Monday, June 21, 2010

Frazzled: The Secret of Homeschool Success

Are you feeling frazzled from shuttling kids to doctor's appointments, piano lessons, and soccer practices? How do homeschool moms do it all. . .and still homeschool?

I started out thinking I was Superwoman, wishing I had been born with special genes and equipped with a super suit. And yet, God has a way of humbling us all. After being knocked on my fanny on more than one occasion, there was only one way to go and that was up. . . Up, with a helping hand from God.

I came to recognize that if I wanted to survive homeschooling, I needed to place God front and center. I needed to keep the prayer line active, to keep that super stuff flowing, the super stuff that keeps on giving long after mom has collapsed. I needed God's grace.

It wasn't that God wasn't a part of my life. He always was, but I soon learned that when I become "too busy" to give him more than a quick "hello," I need to cut back on the activities. Relationships don't grow on "hellos."

Through prayer, I recognized God's "Big Picture," the wide-screen plan for our homeschool. Our ultimate goal was not to see who was left standing after all the activities were over. The goal for our homeschool was heaven.

My Heavenly Father has commissioned me to create a small piece of paradise on earth. That meant striving for a certain amount of joy and peace in our home. If everyone is stressed out from too many activities, then the home and school are doomed.

I needed to follow a realistic plan. I needed to simply, delegate, and delete the extra activities when possible.

Where could I make my life easier? Some activities were required, like the orthodontist. Others, however, were not. Instead of club soccer, we could do another league with less travel and the boys could ride their bikes to practice. I could simplify our meals, let go of perfectionism, and declutter the curriculum.

I could also delegate. If I tried to do it all alone, I would soon sink. So I delegated chores to the children, violin expertise to their teachers, and shared driving duties with my husband.

We could not do every activity that promised redeeming benefits. But in seeking a balance, we chose to do what best fit our family. We learned to say, "No."

I'd like to say that I am as flexible as Elastigirl, but I simply have to recognize my limitations. Whenever I start thinking that I am Superwoman, life begins to unravel, because "the center cannot hold."

While this plan did not materialize overnight and there were many bumps and bruises along the way, God in His infinite patience kept redirecting my wandering ways back on track.

I didn't come equipped with a super suit, but I strive to follow God's plan, basic training 101. He is front and center, open 24/7 for free consultations, and instructs me "My grace is sufficient" (2 Cor. 12:9). He is the one who says, "Is this activity best for your family? Does this lead you closer to me?"

While there is not a one-size fits all formula, there is a secret to homeschool success; it's all about love. We are all called to love. If the love barometer is dropping then it is time to reassess the situation. "Love is there fore the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" (Familiaris Consortio Par. 11).

This article originally appeared in September/October 2008 Canticle

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