August came in just like every other month since March.......a wrecking ball!! Ok, maybe not quite, but everyone reading this knows EXACTLY what I mean. If the year 2020 was to be deleted and we call a BIG "do-over" for 2021, I'd be the first one raising my hand!
School is starting in less than two weeks.....well, I mean the school my younger two were SUPPOSED to be going back to. Sadly, because of many reasons (not just the mask mandate) we prayerfully and through much angst and wrestling, decided to pull them from their small Christian day school that we so very much love. I felt a deep sense of guilt, because we truly do love the school and faculty. However, there were just to many rules and restrictions and obsessive and anxiety ridden stipulations we just could not in good conscience subject our younger two kids to. We do not feel in anyway this will benefit them spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Still, it hurts, because there are so many things we will miss. So many "what-ifs?" " "What if I can't do this? What if they fall behind? What if they fight all day and I end up in Looney Toon town?" Thing is, life is full of "what-ifs." Yet there are no "what-ifs" because I know that God my Maker and Creator, has perfectly orchestrated each and every second of our lives. I would definitely classify homeschooling as one of those "Jesus take the Wheel" type moments for me. I completely surrender to the fact that logically, I can't do this on my own. However, it doesn't take me long to remember the realness of God's power. The God who split the sea so the Israelites could walk right through it. The God who raised many from the dead. The God who created the entire Universe in six days. The God who raised HIMSELF from the dead! Surely! My God can help me teach two of his little rascals the three R's and God's word.
Our plan is do the entire semester and reassess then. We will see where the world is at. I mean really, that's the best answer I can give! A day these past few months brings as much change it seems as in a typical month and I have never ever lived by the motto "one day at a time" more than I have since March. Can I get an Amen and a Hallelujah from the choir PLEASE????
With all that said, even though I am sad in so many ways, I am actually,dare I say, a little excited? Ever since even my now SENIOR (what??!?!?!?) was a toddler I felt called that maybe I should homeschool. Our current church at the time where my husband was serving as pastor did not have a Christian day school and the closest one away was over 30 minutes. However, when our oldest was only 3 years old, we moved back to my home area of Wisconsin where this church my husband was now being led to Shepherd, did indeed have a school.. We decided (again there are always MULTIPLE complicated reasons in our life, we can't ever seem to just have the slow and easy path lol) to enroll Sam in Pre-K and never looked back. I have been so thankful for the Christian schools our children have so far attended. What an absolute BLESSING! Yet, through it all there was always this small little flicker of "but what if?"
As the months , weeks and now days have led up to the beginning of "regular" school, that flicker kept getting brighter and hotter. Not because I had a desire to choose homeschool OVER Christian Day School, but because all of the elements that were becoming this now (and I cringe) "New Normal" of our Christian Day School, made every fiber of my being scream "Noooooooooooo!" God has a way of calling us. Not necessarily through an audible voice, but from that which is so stirring, so pressing, so lengthy, that there is no other way out of it. Well, I mean, there is, but I have learned WAY to many times in life that when I say "NO" to God , I am saying "Yes" to self or the world, and let me tell ya, that never ever turns out well in the long run.
So! With all that said, school starts in the Stuebs' home Sept 9th! I decided if I was going to homeschool, I was TRULY going to homeschool! I was going to pick the curriculum. I was going to decide the start and end dates. I was going to start when we got up and when we did school. I was going to decide what days and how many breaks. I was going to make this a FAMILY learning experience. I decided to go with a curriculum from Rachel Spooner at Homeschool On called, "Gather round!" It is a fully based Christian curriculum that has EVERYTHING you need to cover all subjects except math. The super cool thing is that the curriculum covers grade K-12th and each Unit is about 4-5 weeks. The Units are anything from Africa, Eastern European History, North American Birds, Indigenous People, Civil government and many more! Each kid no matter their grade level can be in the same themed unit at the same time! This means Patience and Oliver will be learning the same material just at completely different levels! We have chosen the Africa unit for our first study. This will cover English, history, spelling, grammar , writing , reading, language arts and science. We even have an African cookbook with the unit to try out some yummy African dishes! Patience will also have a separate cursive book. Math for Oliver, will be Saxon because he has been doing Saxon all these years and I didn't want to switch him this late in the game. Patience will be doing a more Charlotte Mason approach math called "A Living Education." Picking out curriculum has been fun, daunting, exhausting and overwhelming all at the sometime, but thankfully God has put some amazing people in my life to help me with these choices and take SO much of the guesswork out for me. I also have both kids signed up for a weekly art class for 4 weeks at a local homeschooling family's home. They have two high school daughters who are fabulous and passionate about art and will be leading the two hour classes. Arts and crafts is definitely not my specialty so I am SUPER thankful and excited about this as well.
Since all of our elementary school sports have been cancelled, we were still able to get Oliver into a club soccer league for Fall. Patience will hopefully still be able to get some swimming lessons or gymnastics in again. She had been doing dance for a few years but I think we will try something new as it doesn't seem my ONLY baby girl's passion seems to be quite as glitzy and sparkly as I had hoped. :) I also have been following other homeschool moms' instragrams and blogs and finding some super awesome fun and creative ways to stay physically active during our WRETCHED (yes I truly dislike winter) Midwest winters!
I will continue on with my online heath coaching school and teaching fitness classes online and occasionally at the YMCA. However, knowing that my calling as a wife and mom truly is my greatest and most privileged calling, homeschool is where I know I need my heart and mind to be invested at the most. I constantly have the mantra "When we say 'yes' to something, we are saying 'no' to something else." I know we are all gifted in different ways, and some moms and wives can throw a lot more logs on their fire than I can and stoke it well. I am not that mom. I have ADHD. I have anxiety. I struggle with depression. I have chronic lyme. I lack patience and clarity often. Therefore, I will celebrate my strengths and admit my weaknesses and not pretend to be the Wonder Woman of motherhood.
I will simply and unequivocally be, me.
"What if your greatest challenge, turns out to be your greatest gift?"