Yesterday afternoon I had an enormous temper tantrum. Monday was supposed to have been our first day of school. Poverty and poor planning had necessitated the late purchase of our homeschool curriculum. Thanks to a well-timed gift, we were finally able to order the most essential books.
The week after I placed my order, the storm hit. We evacuated and a dear family friend made sure that all our packages weren’t left to weather, chance, or curious woodland animals.
After we returned home, the books continued to trickle in until this weekend when, praise God, the final shipment arrived. Hastily, I assembled the much needed tomes, threw together a weekly schedule and announced to the children that we would start school on Monday, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel…
Then Dad got sick. Michaelmas plans were suspended and we accomplished very little in the way of school other than familiarizing ourselves with some of the new texts as well as tidying the classroom.
Which means that the first day of school for us was actually yesterday.
What a disaster! Poorly begun is poorly done. Everything that could go wrong, did. As a mom who’s been a home educator for over twelve years, I have very few excuses. But, of course, I’m going to try to make as many as I can…here’s a synopsis:
**No concise plans drawn up for the high school student. He’s pretty flexible and rolls with the punches as much as he can, but what a disservice to a new high school student! My selfish desire to start as quickly as possible added stress he didn’t really need as his academic load is greatly increased. To his credit, he complained far less than I did.
**A new spelling program. Well…not really new. One that I used for my first three homeschool students, exclusively. Why I abandoned Spelling Power for the artsy-cutesy CHC Catholic Speller is beyond my reckoning. Though I’m very familiar with the Spelling Power format, I failed to take into consideration just how much time it would take to assess four students. Two hours…sigh…
**Six students. I’ve never had six students before. It’s different. I didn’t think the extra child would make that big of a difference, but it does. This year, I’m educating a high school student, a junior high student, three elementary students and a kindergartner. I know I’ll find the rhythm, but it’s a bit mind numbing at the beginning.
**No school supplies. Where did all the notebooks go? I had a clear bin full of them…but I failed to check the status of that same bin before the first day of school. And the pencils? Is there a black hole in this house? We managed to find four pencils, only to discover that one of them broke repeatedly when sharpened. Is there anything more annoying? Yes. This: no transportation and no cash. It was payday, but hubby wasn’t scheduled to be home for several hours. It was at this point that I had my nuclear meltdown/temper tantrum:
“Dear Lord!!!! I’m not asking for a trip to Aruba, a fancy house or a $400.00 pair of shoes!!!! I just need some pencils!!! And some glitter glue!!! My little girls have never owned a tube of glitter glue! School supplies…is that too much to ask? I NEED SCHOOL SUPPLIES!!!
Yep…like a very whiny, intolerant child, I actually said those words aloud, visions of other homeschooling families and their neatly appointed, well-stocked supply cabinets dancing in my head. I realized that I was coveting another mother’s glitter glue…
I smiled. Then I laughed. How I love the way God works! How thankful I was that my complaints were so small, that if asked to pinpoint my greatest desire at that moment, I would have asked for school supplies. Truly. It was another break-through moment for me. I’ve overcome so many obstacles to get to this point. I’m not proud that I had my little fit over pencils and paper, but I’m comforted by it. There was a time in my life that I wouldn’t have gone to the mailbox without wearing makeup. I dressed exclusively in designer clothing, had more than fifty pairs of shoes and the most important thing I did all day was lunch. I lived to shop and shopped to live. That woman died, praise God, and the one in her place is just a little bit nicer. Just a little…and definitely more content.
I don’t have to sell my soul for a Dooney and Bourke purse. I don’t have a credit card, don’t shop at the mall and while I absolutely appreciate the finer things in life, I no longer need them. My kids aren’t being shipped off to daycare, so mom can work at her “very important job” so that we can all have quality time in Hawaii in a couple years. I’m now satisfied with a fruitful trip to the thrift store. I’m so happy that by stepping out of the work force all those years ago, I effectively said to my husband “I trust you. You can do this. You have what it takes to provide for us. I can be content with whatever God sends us…”
The rest of the afternoon improved dramatically after that blessed realization. When my dear husband came home from work, I was happy to share the day’s events, including my tantrum.
“Let’s go get some school supplies…” he sweetly responded.
So we did. I have a lot of glitter glue.
And pencils and paper, too!