Do you ever sit back and just watch your kids during school time? I get to do that quite often these days since I am nursing our new baby, Samuel. I will sit in the rocking chair or on the couch in the room where most of the kids are working so that I am still available to help or to answer questions. Sometimes I find myself with my eyes closed just listening to the conversations going on. More often than not I end up interrupting them to get them back on their lessons when they stray off. Occasionally I will sit and listen as one older child helps a younger one with a math problem or a hard word in a reading lesson. Usually all of that “niceness” is squashed by, “Mom, he took my pencil!” Or “Can someone get Gracie off the table? She just wrote all over my science book!” It isn’t all nice and pleasant all the time. I definitely have my moments of every day when I am wondering what I am doing with all these kids at home. When chaos seems to be the norm rather than peace and cooperation among siblings I don’t see any blessings in homeschooling. If I have said it once in a day I have said it a hundred times, “Do not skateboard in the kitchen, and go do your school work!”
I began praying that the Lord would show me the fruit of homeschooling. “Please show me that all of this is not in vain.”, I prayed one morning out of frustration. He is so good to hear our prayers. I was not considering putting them in public school; I was just frustrated with the progress I thought we should be making. So this week I spent a lot of time just watching and listening to my children. I was blessed by what I saw and heard. I had a conversation with one of my daughters when she brought to me a scripture verse that she was memorizing because it helped to comfort her. “Who showed you that verse?” I asked her. “I guess God did. I was reading in Psalms this morning and found it.” We had a great talk about friends that she was praying for. I saw a maturity in her I had not seen before. Another time I watched as my 13 year old son picked up our baby and played with him making him giggle. Upstairs my 2 & 5 year olds were playing kitchen and Thomas Train all at the same time. Two other sons got in a big fight and then worked it out when one reminded the other of a lesson we had in Bible a few weeks ago. I peeked in on 2 sisters that I had not seen in a while. They were in their room while one was reading to the other a new book she had gotten for Christmas. This seems to be a nightly routine that I didn’t know about until a year ago. They take turns reading to each other from whatever books they are reading at the time.
I miss all these simple little things going on that are not very spectacular, but things that I miss when I am not looking for them. All I see are the missing pencils, books, & lessons, because that is all I am looking for. When I am instead looking for the light in my child’s’ eyes when his math lesson finally clicks I am blessed. When my kids problem solve with out my intervention I am definitely blessed. When my son brings me a drawing that he has been working very hard on (instead of his spelling) I need to bless him with high praise and compliments.
This homeschooling is hard work and anyone who says it’s not is LYING! It is full of challenges that change from year to year. But just like being a parent, I think it has even more blessings ready for the taking. Are you taking your blessings? They are there. You just have to look for them.
© Dana Bailey, 2007