Stresses and Struggles

This is an honest heart-felt post.  I tremble as I push the publish button …

I am battling ~

  • All 3 children started 3 different curriculums this year
  • Our high school curriculum only arrived on the 16th February!  A whole month wasted waiting …
  • Our new family business is b.u.s.y.  I’m compelled to answer phone calls when I just want to teach and try catch up (you can see the stress here, right?)
  • My middle-schooler-come-junior-high-schooler is in transition.

Of course, it should be evident ~

her growth spurts, mood swings, withdrawal

And with these influences there has been a definite change in innocence and enthusiasm in her homeschooling.

Somethings just do not “gel”.

I have those awful moments of resistance, reluctance, even – shocking – rolling eyes!

And we still haven’t found our rhythm.

She hasn’t found her groove.

When my eldest was this age, she told me she didn’t want to do Sketch Tuesday, sing Hymns, or do nature study with us.

And I had to let it go.

I was dismayed.

I even took it personally.

Now my 2nd daughter seems to be feeling the same way about some subjects and my approach.

I have to learn all over again to give up my controls and pick my battles wisely.

You see, I wanted that cozy picture of my girls all singing hymns, sketching birds and butterflies and sweetly reciting poems.  I hoped they would all know at least 31 scriptures and could recite quotes from living books.  Charlotte Mason is so much deeper and wider than subjects and principles, so why is it such a struggle in my home?

I am searching … seeking to know what is wrong?  I so desperately want to keep our Charlotte Mason subjects going, but it is just not all working.

  • is my curriculum and approach not age-appropriate?
  • am I being a “teacher” and not a loving mom traveling on a life journey with my children?
  • am I holding on to the perfect Christian homeschool “model” instead of trusting the Lord for His perfect will for our family.
  • Do I want to be in control of everything?
  • Do I have warped expectations of my children?
  • Am I pushy?
  • or worse – a perfectionist?
  • Am I performance driven?
  • Do I get in the way?
  • Do I expect what worked with one child to work with them all?

As I prayerfully and tearfully wait on the Lord, I realized that my family is not going to ever look and behave or learn like the “model” picture.  I have to let go of principles and ideals.

It may even seem that I am failing.

Fear of failing … a terrifying anxiety that looks for ways to control …

Faith … a hope amidst the uncertainty that waits expectantly …

I pray for faith to ~

  • be filled with grace to say yes to the unique and special in each child
  • be relevant
  • be understanding
  • build into my child’s inner heart-world
  • keep boundaries without controlling and manipulating
  • create an atmosphere of love and life and learning
  • breathe and let go of the “model” and find the Maker

What stresses and struggles do you face and how do you work through them?  Please share in the comments.

Blessings,

66 thoughts on “Stresses and Struggles

  1. {{{{{Nadene}}}}} I am not supposed to be reading this during school, so forgive my brief hug and prayer. I am familiar with these battles. It does seem to cycle. Your sister in Christ, Deborah

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  2. As a former eye-rolling teen myself (with regrets about it and apologies to my mother!), I am confident that “one day” your daughters will appreciate the things they now want to reject. They will delight in their memories of sketching and singing. I know this might not be a comfort right now, in the moment, but I hope it gives you perspective. You know how it is when a first-time mom of a newborn feels overwhelmed and TIRED, and experienced moms tell her, “This stage will end,” well….I think this is a similar moment. As we focus on the changes our teens are going through, we need to remember we are going through changes and transitions too. It’s okay to fumble a bit and feel insecure as we figure out the next stage. The struggles are not failures, but a sign of growth.

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    • @Charlotte Mason in the City, thanks for your encouraging perspective. I chanted “This too shall pass” through my first baby’s sleepless nights! I appreciate your wisdom – growth seems to only come with struggles, but we seldom welcome it!

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  3. What you describe may not be the model homeschool experience, but I suspect it is the typical one! At least I hope so, because we are going through much of the same with my 11 yo boy. All I can do is hang on, regroup, try to revise and hope we survive. LOL

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    • @Velma, one would think that having gone through it before I would be wiser and more rational. It surprises me to realize how emotional and spiritual homeschooling really is!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your heart and keeping it real. The moms with younger children often have no idea of what to expect during the pubescent years because it can be glossed over by mothers who want to uphold a certain image. You will be in my prayers!

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  5. I’m new to homeschooling, but not teenagers. You do have to pick your battles, but it doesn’t have to be a total retreat.

    If you see value in hymn study, and they don’t want to sing, let them play the guitar, or illustrate the text, or shoot a photo essay. The goal is to get the hymn text in their hearts – keep singing and having fun (lots of fun) with the younger one. If they don’t like sketch tuesday prompts let them skip that week and sketch something from their science book – they are still sketching and developing the eye for detail! You can also remind them of the benefits singing (mentally – lots of oxygen to the brain and phsically – breath control etc). Decide where you as the commander of the forces will draw the line based on your overall goals for their education drawn from your adult experience and perspective. After all, teenagers don’t actually know everything – they just think they do. They also don’t always know their own hearts.

    They can also do a few things that don’t rock their world out of love for you, (not guilt) and trust in your wisdom and character. We all do this for the people that we love. Most especially we do this for God. Good practice…

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  6. I know you don’t have much time, Nadene, but here is my offering to you:

    http://halfahundredacrewood.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-times-of-discouragement.html

    Please read it if you can possibly find the time, and then read through the three references in this entry to other journal entries I have written in times when I was struggling: When Failure Becomes Success, Improving My Vision, A Great Balancing Act. I hope that you can find some sense of comfort and encouragement through my own struggles.

    I am a long-time follower from across the big blue sea, but my husband works offshore Tanzania – one month at a time. So, I am quite fond of the fact that you live in Africa. And thank you for all the wonderful things you have provided for our family over here as we study God’s great big world.

    With prayers and blessings,
    Brandy
    Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

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  7. Oh Nadene,
    I’m a long time reader of your blog, though I have never spoken up.
    It will be okay. Embrace this new season! It is different or so it is for us. My children, who have always been homeschooled are 14, 13 and 11. The Lord will lead you to find a happy balance.

    For us, some electives like great art and nature journal have found their way into a weekly or monthly rhythm , while written narrations are broken up into daily tasks like Monday brainstorm, Tuesday outline, Wednesday rough draft…Some of our subjects too have become more independent, like Math and Faith with weekly check in meetings and some liturgical year “together” Faith sprinkled throughout.

    I can’t say it enough though it seems like in the thick of it, saying it and feeling it are far apart. It will be okay, embrace this new season, the Lord will lead you to find a happy balance.

    Hugs from another homeschool Mom who has been where you are,

    I will be happy to send you my assignment sheet for the children and my planner in pdf for inspiration tell me and address to send it.

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  8. Wow! this is an area i am currently praying about as well..i am the do it by the book type personality but i am finding during our first year of homeschooling that my daughter, 3rd grade, prefers something different. i had purchased a traditional boxed set curriculum for her this year(same one she used in private school during k-2nd). but i am finding we have less “struggles” when she is “naturally” learning something, not being forced to learn something. for example, for her writing, it was a struggle for me to get her to creative write on paper. but once i set her up on a laptop and she could type she has not stopped creating stories. she has such an imaginative mind..she just prefers to type it instead of write it! this journey is certainly not easy but know that you are experiencing so much of what we all go through.

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  9. My youngest son has oppositional defiance disorder so most of his life I have had to pick my battles. But he has taught me to really look at what I think is important and the reasons why I want him to learn certain things. I think I have learned from him as much as I have taught.

    I admire your ability to respect your children’s agency. Agency is an eternal principle and not even our HF forced us to choose the right. It’s not easy when they get to a certain age but it’s so important to teach them to choose wisely. Good for you!

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  10. I am not where you are at in my experience but I sure feel with you. Thank you for being brave enough to be honest. I am tucking your post into my back pocket to pull out again when my boys are in the teens so I can remember even good teachers like you still have normal kids. Perhaps I will be wise as you have been to share it. I am praying you know God’s strength is yours, and that His presence in you in each daily struggle is enough to make it through.

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  11. {{{{{{{{Nadene}}}}}}}}}} Please know that I prayed for you as soon as I read your post. You are in my prayers today.

    My daughter is seven and we have some days like this. She is very head strong and bright. My wonderful hubby reminds me to let her be what God intends. It is very hard.

    In Him,
    Amy

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  12. I think that the extreme desire to homeschool our kids to the best of our abilities is evidence that a parent cares the most and is the best choice for who should teach them. I don’t imagine that teachers in schools- secular or Christian- could be as “tearfully and prayerfully” seeking the Lord to help with this task. This is our 6th year to HS, but only our first to implement CM methods. I feel as though I am not adequate (maybe I am lazy?) to be as thorough as other CM’ing moms seem to be. You, Nadene, are one of my models- yes, you! You always seem to have brilliant ideas and approaches, and are so joyful in them! It is through our limitations that God shows himself faithful and as our All In All. King Solomon (who had more wisdom than any other man) stated in 1 Kings 3:7…”and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”. Then, in 2 Chronicles 26:5, it says of king Uzziah that…”and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” We know that God giveth grace to the humble. Humility makes me squirm- as it makes me face the truth about myself- that I do, in fact, have need of Christ to make me able to “do all things”. John 1:14 tells us that Jesus if “full of grace and truth”. His grace makes us able to bear the truth. I am preaching to myself mostly. I tend to doubt myself so much! Thanks for being real and transparent! May God bless your day today!

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  13. Thanks for this post, Nadene. My just-turned 13 yr.-old son seems to pulling back a bit from some of the CM things that the rest of his siblings are doing. I have been asking myself, “What am I doing wrong?” I realize that I need to be in prayer about it, and let the Lord show me how to handle the situation. He will show me, if I ask Him. 🙂
    Blessings to you,
    Lisa

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  14. Nadene, we are just beginning our homeschool journey, so while our children are very different ages, I struggle with the same fears and issues. What is the “right” way to do this, and why aren’t my children responding the way all those “other” CM children do????
    The only way I can quiet the negative thoughts and energy is to pray. And seek God’s promises. And ask Him for His knowledge and wisdom. And then wait. Because He does answer. He’s been giving me all kinds of answers lately.
    While I still value the CM methods and philosophy, I no longer cling to them and feel like a failure if I don’t adhere to them. The only way I was able to be comfortable with that was to take a step away. I unsubscribed from most of the CM yahoo groups I had joined, b/c reading those posts made me feel like a FAILURE. And I re-read my CM books, looking for how her ideas applied to my family, instead of trying to apply my family to her ideas. And I read other methods/philosophies that gelled with my family/me. (John Holt and Ruth Beechick come to mind.)
    The last few weeks, Jeremiah 29:11 has been my centering verse:
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
    I don’t think God cares what method we use to educate our children, as long as we do it “unto Him”. At least that’s what I tell myself on the rough days!
    I’ll be praying for you and your family. And good luck!

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  15. thank you. thank you for being vulnerable. transparent. thank you for sharing your struggles because it helps. It really does help us who are also struggling. I struggle with parenting twin 2yo dds and a needy infant dd while trying to instill a love of learning to a forgotton 4yo ds and 6yo dd and also trying to educate our 9yo ds and tweenybop/emotional 11yo dd……we struggle with our different seasons in different ways, but we all have struggles–so thank you for sharing!!

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  16. Nadene, I have been following your blog for some time now and love all your sharing and support you give to fellow homeschoolers ( this blog post is just one more example of your generous sharing). I am not sure these thoughts of my own will help you but here goes~ I sort of have a different view I suppose, I think what your seeing in your older child is essentially what we may try and strive for~ I realize it sounds quirky, but I just feel that we are raising souls that will have a voice and that voice might be a bit different than our own or what we might want to hear. I have found in raising and teaching my boys ( now both teens with also have boys in their mid and early 20’s) that our home learning has changed over time. It has evolved and seems to be constantly evolving. We also lean toward a CM approach ( notice I said “lean”) the boys pick and choose their approach to learning concepts and I give them choices in hoping to help them get into the problem solving and critical thinking. I think perhaps our roles begin to change as their teachers when they get older. Helping and guiding and facilitating more so that they learn how to make good choices that are best suited for them instead of what we might think might be right. Helping them explore their own individual God-given strengths during this time helps an older child to be able to trust in themselves and in their own abilities which is, besides Faith, one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Our own children can be our best teachers in my opinion helping us to stretch our minds and our hearts so that we learn more about ourselves in the process. I have found, and you could be finding that while one of your children is in transition, you might be also in a kind of transition. I try and listen more, understand more and accept the differences in them from me and celebrate the people they are becoming~🙂

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  17. Hello, Nadene!

    This may sound odd, but it’s actually encouraging to me to hear of your struggles. I would love for you to not have any, but sometimes I feel like I’m doing so little compared with your creative approach to homeschooling!

    I have five children, from ten years down to 9 weeks in utero. One of my biggest struggles is feeling insecure about teaching my oldest, who struggles and is “behind” in some academic areas. It’s easy to worry about whether or not I’m doing things just right. It’s easy to be anxious about the extra time he needs from me.

    I pray that He will give you (and me!) wisdom as we walk this homeschooling journey!

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  18. Thank you for being so transparent. I wish I had some answers but I don’t. I certainly have my struggles and there is nothing I can do but turn it over to the Lord in prayer – wisdom for me, softened heart for my son, etc.

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    • @Karen, Amy L, Stacey, Tracey, Sarah Ruth, Tasha and precious readers, how can I thank you enough for your encouragement and love? I am completely overwhelmed. I even called my hubby to witness your out-poured support and love. Thank you for taking the time to write, share and be there.

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  19. Hi Nadene
    One thing I am learning is that our teens sometimes don’t hold dear all that we do and it is not a reflection on our parenting. We have to carefully pick the battles and one thing my husband reminds me of constantly, is not to take it personally…being sensitive, that is sometimes hard for me. But as I have tried to do that, my relationship with our teen son (16) has improved dramatically.
    He has worked almost completely independently from me and the other two (14, 11) for 3 years already. He prefers to work through things on his own and is doing well on an entirely different curriculum. He joins us for Bible study and sometimes I share interesting bits and pieces with him too.
    Take heart…it works out in the end.

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    • @Wendy, I am so grateful for my husband’s wisdom and approach. Somehow, he grounds and centers me. I think this past week I misunderstood my older children’s withdrawal as a criticism of me, rather than a need to distance themselves in order to find themselves. How we need a true perspective!

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  20. Pingback: Stresses and Struggles | Homeschool HUB

  21. Nadene, I too have these same ideas of my children sketching, singing etc, just as you wrote. I think sometimes I want these things for my kids so badly and when they don’t seem to want them too I feel hurt. I try to take courage in the fact that Satan wants us to be discouraged and defeated. He knows how important our job as mothers are. He will try to distract and tear down our noble efforts. He surely doesn’t want our kids learning hymns and taking time to reflect upon God’s creation. Press on, sister! Much love to you.

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  22. Nadene, You certainly are on the right track in your heart through your prayers. I admire your transparency and your amazing work ethic, and organizational skills. Sometimes Moms like that are not nurturing and are too controlling, but you do NOT seem to be like that. I think your children will also admire you for trying to adjust even if it isn’t comfortable at first. You are doing a great job, and you are an awesome mom.
    Julie

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  23. Nadene, this has been a year of struggle for us too, complete with the eye rolling (sometimes on my part, I’m ashamed to say). Sending you a big hug and some virtual encouragement that all will happen as it’s meant to happen. Hang in there, and remember to breathe once in a while.

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  24. Dear Sweet Nadene: I just recently found your blog and have only followed a few posts but I already consider you a friend. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably your present struggles with the rest of us. I immediately lifted you in prayer! May the LORD give you all the wisdom and courage you need! And a perfect “prescription” for your family. One small, simple idea you might consider would be using an answering machine during morning hours so you can be free to school without interruption – every business has its chosen hours of business. Orderliness dictates that the business have certain hours and your school and family have protected hours. Your attitude toward your business and customers will be benefited for long term success if you can keep it “in it’s place” in your home.
    I am presently wrestling with some of the same questions about schooling – do I let my adolescent children dictate our classes or do I chose and insist on them complying. I am further down the home school trail, with married children and two godly young adult daughters still in our home. But we have all ages so I am still schooling five of our children. I share a peek into our heartaches with trepidation, I don’t want to discourage any of you precious young Moms (if I had known how our story would look today I don’t know if I would have had the courage to work so hard in the early years). Besides I know my own failings and don’t especially like to present them to a world I don’t even know personally as well as the fact that it is all much too complex to communicate clearly in a few paragraphs. But no one else has addressed your questions from this particular perspective, so I will stick my neck out and suggest that you would be wise to gently and kindly but firmly insist on your daughters’ cooperation with your curriculum choices and daily plans. I can’t imagine that Charlotte Mason gave her students a choice about their assignments ….
    A lot of water is under the bridge and I find myself in a place I never dreamed I’d be. Suprisingly, when I look back I think, with her, our sweet seventh, it really all started over a simple cotton nightgown…. She was young to be entering puberty and my two older daughters had been more compliant – somehow I overlooked the teen upheaval with the four oldest and just led the way straight through to adulthood (not that I did it perfectly or that they didn’t have conflicts with Dad but I did it unconsciously). Then came our fifth and sixth children, two boys and we floundered as they hit puberty as they lied, smoked, snuck out and were disrespectful and eventually immoral. They shook our family to the core and I realized I was witnessing raging hormones and failed authority. It wasn’t that we hadn’t disciplined them as small children, but more that we didn’t know how to maintain our authority in the adolescent years. First one and then the other chose to leave our home rather than live a morally pure life. Now at 18 and 20 these two are sweet and respectful when they call or come home but they are not yet yielded to Jesus and though they say they read their Bibles and pray they both sleep with their girlfriends. But I never dreamed that the darkness would engulf one of our sweet daughters. The day she refused to wear her nightie was the day she declared her independence. Sad to say, I lost the battle that night. I rightly began by asking questions – seeking her heart behind this change. She gave excuses, it was uncomfortable, and she wanted something she would “like”. So I bought fabric with a fun horse print on it and made a nightie for her (she loved horses), but she never wore it. She had openly declared her independence: she was not going to wear what the rest of us always wore to bed. We battled for days and I finally thought it probably wasn’t a battle to die for – who cares what you wear to bed, right? But it was only the first of many battles lost which strengthened her will to win and weakened my ability to stand. Things like clothes seem like such a silly issue to fight over, but the bottom line she was asking is – are you the boss or do I get to make my own decisions. As our children mature, they begin to make decisions and our whole goal is to get them to the place where they can follow the LORD on their own without our authority so it seems natural and good to let them make some of these “less important” decisions on their own. Now as I look back, I think the difference is that we must discern if their heart question is “Are you still my boss?” or if they are wanting to move forward in making responsible decisions for themselves. Though the difference is subtle, I think it is real. Our daughter’s independent spirit began to spill over into her school work. She is a born student and likes schoolwork, she had insisted on learning to read at age four, but as she became more uncooperative, she refused to participate in our family’s daily group classes or turn in papers or give account of what she was reading and studying. Eventually she would refuse to participate in many of the spiritual aspects of our lives, hymn singing, Bible memory, and eventually family devotions and even church. Over the years I have sought to give my children options when they didn’t like a particular book we were using to listen to them and make the curriculum suit them, but when we hit puberty, sometimes nothing seems to suit them and you flit from one book to the next. If you think about this from a public school perspective – the curriculum is never geared to or suited to the student – it is suited to the wisdom and preference of the teacher and the student doesn’t decide if he’ll do a given assignment or not unless he wants to fail the class and eventually fail in the school. Even in the public school, the teacher is the authority and the student fits himself to the teacher. I have always wanted to maintain my authority through relationship. I now see the downside of this as our daughter has burned the bridge of relationship from her end and I am helpless on my end to maintain it. All my expressed love and kindness is met with disdain and rejection. The bridge should never have been there – I should have been the authority on her side of the gap Her influence is now trickling down to the next three younger girls and the things we have allowed her are things they want to try earlier. Now the issue that was just a nightgown and a few school choices is a civil war in our home with battles on numerous fronts and huge amounts of ground to reclaim. The other day I was listening to a message and the speaker reminded us that our authority as parents comes from the LORD. It’s not because we are always right or because we are better or stronger, it is because God designed parents to be in authority! As I’ve been pondering this I realize that it is my place to make the decisions and lead as an authority, even stronger it is my RESPONSIBILITY to be in authority. And God is on MY side (if they declare “sides”). I have found out first hand that disobedience to me is only a short step from an open refusal to obey God. It is no mistake that one of the first commandments is “Honor your father and your mother”. So much more stands or topples from this foundation. My husband and I are praying about how to take back the ground we have lost. As in a garden when weeds are allowed to grow too large among the plants, damage is done with the pulling up of the weeds. I trust that my testimony will be a “heads up” to some fighting over nighties and curriculum…. Ending on a positive note, my two oldest daughters have become my best friends, and favorite prayer warriors. When things go awry here, you can surely find one of them on her knees by her bed. The LORD has given the other daughter promises for several of our wayward children including sweet # seven that she would come home (this when she had run away to a brother’s home) and that He would be her God. She did come home (that was over a year ago and was a miracle), but we are still watching expectantly for her to make Him her God. I long for the day when my children will walk in fellowship with Him and these next four girls and our precious youngest son will prayerfully, by God’s grace, become prayer warriors and workers for the Kingdom of God and hopefully my dearest friends, too, one by one.

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    • @Praying Mom, your sharing is so heart-felt. Thank you. The Lord births true compassion in our hearts only when we have walked through a valley of despair or suffering. And while He uses these experiences to draw our hearts closer to His, He also allows us to minister to others, the comfort and wisdom we received from Him. I can so deeply identify with your pain and loss, hope and determined faith. Praying for you too, Blessings, Nadene

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    • Praying Mom and Nadene, Thank you to both of you for sharing your stories. I have no wisdom to share, as we are walking new paths every day with our two adopted children. But this much I do know, God loves you, God loves your children. He made you the parent, and your children, well, your children. Both sides (parent and child) are in the family they were meant to be. His plans and purposes are for our good. Always! He is faithful, He is True, and His Word is true. Praying for both families as you hang on to His promises.

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  25. Dearest Nadine,

    Thank you for the beautiful, from-the-heart post about the recent changes happening with your children. Whenever such honesty is shared, it spreads and enlightens and releases the burden somewhat. At least, that is what your blog has done for me! I too could share my HS experiences with our 11 year old son, but I won’t since you have expressed it for all of us. I too believed that all my trying was for naught, but as so many others have attested, we are far more similar than not.
    I know that you and I and all the others will find our way.
    God Bless Us All
    A

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  26. Nadene, I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to share your challenges along with the amazing resources and projects you regularly post. I’m currently overhauling our school plans and praying for wisdom and addressing attitudes and your honesty helps me fight against the lie we mama’s like to believe: that in every other house the projects go off without toddlers interrupting or ever a roll of the eye! I’ll be praying for you as I pray for our family.

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  27. Dear Nadene,

    I am subscribed to your blog and have been a faithful follower of your posts from across the continents.

    I have always admired your creativity, resourcefulness and organization in churning out impeccable schoolwork and projects with your girls, and your generous sharing of your resources. In fact, many a times, just bowled over by how much you accomplish with your girls along the homeschooling journey.

    With the same gratefulness, I thank you for your post today. For the honest and reflective sharing. I too had many times encountered situations “less than my ideal” with my children and within myself, and had to adjust and/or accept. Hence, it is comforting, to say the least, to know that even a “supermom” such as yourself, faces similar challenges along the journey!

    As always, thank you for your open and generous sharing that encourages and inspires!

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  28. Nadene – first of all {{{{{{{{{HUG}}}}}}}}}} and THANK YOU for voicing what so many of us fellow home schooling moms feel and experiance. Bless you!
    When we first started home educating, I had this picture in my mind. Long beautiful days filled with a love of learning and happy harmonious siblings. Then I was introduced to CM which supported and added to my ‘fairytale homeschool’. I then added reality and have indeed faced the same struggles that you are facing now. Reading other CM forums/blogs etc would be like rubbing salt in the wound at that time. I remember clinging to my ideals, hoping and wishing that perhaps things would come right and the picuture would come into focus if I just persevered. Enter loving supportive and grounding husband. He reminded me that to stick to a method ordered by man, no matter how wonderful, was not going to bring God glory if I wasn’t seeking the creators guidence.
    We still lean towards a CM education, but I have had to adjust my own mindset and make allowances for my children and their very own God-given qualities. Actively seeking God and actively putting aside my own desires is something I have to do all the time! Learning to accept and put aside that certain ways and methods are not benificial to my own children has been hard. But I feel that we have, or should I say – I- have, come to a place of acceptance and surrender. It does not matter how I teach my children, but it does matter what I teach them. They need to see Jesus when they hear my voice, watch my reactions, experiance my grace and flexibility. They need to see that I am not insisting on following mans ideals but that I am willing to set my ideals aside and surrender to God. These are kingdom children I am raising, for the purpose of Gods will, therefore I need to give way. Now in my book that is a pretty tall order to fill and yes, painful when you have to let go.
    I know that you are also a huge fan of Clay and Sally Clarksons ‘Educating the Wholehearted Child’ (as I am). I must say that during my season of going through the same struggles as you are now (which was last year BTW), this book was revolutionary for me. It allowed me to still lean towards my CM ideaology’s but to be able to seek God first. I love the level-headed spirit-led approach in this book. That is what I want for my life and the lives of my family – to follow God’s way -where ever that path may lead.

    Praying for you during this hard season.

    Blessings in Christ
    Shirley

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    • @Shirley Ann, thank you for your love and precious counsel, and for reminding me about Clay & Sally Clarkson’s “Educating the Wholehearted Child” – I need to revisit their heart-felt and spirit-filled wisdom again.

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  29. Hi Nadene, I have never ‘spoken’ to you before but I do enjoy reading your blog. I have five children and the oldest in now starting high school at home. I have also had times of struggle and the Lord has been teaching me also to look to Him for wisdom, not to others so much. One book that has been such a blessing to me in these last months is ” The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee. It is based on the book of Romans. There is so much in there! I highly reccommend it. Also, I do think that Praying Mom had a lot of wisdom there for us all. God has made us to be in authority over our children. in love. I am still learning too.Keep looking to Jesus and praying, praying, praying.Hugs, Maree

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    • @Maree, thanks for your kind comments and recommended reading. My husband & I love Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life” It seems right to re-visit good, spirit-filled writings when going through transitions and stresses!

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  30. Nadene – I am a long time reader of your blog. I am praying for you during this time of new choices and discernment.

    Your post helped me quite a bit — I am struggling with my oldest growing and changing an my approach I have used in the past isn’t quite “cutting it” now, either. I’m trusting this is a season and if I’m still God will guide me through to what my children need.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I know it’s not always easy.

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  31. hugs and more hugs. There is a huge gap between our ideals and our reality and this is a picture of just that. I pray that you and your family will find a good middle ground and that in the process relationships will be strengthened. 🙂 Thanks for your vulnerability and for sharing. Hugs and more hugs again!🙂

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  32. Nadene,
    Your posts have been an encouragement and inspiration for several years.
    I have thanked God for the gift you are to me as a homeschool mom.
    May I now encourage you to look to our heavenly Father who loves you & your daughters. He is not surprised by any of the storms of this life that have hit your home shore. He will lead you and guide you. He will provide all that you need. And in His perfect time He will speak “Peace Be Still”.
    Can I recommend a book to help along the journey? “Homeschool Super Mom Not” by Susan Kemmerer. You will laugh. You will cry. You will be encouraged by God’s word.

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  34. Nadene
    {{{{}}}} I’m currently up to my third teen (with the next fast approaching and more, oh boy, to come). I well remember travelling this path with my first, {{}}. She didn’t want to gasp do only living books, she wanted gasp textbooks, oh I resisted mightily. We both learnt alot and today she is studying at a Liberal Arts College and it sounds mightily like CM in many ways;)
    My next teen had his ideas and his learning style, and really that’s what it all came down too, I had raised independent thinkers, who had their own ideas and my the time they reached their teen years they wished to flex their independence muscles and I have to respect that, yes my teen boys are not interested in picture studies, formal nature studies or poetry. I pick my battles, they still have to read poetry. As for the others, well they do amazing drawings occasionally (read maybe once a year) and one of them does lots of independent nature observation, the other, no.
    It was so hard for me to let you, I actually believed that led to a long period(about a couple of years) of burnout I suffered a few years back, part of it was grief for the times when they would all gather for read aloud, now it is just my under 12s, it was like abandoning a dream, but yet I found a new dream.
    My new dream of independent, successful children who are putting to practice all those years of foundation we instilled. All the best finding your new dream, it will be a wonderful, delightful dream.
    (gee I really should write a blog post about my years of burnout and my grief etc)

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    • @Erin, thanks for sharing your griefs and struggles. I love your perspective on your new dreams. We really have to find the Lord’s grace to see the positives in our adolescent’s choices.
      Moms with young and compliant children may also go through similar transitions when their children start to choose for themselves, but if they can release their dreams, then they might not go through the stresses and struggles we experienced.
      (I would love to read your post on burnout one day🙂 )

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      • Nadene
        “We really have to find the Lord’s grace to see the positives in our adolescent’s choices.” You have really nailed it here, yesterday I had the opportunity to discuss this with my college daughter, we reflected on those years, it really was a transition but I’m so grateful I listened to her (eventually) or she wouldn’t be the awesome young lady we are so proud of today.

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