It has been brought to my attention that I haven't blogged "in almost a month!"
I have been bogged down with homeschooling planning and reading for quite some time now. I don't ever remember a time when I felt this unsure, this unprepared, and this inadequate for the task before me.
At the same time, I think that's a good thing.
Our homily this Sunday was on (of course) the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. Father B had a wonderful homily, in which the message came through to me loud and clear, in a way it never had before. The message was this: Andrew's "offering" of the 5 loaves and 2 fish that he had found was pretty much laughable. I don't mean that in a bad way -- it's just that when seeing the vast number of hungry people, that small amount of food wasn't going to cut it, and he knew it.
He offered it to the Lord anyway.
Jesus was able to take the little that Andrew gave him, and turn it into a meal capable of not only meeting the needs of those there, but filling 12 baskets of leftovers.
I have been trying to make my small resevoir of patience, stamina, and desire to homeschool meet the needs of my children (not consciously, but still...). It doesn't work. I don't have all that one would need to do this job. However...
...I can offer what little I have, and give all of it willingly, to Jesus, and He is more than able to multiply it miraculously so that it not only meets the needs of my children, but flows over abundantly.
For the past 8 days, that is exactly what He has done.
I have never felt quite so inadequate, and have never been quite so aware of the fact that yes, I'm giving everything I have, but that is NOT what is meeting the needs of my children. He is taking my natural abilities and inclinations, and increasing it in such a way that we have been able to homeschool in a much more relaxed manner (even when teaching six children... seven actually, since Grace wants to do it all... all while dealing with Joseph, who demands constant attention and is getting into EV-ER-Y-THING that he can get his hands on. Truly. From tearing the printer apart and throwing all my books on the floor to daily dumping the dog's water all over himself and the floor, Joseph is "Captain Destructo" from the word go...)
I am NOT a patient person, and for me to be able to deal with all this graciously and still enjoy my time with my children is proof positive that Jesus is extremely active in this household!
For any who may be curious as to what homeschooling looks like in our family of 10, I'll give you a quick peek. I tried last year to be much more regimented, and I think it backfired with my personality. I'm a "stick-to-the-rules-and-check-the-boxes" sort of person who can't handle being behind or off whatever schedule I've set up. That made last year very stressful for me in that I always felt like I was failing.
This year is much more relaxed. I realize we've only been doing this for 8 days, so the data points are few indeed, but still, it seems to be working so far...
7-8 am breakfast, cleanup, dishwasher, beds made/get dressed/teeth and hair
8-8:30 am whatever daily housecleaning chores are on the list, like bathrooms, scrubbing walls, etc
8:45 am individual Bible reading for each child, followed by Morning Offering and Bible memory
9:00 am Math for all, with me sitting down with Thomas (3rd grade) first to get him started
9:30 am sit down with Marie (1st grade) for her entire list of subjects
Whenever any child is finished with math, or any other subject, they are to come to me so that I can check it immediately and have them make whatever corrections are necessary.
10:30 am Marie is done, and I finish up whatever Thomas needs my help with on his other subjects
After that, it's first come, first served. I tend to go from youngest to oldest, trying to do all the "together with me" subjects first so that I can move on to the next child. We take a snack break at 10 am and try to do lunch around 12. After that it's a quick lunchtime cleanup, followed with more homeschooling for Reilly and Sean. I try to have both of them at the table so I can bounce back and forth between them. Sean and I usually finish around 3 pm with Henle Latin.
3:30 pm Me -- fast cleanup, empty dishwasher (kids are finally outside!)
4:30 pm Kids and I start supper (we alternate between boys' week and girls' week)
5:00 pm Toy pick up; kitchen crew sets the table
6:00 pm We eat
7:00 pm Prayer and cleanup
8:30 pm Joseph goes down to bed
9:00 pm The rest of the crew goes to bed, although the older ones read/play games
9:30 pm I made breakfast for the next day
10:30 pm I wonder where the heck another day went! *grin*
It looks very regimented, but that's actually just the normal flow of the day. I'm not looking at the clock, barking out orders this time around... I have given myself permission, as it were, to spend the time with each child that he needs, which has made ALL the difference in the world. They have all said that this year is going better, and by God's grace, may it continue to be so!