Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Freedom (Homeschool post #2)

After my last post, I thought I'd never have the energy to write again. It took a lot out of me. Yet I find this process of writing it all out important.

I covered my Godly conviction in my last post, but I have the personal and emotional aspect of my choice as well. I have felt emotional turmoil over homeschooling for quite awhile, but I wasn't sure where God wanted me. I chose to not act, but to continue my homeschooling path.

Here I am, willing to openly share my struggles with you, and I ask that you please be kind, non judgmental, and understanding.

The first of my homeschool struggles would have to be my inability to keep my children on task. I might have one listening, one picking his nose, one throwing a fit in their room, and one running circles around the house. This could be the great makings of a funny homeschool post, but guess what, it's not funny. I will cry, and get angry, and throw the books down and scream "forget it". With four kids, RARELY do I have all of them quiet and obedient at once. Those precious moments are homeschool bliss, but not nearly frequent enough to maintain sanity.

Is this normal for homeschooling moms? Many books I read would say, "you need to get your kids in order, discipline them, THEN homeschool them." Sounds great, right? Only, as I'm dealing with attitudes, boogers, and 5 year old energy, I seem to never get around to the school part (or visa versa). 7 years of homeschooling, and these last few years I can't seem to manage to get my children to listen to me. So, I try to do school, I try to discipline, and feel like nothing ever gets accomplished.

School (and the drama that comes with it) takes up a big portion of my day, then we have the activities. Add to that cooking three meals, laundry for 6, and constant mess makers who make cleaning like shoveling snow in a snowstorm, I feel like I can never get ahead! Actually, I spend at least 2 hours + a day cleaning, folding, etc, and my house is never clean. It drives me crazy. I don't need immaculate, just tidy. Yes, I know, if I have my children help do chores I will only have to clean 30 minutes a week. I have that book. I guess I'm just not a good enough "manager of my home" to make it work.

While I'm at it, I should say that ALL of those homeschool type books that tell you how to raise perfect obedient kids, how to have a managed schedule, how to do it all... just don't work for me. I want to burn them all for the inferiority complex they have given me when I just can't measure up! I have them all, and all of them have caused me to TRY to perform as I should, but guess what! I am TIRED of performing.

When does the performing "grace" run out and you decide "I'm failing?"

My marriage is suffering. My husband comes home to a messy house, a stressed wife, and 4 unstructured kids. Is it any wonder he keeps coming home later, and later? I don't want to be here anymore than he does.

My health is suffering. I have my own issues I need to resolve (as stated on a previous post). I don't have the time to get myself back in shape (physically and spiritually). Health is important. My children need their mother to be healthy. My husband needs his wife to feel attractive.

My father is sick. They believe he has Alzheimer's. Is it selfish to want this time with my unsaved father? Before he forgets who I am?

Homeschool feel monotonous, miserable, and empty. Yes, we occasionally have those great breakthroughs. The ones where you feel like you made an impact, but each one is a trade off for weeks of uneventful, fruitless days.

What will the future hold? I don't know. Maybe it's for a season, maybe forever. This I DO know. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Mathew 11:28-30

If God calls me to homeschool again, the burden WILL be light! For a long time, I wondered, am I not praying enough for his peace? His homeschooling grace? Have I not "properly" handed this burden over to him to carry? Or is this burden not mine to carry at all?

You can all think what you want of me, but I am ready to be set free of this "burden" in my life. YES, I have handed it to God. "Fix it Father, I'm not able to do this on my own." So when he says "You've been released, only your fear is keeping you here" I want to shout out and dance for joy! I'm released. Do you hear that? I AM FREE!


Christin said...

Amen Amen Amen.

It's time for you to start LIVING FREE! The Lord has drawn a line in the sand and invited you to cross it: Life under the burden of embracing other's standards OR life under the freedom of embracing his purposes.

I know I said it before, but I really sense that God has things for YOU in this season. Things, that due to limited time and energy, weren't able to surface.

May this time be MARKED of his Grace and Intimate Concern for your heart. your dreams. your goals.

Homeschooling isn't the issue, is it? We ALL having things that become "idols" in our lives. things with which we unwisely measure our worth. our success.

I'm glad he's spared you from walking further into that PIT. I'm glad you are FREE. And I look forward to seeing where God leads you...and your family.

ConservaChick said...

Thank you. You know when things are in your heart, and you just can't seem to verbalize them, and then someone "get's it"?

You are a breath of fresh air.

I love this paragraph that you wrote...

"Homeschooling isn't the issue, is it? We ALL have things that become "idols" in our lives. things with which we unwisely measure our worth. our success."

YES! You summarized my thoughts perfectly.

Kimmie said...

Hi Karlie;

I am sorry you are hurting, I can hear your pain, your sorrow and I can feel the heaviness of it all. I am thankful that you are hearing from God and that through it He will be able to clearly direct your path. I pray for wisdom and revelation to you-in God proportions ;-)

I am praying for you, it is so hard when it doesn't go as we hope or dream. So hard to when it is the people we care about most that are in the midst of our struggle.

Praying you also get some God appointed time with your dad...may it bear the finger print of God.


Elaine/Muddling Through said...

I homeschooled our two daughters from early elementary through high school. It was rough. I'm glad it's over. Both girls have told me they are thankful for that experience.

But. I always tell people to be sure that God is calling them to homeschool. It's not easy, and as you said, unless God is leading you in that direction it can really take everything you've got just to get through each day.

May I remind you of Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.

It is the enemy who tries to bring condemnation on you. Don't take it!

John 10:10 The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.


Chelle said...


I am so sorry for the pain you're feeling over this. It's sad, but school is such a divisive issue amongst Christians. It almost seems unavoidable whenever the the topic comes up.

Sometimes in our pain it feels like the whole world has turned against us. I hope you know that not all of us are judging you. I'm glad that you're walking YOUR walk with God, not mine or anybody else's.

God is calling you into a new season...I hope it's full of new growth, life and fruit.

reallyniceday said...

I have had ALL of those feelings when trying to accomplish some sort of homeschooling schedule. Even though my kids only have two full days and two half days of school each week at school, I feel amazingly FREE when they are actually at school. I know, horrible mother syndrome. I feel free when I don't have 4 kids running, screaming, and making messes all day. I must really be a loser.

Anyhow, I think that if God told you NOT to homeschool than, it'll be a bigger burden than it would have been if He had not. Trying to do such in the flesh is MISERABLE! However, I know women who have been given abundant grace to homeschool way more kids than I have and they are not just learning to read at 11.

SO, my friend, you are amazing! You'll be blessed following the Lamb where He goes. Love ya-Kari

Mrs. Darling said...

Good thoughts Karlie.

You know, I have to admit, I havent read any of those homeschooling books. I havent read any homeschooling books period. So I dont feel the same sort of things that you are feeling. I have been a teacher since 1979 and to homeschool is a natural to me as breathing.

I was raised a Mennonite in a big family and cooking the meals and keeping the house clean is also as easy to me as taking my next breath.

When I hear the frustration in your posts and others I realize how much I take for granted. I have to say though that all you have to do is click on my search label "Tink" and you will find that most of my days of homeschooling are fraught with tears on Tinks part. It's all part of teaching a child like Tink.

But if my marriage was suffering I would do everything I could to save it. A divorce or a house divided is going to have far more negative effects on a child than going to public school!!

You just do what you feel is best and I'm sure God will bless.

Love you!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Homeschooling and having school at home are two very different things. I spend very little time that would resemble "school" to any outsider looking in. Who says you have to have all the children sitting down and "schooling" at the same time? Not me! I think structure is way over-rated! LOL

I'm a hopeless unschooler, I fear. :-)

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Sweet friend, I'm sad for the burden you've been feeling and excited to see what God has in store for you next.

Like you, my health had been suffering, my emotions, etc. when I was pulled too thin between homeschooling four kids, ministry stuff, house, husband, friends, etc. I have experienced an extreme amount of relief and peace this year. I can't even describe it except to say God is blessing it all. Having the older two in school has taken a HUGE weight off me... you know how you worry about EVERY SINGLE thing from fractions to handwriting to comprehension to what to buy for next year... it was so much. And while having them in public school has its own drawbacks (like tonight, I'm really MISSING them. It has been a busy week and I haven't spent much time with them), in all it has been full of blessings for all six of us. I'll pray your family experiences the same types of blessings and peace and excitement and freedom.

Don't worry about being judged... if someone judges you for your decision, that is their problem; their weakness. You don't answer to anyone but God and your man. :)

javamamma said...

I liked reallyniceday's comment about trying to do something that there is no grace for.

It actually comes back to people (or even, us)thinking God would NEVER tell someone NOT to homeschool. You know what? It's hard to believe that God would tell someone (Jeremiah) to go naked. And Hosea marrying a harlot? Really, God? God has a plan - even when we (or others) can't understand or see it.

Halfmoon Girl said...

Karlie- your posts on this topic have been so meaningful to me and have touched me very deeply. I totally relate to what you are saying. We are homeschooling right now, but sometimes I wonder what the next step is. I admire you for your courage and am cheering you on. Cindy is absolutely right when she says that we are to fear God, not man. Not even those homeschooling moms who make it look easy and just don't have any doubts!

Anonymous said...

I pray God's peace for your heart. There is no grace for the things that God has not called us to do, because if there were, we might not ever obey.

Seasons, Welcome to a new season of your life. God is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us - and He never does it the way we think He will.

It's all going to be ok. Keep trusting in Christ.

As far as the teenager thing goes I think when each of our boys turn 12 they will each be required to get a deer or elk every fall so that they can eat for the year! I might even require them to get their own tags.
We shall see. We can call it - training to provide for their families. :)


Pastor Paul said...

Sanity is highly overrated. I know - I'm a youth pastor.

Live free. Send them where God tells you, because it's there that they'll get what's best... or God wouldn't have sent them there. Even if troubles come (and they probably will), even those are making your children into the men and women God wants them to be.

Relax and enjoy your freedom (when it comes). We support your decision (at least, those of us commenting seem to). Love your kids well as they go into this new season. Love your husband well. Love your dad well. Most of all, love Jesus well, and allow Him to love you in return. Hmmm... Yeah, I'm probably repeating what everybody else has said, but wanting to show support. Have a great Christmas.

EE said...

You know that you'll get no condemnation from me on this one:)
I commend you for what you've done with the kids and for whatever you decide to do.
Don't beat yourself up about it...that's what Satan wants.

Anonymous said...

I understand!

Right now I'm homeschooling my 2 young daughters. My girls do attend a school 2 days a week and I currently work there as well. So, my life is full. It's hard to get even the simplest things accomplished. And on top of everthing, my Mom has a double lung transplant (she'd doing great now) and my Dad has advanced Alzheimer's and I'm about to move him to a facility near my house so I can care for him more.

It's been such a challenge to work, homeschool and care for my parents over these past 2 years and I've wanted to throw in the towel many times! Thankfully I only have 2 kids to worry about and they make homeschooling them easy. But, if it was a challenge and I didn't feel like it was working (and I've questioned that many times), then I move their education in a different direction. So, I say make what decisions you feel the Lord is leading you to make and move on knowing you did your best for the time you had.

As far as Alzheimer's goes, feel free to contact me. My Dad is only 70, he'sHe's in the advance stages now and he's unsaved. So, I know what you're going through. I'd be happy to chat.

I don't have a blogger account, so here my blog info:

Georgia Mom

ByHISgoodGrace said...

What an honoring thing--to desire and make the effort to put your husband before your children! What a blessing this is going to be to your family. And, I don't mean that any other homeschoolers don't do that--but with the situation you described, this is what you need to do.
One thing I would say--stop defending yourself for being obedient to God! Unless you are sinning, all anyone else is to do is edify you! Ephesians 4:29!
Be blessed.
PS. I'm so sorry about your dad, praying for you.

~Rhen @yestheyareallmine said...

I am so glad I never read any homeschooling books!
We made our decision to homeschool years before we were saved and once we were saved, continued to feel great about it.
I guess we are not typical though. Our children have homeschool, private school and public school friends. We have family friends that make different choices from ours and we are very active in our community.
I am glad you are free from feeling so bound and that God is helping you to fix the things that need His attention.
God calls us to do what He needs us to do. It speaks volumes about our faith and His strength when we step out in the direction He is calling us.
Prayers for you and your family hon. May God give you grace and strength and some personal attention my friend!!

ConservaChick said...

Thank you all so much for the sweet words of encouragement! Yesterday, when I wrote this post, my heart needed to pour out my reasons, to read them in black and white, and to be encouraged. God really worked through this blog, and all of YOU to bring me peace.

It's hard to turn away from someting you once believed was God's only way. While this might sound like I'm defending my conviction to the world, it really is more that I am defending my conviction to myself. Is anyone else their own biggest critic?

Anyway, I appreciate those of you who have rallied around me in support.

Blessings ~Karlie

Jody said...

I have been homeschooling now going on our third year. It ca be very hard and frustrating. I have read a few of those homeschool books you are talking about but I learned not everything is roses when homeschooling LOL. I only have two children so I can't compare to what you have gone through. Just know that those that know the real struggles of homeschooling don't judge you at all. Not everyone is called to homeschool by the Lord and some only for a season. This is your choice for your family and you are doing what God want's of you and that is what truly matters.

Stacey said...

Goodness Karlie this post has elicited so many thoughts and emotions--I'm reading through some of them and I'm feeling so honored to be witnessing such support and caring that comes when someone reaches out and displays such honesty. As you have. That's a rare thing to come by some days, I know that.

Karlie, I'm only beginning the homeschool journey and so far only one child, soon two, at home. And with my part time work and church duties and house duties, I fall apart some weeks! I can only imagine how difficult it's been for you and for all the other mothers who have many to teach.

God bless and prayer said for your daddy. xo

Stacey said...

PS--I do have a cat named GiGi--she came before the friend GiGi, lol. You're not missing a beat, you have a great memory; I don't write much about the cat!

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

I didn't comment on your last post because, frankly it blew me away.
I was having the same kind of day you described in this post and I just flat couldn't comment.
We are struggling around here pretty big, too, and I hate to admit it, but I could have written this post myself.
I am having a hard time. Part of it is me, just being undisciplined, but part of it is that my kids aren't exactly perfect and would rather play than do school. Whatever....this is not about me.
However, I am watching you, and praying. I know that this has been a difficult road, and I am glad for your clarity. As always, thanks for sharing.

Terri said...

I am homeschooling and just today, I told my husband that I feel like a pitiful teacher for my kids. I don't seem to be disciplined enough to get up and get started, but when we do I can't seem to get my kids motivated to do what I have planned. They are wanting to go off on their own tangents. I've read books that say this is the beauty of homeschooling--that you can go with your kids interest, but I find myself second-guessing myself all the time, and I only have two kids and I actually have a degree in education. Apparently I am more able to handle a roomful of kids that aren't my own than I can two of my own.

All of this to say, I know where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

My dearest Karlie, I have the benefit of actually knowing your children, my grandchildren, so I feel I can speak with some knowledge of your situation.

Your decision to homeschool was a good choice at the time you made it. Things change, however and as you know, there is a time for everything. I truly believe the time has come for you to let go of this burden (and it has become a burden) and allow them the experience of school in the "outside" world.

I know that you agonize with this decision and part of it is your fear that you cannot protect them from influences neither of us want them to experience.

I know that part of this comes from your own experiences growing up. You have told me that you feel that I was too permissive when I raised you and your brother and you're probably correct.

My decision to raise you that way was my own knee-jerk reaction to being raised in a very protected environment. When I was finally allowed to be "out in the world" I was sadly unprepared for the experience. Looking back on it even today, I remember feeling like I had been deposited into a foreign world without a guidebook on the language or customs. I was treated like someone from another world as well and never truly fit in.

When you were born, I looked at you and swore that I would never let you go unprepared into the world. That I would give you the opportunity to experience everything but I would be there to help you as well.

Isn't it funny that we've come full circle here? You want to protect your children from the things you experienced and I wanted you to experience the things I was so protected from.

The real point of this is that when I was raising you and your brother, it was important to me that you had your own minds. That your decisions weren't a re-hash of something someone else had told you or even something that I had told you to believe. I remember telling you that God was the ultimate source and that nothing else could be truly believed.

This made you into the type of children that didn't necessarily follow my "commands". You challenged me at everything and I encouraged it.

I feel that I raised two extremely intelligent children, but I could have NEVER home schooled you because I could never fully control you. In all honesty, I don't really think I wanted to. Maybe I was wrong but I really like the people you have become so maybe the end justifies the means.

Your children are all their own little people. They don't look to you for all the answers because you have taught them to turn to God first. I doubt that this is a failure on your part but it does make it hard to maintain order sometimes.

Karlie, your household runs the way it does because of the choices you made and also because of the way you were raised. Neither of these things should be considered a failure.

You have made firm decisions on what is important in your life and have held on to those decisions with a strength of character and tenacity I can only marvel at.

You are a fantastic mother, a wonderful daughter, a loving wife, an intelligent woman and a staunch and loyal friend. Your children are healthy, strong minded and intelligent and will survive and flourish in any environment because they have a loving family with good values to fall back on.

You can't be their shield against the world. Trust God to do this. I support your decision to send the kids to school as I supported your decision to school them at home. Your first concern has always been for their welfare. No one can expect to do more.

carrie said...

I hear ya...loud and clear...I am very ready on some days to pack it in and call it quits. But then God calls me back and whispers His Love in my ear...

I am very glad however that YOU are doing what God is telling YOU to do...He will bless your children and your family greatly I just know it!