Lightly Worn Former Homeschool Mom for Hire

On the final day of the first week of school, I have come to the conclusion that yes, my homeschool career is (at least apparently) officially over.

For the last 16 years, I have served many functions. Head Chef. Sous Chef. Prep Cook. Domestic CEO. Founder of the Davis Academy, where I have also served as Guidance Counselor, Principal, Teacher, Administrator, Curriculum Coordinator, and School Nurse. Dog Trainer. Part-time Gardener. Chief Dishwasher. Maid. Chauffeur. Author. Photographer. Clown. Dictator. Personal Shopper. Prayer Coordinator. Assistant Feral Cat Tamer. Party Planner. Social Media Stalker (a title assigned by my teens, whom I confess to stalking). Sunday School Teacher. Back-Up Mom.

Question: How exactly does one form a resume from such a conglomeration?

Answer: You don’t. You write a silly post like this one.

Instead, allow me to highlight some of my accomplishments.

I make food from scratch; ie – I make pumpkin pie starting with an actual pumpkin and a bag of flour. I firmly believe recipes are meant to be general guidelines and use them as a springboard. Sometimes I measure things, but not always. I do not understand boxed cake mixes.

I am a nerd.

I can multi-task but have learned not to do it too often. I would much rather be fully present in the moment than parcel out my attention in so many slices that no one gets a full share. The older I get, the more I value satiety and quality above teasers and the illusion of productivity.

I have written, but not yet published, a novel. I love playing with words and secretly hope to make a living at it someday.

Once upon a time, it was believed by three little people that I had the power to banish stinging insects and diminish the fearsome intensity of a thunderstorm by my mere presence. Now, there is some debate among the same three rather tall people whether or not I can successfully navigate a trip to the local grocery store.

I frequent the local grocery store. I have friends there.

I love God above all else. I really do. He will always be a priority. If that is unacceptable to you, I would not make a good employee to you anyway. But know that honoring Him is what fuels my desire to do my best at all endeavors, and my standards are higher because I cannot reach them on my own. That is why He is my priority.

I am trying to learn Hebrew but making painfully slow progress.

My husband is my best friend in the entire world, though I have been blessed with many close friends. The only secrets I keep from him are yours. He knows more about me than anyone else, and I tell him more than he wants to hear (except for your secrets, of course). The poor man has suffered through more blow-by-blow narrations of my day than any human should ever endure, and he has done so it with unbelievable grace and patience. I love him, too.

I love kids of all ages. In my mind, I have more children than the three I gave birth to, and I genuinely love each one. I enjoy hearing the things they tell me, and I still have 90% or better of all drawings and cards they have given me through the years. These are some of my most treasured possessions.

I have worked with two-year-olds in Sunday school for many years and have been delighted to hear how they repeat what they’ve learned at home. Bible stories like Abraham and Goldilocks and Bible verses like, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind… and all your neck,” are apparently among my most memorable teachings.

I have no idea where Goldilocks is in the Bible. Maybe she’s in Second Nebuchadnezzar.

My dogs usually obey except when they don’t. I have a sneaking suspicion that the former feral cat who now lazes beside me may have actually trained me. But he catches and eats flies, so I don’t care.

I managed a homeschool for 10 years, which involves selecting, purchasing, and modifying curriculum; planning; scheduling; teaching; grading; coordinating a variety of activities; providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner; training kids to help clean up; becoming exasperated and redoing the clean-up; patience; patience; patience; and learning that I really can NOT do anything apart from the Lord, especially be patient.

And all that after I selected “teacher” as the very last thing I would choose as a career in high school. Good one, Adonai. Good one.

My children survived and are doing really, really well in private school.

There may be more, but I have detained you long enough… and it’s time to go to the grocery store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renovation

This is my living room right now:

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You’ll note the assorted pieces of a sleigh bed stashed behind the couch or atop the dog crate, the random rolled-up rug, my messy desk devoid of my photo processing desktop computer, the filing cabinet adorned with two lamps, and so on. If you could look to the right, you’d see a couple of dressers, assorted computer parts, a couple of nightstands, and a whole lot of homeless junk.

Not far beyond that lies a room which used to sport yellow and red handprints on a cheerful blue background, custom cabinets filled with curriculum and home school supplies, three desks, and a whiteboard.

Now the walls are muted to a neutral gray, the paint-stained carpet has been replaced with vinyl planking, and the room currently houses the planking and materials for a new flooring project.

I assure you, this is not the normal state of affairs at our home; we are in a state of flux. My husband has a little breather in his crazy work schedule and we are beginning  a long-desired (and possibly long overdue) removal of the carpet in as many places as we can afford.

Why am I telling you this?

I suppose it is metaphorical. My entire life is in the midst of remodeling project.

One week from today, all three of my children will attend the first day at Zion Christian Academy.  In other words, one week from today, I will officially be out of a job.

Naturally, I will still be parenting. I am assured that job has no end; only changing requirements. But for the first time in 16 years, the full-time parenting, shepherding, and educating of my children that is homeschooling will be at an end. We are in a state of total transition.

So what now? I wish I knew.

Just as this shuffling of furniture brings about much reorganizing and re-evaluating of possessions, so also I am finding myself sorting through many familiar habits and routines and trying to discern which ones will need to stay and which need to be tossed. Some I know must stay – my time with God, my study of His Word; these are non-negotiable. Others, well… we shall see.

Also, as the gutting of rooms brings many discoveries – some of great value like a letter to me from one of the kids when they were young; some less wonderful, like the cigarette butt left beneath the carpet by the builders – so I am finding many discoveries beneath the surface of my life.

Some are bittersweet – an increased intentionality in my time with the kids as the quantity of time together naturally diminishes. Still, each precious moment with my brood is so much sweeter even as they become more rare, so there is great joy.

Other findings are less lovely, like the lack of a college degree coming back to haunt me – the carelessly discarded stub of a reckless and wasted youth buried for years beneath the duties of a homeschool mom.

So today at the age of 43, I am sifting through the topsy-turvy assortment of abilities and desires that have shaped my life, evaluating them for usefulness during this next season, exposing them to my God for examination, and seeking His help in deciding what to keep and what to discard.

At this crossroads, I do not know which direction to take. Until I do, I will simply stand, prayerfully exploring my options and ready to obey once the order is given. It is a season of transition; a humbling time of reckoning for past decisions and a painful exercise in trusting God to reveal His purposes for me. During it all, I doggedly cling to the promise that His grace is sufficient for me even as I survey the wreckage necessary for renovation.

And I praise Him that no matter how crazy or hopeless things look to me now, the work He is doing will be well worth it in the end. Just like our new floors.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…

…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:25-26, 28