I could never do that!
I hear it so often. It’s probably the most common response that I hear when people find out we’ve made what seems to be such a radical choice. Admittedly, it was a hard call for me when I was discerning. I was dead set against it for years because it terrified me; it seemed much too hard. I felt I could never do it.
But I am.
That first ever First Day of School, while we watched her little friends walk to the bus stop, we walked to the dining room table. With great anxiety and a stomach ache, I pulled out her books and we begun the greatest adventure together. We’ve since added another student to our schooling and, in the fall, another one of my children will be seated around the table as we begin the school year. For now, another year is so close to being done. Books are finished or within pages of being completed. Another homeschooling year is nearly, as they say, “in the books.” And I will let out a joyful sigh that I did it.
Since when did it become acceptable to tell ourselves that we cannot do the hard things simply because they are “too hard?” Anyone can indeed homeschool; I am doing it. Yes, I have some experience in education. But, compared to some I know, it’s pretty minimal. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in English Literature, not education. I have no teacher’s license. But I am doing it. Yes, there are hard days. Yes–oh yes–there have been seasons where we were discerning traditional school because of health reasons or being unsure if it was the best fit anymore. But, after many tears and much prayer, I still feel the call to the dining room table.
There was one year that, due to months of bad behavior, one of my children very nearly started at the elementary school down the street. After much apologizing and proving good behavior, we continued homeschooling. To be fair, we had just had a baby, I was suffering from poor health, and my husband was in and out of town with the Army. I made the call to keep her home and we changed some subjects around. Pulled back. Pulled in. Around the dining room table.
It has been so hard sometimes. There have been seasons that I have felt the strain of bringing my children everywhere with me, which can be exhausting. I have felt the looks of others as I brought my children to functions (with the blessing of those hosting), brunches, fellowship meetings. I was the only one with children. And that sometimes did make it hard. I was still corralling young children while the other mothers basked in the glory of hours alone. I took my children to every bi-monthly blood draw during my youngest’s pregnancy; it was a half hour of driving to get there and praying you arrived before the waiting room filled up (there were no appointments). Every where that I went, they came with me. It was sometimes hard. It was sometimes draining. It was a sacrifice that I made. But I did it. I chose that sacrifice because gathering each morning with my children was worth it. Despite the hard, despite the sacrifice–no, because of the hard and the sacrifice, it was worth it. The beauty was hard-fought for when we gathered around that dining room table.
We have all done the hard things. We have all sucked in our breath, bent over, and begun. Sometimes, the hard is unexpected. Maybe in that way, it’s easier. Because we don’t have the chance to say no. But sometimes, even when it doesn’t make sense and it’s hard and different from what most everyone else does, the hard is so worth it. Even in the days when you’re the only one home with your houseful of children, you’re the only one bringing your pack to the function, you’re the only one saying no–again–because you can’t find a sitter. It’s worth it. Because there is great joy and love around that dining room table.
Now, after four years of saying yes to the hard, I have such a special bond with my children. I am proud when we go out together, even when it’s hard. We travel in a pack, I say (I need a shirt that says this). My crew, my people. We live together, we eat together. We pray together and laugh together. We travel and go out. Together. We push through the hard together, even when we butt heads. We learn–together! We sit, each morning, around that blessed dining room table and be…together.
We can do the hard things. Together. Start believing it.