Monday, August 2, 2010


Today at my house, we are trying to work our way back into the school routine. Time for lunch, and so far, so good! I hope our afternoon will be as productive as our first morning.

Anyway, school work has delayed my ability to post here on the blog. So today, while I'm trying to get my school legs under me, here is a post written about two years ago, just at the start of school. I need to be reminded of some things over and over again!

(originally posted September 5, 2008)

A friendly old-timer attempted to strike up a conversation with my son as we waited at the Co-Op loading dock for our two bags of chicken feed. "So, where do you go to school, son?"

"Oh, I don't go to school anywhere. I just stay at home with my brothers and sisters all day."

I winced and made a mental note to add one more item to the list of Things Not to Say.

Or how about this line - I overheard one of my teenagers joking to a new acquaintance, "Know what? My Mom had to go through the third grade eight times!" (Just to set the record straight, I passed third grade on the first go-'round, thirty-something years ago, then 'went through' again seven more times just to make sure I had my math facts down pat.)

Wal-mart had their big back-to-school sale a couple of weeks ago, so I headed to town early on a Saturday morning and loaded up a cart full of 5-cent notebooks and 50-cent packs of looseleaf paper. As I stood in the check-out lane, another mother and her young son pulled up behind me with their own buggy full of school supplies. I turned to the lad hanging on the front of the cart. "Are you ready for school to start back?"

The boy screwed up his face and groaned. "NO WAY!"

"Me neither," I commiserated. Don't get me wrong - I'm a homeschool mom, and I value the privilege of teaching my kids at home. I love that we all sit around the table together doing our schoolwork each day. I am thrilled when I see my older children patiently explaining new or difficult concepts to their younger siblings, or the younger kids excitedly describing what they are learning to their older sisters and brothers. I am grateful for the opportunity to see growth and development in my kids, and for the opportunity to see and know and address their character flaws, sin, and weaknesses.

But I sure do love summer holiday - with the textbooks shut away for a few months, we are all free to GET OUTSIDE to our hearts' content! Piddling in the garden, fishing, wading the creek, enjoying a cool drink while swaying leisurely on the porch swing . . . . no lesson plans, no deadlines, no homework to check, just sweet, sweet freedom.

Still perched on the front of his buggy, the little fellow at Wal-mart turned to his mom. "Hey, why can't I do homeschool, Mom? Wouldn't that be great?!" (Now, this youngster had no idea I was a homeschool mom, but his question definitely perked my ears!)

"NO WAY!" his mother protested. "I couldn't stand to have you at home for one day longer - you'd drive me absolutely crazy!" She rolled her eyes and looked my way (I guess she thought I'd be sympathetic to her situation.) "I can't wait for school to start!" she laughed.

As I drove back home, I mulled over this woman's comment. Maybe she was just joking, making small-talk with a stranger in the check-out lane at Wal-mart. But, it saddened me to think that maybe she really was eager to have her child away at school, where he wouldn't "drive her crazy." And, even if she was joking, it grieved me to think what her son must be understanding from her words, about his relationship to her and her relationship to him. Then, too, I was convicted about my own mouth - when had my loose lips unknowingly uttered demeaning or hurtful things, even in jest, in the hearing of my own dear children?

* * * * * * * * * *

Thomas, my fourteen-year-old, was out picking blackberries with me one hot, muggy afternoon this summer. "I wish I had a job," he pined.

"Oh! That's great!" I perked up, excited to know I had an eager worker on my hands.

Thomas picked up on my excitement immediately. "No, Mom, not that kind of job . . . not another job to do here, for the family. I mean a real job, one that pays money."

"Oh." Although I felt a little disappointed, I understood his desire for some kind of tangible reward for his labors. We continued picking for several minutes without speaking, noisy cicadas chirring in the trees across the pasture as we dropped dark, ripe berries into our buckets. "You know what, Thomas, nothing I do earns me money. I don't get paid for anything I do here, for my family, but my work has tremendous value." I am so grateful to be right here, right now, with this precious son of mine, I thought to myself. "I wouldn't trade my job for any other job in the world."

Thomas looked over at me, and the smile on his face was rich payment indeed for my labors.

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man (or the mom!) whose quiver is full of them. - Psalm 127:3-5a

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