Thursday, September 22, 2011

Myth Busters: Homeschool Edition! - Setting Priorities

The topic of our monthly homeschool support group meeting last month was "Myth Busters: Homeschool Edition", inspired by the Myth Busters television show and Todd Wilson's book, Lies Homeschool Moms Believe.

Our illustrious madame pres., Becky, who has very capably relieved me of my presidential duties this fall, created some great Power Point slides to introduce each Myth we addressed, complete with Todd Wilson's hilarious homeschool cartoons.

We talked about 4 Myths, or Lies that homeschool moms believe.

#1  Everybody else's kids are smarter and better behaved than mine.

#2 Everybody else has a cleaner house and serves better meals.

#3 Everybody else is more spiritual than I am.

#4  Everybody else can do it all and is more capable than I am.

A different mom tackled each myth, sharing about what their homeschool was like and how we all get caught in that same trap of comparing ourselves to others around us who we just KNOW are doing a better job than we are.

I talked about Myth #4.  As a veteran homeschooler with 4 graduates and as a support group leader, I know that I am sometimes put on that pedestal of "doing it all".  And just like Gena Suarez, homeschool mom of 6 and editor of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, relates in this article,  it just ain't so!

I may do a lot of things that you don't do.  But I'm certainly not doing "it all".   You see, we all make choices about where we will and will not spend our time and energy.  We also all have different temperaments, skills, callings, and tolerances. 

I have a friend who gets more done in a day than I do in a month - no lie.  She amazes me, and wears me out just hearing about her day.  She keeps a spotless house, has a speaking ministry, decorates to the hilt for every holiday, has grandchildren as well as a houseful of little adopted children, and paints her kitchen in the middle of the night after she irons everyone's shorts and tee shirts!

Another friend is homeschooling her youngest 2 out on a farm where she and her husband have been homesteading for the past 8 years.  She has a huge garden, cans hundreds of jars of gorgeous fruits and vegetables every harvest, is nurturing an orchard that they hope will provide retirement income someday, is active in overseas missions work as well as ministry at her church.

These two busy ladies are doing very different things  - neither is doing it all!  And neither of them is doing what I am doing. Or what you are doing.

Many years ago, I heard a speaker at a homeschool conference talk about setting priorities, and at the meeting I shared something that she taught us then. That is, make a list of What I Do and another list of What I Don't Do - and realize that life is about choices.

My list of What I Do includes
  • homeschooling my 13 yr old son
  • keeping up with my grown children and their needs
  • serving in leadership of our homeschool association
  • teaching history in a weekly Co-op
  • hosting a monthly Geography Club for middle schoolers in my home
  • leading a Mentor Group for new homeschool moms, and talking to many, many people about homeschooling through email and on the phone
  • helping my husband in his role as director of our homeschool sports program
  • chairing the homeschool prom committee
  • serving on the homeschool graduation committee
  • attending my son's sporting events
  • baking cupcakes to help support my daughter in her ministry work
  • clipping coupons and trying to figure out sales and ways to save money on our grocery bill
  • blogging / facebook / 
  • moderating our homeschool group's email loop
  • cooking healthy meals for my family
  • keep up with laundry and maintain at least a sanitary home
  • attend church ; try to have a daily quiet time

My list of What I Do Not Do includes
  • keeping a spotless house - heck, I don't even make my bed very often
  • working outside the home
  • gardening 
  • scrapbooking
  • home decorating
  • teaching Sunday School
  • attending Women's Bible Study or Women's Ministry events
  • paying the bills ( my husband takes care of that, not me)
  • painting, drawing, calligraphy - all of which I enjoy!
  • singing in the choir or in church musicals
  • sewing
  • nature study, lots of hands on science experiments, big art projects
  • lots of field trips
  • shopping for fun
  • exercise
  • lots lots more.....

The point is, those things on my What I Do Not Do list are good things, things I would like to do, some are things I SHOULD do.  But the reality is, moving things from that list to the DO list will require a) giving something else up, or b) sleeping less, or c) becoming much more organized, which is not something that comes naturally to me AT ALL.

When you look at me and see the things I Do, you are not looking at the list of things I Do Not Do.  So take a look at your own list of things you Do, and realize that those are hopefully the things that bring you joy, that are important to you, that are your calling right now.   Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others.  Look in your life for time wasters, and consider if there are things that need to be removed in order to allow time for what you have determined is important for YOU.  Pray and seek God about where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing, and rest in that. Realize that priorities will change as the Seasons of your Life change.

Be content. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

From the Recliner

I keep coming here and thinking that I really need to update the blog, and wonder what I should write about, but I just haven't had the energy or motivation to come up with anything wonderful... or meaningful.... or even interesting.  Well, I've had a few ideas that might have been.. but just couldn't get them written down.  So....

I've spent most of the last week in the recliner chair in my living room.  Recuperating from knee surgery for a torn miniscus. It is slightly depressing that it wasn't an injury, per se, but a "getting older, wear-and-tear" type of thing.  Over the past year or maybe two, I've had pain in my left knee that started as being occasional and slightly irritating, to being more and more frequent and more and more severe, to the point of being somewhat debilitating.  Finally, a couple of visits to the orthopedist, an x-ray, and an MRI got us to the diagnosis of arthritis and a torn miniscus. So a week ago last Friday, I went in for arthroscopic out-patient surgery. Not a big deal.  I went in at 8:30am to prep, was taken back to the OR at 11:00am, and was home by 4:00 pm. 
My wonderful friends have been bringing meals for my family, and Amanda has taken Jason to his classes/practices all week.  So I took my pain meds and sat in the recliner with my leg up most of the week, getting up occasionally to hobble around on crutches, and after a few days, to venture out without them.  Still some soreness, stiffness....  I go back to the doc for my post-surgery follow-up appointment tomorrow, and hopefully will set up some times to meet with the physical therapists to get this leg on the road to strength and flexibility again!

thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you to everyone who prayed, brought a meal, sent a note, or just stayed out of my hair last week!    :-)

As I've been sitting in my recliner, I've taken the opportunity to read a book for pleasure - usually I read for a purpose, for information, for preparation for something.  But this time I read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  I saw the movie a few weeks ago with my daughter and some friends.  Great movie! Wonderful book!

Yesterday afternoon we mourned with some dear friends who lost their baby boy at 6 months gestation.  He was child number 6,  son number 3, grandchild number 12.  His parents and siblings were so excited as the date of his arrival was getting closer, and preparations were underway ... the crib came down from the attic, other baby items were being recollected from various friends and family, anticipation over having a baby in the house again after 4 years was building.  Every single life -  even when a breath has not yet been taken - is precious and so full of expectation and possiblity.  There was a small memorial service at the funeral home, and friends and family joined together in sorrow, but also in hope and a shared assurance that this child was in heaven and there will someday be a reunion with those who live him so much in the here and now.