About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thoughts on leaving homeschooling

I am realizing just how much my identity is wrapped up in being a homeschool mom.  Because of that, I feel like I am going through an identity crisis of sorts, like I am making a huge career change.    Scouring the web, I  found very little support for moms who leave homeschooling, and the feelings they deal with. I hope I can adequatly articulate some things I am going through and maybe it can benefit someone else who is experiencing this or knows someone who is having the same experience.

I have had this "homeschooling ideal" since before I had children.  I thought if I did this, I would have close bonds with my children, they would love to learn (and thus not fuss about it!), and that they would love having their siblings as their friends.  I believed I could shelter and protect them from bullies, being teased, feeling dumb, etc.  Sadly, as the years went on, I found these things were not a guarantee.  We are close but we get sick of each others company and the children fight like crazy.  They were teased by their siblings and other homeschool friends and they felt dumb numerous times because of comparing themselves to others.  I also felt like I had to protect them from all of the evil out there (and yes, I believed school, especially public school was evil), and I could only do that by having them with me.  I felt like it was all in my hands. 

But reality set in. Life threw me several loops that I could no longer handle.  I really struggled with this whole thing.  But I finally realized I had to give the control to God (to protect them) and do what was best for them.  They deserve to have a happy mommy and to be in an enviroment where they can learn.  They are adjusting well; I am the one still struggling.  I want to list (in no particular order) things I am dealing with and learning and the conclusions I have come up with thus far.  The best article I have found on this is here.

1.  I thought my children would hate learning in "school" fashion. So far, they love it.
2.  I became so attached to my ideal (homeschooling) and the way I thought it should be that I lost touch with what my family really needed.  My homeschooling ideal and reality no longer matched.
3.  I am learning to let go of that ideal (and that I have everything planned and figured out) and that I have to do everything perfect.
4.  My school experience will not be my child's and so I shouldn't use that to make decisions.
5.  I am not ruining my kids (or our relationship) by sending them to school. 
6.  Don't make decisions based on fear. 
7.  Homeschooling does not make me a better mommy.  Don't use it as a measuring stick of whether you are a worthy mother or woman.
8.  Make peace with the idea of schooling outside-of-the-home so you can be supportive of your children.
9.  Some pluses to school:  positive peer pressure (get your work done so you don't look stupid), they get mad at the teacher and not me, they have more accountability.  They actually do science experiments that work!
10. The parent/child relationship is the key to success.
11. I am still connected and attached to my kids.
12. I am grieving what I have given up and that is normal.
13.  I can cut myself some slack in the demands I put on myself.  I don't have to do it all and be supermom.
14.  Through the sadness of them going to school, I have an amazing sense of peace that we are in the right place for now.
15. We are having more "quality time" now because I am refreshed when they come home.  When I was homeschooling, I slogged through each school day (dreading it all) and by the afternoon, I didn't have the energy or desire to do fun things like baking and crafts.  I just wanted to retreat to my room and rest.
16. I need to remember it is about what is best for all of us.  Not what I hope it will be.
17. I am not giving up and letting anyone down. It doesn't mean I am a failure and homeschooling does not make anyone a hero.  I am a mom doing the best I can for myself and my children.
18. There is no one-size-fits-all for schooling choices, birthing, or parenting.
19. Instead of controlling their environment, I can give them the tools and support to deal with different situations.
20. Not all Catholic schools are "bad".

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guarding against legalism

Here is a good article on legalism from Catholic.net.  It really explains why trying to require things like dresses only, no jewelry or make-up are wrong and thus legalistic.(i.e. requiring things the church does not)  I have been thinking about this issue a lot lately.  Maybe I will do a series of posts on Catholic legalism which is totally different from what protestants think.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our children's happiness

Here is an incredible article (it is long) on how people are obsessed with their children's happiness.  Be forwarned, there are a few bad words in it, particularly in the first sentence or two.  This article really made me think about one of the reasons I have homeschooled in the past; to keep my children from feeling hurt, rejection, etc.  Really was good food for thought. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homeschooling myths

I found an interesting series of blog posts about the myths of homeschooling.  (part 4 is here; it didn't work for me in the first link.) This is not what one might expect, though.  It is about myths that homeschoolers are perpetuating about how great homeschooling is.  (while hiding the hard, bad stuff)  I don't agree with everything stated here (the author is pro-homeschooling and Christian, but it might not seem like it because he is quite blunt), but I am glad someone is speaking about the hard parts of homeschooling instead of painting it as a cure all to all of societies ills.  Some homeschoolers set homeschooling up as an idol and don't want any of the bad to leak out.  Pride can run deep, and I think we need to acknowledge the difficulties that this choice brings (along with all of the good) instead of covering it up and pretending problems don't exist. And I think it is time that people quit thinking they are somehow better parents because they homeschool or that it is the only good choice.  Below are several other links to posts about people who have left homeschooling.  Some are about how they were treated negatively by other homeschoolers because they left homeschooling behind.

homeschooling burnout

I lost the homeschool battle

Why we're dropping out of homeschool

homeschooling guru sends her kids to public school

Why I do not homeschool

Now, just so I make this known, I am pro-homeschooling, if that  is working for everyone involved, including mom.  However, now I believe that other choices can work just as well and each family must discern where God is leading them.  I am no longer the homeschooling nazi police.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spiritual Pride

Pride is one of the deadly sins and the root of all evil.  Many of us struggle with this.  I know I have and really didn't even realize it.  I also struggle with trusting God.  I tend to want to control everything.  But I am slowly getting it through my thick head that I am really not in control of very much. Basically, I am in control of how I think and act.  But I cannot control others. So, back to the pride issue.  I have been re-reading Enjoy the Lord: A path to Contemplation by Rev. John Catoir.  It is such a powerful book.  Short and sweet but very profound.  As I was reading the chapter on trust for the umpteenth time, several things jumped out at me.  Screamed at me, really, and the Holy Spirit prompted me to write about it.  Here are the things that impressed me:
"Religion can deteriorate into a struggle to demonstrate (primarily to oneself) one's constancy, one's integrity, one's thoughtfulness, one's willingness to serve, one's piety.  It becomes "I must do this"; "I will do that"; " I must not do the other thing."  Please notice the use of the word "I"---I,I,I.  Religion becomes self-centered.  This is why good people become ashamed when they fail to improve.  They have not yet learned "abandonment." They have tried to do too much on their own." p. 68 (there is that control thing again)

"We can begin by examining our lives thoughtfully to see if we have fallen into any of the traps that the ego sets for us.  For instance, it is an all too human fault to make believe the Father's will for us coincides with our own desires.  The more we want something, i.e., the more we depend on it for our own happiness, the more we tend to assume that it is surely what God must also want.  When this happens, we may not be listening; we may be dictating." p.71.

"Abandonment will surely lead to the fragrant flower of humility and love." p. 78

Wow, these are so me.  The "I" is so much a part of my spriitual vocabulary that I didn't even realize it.  And the funny (yet sad) thing about pride, is that we don't usually recognize it for what it is.  Pride can have good intentions.  What I mean by that is that the desire can be noble. I want to be holy.  It is such a noble desire, what we all should want.  But the problem comes in when we simply use reason  to decide what will lead to holiness.  Many people hear ideas or see others doing something that appears to make them holy and conclude that they need to do that thing.  But sometimes people forget to ask the Holy Spirit what is God's will for them and to check it out against Church teaching. 
I truly have been humbled as I have journeyed through the land of traditionalism and out again.  I didn't really seek God's will; many issues were just outward and not an inward conversion, and God is slowly showing me that His will can lead us in very different places than we expect or want. But I am learning ever so slowly and painfully that God can work through many situations, and that there is no one way to holiness.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homeschooling

I have no fancy Church statements on the right to homeschool.  Most homeschoolers use the quotes from previous posts to support their right to homeschool. Simply stated parent are the primary and first educators of their children. 
I think homeschooling is a wonderful option for parents if they feel like they can handle it and/or feel the need.  I have homeschooled for 16 years, and my reasons for doing so have changed.  When I began, I homeschooled for educational and safety reasons.  Once I became involved in the traditionalist movement, my reasons switched to moral reasons.  I came to believe that it was the only way to transmit the faith to my children.  And now, after seeing and knowing some good Catholic families who have chosen a different route than homeschooling, I see things a bit differently.  I no longer see it as the only way. 
Also after becoming a traditionalist, I heard that many previous "methods" that I used in our homeschool were anti-Catholic. Things such as unschooling, Montessori, and Charlotte Mason methods were touted as evil.  Wanting to do things "right", I switched to a school at home program that made us miserable, all in the name of a good Catholic education.  Thankfully, we didn't keep that up for long and went back to our more relaxed style of schooling.  Homeschooling methods are very personal and one must weigh many factors into that decision.  There is no way right way to homeschool and no one Catholic way that will work for everyone. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Catholic schools

Many traditionalist are wary of Catholic schools.  I know I was.  Even before I was involved in Traditionalism, I viewed Catholic schools in a negative light because surely that must be the reason for the lack of faith following Vatican II. Homeschooling was the only viable option that any practicing Catholic could choose.  To put your children into public school was akin to throwing them into Hades, and  well, those Catholic schools are run by feminist lay people.  What other choice is there for a parent to choose who loves their child and their faith?   One thing I forgot, and many others who are seeking to keep their children Catholic and pass on the faith, is that homeschooling (or any other schooling for that matter) isn't going to save them.  There are no guarantees.  God is bigger than homeschooling, Catholic schooling, and public schooling.  He can work through any situation.  I am getting a bit off track, but that needed to be said....
We know that after Vatican II, the number of religious vocations dropped dramatically, especially for women.  Slowly, the teaching sisters left the schools, and they for the most part have been taken over by the lay people.  Problem is that you have to pay those people so Catholic school  is prohibitive for many.  But now days you hear that none of the schools are good any more because the sisters aren't teaching and feminist women have taken over.  Many are even bold enough to say that only SSPX and the few FSSP schools are good.  I am sure there are many bad ones around, but now that my eyes have been opened, I haven't seen them.  I have only heard hearsay, but the few that I have come in close contact lately (that would be 6 because we are considering sending our to Catholic school ) only one had something questionable going on and that was quite a number of years ago under a different principal. All of these schools had Mass once a week, taught the children the Rosary, celebrated All Saints, the month of Mary (with May crownings), most had adoration times, prayed the stations of the cross during Lent and quite a few of them used traditional religion texts.  Both high schools I looked at use the Didache series which quite a lot of homeschoolers are using.  One high school had the priest teaching religion (and  he celebrates the EF Mass) and the other had a deacon teaching religion.  Manners, respect, and modesty are  expected.  Of course, I am sure the children learn many of the bad things that we parents wish to shelter them from, but at some point we have to let them learn to distinguish right from wrong. That is where our part as parents comes in.  We have to be involved in their education and talk to them along with listening.  Our example is key and if we have their hearts, I think that goes a long way.
Ok, on to some technical lingo supporting Catholic schools.  From:
 GRAVISSIMUM EDUCATIONIS


Declaration on Christian Education

Second Vatican Council (again, please don't freak; it's legit;))
Catholic Schools




The influence of the Church in the field of education is shown in a special manner by the Catholic school. No less than other schools does the Catholic school pursue cultural goals and the human formation of youth. But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.(25) So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community.



Since, therefore, the Catholic school can be such an aid to the fulfillment of the mission of the People of God and to the fostering of the dialogue between the Church and mankind, to the benefit of both, it retains even in our present circumstances the utmost importance. Consequently this sacred synod proclaims anew what has already been taught in several documents of the magisterium,(26) namely: the right of the Church freely to establish and to conduct schools of every type and level. And the council calls to mind that the exercise of a right of this kind contributes in the highest degree to the protection of freedom of conscience, the rights of parents, as well as to the betterment of culture itself.



But let teachers recognize that the Catholic school depends upon them almost entirely for the accomplishment of its goals and programs.(27) They should therefore be very carefully prepared so that both in secular and religious knowledge they are equipped with suitable qualifications and also with a pedagogical skill that is in keeping with the findings of the contemporary world. Intimately linked in charity to one another and to their students and endowed with an apostolic spirit, may teachers by their life as much as by their instruction bear witness to Christ, the unique Teacher. Let them work as partners with parents and together with them in every phase of education give due consideration to the difference of sex and the proper ends Divine Providence assigns to each sex in the family and in society. Let them do all they can to stimulate their students to act for themselves and even after graduation to continue to assist them with advice, friendship and by establishing special associations imbued with the true spirit of the Church. The work of these teachers, this sacred synod declares, is in the real sense of the word an apostolate most suited to and necessary for our times and at once a true service offered to society. The Council also reminds Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children.(28)



9. Different Types of Catholic Schools



To this concept of a Catholic school all schools that are in any way dependent on the Church must conform as far as possible, though the Catholic school is to take on different forms in keeping with local circumstances.(29) Thus the Church considers very dear to her heart those Catholic schools, found especially in the areas of the new churches, which are attended also by students who are not Catholics.



Attention should be paid to the needs of today in establishing and directing Catholic schools. Therefore, though primary and secondary schools, the foundation of education, must still be fostered, great importance is to be attached to those which are required in a particular way by contemporary conditions, such as: professional(30) and technical schools, centers for educating adults and promoting social welfare, or for the retarded in need of special care, and also schools for preparing teachers for religious instruction and other types of education.



This Sacred Council of the Church earnestly entreats pastors and all the faithful to spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfill their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Modernist?

I had intended the first post after Easter Sunday to be about education, but something more pressing has come to my attention that I feel needs to be addressed.  I get quite a number of emails from this blog.  Most of them are a reply of thanks for what I am doing here. However, I do get some negative emails (and posts) claiming I am just like those modernists or that I am claiming that we all swing to the other extreme side.  That is not what this is about at all.  But I can see how a strict traditionalist could think that I am abandoning all of those important issues like skirts only for women.  But I am trying to show what the Church really teaches on certain matters that Traditionalists have made like dogma.  I am seeking balance, and the Church provides that. 
I wrote here, in another post,

from a book I am reading this Lent, Consoling the Heart of Jesus.
from p.244 "Sometimes, instead of getting people to run after lesser goods, the bad spirit tries to get them running after true goods in an extreme way. His intention in playing this version of his trick is to eventually leave his victims feeling tired and discouraged. After all, people can only live life to the extreme for so long."

I think Satan can use extremism in any form to draw us away from Truth.  That is what I am trying to acknowledge here on this blog.

Here is a comment from a recent poster:

"WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR GOD-GIVEN INSTINCT FOR REVERENCE? I'm not so interested in written codes/doctrine as this must have "some" adaptation to modern times. However, DECENCY has no era!
I am so shocked at what I see in church that I cann't even concentrate on the Mass. Mothers who look like skanky prostitutes and their young daughters not far behind. Breasts out, heels & skirts up to their "buns," dripping in oversized earrings, excess make-up & ATTITUDE! Gum, talking throughout, last arrived/first out (even before Priest) with numerous illegitimate, uncontrollable babies/kids.
God says come as you are, but once you have been in the Church you should not appear the same as a newcomer who is "ill and welcomed."

What happened to "Sunday clothes?" Why is God not good enough to dress for, yet birthday parties and the like get the best!
I plan to do my small part. Please do yours."
 
First of all, I am doing my part, and I think most of the readers here are as well.  This comment came across as if I am promoting swinging to the other extreme side.  I am not.  I find what this poster said about people dressing immodestly and church horrible (not to mention the lack of reverence).  BUT I will not longer judge these people.  I know what they are doing may be scandalizing, but there is a chance they don't realize that, haven't been educated, etc.  I still believe in modesty, in the healthy sense, the way the Church actually teaches, not in the extreme way some traditionalists promote. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Taking care of yourself

Since discovering that I have been suffering from anxiety and depression, I have read a lot about it.  One outstanding theme is to take care of yourself through exercise, sufficient sleep, eating well, and having time alone for refreshment.  I rarely did this through my early years of mothering and especially once I became a traditionalist.  I always assumed the hard, bone-weary tired was just my cross to bear and that I had to die to self.  While this is true to an extent, we must take care of ourselves or we will crash and burn.  Mothers give a lot so we must replenish.  For me, the biggest help (and hardest to do) has been to get enough sleep.  I don't sleep well by nature so I struggle with it. Not the desire, mind you, but getting and staying asleep.  I no longer feel guilty if I don't have time to do everything because I need to sleep.  Before, I would stay up late or get up early to get things done.  Now I reallize that sleep needs to be as much as a priority, if not more, than other things like a clean home.  I remember reading from a SSPX source about mothers and sleep once.  The author asserted that you could sleep when you are in the grave but right now you are in a battle with work to be done.  Well, I won't be doing much fighting if I am totally depleted.  I no longer listen to such garbage, but instead I have become willing to do whatever I need to do to heal and take care of myself.  Because if I don't take care of me, there will be no one to give to these beautiful people God has entrusted to mePlease share ways you take care of yourself.  More later as I should be getting ready for bed.  Sleep, wonderful sleep.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Joy

My word for 2011 is JOY!  I have not been a joyful mommy for many years.  Due to my anxiety and depression, I was very grumpy, irritable, and impatient most of the time.  I wanted so much to be joyful and have fun with my kids, but I could never do it.  I was constantly tired and with depression and anxiety I could not cope with everything.  Now that I have the depression and anxiety under control, I am trying to be that mother I have always wanted to be.  We are having a lot more fun around here, and I try to say yes as much as possible.  I am more soft spoken and calm.  I hope I can contiune this.  We so need it.