Lord, Please remind me why I’m doing this!

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It’s been one of “those” weeks! Actually it’s been a number of “those” weeks that have accumulated, to the point of me sitting on the couch last night, head in my hands and asking God “Why? Why am I doing this Lord?”

It has been a busy time for Team Strong and life just hasn’t slowed down in the last 7 weeks! The problem that happens when we all get busy is that we lose our connection. Everyone goes into automatic pilot and we all hit survival mode. Everyone does what they need to to get through and grace seems to be the last thing on everyone’s mind! (God’s grace, not our own poppet in case you were getting worried!)

So for the last week or so, the busyness and tiredness have caught up with everybody and to be totally honest, none of us have put our best foot forward around home. Our usual filters of what is acceptable in our family have been dropped and the kids tolerance levels for each other have also plummeted. Now most Mum’s can just send the kids off to school for a bit of a break, but, of course, when you homeschool you don’t have that option! Nope, its kids 24/7. For 51 weeks of the year I absolutely love it, but this last week has left me asking “God, please remind me why I am doing this, wouldn’t it be just so much easier if the kids were in school?”

And the answer is yes! Yes, it would be easier to send the kids off to school for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Yes, it would be easier to send them off on the bus at 8am in the morning and not have to think about them till they got off the bus at 4pm. Yes, that would be the easy option for our family. But that is not what God has called us to do.

He has called us to homeschool the kids for their High School years. He has called us to invest in them, to spend time with them, to guide them along the path that God has for them. He has called us to be a family that lives outside of what most people would call “normal” and to make a difference in the world! To give them a Christian education that isn’t religious and regimented, to give them opportunities that most kids their ages don’t get. To build connections with them, and to create the life stories that they will remember long after they have left home. To equip them to be thoughtful, generous, well-adjusted adults that give to the world more than they take from it, and to impact the community around them…. Where ever that may be! Oh, and to have fun, I forgot that part! Yip, to have fun!

Right, so that’s why we are doing this God, I remember now! Time to get Team Strong back to a place where we are connected, where we are happy, and where everyone actually wants to be a part of  Team Strong!

And what better way to do that, than with a “Family Meeting” Ahhhhh, not the family meeting, I hear you cry! Why would you do that to your kids? But family meetings don’t need to be all bad, really they don’t! It’s a great way to get reconnected with each other. To clear the air. For everyone to have their say and for everyone to walk away feeling like they were heard. It’s also a great excuse to turn off all devices and to have chocolate self-saucing pudding and ice cream!

So, I am happy to say that Team Strong is back on track. We are refocused, we are all playing on the same team again and we are back to fighting for what we want instead of fighting each other! We are connected and we are back to being glad God has called us to be on the same team! And this Mamma, well she can go back to loving what she does and remembering why she chose this path for her family.

So watch out everyone, we are back, we are connected and we are stronger (get it!) than ever! We are going to make a difference in this world and we are going to have fun while we are doing it!

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Yip, We’re one of Those Families!

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Benjamin Wu

Benjamin Wu

You know what I am talking about! We all know a family like that!

We talk about them, laugh at them and even mock them sometimes.  One of those families, yip, I confess…… we are a homeschooling family!

There, I said it!

Now most people conjure up images like the one to the left when they think of homeschooling, but we are nothing like that…….in fact I don’t even own a dress!

I’m not quite sure why homeschoolers get such a bad rap. It seems that if you want to be a homeschooler, you must wear clothes from the 70’s, have at least 8 kids and travel round in a people mover. (Sorry, my homeschooling friends out there!)

Well, I am here to lay that rumor to rest. We are a regular family (well kind of!), we don’t have 8 kids, I don’t wear clothes from the 70’s (although my kids would beg to differ) and we don’t drive around in a people mover, not that I have anything against people movers, they are very practical cars, but just not for me!

In 2009 when we took a year out and travelled the world, it obviously meant taking our kids out of school! Both kids had been in school since they turned 5 and I had no intentions of doing anything different. I wasn’t very disciplined so figured homeschooling wasn’t for us, I would leave it to all those other crazy Mums out there that were structured, organized and worked to a schedule! Those Mum’s that could turn a yoghurt pottle into a work of art, that could grow amazing gardens, live off the land, bake all day and all the while teach their kids algebra, science and how to be a law abiding citizen. Yip, I would leave it to those Mum’s!

So we left NZ  without a hitch, but when we got to the USA no one wanted to know us. The US Embassy said we couldn’t put them in school as we weren’t citizens and the  NZ Embassy said, well actually you are in the States, we don’t care what you do!

So it was sink or swim. It was either me teaching them or letting them free and the world teaching them! As much as I agree with “tough love” I thought sending out our then 9 and 11-year-olds, out into the big wide world by themselves, without equipping them the best we could, was not really an option for us, so it came down to me!

Oh my goodness, I was now responsible for my children’s education! There was no more blaming the Government, the schools, the teachers or even their friends, nope, this was now on my shoulders. What if I got this wrong? What if I screwed up and my kids couldn’t add 8+7 when they were 14? What if I taught them the sky was blue, and it wasn’t? What if, what if, what if? The pressure. The angst. The feeling of inadequacy. Ahhhhhhh!

But you know God is awesome, he calmed me down, told me to take a deep breath and said “You can do this. You don’t think I would give you these precious children and not equip you, do you?” Well, no of course not God, not when you put it like that!

So we did it! We had an incredible year. The kids (and actually I did too) learnt so much. Not just from books, but more importantly from life experiences. If you want an ice cream in the middle of Paris and you can’t speak the language you WILL work out a way to communicate! I believe book learning is important, please don’t get me wrong, I am all for it, but the things we learnt by “living” has taught us so much more, and those experiences are memories we will never forget.

When we came home in 2010 we decided to put the kids back in school but then in 2012 something changed……..