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Behold our everyday home. Most days it looks like a library and a daycare collided spewing books, papers, pencils, toys, bouncers, burp cloths, dirty dishes, and  diapers  everywhere. (Believe it or not, it actually looks more messy than this most days.)

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Amidst the mess, we have officially survived our first two days of the 2013-14 homeschool year!  I was woefully unprepared, but we jumped in anyway.  My to-do-ahead-of-time list didn’t get even half-way done.   So it will just have to get done little by little as we go along.

This will be my  8th year homeschooling, and I have to admit that I am completely terrified.  I haven’t felt this scared since our very first year. My daughter is starting high school, and this means homeschool gets serious.  All of my homeschooling mom friends who have graduated kids assure me it’s no big deal, but I just cannot yet imagine that is true.  I feel very much like I’m jumping off a cliff blindfolded.

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My kindergartner doing math.

In addition to this new and frightening venture, I have a very spirited 5-yr-old who is starting kindergarten this year.  Kindergarten is not so scary—except that I also have that brainy highschooler to keep track of, my fun-loving-but-undermotivated 11-yr-old to teach, my pretty little 3-yr-old to keep occupied, and my sweet, chubby infant to care for.

Just thinking about it all makes my head spin. Before school even started, I was regularly losing track of a child or two at any given time.  How on earth will I do it now???

I will cry a lot. I will pray a lot. Just like every other year.

Every year I am SURE I will not survive.  Every year I do.  God’s grace is the only explanation.

Homeschooling is hard.  It’s very hard.  But for our family, the rewards have been worth it.  So I keep reminding myself that we’ve made it this far.  Surely, God is not going to stop helping us now.

What’s the worst that could happen this year?  The house will be a mess, we’ll eat lots of processed food, and we’ll never have any clean laundry?  Well, what’s new?

My kids won’t do well on their standardized tests?  The other day, I ran into a friend of mine who had cancer a few years back. She shared with me that, the year she was having chemo, they basically lost a year of school progress.  Her daughter tested below grade level that year, and guess what?  Nothing happened.  The state didn’t come and declare my friend an unfit teacher and insist she put her child in public school immediately. Nothing at all happened.  When they tested the girl the next year, she had caught up and was significantly above grade level.  This is very comforting to me.  Even if we have a rotten year, the kids can catch up, and most likely government officials won’t come and drag my children away from me.

What if my teenager (and/or I) can’t handle high school?  My evaluator assures me that we can take our time.  She doesn’t have to finish one grade in one year.  She could take two years to finish one grade.  If she bombs a class?  We can retake it.

But what if I forget to take time to enjoy my precious chubby baby and sweet little ones who are growing at lightning speed? What if I hurry everyone through life, and I get too busy to be kind, patient, and gentle? What if  lose my perspective completely?  That would be truly tragic. (btw, that has happened way too much the past few years.)

So above all, I am resolving to enjoy my children this school year.  I’ll try my darndest to be patient will all my kids—and my Geek too.  I will try very hard not to rush them. I will attempt not to freak out that the house is always a disaster, that we are eating too much prepared convenience food, and that we don’t have any clean clothes to wear.

Heavenly father, please help me be present for everyone—big and small.  Please don’t let me get swallowed up by the impossibility of what lies before me!

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