I love having a big family... I really do. And, most of the time, I really love homeschooling too. It certainly hasn't been an easy journey but I don't think I would've ever learned so much about my boys or myself any other way (I'm a slow learner). I also really enjoy peeking around the homeschooling internet community a bit. There are some amazing women out there whom I really admire. Women who are really devoted to enriching their roles as mothers and wives. Women who are devoted to expanding the education of their children beyond the basic expectations of today.
Before I go on... let me stop right here and say LOUD and CLEAR that I am not writing in judgement of any other educational choice or putting homeschoolers on a superior plane! I am equally amazed by many other moms I know. I'm just sharing from my perspective which is that of a homeschooler. Afterall, this is mainly a knitting blog and the last thing I want is to create division among knitters!
People always, always ask me how I do it. How I manage five kids, boys none the less, let alone homeschool them. So let me share a bit along these lines. I do get a lot of encouragement from these women... from their commitment and goals. By reading their blogs, as well as books by other homeschoolers and amazing Christian women like Elizabeth Elliot, I am often inspired or challenged to reflect on my own role and personal growth as a wife and mother. However, and this is my point, I have learned to not compare myself to these women or to become discouraged by my own shortcomings. I've learned to be encouraged from such women but instead of trying to become them (ha), I will often glean some insight into one little area of my life in which I'd like to grow... as a mother, a teacher, a wife... and work on that. There's always room for personal growth... but ya can't do it all at once!
So, my bottom line secret is... I set my goals very low! I don't bake my own bread, we don't keep a perfectly (ha, who am I kidding, how about "sort of") clean house, Jeff Corwin teaches science each day, and some days we forget to do math. Survival! That's my goal in a nutshell. I'm shooting for sanity, clean underwear, and, most importantly, boys who love the Lord.
Keeping food in the house is actually my greatest challenge, yet a necessary one that I must keep working on. My kids moan when I order pizza again and still don't understand why they have to shower or comb their hair if it's not Sunday. They quite frequently fight like cats and dogs (actually we had a cat and dog that got along much better than my kids do) but even in this they are learning self-control, to accept/tolerate people whom they may occasionally find annoying (afterall they can't tackle their future co-workers), and to respect different opinions and perspectives. They are pretty good at sharing and the older ones are even capable of playing a board game without ending up in a fight. (For this I find that immediate chore assignment has been especially effective.)
And as for me... while many of my personal goals are often focused on my relationship with God, my DH and boys. Things like patience, gentleness, time management, laundry and dinner. I try to be realistic in my expectations and I have no guilt in taking an hour or two (or so... usually late at night) for myself each day either. I need this time of knitting, blogging, or reading to be me... to be enriched, and not lose myself in the chaos. I learned this lesson the hard way.
Anyway, I am not trying to offer advice. That would be a joke. I am simply trying to give you a glimpse into "how" I do it. Basically, not well... but I think we're all pretty happy.
PS. Funny thing is... it just occurs to me that absolutely none of this thinking carries over into my knitting. My expectations are extremely unrealistic, I try to do way too much at one time, and I (ashamedly) always compare my progress & results to others. Hmmmm... sounds like the dysfunctional side of me simply found a new hobby.
BTW - The pictures highlight my progress on Sahara. I love the shirt-tail hem and diamond ribbing! So much so that I'm even willing to forgive Wendy for the K3tog tbls. :)