To say that we are busy can oft be understated.
The problem is, in the business of life, I often forget to give myself a bit of grace.
You see, when I began this homeschooling journey I thought I had to replicate school at home. It was a wise sage of a mom who enlightened me by asking, “Are you homeschooling, or schooling at home.” That was a strange question to me, but did cause me to start thinking more. Wasn’t the whole reason that we chose the path of homeschooling because there were significant deficits in the public school system? If there were things that were not working there, why did I want an exact replication of that system in my home?
It took me awhile but I finally began to find a groove. It was okay if our days did not exactly mimic the days that I remember from my schooling. There are days we get more done, days we get done less. But overall I hadn’t ever worried that my children were falling behind in any specific area.
That is until this last year. I had a full on moment (or two) of panic. You see, we were blessed with a new baby this year, he was born in December and he is quite adored. However, for all my best laid plans, things have not gone as I saw when I was planning our homeschool year.
I thought I had it all under control, I knew our baby was due mid December and therefore we prepared by doubling up on lessons here and there so that when all was said and done, we would be able to take off the entire month of December without falling behind. It was meticulous really; I figured that the public school gives 2 weeks off during December leaving 3 weeks for lessons. Therefore, if we had an extra 3 weeks’ worth of lessons in each subject competed before December; we could actually take the 3 weeks of school off all together. I am thankful for the head start.
What I hadn’t planned on was the unexpected.
Soon after our son was born we learned that he has Down Syndrome, that set me for a spin for a few weeks…it honestly was kind of a blur.
Then the holidays came and went and the first of the year began, time to get back to school, back to a routine.
I was all set, we started the school year off with a bang, I was in full swing trying to juggle all the balls that were in the air, but then, as is oft the case, winter brings sickness. It hit my littlest one hard, so hard in fact that he ended up in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for 8 whole days.
So much for school.
I had left the house on a Friday morning promising to return after the pediatrician took a quick peek at our son before the weekend, I didn’t return for 8 days. Straight to the hospital and there I stayed by his bedside.
I chuckle now when I remember some of the nurses mentioning that I was probably scrambling to find people to pick the kids up from school so my husband wasn’t worrying about that too. Nope, they were all at home, without a teacher and mom was quite preoccupied.
This is where I began stressing. But then, I realized I had to give myself grace. (hubby had to help me with this one).
We are homeschoolers, we have freedom. We can go through the summer with our lessons if necessary, or we can take this detour for what it is, an intensive study.
Science, check. My children were all asking about their brother and why he had to be on oxygen. Why he wasn’t given antibiotics (he had viral RSV). How were the doctors helping him? How did his Down Syndrome Trisomy 21 diagnosis complicate his respiratory issues? What about his heart defects?
Health, check. Our family has become a group of hand washing Nazis, germs, if you have them, stay away.
Home Economics and Child development, check. The house kind of ran itself, dad was running to and from the hospital, my 16 y/o was making meals and ensuring baths, my 13 y/o was playing preschool teacher to help the little ones who missed mommy, and my 11 year old was learning all about breathing machines and oxygen saturation levels as he asked so many questions. Laundry was being done by all the kids, housekeeping was, surprisingly, still at the forefront and getting done quite well I’m told.
We made it through the 8 days and when I finally was able to bring our newest babe home again I realized something. My kids learned a lot during that time. They were not educationally starved, they just weren’t getting the grade level style of bookwork and lessons that I thought they should be, but they were learning. Real life, learning.
Subsequently I have started giving myself more grace when I have to take off a morning to take our little one to the cardiologist or a pediatrician appointment. God chose this path of homeschooling for our family long before he gave us the gift of our newest babe. He knew that by homeschooling we could get through this and other trials like it, we had more freedom to do so.
So, if God did all that for us, and gives us grace, I should definitely give myself some.