I've been beating myself up over school a lot lately. This year our academic efforts aren't going that well. I feel like we're not getting done all I had expected . . . all I had wanted. Then occasionally, I realize how much more my kids are learning by being home with me.
Did I mention we are working now? We are cleaning classrooms at the academy our church runs. It's a tough five-day a week job, but it only takes a couple hours a day if we all pitch in. It was such a blessing to get the job, and it came at a time when I really needed the money. I was really fighting worry over how to pay the bills (still am, but not as much). The great thing is that I pay the boys to help me. I have a pay schedule where they get a certain amount for different jobs. It gives them the opportunity to work different jobs on different days, and to decide whether they really want to work hard to earn a little more or just to get by with minimal work. It also has put them on someone else's schedule, and we have to do this every day whether we feel like it or not. They also don't get paid if I go back and check their work and it's not done correctly, so they are doing a very thorough job. I realized that they won't be teenagers or young men who go to work and don't have a clue how to mop a floor or clean a bathroom, and resent being told what to do by a boss.
We are also still keeping kids a bit. One of my greatest delights is to see my teenager sitting in a corner at a Scout function or at church carrying on a real conversation with a preschooler, or a little kid. He never looks bored with the conversation. He also carries on conversations with grown-ups--more than the obligatory grunts and nods--of course, it's better if that grown up knows a little about Marvel superheroes (Right, Bill?). They are also learning to care for little ones. Often they make our little girl lunch, or help entertain her. Will they be better daddies because of doing this? I hope so.
The one thing I'm not doing so well at is focusing their hearts and minds on God's involvement in our day, and yet I wonder if I'm doing more than I realize. They have prayed with me for income, for the ability to continue homeschooling, for others we love, and they have seen answers.
Anyway, I'm just reminded again that they are learning, even from my failures. They aren't just schooling for the idol of career or success, they are schooling for real life. And I'm reminded that whatever I do wrong, God is soveriegn, and will teach them everything else they need to know. That is where my real hope is.