Unresolved Questions

A break in my most common ramblings about books. This blog used to be much more about education, and Charlotte Mason, than about books. But as my years as a homeschooling mom kept changing, the book posts became more frequent, and posts about homeschooling more scarce. I blame it to a need for privacy and to major disenchantment.

I used to get excited and share the things the girls were going to learn about, all they did. I used to FB about it all, blog about it all, share it all. Not anymore. I’ve not become cynical. I have not. I do hope that the wish to share all that may one day come back to me. I mean it. But not now. Right now, I’m at a contemplating stage. I’m a sad, and I am mourning. And this will have to take its course before it changes. I refuse to give in to the quick fix culture, the quick fix Christianity, the urge to make our lives picture perfect, and if impossible, the urge to fake it.

There’s several things I’m considering when I’m by myself. Unresolved questions I try to sort out.

With the little knowledge I have about educating my girls, after several years of learning and failed practices, I wonder how is it we have not achieved a minimum of stability or harmony. We are currently at a break, and I am at loss about what to do next year. I know we’ll be at the co-op we’ve been part of this past school year. I know we’ll be going to Europe in the fall. I’ve purged and put away unfinished things from last year, I’ve taken out new things for next year (since for many years I’ve collected the needed books and materials ahead of time). But my heart is not there.

Last year I tried to change my attitude. I paired down the work load, I worked and reworked the schedules, I tried and tried to adjust my attitude time and again, I tried to start the day positive, yet I failed and failed. Lessons started as a battlefield, they escalated to war proportions, and ended as bad as they got.

It’s not as if the girls are not learning. They truly are. It amazes me how they have improved in the midst of all this disjointed thing we call lesson time at home.

To you, shaking your head in disapproval, I tell you, (and sorry if I sound abrasive, I am upset, I admit it), I must tell you, I get the riff, studies, lessons, are not always enjoyable, they have to be done. Yeah. I get it. Yet I don’t. I used to think that if I had been educated the way I set to educate my own,  -with this freedom, these riches, these principles and their practices-, I would have appreciated it and loved it. But I am not that sure about that anymore. I also have no idea how it is they don’t take to this, even when I get deeper, strip the whole thing from one more layer of pride, get to a more humble place, start small, even smaller.

And don’t preach to me, please. I may not have read it all, but I’ve done my homework, enough to keep us going in the right direction. There must be something to life and to teaching that is above our efforts, above our righteous knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. There has to be something to life that it’s bigger than placing the pieces together in the right order. Something that we get or don’t get. And if we don’t get it, we need to learn to live with this understanding. But this summer I’m not sure I want to submit myself to this life.

Out of all this mess we call homeschooling, one thing I know. I can say I do have conquered some obstacles, I’ve learned now to love things which in the past I only did because I was told to do. The things I and others around me tried to constantly get away without doing while at school.

Even though worrying about the girls and their learning is something that constantly comes and goes, in the big scope of things, if I breath and try to be objective, I am not worried. I know they’ll be fine.

What I so desperately want, it’s some joy, some peace, some structure, harmony, a way of doing this homeschooling thing decently. But I realize that, asking for ‘some’ of all that, asking for some decency, is not a small thing at all. And not only, I am aware that this is not about what I want. Maybe I should not be asking for anything related to homeschooling anymore?

I know that, no matter what, we’ll continue. Next school year (which for us will start probably around July), we’ll try our best to keep at this homeschooling thing. I’ll keep praying, planning, and hoping for the year we have never had before. A year of joy. And, should that never happen, I’ll ask to accept our lot and maybe look elsewhere for our blessings, because they are there, and it may be I still have not learned where to look for them (or where not to look).

I always tell others what I am incapable of doing at the moment. I tell them to write down some of what they do (no matter how insufficient it seems), and if they do so, they’ll soon realize all the blessings that fill their days. I know I should do that too. I just wanted to share this, in case you are or have been where I am myself now. In a place without any coordinates (when, by the years doing this it should be the case we were sailing).

I feel as vulnerable as ever, and not as young. I have strong desires of being just a mom, and not their teacher anymore. Yet it’s my duty, I know. It’s as if I had been to the same battle year after year, and it’s only now that I realize the outcome never changes. Homeschooling groundhog day! And I have no energy for listening or reading how others give me tips, formulas, talks, advice, or anything that has worked so wonderfully for them. Neither do I want to hear others suggest where I may have gone wrong, or how my failures are the consequences of my ineptitude, my laziness, or my sinfulness. I am painfully aware of all I am not, and all I do wrong. I just don’t want to jump into this anymore. I don’t want to take this trip. I don’t want to prepare for it.

That was my rant. There. I got it out of my system. Now, the reality. I have a month, or a month and a half, and He can change my heart. And He will. Because I will ask Him. I’ll be back to whatever is needed to be back to. I will try one more time. I will pray, and plan, and I will wake up to His new promises every day. I will be ready to change, and ready to accept that which stays the same.

This was just to tell others who may find themselves in a not so cozy, warm, reassuring state in their life as moms and teachers, that a break is needed when it’s needed. Even if we don’t feel it in our hearts at the time, He’ll be with us, as He is, always!

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38 thoughts on “Unresolved Questions

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  1. Dear, dear Silvia, I want to hug you, take you out for some coffee or tea and maybe tell you a joke or two and make you laugh. I have been known to make people laugh you know!

    I’ve been there, exactly where you are and I made it through! You will too. You are in a painful season…you didn’t need me to say it, right? Easy for me to say since my seasons of homeschooling are behind me. I admit that I’m not sad those seasons are behind me now. Homeschooling is tough!

    Your post brought back vivid memories of similar feelings. No judgement from me! Been there/done that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, you already put a smile to my face!
      This summer, I know, the Lord will bring me rest, and I will start anew. Your constant encouragement and friendship are invaluable to me. I do love you and I feel loved by you, Linda. You are like an auntie to me. Thanks for your words.

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  2. Oh mi hermana, you know I’m right there with you! I have cried and sought the Lord and have been disillusioned as well, as you know. I thought my mornings would be more free this coming year, but I was mistaken. I’m not sure how everything will work together next year–it would be so helpful if I could get up at 6am and be ready for the day but my body is not cooperating. I’ve got to look for my joy within the boundary lines and limits of the Lord’s Providence in my life. And I need to muster up enough patience and strength to do this all over again with my little one. We will keep praying for each other, vale? Much Love, Betty

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    1. Of course, amiga querida. I did not want to leave this with the impression that I am down, ha ha ha. I know I will be there, ready for this once more when the moment comes. Just getting this out of my system makes me now able to breath and try once more. He is GOOD

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      1. You don’t sound down Silvia, just like you are coming to terms with how things are. You have been a listening ear and encouragement to me and I pray I can be that for you. Too bad we don’t live close enough to share un cafe con leche and laugh and cry while the girls play! So grateful for technology that is both distracting and connecting!

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    2. Thanks, amiga. I was telling Kim that this thing being hard doesn’t mean we don’t love it or that we are going to give up… on the contrary, I’m already bouncing back, enjoying the break, and finding motivation to come back next school year! 🙂
      I am too very grateful for technology. It can be a challenge to us all, but all in all, I have found a source of encouragement and a way I can show my love and care and receive it too!

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  3. OH Silvia! My head will never shake in disapproval but I can not promise my shoulders will not shake with laughter…Homeschooling Groundhog day indeed! No I am not feeling younger and yes I have very much been there. You are right though and I so often forget…prayers before plans…rest is need too. Praying you have restful and prayerful summer!

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    1. Thanks, Ma F! lol Thanks for laughing with me. I just felt the need to be honest, and tell others that we may have been at this for many years and still be in need of rest, prayers, and new promises each day, to continue! (And soon I will surprise you with much of the beauty that lives in the middle of the chaos too)

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  4. I. Am. Right. Here. Beside. You.

    We may be out of community now but I think j we are closer than ever.

    We’re moving soon. Change is constant. As is friendship.

    You are in my deepest thoughts and prayers. I’m so glad we’re far away friends for whom Someday means much.

    Love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, I have missed you TERRIBLY. But I know you are there. You are with me too. I pray for you, think about you, and I rejoice with you and your Lucy girl, and your amazing boy, and I like to think you still have a “little one” too who delights you (when he doesn’t drive you crazy, lol, I know that feeling of hearing them singing all.day.long, or wanting to be with friends 24 hours a day!!!!
      Love you. And I mean it. Love you, amazing woman.

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  5. I love your honesty and transparency Silvia. Often I feel like I’m in a mid-life homeschooling crisis 🙂 ha! Nothing is going as I planned…because of course I cannot control my kids’ responses. If I’m honest, I’ve been relying a lot more on read alouds lately in our homeschool because they’re soothing to me. And I feel like that’s the one thing I can succeed at – reading 🙂 ha! Love you and grateful for you and all your encouragement!

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    1. And that makes 2! I am so thankful for read alouds, and the few things that go well. Life is not all a complete disaster. There is some reason for this “chaos”. I know He is there with us. And we are here for each other.
      You have also been a wonderful help to me this past school year.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s hard. Kids aren’t grateful or appreciative. Even though we only got 2 years at home I’m stunned by what they got from it. One question. What do the girls want? That could help you to refocus. No matter what, I’m here listening to your rants and sending you encouragement and hugs. Motherhood sucks some days too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa. Thanks for your help. The girls… the youngest wants to try school. We may let her do her last 3 or 4 months of 5th grade in public school. Gulp. Yes, my husband is not thrilled, but he is a wonderful man, he listens to me. And I want her to fulfill that desire that is killing her, to know what school is like.
      My oldest was starting to own her studies, and she is responsible and bright. I do not mind talking about her, as much as I also don’t like to be constantly giving too much information, but attention deficit is a reality, and that plays a heavy burden on me (since because of my age, I have obviously more stamina and fuel for studies, and a bit more ambitious idea of what she could or should be doing at her age. At the same time, she is so interested in doing things with others that she drives me crazy, :)I know I have to abandon those preconceived ideas with her, but since teaching is just a facet of my life, it gets to me many days and many times each day, thus the lack of harmony, structure, and anything pleasant. LOL. At the same time, I want to make clear that my girls are amazing christian young ladies, with lots of interests, very resourceful, loving and hard working.

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      1. And I have an idea of where to go and how to do it, ha ha ha. It is just that I had to TELL YOU ALL, FRIENDS! It was killing me. I believe it is OK to be where I am at (and you know me, this can happen to the most prepared person, the struggle is real). I know I am not going to give up. I just wanted my moment to say that this is hard, tee hee!

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      2. God will protected them. ADD can be helped with the right guidance. Don’t be filled with fear about school. I had to do it and I was amazed at many thing God did there. Books I wanted them to read were assigned. Teachers were open about being a Christian. None–NONE–of the weird far-left stuff ever came up (nor has it for my many friends in other places who even have kids in public school this year). Did I like it all? No. But being lonely and desperate for friends of their own choosing can lead to horrible things. But happiness can bring far better ones. Another friend let his son go to school. Guess what? He missed homeschool robotics so much he started a team at school. Don’t be filled with fear. Caution, of course, but not fear. God is the one who protects our children. Hugs

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      3. And, Lisa, strangely, it is not what you call the fear of the far left stuff, 🙂 It is more the thought of how are they going to keep up with those many hours, and homework, etc., when they barely do that which, supposedly, is shorter to do at home, more pleasant. I wish there were something in the middle, but I have learned to be careful what to wish for, tee hee.
        No matter what we end up doing, God will see us through it, that I know. (I forget how sick my oldest was in August and September, it spilled into October.) Once calmed, it was not such a horrible year. It is that my expectations as a ‘seasoned’ homeschooler, -which I have adjusted realistically, believe me-, and what I see around -which very well may not be the nice image I paint in my head-, led me to believe we should have it a tad more pleasant, or more in the tracks, instead of this current chaos.

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    2. Thanks so much for your words about not fearing. I never thought a day will come in which we may have to be thinking about school as an option, or to just give it a try, but why not? I am glad for those like you that have walked the walk, and are able to tell us it does not have to be seen as failure, or with fear, but that it could be a good option for us or anyone.

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      1. It is not failure! Lonliness can lead to despair. Volunteer at school–and not just in your child’s room. It helps tons. 5th grade is when so much great stuff starts–changing rooms and teachers for some subjects. Band, orchestra or choir often start. School sports. Lots of fun stuff and chances to find something very enjoyable that gets them motivated to tackle the rest. Your true friends will,help you whatever you decide. Celebrate a new season of life. You are NOT a failure of you choose school just as you are not a failure of you choose homeschool. Its just another Mommy War.

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      2. I love that, “another Mommy War”. I know, there are so many nice things in schools too. She won’t go for the full year, 😦 We are considering a few months at the end of 5th. But, after that, it’s when we don’t know.
        We have the co-op, and both girls love it. It is only one day a week, but it also gives them other things (like science classes at the museum, etc.) It is not that they don’t have friends, or activities outside the home. We will see. And frankly, I am not worried about what others may think. 🙂

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      3. Thanks for reassuring me of that. Some things like this we know them yet we fail to live up to that knowledge and we worry. I am truly at a place where whatever Steven and I decide, with prayer and in a thoughtful manner, that is what we will do (school, homeschool, private classes, tutors, whatever works for the best of our daughters). Thanks for your words, Lisa.

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  7. How I wish I could give you a hug, Silvia!

    You are brave and strong. And you have more faith than I do. I am not so sure I will be homeschooling in fall. We seemed to be doing well for a while, and I had so much hope, but things have not been good at all lately. Jeff is pretty determined to send Jesse to public school because he sees how stressful this is for me and because Jesse is not listening to me. He is not doing the work I give him. My ambivalence and flip-flopping ways aren’t helping. There are times when I think the things that Jesse is doing are just as educational as what I had planned to do, and there are other times when I am so stressed that I just don’t care what he does because I want him to go outside and leave me to do something on my own. There was a day not too long ago when I was thinking that homeschooling was the worst decision I’d ever made. Obviously that was a really bad day. But no matter how bad our day is, I can’t see how having him spend 7 hours a day in public school is going to help him.

    Thank God that He knows exactly what our children need, and that He will lead them and guide them, and heal them from all the hurts we have caused by our failures. And through it all, He will make us more like Him!

    I love you!

    Sherry

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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    1. Sherry. I too wish I could give you a hug.
      Don’t say more faith than you, just different. Only God knows how much more mistakes we are going to make. I also wonder if this was the best choice. Right now it seems our only choice. I always doubt myself, I don’t know if this is enough, or worth all the pain, or if there’s any sense in it.
      School for our children may help more than we think. I pray that is the case for Jesse, if that’s what you are deciding for him. It’s just another step we will have to take by faith and leave to Him.
      (We may send our youngest to school for a little bit, just initially. I will be homeschooling this coming fall, but only He knows for sure.)
      I love the last paragraph you wrote.
      Love you, Sherry.

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    1. LOL. You are welcome, Helena.
      It’s not as tragic as it may have sounded. After venting, I’m already feeling better. Thanks to all of you who are listening and offering good help. I am taking your advice and your words of encouragement, they mean a lot to me.
      We are enjoying a good break now, and that’s important. I know that, little by little, our excitement will come back.

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  8. It’s so good to see people being honest about that challenges they face. Thank you, Silvia, for not sugar-coating your current struggles. The way of Christ is the way of the Cross and we all have our particular struggles to bear as we follow Him. Those who try to hide that from others aren’t always doing others (or themselves) a favor.

    It’s so hard when the ideal we have in mind isn’t the same ideal that’s right for our family. It’s so tempting to compare and look around at how good other families appear to be doing. But what we too often forget is that, as a friend of mine wrote, “whoever it was that said the grass is always greener on the other side hasn’t been there yet. The grass is only as green as you observe it to be; you complain of brown patches under the cool shade of the trees.” I try to always keep his words in mind when I’m downcast and struggling with my current reality. You’re in my prayers dear friend. ❤

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    1. Lisa. I am so blessed! So many of you have stopped by to read, and comment, and to encourage.
      This is a struggle that every year I’ve been telling myself I had overcome, but sadly I have not. I keep letting that ideal be on the way. We all have different struggles. I like what your friend wrote.

      But I can tell you one of our strengths (not just mine, but of my family), is that we don’t sit on our complains, we move on and we try again. Actually, I had just written a new post about how we are looking forward when I saw your comment.

      Thanks for your friendship. I value it and I rejoice in it.

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  9. Ciertamente es dificil, nuestra esperanza y consuelo esta en Dios, El es fiel…

    En medio de los tiempos mas duros, recuerdo el Salmo 126:5-6 que dice:
    “Los que sembraron con lagrimas, con regocijo segaran.
    Ira andando y llorando el que lleva la preciosa semilla; mas volvera a ver con regocijo, trayendo sus gavillas”.

    Aunque el contexto de este salmo no es el Homeschooling, ciertamente somos como los que siembran, Dios puso este precioso ministerio de sembrar en nuestros hijos y si que ha habido llanto, pero cuanto consuelo me da saber que Dios esta con nosotros en este proceso, el sembrador solo tiene una parte, siendo diligente y fiel en su tarea, le confia el resto a aquel que genera el crecimiento. Muchas veces la tierra hay que trabajarla, las inclemencias del tiempo y muchas causas naturales afectan el proceso, pero el Creador es quien da el crecimiento y nuestra mirada no debe estar en las inclemencias del tiempo, sino en el Creador, seguir siendo fieles, seguir sembrando, seguir clamando, seguir siendo humildes en el proceso, reconociendo que no somos soberanas y que no depende enteramen te de nosotras.
    Quiera Dios que recojamos mucho fruto para la gloria de Su Nombre, El conoce nuestras lagrimas y El es nuestro consuelo y quien renueva nuestras fuerzas para seguir trabajando. Que podamos descansar en Su gracia.
    Oro por mi hogar, por el tuyo y por aquellos que como nosotras necesitamos la guia, el gozo y la fortaleza del Senor en nuestra jornada. Es bueno saber que no estamos solas, que aunque sea de lejos tenemos companeras de camino, gracias Silvia por compartir, un abrazo!

    ‘Su poder se manifiesta en nuestra debilidad”

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    1. Qué bello lo que has escrito, Shei. Gracias por este comentario lleno de verdad y esperanza. Es una bendición tener amigas como tú. Un abrazo.

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  10. It’s not easy. I think the hardest part is just simply not knowing. Not knowing if you’re doing it all wrong and need to do something else, not knowing if you’re doing it all right and just need to push through. I have ideas and visions of the kids lapping up what I teach them. I am other children’s favorite teacher. My own children, though? Not so much. We would have loved this thing we’ve created as children because our adult selves know the alternative. But if it were truly done over, that wouldn’t have been the case and we might be in exactly the same place. Because children want to do what they want to do, and what you are asking them to do, no matter how of yourself you’ve put into it and how much time you’ve spent tailoring it to them, requires a longer view than what they want to do in that moment.

    Take courage. We had a six year hiatus after my son died. Six years of fits and starts, fighting to get through the simplest things and giving up in the midst of the battle because I hardly had the will to get through the day let alone drag my children through lessons they didn’t care about.

    In that time, one graduated, three learned to read and all of them progressed. Amazingly in some areas, not so much in others, but they all made progress. And we have become closer, partly because they were allowed to grieve in the midst of the chaos as well.

    Lessons are important, but they aren’t the most important.

    Have patience with yourself. God bless.

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