Planning for next year’s curriculum and schedule looks a lot like piles of books and papers scattered in semi-organized chaos across the corner of my bedroom.
My intention was, eventually, to craft a beautiful and photogenic display. I’m an (accidental) homeschool blogger, after all. I think that’s part of the job description.
Yeah. Um. That won’t be happening. I’ll just be happy if all those books and papers get to the proper shelves before we officially go back to a regular school routine in a couple weeks.
This is a semi-metaphor for the way homeschooling often goes around here. Life is sometimes hard, and often surprising. I didn’t think my summer would end up being filled with multiple physical therapy appointments a week, nor did I anticipate the surprising orthodontic issues that would send us to multiple offices across town. Add in VBS volunteering, visits to grandparents, virtual assistant work, baseball practices and tournament, and the ordinary fun and foibles of regular life and responsibilities. And, of course, those 5 kids still somehow needed to eat 3 to 73 times a day.
The “simple” in my simple summer goals became more like non-existent some weeks.
Ordinary doesn’t mean something is wrong
My life doesn’t look like a pristine, filtered Instagram photo. My homeschool plans are plain, and I don’t use washi tape. My kids often fight with each other, I’m constantly cleaning potty accidents off the floor, and several pieces of our furniture are patched with duct tape.
I bet many of you can relate.
But you know what? This does not mean that our life is not also joyful and beautiful and purposeful. In that mess, God is creating something wonderful and showing forth His own glory. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, after all! (2 Corinthians 12:8-10) Jesus came to bring the glorious hope described here:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,Isaiah 61:1-3
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.”
The plain, ordinary, sometimes-chaotic reality of my life also does not mean that my homeschool is missing a distinct vision or a good plan. Yes, my big-picture-plans may be simple. My homeschool planning pages certainly won’t win any art awards. But it is the content of the plans that really counts! And the content is full of true and good and beautiful things that will, God willing, capture our imagination, fill our hearts with wonder and praise for the beauty of God, and discipline our minds.
Do you truly hear this, weary homeschool Mama? Are you discouraged because the ideal vision in your head somehow isn’t translating to the real life God has called you to? Be encouraged! It doesn’t have to be perfect, and definitely doesn’t have to be fancy. It’s about getting up each day with our eyes fixed on Jesus, persevering in our calling, and standing fast by grace alone.
Don’t let that perfect image you’ve built up in your head steal your delight in the beauty God is fashioning in the sometimes-crazy-reality around you!
I actually came to the computer intending to type up a list of the books, morning time topics, and extracurriculars we’re eagerly anticipating for the upcoming school year. But it looks like I needed to preach the gospel to myself instead, and you got to listen in. 😊
Mamas, let us repent of our constant striving; rest in the perfect, finished work of Jesus for our identity; and rejoice in these ordinary moments of our ordinary days that are weaving together the extraordinary tapestry of our lives.