I normally hate that word. Because it’s usually coupled with words like: unmet or unrealistic. There is a sense of disappointment related to it.
Thankfully, I am not writing about either of those… Instead, my expectations have been met beyond what I could have ever expected to begin with! But first let me give some background.
January 2010 was a very scary month for me. I found out that the sweet little Christian school where I was teaching at and where my three children were attending would not have first grade the next school year. Olivia was in kindergarten and would have to go to first grade. I began to panic. Although both my husband and I were homeschooled, I did not feel a tremendous need or conviction to homeschool my own children. Yet at the same time, the idea of sending her to a public school was very scary to us. We felt we had no other option but to homeschool. But I did not want this. I was happy with the arrangement I had. I loved teaching three year old preschool. It brought me tremendous joy! I would be sad to leave. I also loved having my children in that enviroment. It was very special. So began a five month long internal struggle.
The end of the school year was quickly approaching. I was still undecided. I had never been that undecided before in my life. My emotions were like a pendulum swinging back and forth. I felt like I was going insane. Finally, one night Dustin approached me after dinner. He said that he had noticed how badly I was struggling. He apologized and said that he was sorry for not helping me like he should. He then told me that he felt like God wanted us to homeschool Olivia and that he would be there to support me. At that point, I did not care if he told me that we were moving to the other side of the world to become mushroom farmers! I was just so relieved to finally know what we were doing.
After that I was still scared but I was starting to get excited too. I attended a homeschool conference and got my curriculum. I was ready to get started! We started the day after Independence Day, early I know. But I needed to get an idea of what life was going to be like as a homeschooling mother because I was still planning on teaching music twice a week at the preschool where the boys would also be attending. I knew it was going to be a lot, but I felt I needed it. I needed the connection that came from working at the preschool. I needed the connection with the children. I needed to feel needed. The first couple of weeks were very difficult for all of us. This was so new and it took time to figure out how to work out the kinks. Thankfully I at least knew we would need time. And the more time that passed, the easier it became and the more… do I dare say it?? …. the more I enjoyed it! It became a pleasure and a joy. So much so that I met with the director at the preschool and told her that I would not be coming back as music teacher and that I would keep the boys at home with me as well.
The struggle that I had experienced those long months was I feel necessary, even the struggle after we started to homeschool. It’s like a butterfly that is inside a cocoon. It takes time to develop and when it comes time for it to come out of the cocoon, it has to struggle in order for it’s wings to strengthen, so that it can be ready to fly. If you were to peel away the cocoon to make it easier for the butterfly to free itself, you would kill it. Struggle is necessary and is part of the process of growing.
My first expectations of homeschooling was that it was going to be hard, grueling, depressing. I expected to hate it. But through all of that struggling, I feel God was slowly weaning me from the need to be at the preschool and replaced it with an all surpassing joy. The joy of being with my children.
I have already seen wonderful things come of it, I can’t wait to see more.