It wasn't intentional, this three week break from blogging.
Life is full right now. Not in the "Just a few more weeks and life will calm down again" type of full, but rather, the "Wow, we really have six kids age 10 and under and I am trying to raise and homeschool them and deal with the day-to-day stresses of life overseas" and "Oh yea, I am also trying to be more intentional in our relationships with those around us" and while I am at it, "I am relearning how to feed my body and my family" and since I don't have anything else to do, "In the wee hours of the morning I am trying to convince myself that even though I am 36 and have given birth six times, I can still be a runner" type of full. Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. This is the life we have chosen. We love it. It's crazy and busy and sometimes maddening, but we know that we are blessed.
I guess this fullness gives evidence to homeschooling lesson number 5: You have to be okay with interruptions and imperfection.
Interruptions. There are lots of them. In homeschool. In life.
And perfection? It's just not going to happen.
Kids get sick. Parents get sick. Schedules fill up. Two-year-olds get into makeup. Babies need to be held and nursed. Food needs to be made. Hearts have to be shaped. People die. Emotions take nose-dives. Bitterness and discontent bubble to the service. Waiting for future moments distracts us from present moments. Sometimes hearts have to trump education. Rain needs to be played in. "Chocolate milk" needs to be made.
If I wait to do school until everything in life is running smoothly and we can accomplish our to-do list and curriculum objectives in perfect order, it will never get done. If I wait to start school until everyone is dressed, the house is clean, the meals are made, and the kids are happy, it will never get done. E.B. White said,
"A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper."
Reworded for us,
"A homeschooling mom who waits for ideal conditions under which to educate her kids will die without anyone knowing anything."
I can't say that we have ever had two days run exactly the same. Each day is filled with its own interruptions and imperfections. Kids cry. Mom forgets to print math pages. The two-year-old needs cuddles instead of another, "Just a minute, honey."
I have to find our rhythm and routine within and despite the distractions. No day, week, month, or year has or ever will like the one before. I have to be okay with that. Some years we can do a lot. Other years (like during pregnancy), we barely get the basics done. It's okay. It's like I tell my kids almost every day, "It's the small steps that count. They don't seem like much, but over time, they add up to great distances."
Little by little, we press on. We're learning to read, write, do math, understand history and science, and how to prepare the soil of our hearts. Just like we can't see the minuscule changes in our children's height or the growth of their hair, we can't always see the learning that is taking place. When your nine year old has to sound out a word he has read five times in the last three minutes because he still can't remember it, it's easy to think that no learning is happening. When your five year old sounds out, "iiiiiissssss" for the tenth time when in actuality the word is "it," it's tempting to believe that we're not cut out for this homeschooling thing. Every once in a while, however, like when your seven year old explains that "We shouldn't worry about making a lot of money or buying big houses because we could instead spend our time and energy filling up our piggy banks in heaven", I realize that despite the many interruptions, real learning is happening. And it's beautiful.