Let us begin this letter with prayer.
Lord, we ask that Your loving embrace surround and comfort this dear mom at this moment. Lord, let her feel the strength of Your tender touch in a tangible way that she might gain true peace and empowerment. Lord, please allow that she see the good she does in spite of the frustrations that mount on all sides. Protect her from the despair that would cause her to stop in her work. Give her the assurance that her work is holy, worthy and of Your will. Amen.
To decide to stop homeschooling is really not the question here at this moment. Whether you homeschool or not parenting must continue. The rigors of discipline and training are still going to be at the forefront of parenting. There are to be sure those seasons in our life when everything just seems to click and we think that 'all is well'. It is in this time that we must remind ourselves 'all is well but certainly not finished'. In other words the truth of parenting is that it is an ongoing work that we actually take with us into eternity. I expect to be praying for my children and grandchildren from Heaven. To participate with the Lord and bring another human soul to life is an awesome and spiritual experience. We are bound to our children always.
If your dear children are having difficulty with staying focused in the homeschool they will most likely have the same challenge in private school, public school or even another mom's homeschool. It is important that we separate parenting challenges from homeschool challenges. My daughter is a primary school teacher. She tells me all the time that she can tell you which children in her classroom have involved and active parents. There are no discipline challenges with these children because the parents are taking care of that business at home. I teach one day a week at a homeschool cooperative. I can say the same thing. Truly. I know which of my students are getting complete support and follow through at home. These students are focused, disciplined, capable and eager to learn.
Before I would even consider returning my dear children to the school system I would first address the issues that are going to make it difficult for them to succeed no matter where they are at the moment. This is the important lesson that the dear Lord wants you to address. I know this is the lesson because it is the one that has brought you to the edge. Sometimes we parents feel frustrated because we do not know if we are within the Lord's will with our homeschooling. I believe that in those moments we must step back and take a look at our parenting first and then decide about homeschooling.
Let's suppose that your dear children go to the Catholic school. Now suppose that you get a call after a few weeks from the teacher and she tells you that your dear children do not seem to know how to focus and get to the task at hand. How would you respond?
The issue at stake is not school but parenting. Whatever you are teaching in the homeschool today is not nearly as important as parenting your dear children to understand the importance of self discipline. This is probably the most difficult task before any parent. I can hire tutors but I can not abdicate my role as parent. God has entrusted the children to me and I must show up for work every moment of every day.
Pray for the empowerment to meet this challenge head on. Decide today to change at least one thing in your routine or method that will have a positive impact on the situation. Trust that the Lord wants you to work through this challenge because He has presented you with this challenge. Jesus loves you and would not give you a challenge without giving you the skills to work through it. He loves you far too much.
Perhaps it is important to put the books away for a week. Use positive reinforcement and set doable goals for your children. Have a family meeting wherein you and your husband discuss the challenges as you see them with the children. Shower the children with understanding owing to the fact that they are not adults but adults in the making. This is the hard one. We find it so difficult to be patient with our children, who seem to refuse to accept the good discipline that we are trying to teach. Some children learn this easier than others. With our 10 children I can tell you that each one is as different as night is to day. What works for one child will not work for another. This is the nature of true parenting. When it comes to parenting 'one size does not fit all'.
Sit before the Blessed Sacrament and allow that the dear Lord surround your weary spirit with His embrace. Pour your heart out for 10 minutes telling the Lord all that troubles you. Then quiet your spirit and allow your restless mind to listen for 10 minutes. Jesus in His mercy promised that He would not leave us as orphans on this earth. Jesus longs to enter our lives in a real way. He longs to speak with us. He will speak to you in your spirit and comfort you in your frustrations and empower you in your doubts.
Let me close by telling you something. My pediatrician of many, many years, was a wonderful mentor for me. She practiced pediatrics in our small community for many years. Now she works with disadvantaged children in rural regions as part of her semi retirement. Once I came to her with sorrow and frustration borne of my own fears that I was not a 'good mother'. I gave her all the reasons, all the research that I had read, all the statistics, etc. She smiled and then gently said that from her experience it was only the good moms that took the time to question their parenting, their effectiveness and were reading the books about how to be a better parent. So true.
I believe you to be a loving and wonderful parent. You are having a challenge right now to be sure. Your children would describe you as 'their mom'. Nothing more nothing less. To your dear children you are mom and you are loved beyond your capacity to understand the depth to which children love their mommies. Your children are always under construction. My mom is 80 years young and I am 54 years old and I know that she still has opinions and suggestions about my life. I feel very blest indeed that she still cares enough for me to be involved in my construction. :) My mother is a holy witness of the power in parenting. She mothers from all that she has. What a prayer warrior she will be in Heaven!!
Your letter has helped me very much. Yesterday was a difficult day in our little homeschool. I could take the first sentence in your letter and apply it to our day. It was as though I was trying to move at light speed and the girls were swimming in molasses. Some days are like that. But today will be a better day because I know that it will. The Lord is in the details and He is going to give me the strength to do the work ahead. I admire you very much. I want you to know that your letter will most assuredly reach the hearts of those moms that need to hear your story. Your story will first give them courage because they will know that they are not alone in their struggles and secondly it will give you strength because they will pray for you. Your family is very blest to have you as their mom.
Sending out a prayer,