Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I thought I could do it, really I did.  But I am finding out that I can't.  I can't be a single parent and a homeschooler. 

I am just so bone-weary of this.

If I look at it objectively, nothing much has really changed.  My ex-husband wasn't very involved in the actual schooling.  Every year, he'd tell me he was going to take charge of math and/or science experiments and sometimes even read-alouds, but most years, within a few weeks, I'd realize that he hadn't checked any of the kids' math tests,was way behind on experiments, and had lost interest in reading aloud after the first book.  So I would pick up the slack.

But the fact remains that he was there.  In the evenings when I had a busy day, he would be there so I could have some "me time" to go shopping or out with a friend or even just to shut myself away in my room and read. When I had a child who wasn't cooperative, their father would speak to them sternly and let them know what was expected of them in the future.  And for some reason, the boys, especially, took their dad's exhortations much better than they do mine.

Another aspect of my weariness is that it is almost time to begin shopping for curriculum for next school year again.  This was never a problem when I was married.  The income tax refund was set aside for that purpose, and as soon as it arrived, I could load my virtual shopping carts at the various sites and have curriculum delivered right to our door. 

Last year, however, my ex-husband, who is under court-order to pay for the curriculum, decided that he could find better deals on the books my eldest daughter needed.  We use a literature-based curriculum, with 50 or more books a year, which are all neatly scheduled in the instructor's guide and a part of the curriculum packages we have traditionally bought.  Last year, my ex-husband nixed the package.  He ordered used books from a variety of sources.  Many of them were the wrong editions, which has made figuring out exactly which pages my daughter is supposed to read on any given day a nightmare.  Additionally, he put off ordering some of the curriculum, which gave her a late start in Latin.  And he still hasn't reimbursed me for the Latin, nor for the subjects that I bought at the homeschool convention last May.

I don't feel like I have the energy to fight him on curriculum this year.

So now I am trying to decide what to do.  I will allow my eldest to do her senior year of high school here at home, but I think I need to find something else for the younger three children.  I hate the idea of being tied to the school's calendar, but I think it may be necessary.  I am considering Christian school, although that would mean a fight over tuition with my ex-husband, and transportation.  I am also considering cyber-school, since that would make my children accountable to someone other than me, and I wouldn't have to spend all day everyday nagging at my boys to get their work done. 

Please pray for me.  I know I was called by God to homeschool my children, and I am still not 100% certain that I have reached the end of that calling, but I don't see how I can continue. 

I am defeated.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Family Dating for Adults

I've been thinking a lot about how or if I could apply the same standards of dating to my own life that I have for my teens while they live in my household.  As I described in a previous post, basically there is no unchaperoned dating permitted, and both our family and the family of the "significant other" is involved in the relationship. 

So here are my current thoughts on the matter.  Warning:  they are still in the formation process, so there may be inconsistencies or flaws in my reasoning.  Feel free to point these out to me if you notice them.  It will help me.

Originally, I thought it would be impossible for someone my age who has been previously married to do "family dating," especially since conventional wisdom says that a parent shouldn't introduce her dates to her children until the relationship is serious.  However, I disagree with the conventional wisdom.  I believe that it assumes that a person is going to play the dating game by the standards set by our culture, which basically means serial monogamy. 

I have to reject that idea.  I have tried it and it doesn't work for me.  Traditional dating is a lot like going shopping for clothes, and trying on one outfit after another.  I don't mind trying on clothing (well, except for swimsuits...that is just depressing), but trying on men?  Uhm, no.  There is just something wrong with that model for finding the love of my life.

So if I am not going to do the serial monogamy thing anymore, I need to figure out the "rules" for how this works on my own.

Here is what I have come up with.

1. I don't want to go out with strangers.  I would prefer to "date" someone whom I have met in a place we both frequent anyhow, like church or the cafe my kids and I hang out at.  So chances are, my kids will have already met this person in that context anyhow. 

2. I don't want to start to build a relationship with someone, possibly lose my heart to him, and then find out that he and my kids are not compatible.  I've already had that happen, and I am not willing to go through that again.

3. If the man that I am "going out with" has children of his own, I want to know that his children can get along with me and my children when we are all together as a group.  This makes sense to me, since if we ended up marrying one another, our children would be forced to live together.

4. As a single parent, my dating time is limited, so I would prefer "dates" that include accomplishing something, or at the very least, having fun with my kids.

5. As a previously married person, chastity is a challenge for me.  I know how sweet the forbidden fruit is, so I need some pretty firm boundaries to keep me away from it.  Having my children along on dates would definitely provide those boundaries. 

6. It is possible to have private adult conversations without being in a tempting situation.  Just having the kids in the house (although not necessarily the same room) provides boundaries, but can allow for privacy. 

7. If I choose to remarry, one of the ways that I will know that it is God's will is if my children are accepting, or dare I hope, even enthusiastic about it.  Thus, they need time to get to know any man who may become a major part of our lives and to watch how he treats me and them, so they can determine whether or not they would be able to accept him into our family.

I am sure there are many aspects of this I am missing here, but it is a work in progress.  What do you all think?  Is this kind of relationship possible for a divorced, single mom? 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

School Daze

I love to learn.  I am one of those odd people who would be a perpetual student if I could.  As a homeschooler, I have plenty of opportunities to learn and I can make a lesson out of almost anything for my kids.

It seems to me that God is also a homeschooler, making lessons out of anything and everything for His children.  I am one of His students, and like my students some days, I am a bit reluctant.  You see, God is teaching me patience.

This isn't my first class in patience.  I had that class a few years ago.  Talk about painful!  It was worse than the electrical wiring class where I got knocked on my backside when I touched a screwdriver to a live wire.  But I passed the class and learned a lot about waiting on God.

I guess this must be Patience 102.  Once again, I am not enjoying it. 

One of the objectives for this class seems to be to learn to guard my heart.  Apparently I am learning-challenged, because I am totally not getting it on this point!  I'm struggling with separating compassion from passion; with how not to be transparent in my emotions while remaining truthful; and with the different kinds of love.

But today I was reminded of one of the keys to guarding my heart.  Philippians 4:7 says, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

So now I need to figure out how to rest in the peace of God.  Oh yeah, and that peace "transcends all understanding,"  And somehow, I am supposed to understand it?

I think I need a tutor for this one!