Lent begins on Wednesday. Around the world, Christians will begin a 40 day season of prayer and fasting in preparation for the highest of our Holy Days— Easter.
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Nearly every homeschooling mother I have ever met has admitted that February is her nemesis. Oh, plenty of times we stumble around trying to find the swing of January after the blessed break that is December. And yes, there’s the long, slow march that is April. But February? February pulls us under and leaves us slogging through not just the gloomy muck of rain and cold outside our windows, but the tiresome repetition of yet another math lesson, “can you please spell that word again?” and “no, for the last time, we are not done with school for the day!”
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Christmas is here.
After the long anticipation of Advent, we’ve arrived. It’s time to rejoice in the fact that God came to dwell among us, and to rest in the fact that His sacrifice allows us to approach His throne unashamed, set free of our sins.
Ashes, fish on Fridays, and giving up chocolate.
If that’s your impression of Lent, let me introduce you to something more. Something deeper. Something that points to the cross and your own aching need for the blood of the Savior.
We haven’t had a ton of snow, or bad weather, or even really cold weather. Yet the cycle of sickness has made this seem like an especially long winter, and our family is ready to shake off all the cozy of the season and trade it for freedom and, just maybe, a few weeks without germs.
When we started homeschooling, I had three children ages 4 and under. We bought a boxed curriculum that year, one of those terribly stuffy, all-in-one deals that delivered a classroom kindergarten experience right to our front door, pencils and all. We all hated it— even my husband, who had been its biggest proponent when we had started researching our options. The fact is, a home isn’t a classroom and therefore, classroom management just isn’t a skill a homeschooling mother needs. Oh, she needs plenty of other skills. (Like delicately balancing the personalities of a whole family full of people who live and work together all the time.) But homes and brick and mortar schools are totally different beasts, and what works in one really doesn’t work well in others.
In our family, there’s something of a snowball effect of time that starts in September and rushes, pell nell, until the end of the year. I call it our “roll”— the four months of the year that hold seven birthdays, two major holiday seasons, two minor holidays, and all of the preparation and expectations that go along with those events.
If you’re like me, you’re paused at the start line right now.
Your homeschool year is cued up, and you’re chomping at the bit to hit the ground running. The plans. Oh, so many plans.
One thing we have a lot of here is boys.
Teenage boys who stay up late to debate the tenets of our electoral system. Middle boys who think not in words or images, but Legos. Preschool boys who are pretty sure that their Daddy should wear a cape at all times, he’s that cool. And baby boys, who just want to sit in their Momma’s arms and watch the world go by.
December 26 dawns with two camps firmly established each year: those relived that Christmas is done, and those depressed because Christmas is done. **
Thing is, they’re both wrong.