13 January, 2010


The number one question i get asked, when people look at the row of children following us, and then find out we homeschool, is, "how?" Most of the people take one look at our family and shake their heads. I had one dear young lady, who is a missionary to the back country of Nicaragua along with her husband, tell me on Sunday that she looked back at our row of kids and thought i must be one super woman. I wish. I assured her i have a man like no other and that there's a reason the twins were sitting beside their father, not their mother. Without him we'd be a mess. And we don't even have a big family! But back to my original thought of how. I never know what to answer. If i smile sweetly and say, "it's not a big deal, God's grace is sufficient," i run the risk of sounding super spiritual and fake. If i roll my eyes and ask if they're looking to adopt, i come across overwhelmed and wore out. I'm neither. I'm busy, no doubt about it, and i have my bad days, but i never wonder if i'm needed. Or loved. And it's not the big deal that people want to make it. I have come to the conclusion that as americans, (or humans?)we have become so self centered and all about ourselves, that the concept of self discipline and dying to one's self is completely foreign. And i have much to learn in that area for sure. Having 7 kids is helping.....

In answer to the "how," number one answer is time with God. For years i've coasted in this area. My time with Him has been sporadic at best, and i usually had good reasons. Babies, night nursings, you name it, i had it. And there's a place for all that. I've learned to pray while i run but i've often ran on empty and after crashing and burning i'd make it a priority for a while. The last couple of months has brought me to my knees in a whole new way. I can't afford to "coast." For this house to run at all smoothly and for me to not trade the children in for some cats, i've had to seek God. And so i decided to start getting up early again. I was thinking along the lines of 6. God was thinking along the lines of 5:30. He has faithfully been getting me up at 5:30 for the last couple of weeks and that is a small miracle in itself. I have never been a morning person, it can take me a long time to wake up. Marlin will wake up and soon be whistling. I will wake up and stare at the floor for a long time, debating if life is worth getting up for. But i have been loving it. I wake up, make myself some tea, sit down with my Bible and prayer journal, and soak up some love from above. By shortly after 6 i get the two oldest up, and we start school. By breakfast the main portion of school is done, and we have the rest of the day to work, do fun school stuff, and take naps. Unfortunately, the twins have also decided getting up extra early would be fun and now i'm having to deal with that. I'll be honest, it can ruin my peace real fast when i hear little footsteps at 6 am and a little voice say cheerfully, "mama?" There's a reason i need my time with God!!

I get uneasy when people start asking how and when we do school, because i know the responses. WHAT!! You do school WHEN?!?!?!?! I could NEVER do that!!! Yes, you could and no, i wouldn't rather send them off to school. This is the season of life i'm in, and it's worth a little sacrifice. This is what works for us this year but next year might look completely different. That's one of the joys of homeschooling. School fits around life, not life around school. People also don't realize that when you homeschool, you don't spend hours writing in books. At least we don't. I'm still learning how best to teach, but as long as i remember that this was God's plan for us, i can walk in peace. For example, i have tried for the last 3-4 years to get Eric interested in reading. Sure, he knows his phonics and can read, but it's been a long slow process, and one that he simply had no interest in. Until now. He came to us recently, asking questions about how to become a christian etc, and Marlin realized that somehow this young man did not have his own Bible. Yeah, we felt real spiritual about that. So Marlin got him a very nice Bible and now Eric and Emily read along during family worship. And he loves it! I've also started having them read it during the day as part of their reading assignment and he looks forward to it. This is the awesome part. I asked God the beginning of the school year to have Eric become a good reader. And what happens? Eric gets an intense desire to learn more about God and His word. And let me tell you, if you can read the Bible well, you can read anything. What better book to read than the word of God and what better person to have in control of this small school than God Himself. And that, my friends, is how.


  1. I needed to read this post, Darla! I just finished up an aggravating phonics lesson and I was touched by the story about Eric. You know, that's what really matters, that is why we are doing what we're doing. The number one priority is having children with hearts after God, not Ivy League scholars. (Autumn just read that word "God", -she is here while I'm typing this- maybe there is hope!) And God is our source of everything we need- oh how I need Him! You are a blessing, Darla. -Cheryl

  2. you know I often come across the same thing about special needs issues and our dietary restrictions. usually it's met with the most unhelpful "oh my goodness! how do you do that? I could never do that!?" which makes me want to either cry or slap them (to be honest). b/c frankly i need encouragement, not pity or discouragement. it's especially difficult when it's met with people who not only pity me but continuously give negative input about how I shouldn't have more kids etc etc etc... oh I hate that!

    I've found some peace over saying "well, I don't have a lot of choice. But, really we all have thing in life that are difficult. you probably have something I couldn't imagine bearing but God always teaches us so many things through the things that are difficult. He has blessed me through our difficulties and i am really thankful for my family." (then I usually talk about how Sean is the backbone of our house and how I could never do any of it without a husband so dedicated to his family... but depending on the family (and how their marriage is) sometimes I gloss over that part so it doesn't seem as if I'm somehow bragging or something... sometimes I talk about how much God has changed me for the better through trials of life etc. depends on what the person is looking for. sometimes it's an honest comment, and sometimes it's a rude remark...)

    paraphrasing, but that's pretty much what I say every time now. it is true and honest. I'm NOT claiming that I wish it wasn't easier, and I'm not acting as if I'm a martyr. I'm acknowledging it's hard but worthwhile and i am thankful for my family.

  3. Hey Darla, loved the post. I often think you're pretty amazing, but it's true. We all have our own unique challenges, and with God on our side we can be more than worn-out whiners. Excited with you about Eric, too.
    Blessings! Karen


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