Okay, one thing I really love about homeschooling is the unlimited supply of encouragement I find in my friends. Thank you.
Kellie, you are so right. I'm always encouraged after spending time with other homeschooling families--especially the moms. We are a unique breed, and we need to stick together. And though I love diagramming sentences (I really do...I know...weird), character training is more important than academics. Knowledge is good, but it can also puff up. Knowledge, accompanied by character, is wisdom. How can I help my children develop godly character if they are out of my hands for 40 hours per week? Sure, it's possible, but homeschooling sort of has that built-in to itself--whether I like it or not. Homeschooling helps to draw out "character-building moments". (And I'm not just talking about the kids.)
Char, thank you for saying it was God's plan for Samuel to be a fourth child. Among the things I listed yesterday, I obviously feel the most guilty about leaving him in the dust, and your statement really spoke to my heart. I am so thankful he knows his siblings well. Even through the fighting, I'm convinced they all love each other--and always will. I also realize that Sam will have more than he wants of my attention when he's a teenager and his older siblings are (Lord willing) out of the house. That's just so far away from right now; it's hard to see. And if it's hard for me to see, then it's impossible for a four-year-old. (I do have Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe. I just need to find it. Thanks for the offer and the suggestion.)
Rebecca, "four living books"--I like that. And as Sue mentioned, this is my season of life right now. Even when I look back to two years ago, I can already see how I have a little more discretionary time these days. For example, I'm writing this blog now. I tried that before and never kept up with it. While I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, the blog is not completely forgotten. Also, Dave and I went to lunch and a movie (Hugo) this afternoon for our anniversary--and we didn't hire a sitter! When we got home: all of the children were alive, the house was still standing, and Samuel was wearing the same outfit as when we'd left (meaning he didn't have an accident). Yep. I'm in a new season. Perhaps I'm not in the this-is-the-year-I-write-that-book season, but it's nice to be heading in that direction.
Oy, Sue, I hadn't even thought about dropping off, picking up, homework and all of that when I was doing my time-saved-by-public-schooling calculations. Homeschooling really is much more efficient.
And Bailey, your email made me cry--sweet tears, mind you. It was beautiful, and thoughtful, and so loving. Thank you. I will prayerfully consider your offer. I love you too.
There is still more to come. I wanted to take time to respond to my loving friends' advice and encouragement before I wrote my "Why I Really Love Homeschooling" post. So, stay tuned. (And don't be discouraged if it takes a few days. We're still doing some school this week, so it might have to wait until our Christmas break begins.)