks, constructed into walled fortresses, standing as tall guards, or traversing the seas.
All were ready for battle.
Summer is steadfastly pulling into port… it's August? Really????
While I will miss our Summer adventures -- escaping the heat in our community pool, taking in a mid-day movie, vacationing with family and getting quiet time while my kids spend time with grandparents both near and far -- I am ready for this new school year.
I have done my research. I have garnered supplies. I have gathered the troops.
I am ready for war.
"Homeschooling is a war?" you ask? Well, yes… in a way it needs to be viewed that way. It is a war comprised of daily, hard-won battles.
It is a war I fight for, and with, my children.
It requires strategy, patience, diligence, planning, cunning, strength, discipline, love -- lots of love -- and in my life, a continued relationship with the Lord, the heart of everything I do.
Each day a battle is fought.
The battle of persistence.
"Rise and Shine, for the light has come!"
Kids roll their eyes and pull pillows over their heads and sink deeper under their quilts or covers. The battle has begun -- waking in a timely manner to pursue a day of learning.
The battle of patience.
"He/She is shaking the table!"
"I don't like this book -- it's boooooooooring!"
"Can I just do it tomorrow?"
"I can't find the answer!" (after only a few seconds of trying)
The battle of teaching.
"I just don't understand!"
The job of researching, reading and learning new ways to explain things differently, according to each child's needs or understanding. This is one of the blessings of homeschooling; with fewer children in my "classroom," I have the opportunity to individually meet each of their learning styles and needs.
It also means I have to be a lifelong learner. I have to overcome my own personal bias toward some subjects and weaknesses in others. It means I have to stay one step ahead.
And to be honest, that isn't easy.
The battle of perseverance and completion.
I have come to understand it isn't necessary to push on through the middle of summer just to complete all 36 weeks of our curriculum. If we stop at week 32, I'm fine. I can begin there the next year; summer is important - we all need our rest.
That said, teaching children how to finish strong IS important. It is easy to waiver in the last few weeks, to let things slip by when we otherwise wouldn't, to bend to our own lazy will and allow the days to become shorter and less productive.
What do I teach my children if I do that?
My desire is to teach them that giving it their all isn't just something they see on inspirational posters, it is the way they should live. It is the way I should live.
As a Christian, the words from Hebrews 12:1 resonate in my mind, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
As homeschoolers we are watched. There is indeed a "great cloud of witnesses." Some are waiting for us to fail, and others are encouraging us, waving banners and lobbying on our behalf. We need to stand strong, run with perseverance, finish the race.
It is a daily battle to toss away the sin of laziness, idleness, and selfishness, but it is a mandate.
There are many more daily battles, but each hard-fought battle is one more bit of ground covered in the war for the heart, mind and future of our children.
Truly a worthwhile war, no?
-OMSH/Heather L. Sanders' Blogs at: www.ohmystinkinheck.com
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