Adventures in Homeschooling in Southern Indiana

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Fresh Start for Easter

Lent is almost over, and I’m relieved.  I had really good Lenten resolutions this year. I was going to get my prayer life on track. I was going to actually take the time to read and reflect on the Bible every single day.  I was going to work through A Mother’s Rule of Life, Holiness for Housewives, and even The House That Cleans Itself. I was going to take time to reflect on my vocation, and really strive to be an excellent wife and mother.  

So how did that go? 

Well, this morning, as the babysitters looked on, I ended up nearly in tears over a lost set of keys. Which meant that I had to reschedule my son’s speech therapy appointment and inconvenience his teacher and some really awesome friends and neighbors.   

Plus, I only made it through half of my morning prayers today, forgot to say grace before lunch, can never seem to find a Bible when I have quiet time (even though the house is full of them) and have not managed to have clean socks in the drawers for my husband in weeks. And let’s not even start talking about the state of the kitchen or my cooking.

In short, Lent has been a total disaster, I’m a total mess, and it’s only by the grace of God that I manage to keep these children He gave me alive. I stink as a mother, a housekeeper, a homeschooler, and a Christian. I am never, ever going to be able to climb out of this hole on my own.

Lent is a season of repentance. It forces us to face our faults head on, to see how weak we are, and to admit we’re terrible messes desperately in need of a savior.  Then, right on the heels of this failure, we get Easter Sunday and Divine Mercy Sunday. God knows we need a Savior. That’s why Jesus died for us. 

We can’t climb out of this pit on our own, just like we can’t seem to stick to our Lenten resolutions.  But Jesus extends His hand and pulls us out. He shows us mercy. We trust in Him, we run to Him, and He gives us a fresh start, without grudges and nagging. Even though he knows that we’re going to fall down again, that we’ll never be perfect, and that, left to our own devices, we’ll just keep digging our holes deeper and deeper until we’ve dug our graves.

At this point in the year, homeschooling often feels like a really long Lent. We had plans for our kids, but they screwed up. Now they’re behind. Punishment has been piled on top of punishment. They’ve lost sugar and TV until they’re 80. Every day, the pit gets deeper. They’re ready to give up, we’re ready to scream, and nothing gets better.

So, how do they get out of the pit? This is one of the huge traps in homeschooling. We don’t grade. We expect our kids to achieve total mastery before we move on. We don’t give zeroes, we just demand completion. And most of the time, it works.  But sometimes, the hole gets too deep, and a kid reaches the point where it seems easier to be entombed then catch up.

Maybe, at that point, it’s time to show a little mercy, to give the 70% and move on, to give a fresh start for Easter.  Because, heck, if I can’t climb out of the pit without help, why should I expect more from my kids?

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