My kids start school next Monday. All three – all day – every day. For those of you who may not know, I had attempted to home school my kids up till last year. I have great admiration for home schoolers, primarily because I feel like I failed as one. There were several reasons for this:
1. It was my husband’s desire – not mine, that the kids be educated in this way.
2. My eldest’s sons special needs and the instability of my husband’s work schedule combined to make the challenges of regular structure that was required by my sons needs – to be almost impossible to achieve. (“unschooling” really wouldn’t work for him).
3. I seriously did not enjoy it given the multitude of challenges I was facing (including health issues) at the time. It’s amazing how thyroid disease can put a damper on life in every way.
So last year I put two boys in school at the same time, and my little girl went to Pre-school two full days a week. They really flourished in the environment of the private school we had chosen. It brought me to tears more times than I can count to recognize that the gifts and passion of these people were able to accomplish so much more than I could in teaching my kids to learn and to love learning.
Okay, I know I’m not a failure. Those who know the depth of struggles in my life can attest that I’ve done the very best I could with what I had and what I knew. I have been the best advocate for my son with his issues. And as much as I missed them when they are at school, I still had a job to do when they got home which was amplified by the same challenges mentioned above. Homework wars will kick in again next week.
Due to our instability financially, I have been looking for work. Not successful thus far. So I write. I love it. It terrifies me to think that people might read my work and think it’s crap. I’m thankful for the friends who have read my first novel “The Virtuous Viscount”, and have given me good feedback and encouragement. I have two more works in progress – one contemporary fiction and one non-fiction. It really costs me little to engage in this endeavor but the rewards are felt immediately (it is soooo much fun! – yes – even the re-writing, although it is hard work) and maybe someday I’ll be published and the money you spend for my books will help pay for my kid’s school. It’s a dream. It could happen. So until a “real job” comes along, I will write. I will serve.
So it is with mixed emotions that I send my kids off to school.
Relief – because it can be a challenge to have all three home, fighting, looking for things to do with our limited space and resources.
Sorrow – especially as my little girl goes off full time this year. I’m going to miss her and her smiles and hugs.
Excitement – freedom to write! Freedom to serve in ministry! Freedom to set my own schedule for all of it (including housework – okay that part does not excited this domestically challenged mom)
Frustration – because I still lack the one tool to make this really work for me – a netbook. Please pray that God will get my husband working on that? That one tool will enable me to save up to $50 a week in wear and tear and gas for the van, continue to job search while in town, write while in town and also save me 3 ½ hours in travel time that I can better use to serve women in Fond du Lac as Women’s Ministry Director at my church. All of which in the long run will, I pray, enable me to be a better mother when school is out.
Fear – as I start soliciting for an agent to represent my work to the publishing world. It’s a competitive market. . . I only remind myself that I really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and if all else fails, there is always self-publishing. However, I long for the challenge an agent would provide in helping me grow and become better as a writer.
I am sure there are a myriad of other emotions that I will experience in the coming weeks as our family adjusts to the new schedule. In the long run I know it is all good, because God has led us here and HE is always good, and I can trust Him because He who has called me to this work will be faithful to complete it. (Phil 1:6)
As you head into this next season of life – whatever it is for you – what emotions does that stir up? Do you know how much God longs to walk with you through that? I’m praying you do!