Over the last week I’ve watched many of my friends capture adorable First Day of School pictures and celebrate the start of a new year. This month marks the beginning of our 5th year homeschooling – so much for my plan to only do it for 1 year! We took the plunge to try homeschooling for a whole host of reasons. Chris works from home and since SnapShops are online, we have flexibility with our schedules. Not knowing how long this season of our careers would last, we aimed to make the most of it by traveling with the kids and camping as much as possible.
But life can just happen if we aren’t intentional.
We started school last week and I quickly returned to feeling overwhelmed with juggling teaching 5 kids and running a business. When I get overwhelmed it is easy for me to focus on the negative and to only see the tunnel without any hope for light at the end. I needed to step back and get perspective…or get a good slap in the face from a loving friend reminding me not to look to the left or right but remember the WHY in my own decisions. The bottom line is I truly love homeschooling, but it is so demanding! I love pretty much everything about it and what has happened in our family as a result. It is definitely not for every parent or every kid, but it is definitely for us. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that and the best way for me to do that is to pack up school books and get away – to take advantage of the schedule perks of homeschooling.
We loaded the kids up for an impromptu trip to take the trailer out and visit Silver Dollar City (yay! for season passes from the grandparents!). A couple of days watching my kids smile and laugh is just the motivation I needed to remember I can do hard things. I want to do hard things because at the end of the day there are 5 kids laughing and smiling and making me well up with so much gratitude I might explode. Homeschool is not for the faint of heart. Neither is public school. Or private school. They all have their amazing perks and they all have their huge challenges. And they all have parents overwhelmed and wondering if they are making the right decision.
I came up for air for a few days. We drove away. We rode rides. We laughed. We fought. We were filled with gratitude. We complained. We just did life and remembered why we have made certain decisions for what school looks like for our family. It was short, but it was good.
I am not sure if I have ever shared our quickest camping meal here before. Pizza pockets. We can whip them up really fast after a day of exploring and all the kids like them. You could get super creative with the ingredients, but we just use bread, cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni and some garlic salt. Put your ingredients in between two slices of bread, close the sandwich things, put over the flame and then enjoy.
He prefers to take selfies over his mom taking his picture. He does like to pose…however oddly.Corbett is quite the book critic and is happy to tell me if he thinks books are a good fit for his brothers. When a package of 2 books arrived on our doorstep (the author’s wife reads my blog!), he tore into them before I could even look. As we asked him for details on one (Countryside by J.T. Cope IV), he response was, “Yeah. You are just going to have to read it.” He said it reminded him a little of Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. He hasn’t put it down, so that is a good sign….unless it is dinnertime and he is breaking my “No books at the dinner table” rule.
This is how my kids will probably remember me from their childhood. Hair pulled back. No makeup. T-shirt. The opposite of glamorous and put together. They won’t look back at their growing up years and remember Chris in a suit or me in heels (though heels would be so fun every now and then!). They may not remember a fancy mom, but I do hope they remember lots of pizza pockets, campfires, and a mom not afraid to pull back her hair and get messy in life alongside them.
We’ll return home. I’ll probably return to feeling overwhelmed and then I’ll remind myself to take it all a day at a time and choose joy. I’ll pause in the midst of feeling like too much is on my plate and I’ll remember my WHY. I’ll remember how incredibly good I have it and that my definition of what a ‘hard day’ is, well it is privilege. This is the day – whatever the day holds – that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.