Do you remember these, Titus Twosday's? Well, I thought we'd just jump back into our old routine with new thoughts and ideas. This Titus Twosday is all about motherhood. Over the last year I have discovered new things about myself, Christendom (if that is a word), parenting and children. My now 11 year old son, 9 year old daughter and 8 year old daughter have taught me many things and helped shape my opinion on life in general. Last year about this time I was on the road to homeschooling my middle daughter for the very first time. I was full of excitement and nervous anxiety. I wondered would I really be able to help her, teach her and train her in the things she most needed. I had a friend (Angie) holding my hand and encouraging me the whole way. She helped me to see how I was really the best teacher of all things my daughter could ever learn. While, that knowledge brought great comfort it also brought great responsibility. I realized if I did not teach it, it wouldn't be taught. I know most you are thinking DUH! But seriously that is SCARY! During this past year of schooling I had to learn to trust the Lord with the wisdom I would need in order to educate my daughter to the best of my ability. And so there you have it a successful year of homeschool completed in the Fletcher home. I can't honestly say my daughter is a brain scientist. I can't even say she is ahead of "the class". Here is what I can say. I know my daughter and she knows me! She knows exactly what I would say and do in almost any situation. That goes both ways. She is a professional business woman called to urban missions. She can hold a meeting at Starbucks, Stoby's, Tropical Smoothie, the trailer park, the United Way Services Center, Birth Works Doula Services Center, Conway Regional Gym, local Churches and home any day of the week. She can self entertain. She is confident in her math skills, she enjoys reading (only good books according to her), she can communicate her needs to others, she is more outgoing, she cares for others, she loves to cook and clean, she has the heart of a servant, she is a nurturer, she loves babies, she is a great swimmer, she loves zumba and enjoys woman topics (puberty, development, baby's and how they are born). Did you have to wonder where she got "woman topics" from? I am laughing out loud about that one. Anyway, all that to say I was able to really know and learn my daughter this year. As I said before she was able to learn more about me and my heart. It was an awesome adventure I was literally able to pour my heart into my daughters heart. That is amazing! As I say all of those wonderful things this next statement is probably going to shock you.
I will not be homeschooling any of my children this coming school year. They will all attend the local public school and I am looking as forward to that as I was to homeschooling Najee' last year. Okay, so the big fat WHY! As I look back I see so many victories but I also see what was lost in the process for me. I had one child in the elementary school (2nd grade), one at home (3rd/4th grade), and the other about 5 miles away at the intermediate school (5th grade). Not only that, we (my husband and I) were experiencing for the first time in our lives running and operating a non profit from the ground up and establishing a church plant. Those things were all major in and of themselves, however I will continue with the list of new beginnings. I recieved my Certification as a Doula for Central Arkansas, which meant I was being called away at any given time to a birth or to meet the needs of a laboring momma. I was answering prenatal and post pardum questions. Have I even begun to talk about ministry issues and concerns? Do you get the picture?
So the title of this post is "Mothering to the best of your ability", I was only successful this last year because of Christ. Seriously, no joke! I was able to mother to the best of my ability given the previous situation. In retrospect I could or should have given more to particular areas. I visited my other children at their school, oh about twice the whole school year. Now if you know me that is NOT how I roll! I usually visit my childrens school at the very least once per week! I was tired all the time. When the other children came home from school I was not the mother they were used to. I was tired, grumpy, busy, on the phone, rushing, shall I go on? Anyway, as my husband and I were looking into this coming school year I realized two things. This is advice for all women everywhere! If you are going to homeschool consider homeschool all of your children, not just one or two. Life is much easier if you are calling all the shots and not calling some and then trying to work around other people calling shots too. I also struggled with field trips. I wanted my kids in public school to attend the field trips I was taking Najee on, but she could not attend the ones they were going on. So what happened was the public school kids got to go on every single adventure there was and Najee' did her field trips with the sibilings on the weekends. That was sad, I know. The second piece of advice is if you are a better mother to your children while they attend public school then if they are homeschooled allow them to attend public school.
I know we talk about the influence of the world on our children when they attend public school but really if we as parents are actively training and discipling our children the influence of the public school will pale in comparision to the influence you have as a parent. I think Christiandom does a disservice to mothers and children by implying that the only way to teach our children Christian values is to homeschool often at the expense of good being a godly influence. I hope I am making myself clear. If homeschooling your children means you are a stress ball of crazy all day and night, then DON'T DO IT! Because in that process you are teaching your children who Christ and how they should behave. I would much rather release the homeschool concept and idea to better educate and equip my children for service in the Kingdom of God. Now that is my story.
I am not opposed to homeschool in the future. However, I will make huge changes. The first of which will be homeschooling all three of my children at one time. The second would be not homeschooling during the onset of major life transitions. You will all be happy to know (or at least I am happy to know) that we now have a wonderful group of servants in ministry what will share lots and lots of the load that Phil and I were carrying alone. So Praise the Lord for it all! Better mothering is already in progress, because God is providing so we can keep first things first!