Bless your heart. God love you. You have a busy household. I am so filled with joy when I read your letter. What a blessing that the Lord has given you such an active and loving home to surround your efforts. I can sense in your letter that you are working with great tenderness to meet the needs of the children the Lord has placed in your care. You are trying to cover your bases and bring the best of each challenge to a fruitful end. Let us look at homeschooling in a real family.
I am sure that you have read that I like to define homeschooling as a lifestyle. The choice to homeschool is a lifestyle in everyway that that word is meant to imply. We must realize that the dear Jesus lives in families as a powerful witness. The work of family is the work of the Lord. Homeschooling is meant to complement this very powerful work. It is a means to bring learning experiences to our children within the context of family. In other words homeschooling is not something that we do instead of meeting the needs of our families but something that we are called to do as a vocation within our family. We meet the needs of our family through homeschooling. Each family must define the way this lifestyle affects their family. We can not nor should we try to replicate the traditional school experience in our families. Let me explain it this way.
When you have a child born to you in a hospital setting there are certain rules and guidelines that are practiced within that setting that not only ensure your safety but expedite the experience as a whole. These guidelines may or may not be the best for you but they are intended to address the needs of the greater majority of women who enter into this experience within this setting. When you go home with your dear newborn babe you define the needs of that baby and balance it with the needs of your family. You work through challenges as they arise and how they should be met within the setting of your home. You are not concerned how your goals will affect the other women that were discharged to their homes that same day.
I am usually reluctant to tell a mom the best way to meet her specific challenges. I do not know her home and I do not live in her home setting. I trust that through prayer and a desire to be open within the Lord's will she will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to meet the challenges that the Lord places before her. I truly believe that each mom who is asked by the Lord to homeschool will be fully empowered to do what He asks of them. Jesus loves each of us with such a powerful love that it is often times difficult for us to see the glory of this love. We fall into the trap of thinking that we are not able and capable to meet the challenges that the Lord places before us.
I believe in the beauty and the power of a mother's desire to guide her dear little children to the Lord. Jesus wants us to do this and He will give us the skills necessary to meet this end. I believe that you are such a mom. You are open to the Lord's will and you have a deep love for Jesus. You are working tirelessly each day to hear the Lord's call upon your life and to follow in that call.
Looking at the ages of your children it seems that you really have 2 students that need formal teaching. Don't forget that each day and all that fills that day are learning experiences. If the experience is approached with love and the willingness to be used as a learning experience you have the single most important building block. With this in mind then even moving from one state to the next is a fantastic learning experience. Going to the grocery store, the library, the pediatrician's office are all learning experiences. The two students that you have need a small amount of formal training and this can be given at the best time of day for you and the children.
Please do not talk in terms of being behind. This is not the case. Everyday we go forward (whether we like it or not). Jesus calls us along. No day is empty or lost. No time spent lovingly caring for your children is lost. Each day is a classroom and each day that you have spent to date is valuable and has afforded your dear children with more than you may know. Remember that children are more important than schedules and deadlines. The Lord will bless our efforts and empower us to do more than we thought possible.
Go forward. It is the Tempter who pulls us backward by convincing us that our good efforts should be diminished because we did not meet unrealistic goals. Shame on him.
Jesus surrounds us with love, encourages us, uplifts us, holds us near and empowers our efforts. Do not look at your failures (I really do not like that word) look instead to your accomplishments. You have accomplished such a great deal with all that has been going on in your life. Take joy in the days that have past and go forward into the Lord's will. Trust in the Lord's great love for you and His willingness to empower you. Take joy!!
Curriculum should be suited to real families and the real lives that unfold within those families. Family life is the Lord's garden and our experiences and real lives are his treasured seedlings. The most important word for us as we journey into the experience of life is flexibility. Don't forget that reading to your children is not only pleasant but it multiplies the effect of the time spent.
Let us pray together this afternoon for all moms who are expecting new babies this coming spring. Our Lady of LeLeche pray for us. I pray that you have enough good food to eat and time to rest. Please take time to sit quietly before the Tabernacle and let the sweet Jesus surround you with His embrace.
Sending out a prayer,