Today was our first day of school for the new year! I try to make the first day extra special. We started out our morning eating a delicious breakfast.
Then we headed outside for the annual tradition of first day of school photos by the tree out front!! I just love this sweet picture of my older two.
Although they do have a good relationship and can be found most of the time playing and having fun together, they have many moments of being at odds. They were being silly posing in the photo below...but I just had to share this as it goes so nicely with what is on my heart for this post.
Today, on this first day of school, which should be so wonderful and blissful in every way (ok in a perfect world) there have been many moments of fighting, disagreements, and unkind words/actions towards each other. At one point I sat my girls down and shared with them how important relationship with each other is, more important than academics or extracurricular activities. This year I have chosen to focus more inwardly on our family relationships and say no to all the extra outside the home stuff that so easily fill the calendar and consume our time. I pointed out to my girls how the Lord is wanting to do a work in all of our hearts during this season (and always)!
This morning the girls did their reading, language lessons, copywork, and math. This part of the day seemed to go very well! Yay!!!
After lunch we sat down on the couch and read the first chapter from our history curriculum (A Living History of Our World, volume 2 by Angela O'Dell). Afterwards I opened the notebooking journal that my oldest is going to be doing alongside her history. At the very beginning of the book was a "kindness book" to be cut out. Every week the child is suppose to write one kind thing they did that week and who they showed kindness too. As I began to read the information and instructions regarding the book, I found myself getting all choked up. I wasn't sure how this fit in with history, but the timing couldn't have been more perfect and the idea more necessary than right now!! (Thank you Angela O'Dell for your amazing heart and for adding this into the history journal!)
Even as I am typing these words my oldest remains on the couch and has so for the last 20 minutes. I told her we are going to dedicate this book to her relationship with her younger sister and every week she is going to fill it in with something kind she has done for her. She has sat there and is unable to think of anything from this past week...so I told her just think of one thing from your whole entire life of knowing your sister...she continues sitting there thinking long and hard. It really isn't that hard to come up with something kind she has done for her sister, she has done many kind things, more things than I could even list. But there is an issue of the heart happening right now and....God is in the business of changing hearts and getting the junk out...even in a young child's life.
I learned very quickly on, that with the decision to homeschool, it meant our days were going to be messy, our ugly sides would be seen, sin & pride would creep up often, and chaos would happen regularly. This is the reality when you have imperfect big and little people all under one roof for a good portion of your day. The thing we have on our side with homeschooling is time...we are given lots of minutes and hours of time in our day to stop and address the ugliness head on (including our own ugliness at times) and to see imperfect progress!
Perhaps you can relate. You had all these ideals in your head of what you thought homeschooling would look like and the reality is a far cry from what you had imagined. Maybe you have asked yourself, "Am I really cut out to homeschool my children?" or "Did I really volunteer myself to take homeschooling and all that it entails on?"
You can do this!! As you draw near to God and call out to Him for strength, joy, trust, guidance, and direction, He will NOT fail you. Trust your kids and your year of homeschooling to the Lord!! Just watch out because some amazing things are going to come out of the hard moments, the rough days, the overwhelming situations! You will see breakthrough, you will see growth, walls come down, attitudes change, and relationships made stronger! We desperately need God's peace, patience, strength and wisdom every moment of every day! (I'm speaking these words to myself right now and believing God to move in a mighty way!!)
Blessings on each one of you amazing homeschool moms!! Praying for an amazing year for you and your kiddos!!
P.S. - My oldest finally brought me her "kindness book" and I opened it and read for week 1, "I gave my grandma a glass painted turtle." I sent her back to the couch to redo and list something kind she has done for her sister, to which she finally wrote, "I gave my sister a toy hamster for Christmas." She did it but not with a happy heart in the least. I finally requested that she go to her room and talk to Jesus about her heart and attitude. Jesus is the only one who can fix our sin and set us free! She came out of her room a few minutes ago with a huge smile on her face and is happily playing with both her sisters right now. Time for me to go make dinner. Tomorrow is a new day!