Thursday, June 15, 2017

So Long School Year

"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart."
2 Corinthians 4:1

We have officially reached the end of our 10th year of homeschooling.  This is kind of my life, teaching my kids at home.  It's hard to draw lines between me, my kids, our home, our lives, because they are all rolled together.  This isn't just school, it's living our lives together. Because of that, I admit, nearly everything brings me back to them.  These four children I have dedicated my life to.

I kind of worry about that sometimes.  What am I going to do once they are grown and raised and on their own, when I don't have the board books scattered across the floor anymore and all the curriculum I've collected just collects dust?  

I have no idea what I'll do. But I believe what I'm doing right now is preparation for it. Because, yes, this is my life right now, but so much more is being cultivated in me- and my kids- than I can see.

For now, I love what I get to do.  I'm not saying homeschooling is easy. It isn't. When people ask me how I do it with four children, one a toddler, one almost in high school, I shrug. I really don't know how I do it. We just do and we always have. Some days it does seem impossible.  I doubt myself a lot. But here's what I know:

God has given me this ministry. When almost everything else seems unsure, I am convinced this is what the Lord wants me to be doing with my life.   And this ministry of raising my children, and homeschooling as part of that, is given me by God's mercy. His goodness. I could have done anything with my life, but he has given me this.

But I do lose heart, often.  This verse from 2 Corinthians really blessed me this week as we read it at Bible study.  The Lord is always so faithful to give me a "parting verse" every school year. This was it.  No matter what we are called to do in this life, no matter how sure of it, we will be tempted to lose heart.  There is always that elusive Easy Street a few blocks away.  Over and over, I think I have to make peace with the fact that this wasn't meant to be easy, but it doesn't mean we are failing.

My hope for the summer is to rest and soak up the sun and make wonderful memories with my kids outside of math and spelling.  I am very proud of my kiddos for their hard work this year, for tackling new things and sticking it out.  I love to imagine all the plans the Lord has for these kiddos.

Our crowning achievement, or should I say, the joy in our homeschool, is all the wonderful books we have shared together. So allow me to share with you the titles I either read aloud or that we listened to via audiobook.  Because this is the good stuff we will remember.

Return to Gone Away Lake- Elizabeth Enright

Thimble Summer- Elizabeth Enright

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (audiobook)- JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (audiobook)- JK Rowling

Tales From Moomin Valley- Tove Jansen

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (audiobook)- JK Rowling

The Green Ember- SD Smith * A favorite of the kids

About Average- Andrew Clements

Five Children and It- E. Nesbit *

Turn Homeward, Hannalee- Patricia Beatty

Brady- Jean Fritz

George Washington Carver- The Benges

Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (audiobook)- JK Rowling

Little Women- Louisa May Alcott*

Peter and the Starcatchers (audiobook)- Dave Barry

Across Five Aprils (audiobook)- Irene Hunt

The Children of Noisy Village- Astrid Lindgren

The Great Wheel- Robert Lawson

Little Britches- Ralph Moody* 

Island of the Blue Dolphins- Scott O'Dell

Mary on Horseback- Rosemary Wells* A tiny little gem of a book

The Year of Miss Agnes- Kirkpatrick Hill *This is the book that made me fall in love with reading aloud many years ago

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt- Coco Young

Wolf Hollow (audiobook)- Lauren Wolk *

Rainbow Garden by Patricia St. John

The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley * Hands down my favorite. Just read it!

Raymie Nightingale (audiobook)- Kate DiCamillo

The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales (audiobook)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

The 100 Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Watsons Go to Birmingham- Christopher Paul Curtis

Turtle in Paradise (audiobook)- Jennifer Holm

I have noted with a * our favorites, though it is so hard to choose.  This is the good stuff, when all else seems to fail.  You will notice, maybe with surprise, that we forayed into world of Harry Potter.  We have enjoyed them greatly.  If you ever want to talk about our choice to read them, I'd love to.  

Happy Summer, sweet friends. Soak it all up!

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