Tuesday, January 10, 2012

School--of a Different Sort

Someone asked me recently, "How do you simulaneously teach school to all of your children?"

She is a 1st grade teacher with 24 kiddos all learning the same thing at the same time, so she was interested in how I balance teaching the wide variance of ages and needs of the children in our home.

I have a confession to make.

I don't do it "all".

Shocker, I know. :)

You see, when we first felt called to adoption, I knew it would change our family dynamic for awhile. Little did I know then how big the change would be. (At the time, I thought we'd be bringing home one child.)

Each time the Lord said "Go", I asked Him how I could add another child, another precious responsibility and still keep up with everything I was already doing. He oh-so-gently reminded me that school isn't only found in textbooks. It is found anytime we are learning.

His grace is sufficient, His mercies are NEW every morning, and He would never ask me to do something I could not do.

For that reason, our "school" this past year hasn't been only the traditional kind. We focused on the very basics: Bible, Math, Reading/Spelling/Language Arts, and Music (this one is considered a non-negotiable "basic" for our family! :)) We honestly didn't accomplish much History, Science, Health, Art, Field Trips, etc....

Perhaps that makes me a failure in the eyes of some. After all, I took on the responsiblity of my children's education----shouldn't I be doing it all???

As I reflect back on the past year, however, I see with glaring certainty that the year of school we did accomplish was a wonderful success.

Not in grades or beautiful portfolios.....but in life skills.

This year, my biological children learned the beauty of loving the unloveable. Of sacrificing everything for the good of someone else. Of sharing---their toys, their siblings, their Daddy and Mommy's TIME, and their own thoughts, desires and plans.

 Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.....

(and) Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Our "neighbors" moved into our home this year.

And they are here to stay.

The process of guiding our adopted daughters to blend into our family and our biological children to fully accept them was and continues to be a teaching process.

You know, like SCHOOL.

It means the world comes to a stop when a little one needs reassurance from Mommy.

It means the textbooks get put away when a teenager needs to cry her heart out about her past.

It means the laundry remains unfolded for a time while I take the time to hug a crying child and explain yet again that Yes, you will always be the "firstborn" from my body or No, I do not love my biological children more than I love you.

It means reading God's Word, singing His praises and teaching His love by modeling self-lessness is more important than multiplication.

It means cutting back on the non-essentials in order to focus on the eternal.

And no, it hasn't always been easy. School never is, is it?

The growth I have experienced in my own life and viewed in the lives of my children is far more precious to me than all the accolades and straight A's in the world.

I have watched a girl who had never so much as held a baby learn how to carry, dress, bathe, correct, play with AND love three of them. I have felt her growing love as she tries so very hard to learn how to function in a FAMILY. I have watched her begin to blossom from a socially awkward, insecure little girl into a responsible young lady.

I have seen my children, over and over again, learn to choose forgiveness and restoration in their relationships with Daddy and Mommy and--even more difficult!---with each other.

Our entire family has dug down deep and learned to communicate on a whole new level.

And I have gained an entirely new view and style of attachment, parenting, and godly discipline. (I hope to share more of this in the future.)

All in all, I think it's been a successful year, our schoolyear of a different sort.


  1. Amen!
    Can't wait to hear more.
    Press on, Selina. What a difference you are making in all those little hearts.

  2. This was so refreshing to hear, especially since I am a homeschooling momma of four kiddos., who just returned from China with our #5! :) it's been so hard to get school done, but we sure are having fun with our baby girl....there's no schooling that can ever compare with that. Your family is beautiful, and such an inspiration.
    God bless

  3. I am also homeschooling, while running my home daycare business. It's a first for me and I still find myself comparing what we do to the school grade levels, but it's happening less and less now and I see my daughter's over all progress in all areas of her life. She is progressing academically, too, but it's the other that is so much more important during this precious first year home with a mom.

  4. I think homeschooling is such a special blessing as you mentioned we are learning all the time.We love our workbooks but there is alot of learning that goes on outside our textbooks as well.:)I LOVE how my kids remember what we learn even if it is just reading through their history and Science books together.If we take time to stop and bake with them they are learning about science,math and health/nutrition.I think it is great that they are learning all these life skills.I am sure your days are not easy.I try to remember to pray for you....:)
    I hope Nathaniels lip is better today.

  5. Thanks for sharing Selina. It's inspiring!

  6. Amen, homeschooling sister friend! Education isn't about a certain number of pages in a workbook! Thanks for sharing...I agree with you!

  7. I agree with this entire post! Keep up with the awesome writing!

  8. We currently homeschool our 10 & 11 year old bio-daughters. We are awaiting our travel approval for our 10 & 13 year old daughters from China. Needless to say, the last eight months have been a wild ride. My children haven't kept up on their science or history, but they have had a master's class in compassion, love, faith building, and how to adopt internationally. Aren't we raising soldiers for Him anyway? I think our schooling this year has been the best yet. Love sharing in your family's walk Selina. Thank you. Blessings.

  9. Such a beautiful post! Our last 2 years have been like this. The Lord has brought us 2 miracle, surprise kiddos and I am constantly reminding myself that the true lesson is how we handle all of the 'newness'...how we meet each others needs...how I meet my children's needs. It's challenging having 3 little one's the same age (our kids are 14, 10, 8, 5, 5, 5, 7 months) but man, the joy it brings is incredible! Your post was a breath of fresh air for this mama who is constantly evaluating "am I doing enough" in terms of school.


I welcome any and all comments as long as they are Christ-honoring. Please let me know what you think!