Homeschooling with little ones
Trying to homeschool with a toddler and a preschooler around is pretty much the same thing as trying to run a marathon with silly putty as shoes. It's not impossible, but it is pretty dang hard and exhausting.
You would think that I would have a better routine and know what to expect going into our third year of homeschooling, but every season has been incredibly different. The very first year I was homeschooling with a new born. My second year I was homeschooling with a one year old who still took 2 naps (praise the lord for morning naps).
This year, I have an almost 2 year old who is also known as a human tornado. If I turn my back for a few seconds she will have every box emptied, the whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet, and all of my school supply drawers scattered all over my closet. That is her to the right. I mean, look at her. How do you get mad at that?! She may be a hot mess, but I would not trade her lively spirit for anything.
Then I have my 4 year old who is torn between the excitement of doing her own school work and the thrill of destroying the house with her little sister.
To say this season is hard is an understatement. We have barely been back at our school work for a little over a week and every day I feel like my eyes are bloodshot, my throat is sore from screaming and I am day dreaming about a vacation away without kids. That all sounds horrible, and I wish I could say I was exaggerating.
But I am not.
I am starting off my homeschooling year with hardly any pep in my step and feeling tired beyond function. I know all the things I should be doing. I should eat right. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Spend time in the word and in prayer. I need to fill my life with healthy things so that I can set the tone for my family through encouragement, joy and grace. But how?!
Instead of taking time away and for myself, I am filling my time with senseless activities to mentally escape for a moment and it is not at all helpful or fruitful.
Did someone say grace? This, my fellow exhausted Mamas and homeschooling parents may be the only way to make it through, and to enjoy this season.
Wikipedia defines grace as such: "In Western Christian theology, grace has been defined, not as a created substance of any kind, but as "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it'".
Here are a couple ways you can find grace in this season:
1. Allow yourself to receive God's grace. This can be incredibly hard. We have so many obstacles in the way that we need to put aside to just receive this free gift. So do it. God desires you to have grace. Not guilt. Not shame. Not failure. Put aside your pride, your stubborn ways and your insecurities and allow the peace of God through to shower you with grace, because we all need to fully understand our need for grace in our lives.
2. Believe in your heart and mind that grace is for you. There is grace when the house is a mess, when you lay out cereal for dinner, grace (not guilt) for not getting to the gym. I need to allow grace to speak to my heart so that I know my time was well spent pouring into my children's education and future. I need to cover my mind in the refreshing truth of God's word and know that my time was well spent having meaningful conversations. My time was well spent playing hide and seek and having a spur of the moment dance party.
Grace more than sufficiently covers our mess and the expectations we put on ourselves.
3. Give life to the grace you have been given. By reminding yourself of all the times God has shown grace to you, you will be able to extend that grace more easily to your husband or children so they can see the gift of grace, so they can see the light of Christ, at work. I can show my kids grace when they fight, bicker, even when they leave their clothes and toys all over the floor after I have asked them to pick them up for the millionth time in one day.
Accepting grace, is a learning process for me. Can you relate? Do you find it hard accepting compliments? Do you let it eat at you when you do not get everything done that you had hoped to accomplish in one day? Cricket... cricket. I do. I DESPERATELY need grace.
Even though I may think that cleaning the bathroom tub, or mopping the floor will make me feel less stressed (and it does, for a moment) it only scratches the surface. Until I truly accept a love and grace that is not man made or achieved through my ability to do it all, but the only love and grace that can come from a loving God, who desires for us to have it, I will not be truly satisfied.
Please take rest in knowing that God our creator who proclaims that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, who knows you to the depths of your being, desires for you to enjoy a life in his presence through grace. Enjoy peace in knowing that sometimes all you can do is your best and that is ok.
The first few years of homeschooling with littles running around is not easy. Every day will require work, tears, laughter and abundant grace. Allow yourself to bask in that gift so that you can recognize the beauty that is unfolding in the short time your kids are little. I am typing these words maybe for the sheer fact that I need to hear them, but I hope to encourage you through them as well.
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." —Hebrews 4:16
Our first week back was hard. I refuse to go into every week feeling drained and exhausted. I need grace and I need prayer. Whatever your time of need is, I pray that you too can find rest, peace and grace.
Have a great week sweet friends.