Recently, the subject of Thomas' education came up. As many of you know, we home school. It is a decision that makes me choke a little bit at the beginning of each school year... can I handle all the demands of all my little people, the schooling of my older little people, the character training, the upkeep of our home, the juggling of schedules, the cooking, the laundry, the errands, etc.
And more importantly, can I do it while maintaining a peaceful home? While being nice to my children and not growling around every other minute.
I won't lie. It's a difficult balance. I fall off the tight rope regularly and need to ask my childrens' forgiveness frequently.
I panicked ugly-big this year. With a seven year old and a six year old in the house competing for top dog, things get sticky. Their interests are diverging more and more every day and it's hard when two people don't evolve together, especially when they have been playmates for their entire lives. We won't even start on how vastly different their little personalities are and the conflicts that arise because of that.
Plus a four year old who begs to do school. And a two year old who is potty trained but still needs a Bathroom Monitor and spends most of her mornings clinging to me. Then there is the baby, who's needs are many and independencies are non-existent.
While far from under socialized, the fact is our children don't leave the family unit very often. We are in each others business all day, every day. This kind of life style might have worked better when there were cows to milk and chickens to feed and fields to plow and quilts to make and bread to bake and food to can and a list that goes on and on and on. Facts are facts: Life is easier in many ways than the 'good ol' days' and all, but idle hands are the devil's playground.
It takes careful planning to orchestrate the day of a family like ours. I can't even begin to tell you how daunting it is, how easy it is to fall into the trap of feeling like a failure, and how very alone I feel some days surrounded by nothing but the noise and the squeals and accomplishments and the tale-bearing and the joy and the whines of all my beloved little children.
All of the sudden, I was overwhelmed with it all. All I could come up with was to ship Thomas off to school for seven hours a day, leaving me with just the girls and Daniel. Joshua and I talked and prayed. I agonized and he supported me, because when push comes to shove, he leaves the house to support our material needs as a family and I am here with the children all day. The man is a saint in all the many ways he backs me up and all the extras he takes on, but he still has to leave the house eight hours a day. I asked for prayer from sweet heart-friends. I spoke at length with ladies who are hoeing the same row and ladies who have already harvested from similar rows.
In the end, I couldn't send him off. I didn't feel that God had released me of this responsibility He's given me: to train up my child in every area.
It is already shaping up to be a really tough year, but His mercies are new every morning. And though I know the road will be more challenging, I also have peace. The peace that comes with obedience. Next year will come, and we will re-evaluate the needs of our family then. As one of those wise ladies whose row is nearly completed said, "Nothing's permanent."