Our Leftovers.

I remember when my kids went to school outside of our home, that every single day they absolutely fell apart between the hours of 3:30-4:30 or so. Maybe it wasn’t everyday, but it sure felt like. Perhaps, it would have stopped as they grew older, I don’t know. It’s as if, they had held it together for so long at school, that they would just come home and fall apart for a while. One of the things that I so enjoy about homeschool, is that hour has disappeared in my life…and theirs. However, it is now just kinda spread out over twenty four hours. No need to hold it together for anything.

You know the saying goes that kids act better for others then their own parents. It’s also true that sometimes it is hardest to be nicest to our very own families. It’s as if the second we set foot out the door, many of us put on our shiny happy faces. We give our best outside our own walls and give our family our leftovers.

Let me tell you, that somedays, I live in leftover land. I get real raw emotion 24/7 from my littles and you know what? They get it from me too. It used to really get on my nerves. I would find myself wishing for that “I can’t act like that in front of my friends” fairy to fly right in and give my kids a kick in their misbehaving booties… and mine. Seriously. Give me some of that peer pressure. PAHLEASE.

I understand that misbehaving is going to be present with children whether they go to school outside the home or not. BUT WOW, does it make teaching math challenging when your child is tired, cranky, and mad at their sister because she breathed on him, or heaven forbid touched his side of the table. There is no holds barred. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter if you are a very cool middle schooler, or a great big first grader. The good, the bad, and the ugly. They all visit us on a regular basis.


We are home a LOT. The truth of the matter is that can add an extra challenge to learning because there are no outside eyes here. I asked one of my children the other day why they thought they could treat their sibling that way and they didn’t treat their friends that way. The immediate and completely honest response was, if I treated my friend that way, they wouldn’t be my friend anymore, but So n So (name not available so as to protect the sometimes innocent) will always be in my family. Honestly, for a completely self indulgent moment, I was mortified. TO. MY. CORE. I started to form a very fantastic lecture involving such statements as I raised you better than that and the like. Then I stopped. I realized I am completely guilty of the same thing. I am just more eloquent and would never dream of saying it so blatant. We are family and we are close, but all too often give each other our worst. We know that we will always be there for each other and to some degree maybe in that moment, maybe we feel as if we don’t have to work as hard.

The Lord not so subtly hit me over the head last week with a new perspective on this. The heart is at the heart of the matter. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7. For all the misbehaving, cranky attitudes, and nasty comments, this is our reality. God is using me to shape their hearts. All. day. long.  I have four safe walls to continue to daily nurture and teach these little people how to climb into the arms of Jesus and park it there, for a lifetime. I need to look at these moments of opportunity instead of failure in my parenting skills, or education choice. Opportunity to gently TEACH them again the path that they should follow and to realize that I will be teaching them again and again and again…..and YET AGAIN.

It would be ridiculous to expect to run a marathon without pain.  In just the same way, it would be ridiculous to expect to raise four children with the absence of discipline. It is part of the journey. Something to embrace, not avoid.

The Lord calls each of us to our own path. Mine happens to be homeschooling and I certainly do not feel this is the right or only way to educate your child. We each have to make those decisions for ourselves and they each are going to look different. That is the distinct and overwhelming beauty in this life God has given us all. However, each path is going to bring about its own unique set of positives and challenges. The key is to embrace our own life and learn from it. We are responsible to make the most of our days on this earth.

 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3



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