Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homeschooling in the Trenches

It was gloomy here yesterday.

Not only out my window, but in my soul.

School spiraled down the tubes and I frantically grasped at the splintering shreds of it. Frustration and failure mounted in my chest.

How could it be that my two strugglers. My two peas in a pod, separated by 8 years and of different genders, could both have blank brains yesterday.

My daughter couldn’t remember any of the her short vowel sounds, which she previously knew quite well. And her numbers, oh my goodness, how could she not remember these when we have been going over them for so long.

My son needed extra guidance, time with just him and me side by side digging in deep, and a bit of pep talk.

It was a tough day. I wanted to cry and tear my hair out in frustration, simultaneously. I wanted to have learning come easily to my children.

I wanted to NEVER hear again about other people’s children who, “LOVE school and are excelling way beyond their grade level and their peers….and its all because they are homeschooled.”

Yesterday, those words that I had heard AGAIN over the weekend came back and slapped me hard in the heart. Those are not my children. Those are not my days. And that is not my life.

It isn’t easy around here. It is a struggle and often there is little joy in all these big mountains we are climbing.

And I could have sank down low and got covered in the muck, but I remembered these words from my dear friend, Kristin…..


“Once, a few years ago, I was talking to a sweet homeschooled girl. And she mentioned all that she was doing and how advanced it was. She also mentioned that it was why after being at a private Christian school, her parents brought her home...so that she and her siblings wouldn't be "held back" by those struggling kids.
It was very innocent.
But...it made me cringe a little.
"Those" kids that would hold her back, would be my boys. At least some of them anyways. And it made me hurt for them.
Our world defines success by grades...
Test scores....
College options....
Financial success....
And so on.
And as the mother of 3 boys.
There worth will be measured by others perception of success. And I worry so much... that the voice they hear, won't be mine.
Or Gods.
The one they hear, will be the worlds voice and in turn, they will feel inadequate.
Our oldest has dyslexia and dysgraphia.
It's tough.
Our next one, probably does as well, but milder in my opinion.
We haven't had him tested.
But....my little guy....just like his oldest brother at this stage and age.
I can't think about it a lot, though.
I just "do" today.
My oldest is so embarrassed and ashamed.
He thinks he is stupid.
He is not.
I worry.
He worries.
It breaks my heart.
And his.
That's our big hurdle right now.
I know part of the reason he came home was, because he was tired of trying to please his teachers and keep up with his classmates. We picked the school we did for it's learning center and it's emphasis on dyslexic teachings. It was a 30 minute drive, cost a fortune, and seemed to be the best option. I didn't think I was qualified to teach him in the least.
And now that he is home. We see that it was a mistake. I should have brought him home long ago. We have so much work to do and so little time. He needs almost as much of my time as my third grader. These last few weeks have been grueling.
Oh the rewards.
The softening of my boy.
The guard coming down.
The relationship building.
The time.
The love.
His help around here.
The conversations.
All of it.
My husband just wants us to do our best with his "school work", but....what we are really focusing on. Is life skills and relationships. Does that make sense?
And you know?
I feel God deepening me and refining me more through homeschooling, than at any other time. We are all being tested on our faith, endurance and grace with each other. Never have I ever felt so alive, exhausted, and right with Jesus as I do right now.
I have such peace.
This is where I am supposed to be.
This is what i am supposed to do.
These boys....
They are mine and I am theirs.
I am their mama, and I will fight for them to the end.
They may not fit "the world view" of success.
But, by Gods grace, and my love and determination they will fit HIS!
I am so with you.
All the way.
I get it.
All of it!”




Oh, these words they wrap around my heart and lift me up. These words from a kindred friend remind me I’m not in this alone. And it’s okay. By God’s grace, strength, love and compassion my children will be molded into just who He wants them to be.

Thank you Lord, for friends who understand. Friends who get it. Friends who turn my sorrow around and help me remember to focus on God, because He created my children just the way He wanted them. Because He has GRAND plans for their lives and it isn’t some cookie cutter life. It’s an awesome adventure planned out solely by their loving Heavenly Father. Thank you Lord Jesus, for friends who remind me of what this Momma’s mission truly is, to point my children to the Father of Lights, their Savior, their companion, their CHAMPION!


I’m climbing out of the trenches and scaling the mountain. Because God is making champions in my home today.


  1. I think its wonderful that you homeschool your children! You are a strong woman Jenn! I can tell with all your lovely posts and your words. You are doing extraordinary work with your children by schooling them yourself! I applaud you!

  2. Jenn,
    You are not alone in this battle.
    I love ya~

  3. I too am a homeschooling Mom and there are days when it is so tough but I know in the end of it all it is much worth it. I know God has called me to be my childrens teacher. He has made us the perfect fit. Whenever it gets gloomy remember to take a break and play make them laugh it will lift your spirit too. God Bless!

  4. Oh how quickly we drink in the *world's* thinking rather than the LORD's!! Yes, HE created your children JUST the way HE wanted them! Success is measured in following HIM and belonging to HIM! NOT the money, fame or acclaim of the world. HIS is a lasting success.

    Hang in there my friend.

    I am praying for you!


  5. Mama said there'd be days like this! Heeeheheheh!

    Some days when everyone is gettin' frustrated it's OK and sometimes best just to change horses in mid~stream. There are so many factors to coping skills it would boggle one's mind.

    You've probably already tried this but have you tried the different colored readin' sheet with your boys. We had out best success in the classroom with those.

    As you know word-searches and hidden picture activities are excellent activities. We can teach the brain to see correctly.

    I apologize, I realize you've probably researched this to death. I'll stop.

    God bless ya sweetie and have a glorious day!!!

    You are awesome for lovin' your kiddos so much that you became their teacher too.

  6. It is so refreshing to read this. For a long time I felt so great about the "level" my girls were at. I was teaching, they were learning, excelling even. But then come those days. The days when that one lesson you've taught 300 times doesn't seem to be registering with them. And it
    can be so exhausting and frustrating {for everyone involved}. So you question yourself {or at least, I question myself}. Thank you for reminding me that it's about the journey. And we can't measure it by test scores and statistics.

  7. What great words your friend wrote to you! Good reminders for all of us who endeavor to homeschool! This post reminds me of a homeschooling book I read last year called "When You Rise Up: A Covenental Approach to Homeschooling." We don't homeschool to be smarter or more successful. We homeschool to bring up our children to know and obey the Lord - and THAT is the good life. And, I think you are VERY successful in that - in what really matters.

  8. Jenn, I'm so sorry you had a rough day, but I thank God he has given you such a wonderful friend who encourages you! Although we seem to do OK academically with homeschooling you know I understand your heart on the world's idea of how children "should" be. You know our struggles.

    You are a strong and courageous woman. You are the one who inspired me to even dream of homeschooling our kids.

    Hang in there sis! I love ya!

  9. Jenn, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be Mom and Teacher (plus all of the other things a woman must be day-to-day.)

    I admire you for what you are doing -- if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

    Big hugs from Nebraska. :)

  10. I hope tomorrow is a better day for both you and your kids. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow. I always find that helps.


  11. I really feel for you and applaud you for all you do for your kids!
    My son is probably around the same age as your daughter. He does Reading Eggs it's an online reading program that he loves and I can really recommend it. Our's is Australian but I believe they do different accents. They do free trials. Anyway I don't know how you feel about these, some people don't like them but it's helped his reading wonderfully.

  12. wow!

    in all of your sharing, your transparent heart went from struggle to victory! Kristin is a blessing to you, as you are a blessing to me. By sharing your heart, there is healing. something that i continue to struggle with. I truly hope that you find contentment with all that you are doing for your babes, and that this fight will continue on!

  13. God IS making champions in your home.
    those kids were born to win!
    And not by the worlds standards.
    oh no.
    But by the grace of God and that passes ALL logic and understanding.

    Love to hear that we are not alone on this narrow road of homeschooling girl.
    its encouraging and uplifting to read this you know.

    btw, I love those photos of the boys shooting hoops up top.
    so sweet.
    and the creek ones are great too!!!
    enjoy your warm temps!!!


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