Today is one of those days.

When we decided to pull our kids from public school, we did so for primarily academic reasons.  It wasn't because of an arrogance that I thought I could do a better job teaching my children.  We just felt that we could better manage our childrens' time, making each moment count a little more effectively.  Ben would come home from second grade halfway through a Harry Potter he started that morning.  It blew my mind that he had that much down time at school.  How much of the day was being spent on actual instruction? 

We are about seven months into this grand experiment, and while I am absolutely confident in our decision to homeschool, the reasons couldn't be farther from what we originally based our decision on. 

Sam and I are pretty "academic" people.  So, I think it is natural for us to go to the academics first.  Our hearts have changed.  Education is important, but it's become more about our kids' hearts than their minds.  I have absolutely no doubt that my children are intelligent, in many, diverse ways, but it has been placed on our hearts as parents to make sure that we do everything within our power to make sure they have the opportunity to become the best people that they can be.

Our hardest days have not been because of subject matter - a difficult Latin lesson, an arduous math lesson, a particularly cumbersome reading assignment.  Our hardest days have been matters of the heart.  Someone digging their heels in and saying "No," siblings fighting, disobedience, impatience, short tempers, feelings of entitlement. 

As it turns out, these are the reasons we will continue to homeschool our kids.  That might seem counter-intuitive.  Those are probably a lot of the reasons that cause people to elect not to homeschool.  It's daily sanctification.  Plus, when a hard day is over, we can look back and say, "Phew.  By the grace of God we got through it." 

We (the Sheppard parents) are not in the business of hyper-education or behavior-modification, but we are in the business of training our kids.  I hope, I pray we can do the best with every minute we have. 

Our family is reaping the benefit of time together.  It was something I noticed when I lost my job and brought Abby and Sarah home together.  They went from bickering like cats and dogs to becoming the very best of friends.  I don't expect that all four of them with their very distinct personalities will be this way just from being home together, but I can see improvements.  They don't have to be best friends, but I will spend my days doing the best I can to strengthen their bond as brother and sisters. 

Some days, they just nail it. 

And on days like those, on a day like today, I can't help but put school on the back burner and just cherish these precious moments where my eclectic crew, replete with a professorial nine-year-old boy, whimsical six-year-old girl, wide-open three-year-old girl, and inquisitive 11-month old girl, play together. Just the way it was meant to be.

What a blessing my family is to me.

 (stealing a peek into the playroom during break time...)

 (not entirely sure why lil' Leah is in the basket)

My cup runneth over.  Beyond measure.  Surely, I do not deserve this.
Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 2 Samuel 7:18
DisclaimerLest this come off as a brag, let me just clear that up right now.  We are so far from perfect it makes these moments even that much more precious.  Now we can all carry on.


Gail said...

Love it Jennie!
This post is the kind that inspires me to keep at it! :) It also makes me look forward to our coffee date this week ;)

Sharon said...

Jennie, I just continue to give you kudos for your dedication to home-schooling. I'm sure it's an inspiration to many. But most of all, I applaud you (and Sam) for the reasons you are choosing to do it. God is, and will bless you all.

Love your photos as always. Have I ever told you that I almost consider your kids as my grandkids?? (Is it OK if I *adopt* them until I get some of my own???)


Jennie said...

I still can't get those daggone smilies to work! Thank you, "Grandma Sharon!!!" We are honored to have your virtual grandkids. You strike me as a Mimi or a Grammie...something hip. What should we call you? ;) \m/

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