I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Big Picture

I have the ability to see life in terms of the "the big picture" but as a stay at home mom I do tend towards the details side of things. I get stuck in the everyday wondering if I am doing the right thing, if I am making a difference and if there is any progress. Making the decision to homeschool isn't an easy one nor is it the most popular path. I have doubts and questions.

Our main reason for homeschooling isn't because we are scared of the public system. Flawed as the system may be, it has it's upsides as well. Our kids actually did quite well in the public system and enjoyed their time there. We had some issues here and there but overall it was a good experience. Our main reasons have more to do with character training and special learning needs. We only have so much time with our kids before they are off on their own seeking their own path. Our time and input is limited so we want to make the most of the time that we do have. Add to that the fact that our oldest two have three years that pre-date us and there are times, even nine years later, that I feel like we are making up for lost time.

I have been struggling lately with doubts, worried I am not doing enough or leaving something out. I began praying nightly for God to show help me to be diligent and to show me how to be creative with my kids. A new life has made it's way in. Nothing earth shattering but slowly I am seeing results of my efforts and clear direction has been coming each day.

Just yesterday my oldest three turned in their writing assignments for science. As I read my oldest son's paper I began to cry. This child who has struggled with writing as long as he has been in school wrote the most interesting paper. It was well thought out, included more information that I had expected and was longer than I had asked for. Granted, he did say it is a lot easier to write about somthing you are interested in and I would agree with him. But the fact that he wrote such a great paper and didn't die in the process was nothing short of a miracle. I told him I was going to keep this one and he asked why. I told him that when I compare it to something he wrote last year the difference is remarkable and it shows him how far he has come.

My mom told me recently that in every situation it is important to not just look at where someone is, but also how far they have come. That is a truth I have been thinking about over and over lately and is has meant so much to me. If I look where my oldest two were when we brought them home in the third grade compared to where they are now it is remarkable. They were behind slightly in reading and struggling in math. In their testing last year they were both either on grade level or slightly above grade level. I am so proud of my kids and think I am going to work on doubting myself less. It's good to assess things and make sure you are on the right track. I also believe that when you start questioning every brush stroke it's probably best to step back and take a look at the big picture.

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