Mittenstrings: Chapter 3

by | Mar 28, 2008 | Home Education, Mitten Strings, Personal Reflections | 5 comments

” In stillness, we find our peace. Knowing peace at home, we bring peace into the world. “

The third chapter of Mitten Strings For God is titled Peace. What a perfect topic for this peaceful morning! It is currently snowing outside–please note, we never have snow in March!–the boys have gone to Mass & work with daddy, the girls are sitting here coloring nicely while Snuggles plays with a few toys. Dinner is in the crock pot, and playing softly in the background is Triumph of the Cross, Music for Easter, a CD from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I wish all mornings were as peaceful as this! 🙂

Peace is something I struggle constantly to find and create in our home. Like the author of Mitten Strings said, I am forever seeking a balance in our family life between activity and stillness, sound and silence, society and solitude. For now, I still have a measure of control over the tenor of my children’s days, but as the actual amount of time we spend alone together inevitably shrinks, maintaining this balance becomes more important–and more challenging.

I use to thrive on being overly busy, constantly on the run, and having “something to do“… Lately, it seems, through our current circumstances (gas prices, the distance to town, and five young home educated children), that God is telling me to slow down, cut back on our activities outside the home, and enjoy the stillness and this Ordinary Time!

As I was reflecting upon the combination of peace and home schooling, I remembered a line I highlighted in an article by Father Hardon, “Catholic home schooling is the planned and organized teaching and training of children at home, for their peaceful and effective life in this world, and for their eternal salvation in the world to come.

Peace and Home schooling… Can those two words work together???

I am so blessed to be able to home school my children. However, there has been many times, especially the past four months, in which I have considered putting my children into school. I don’t think that I have mentioned it here, but I have been discussing it with hubby and friends.

Growing up I was home-schooled from grade 5 on. Being the social girl that I am, I resented home-schooling, and would beg and beg my parents to let me go back to school. I was determined that when I was a parent, “I would NEVER home school my kids.” However, looking back, I am so grateful to my parents for persevering, and making the sacrifice to home educate us children.

Moving on, to when I was newly married, a friend of my mothers (who was considering home schooling her children) asked me, “What would be your reason for NOT home schooling?” I thought about it for 2 seconds and answered, “Laziness.”

It would be easy to send my children to school… and hard to teach them at home.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I love home schooling! I love being able to pick out all the books we use! I love knowing that my children are receiving an authentically Catholic education! I love being able to have the time to do crafts with my children and read lots and lots of books to them! I love not having to worry about whether someone is hurting them or bullying them. And most of all, I get to have the reassurance that I am fulfilling God’s will for my children’s lives and upbringing.

What I don’t love, is not knowing what to do when one of my children is struggling with learning, having a messy unorganized home, and having very little quite time for myself.

Now, if I am honest with myself, I don’t think I would actually put my children into school. A friend of mine recently said, “You’ll home school at least another year, since you are still planning on going to that conference.” She is right. This was just my cry for help. And help is coming! In addition to setting out on a major decluttering of our home, since I am finding that an organized home is key to my sanity, I had Captain tested. It turns out that he has a couple learning challenges. They appear to be mild, but it explains my frustration (as well as his!) with teaching him to read. With therapy, they can easily be corrected, and the tutor begins on Monday. I am so relieved to find out that I am not a total failure at home schooling!

Anyhow, I have totally digressed on this post! I am sorry… but these are the thoughts that this chapter brought about! 🙂

Well, I have spent too much time online this morning. Time for me to get back to enjoying this rare peaceful morning! I think I am going to go and cuddle on the couch with my girls and read a few more books about Butterflies!

So, YES, it seems that I can have Peace and still Home School!

Before I go, don’t miss Dawn’s post about this chapter. Like usual, she has given a wonderful list of questions to think about! Thank you Dawn! I am going to print it out to re-read and think about while the kids are napping this afternoon!

“Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labors.” ~ St. Thérèse


  1. Anonymous

    Such an honest post Jessica, thank you! This is my first year homeschooling. I worry all the time if I am doing a good job! Sometimes I am sure that I am failing, other times I know that God supports this after much prayer time and I know that he will give us the grace to know what our kids need. Not want we want…but they need. I was so scared when I started I chose Seton, because the plans were there and the curriculum was put together for me. I am so happy I did that, it really helps me keep on track and know I am getting the basics to the kids. I come up with extra learning also, to help challenge him, but I am happy to have a saftey net.

    You are a great homeschooling mom, believe me!

  2. Jamie Jo

    Oh, what a great post. So true and honest. I love it. I feel the exact way! About everything. I get tired of the messy house, all the time! I get tired of no free time to myself. But then I start thinking of Mercy,love, and how I couldn’t do the alternative of homeschooling, when it gets right down to it. MN Mom puts it perfectly today too. All the reasons we do what we do. To protect our children. The sacrifices for them. It is all worth it. I have my sons test scores on the fridge to remind me of the many reasons why we do it. His scores were so high. (he’s in 2nd grade and he scored total score a 5th grader in the 8th month) Well…why would I not homeschool? All the work pays off, I keep telling myself.

    Thanks for your post today though, it is so nice to see other having the usual doubts and reconfirnments! God Bless you, you are wonderful!

  3. Margaret

    I love that book too!

    You ARE doing a great job at balancing it all! I hope you get the peace you need in the midst of it all. 🙂

  4. Jamie Jo

    I got busy tonight and did not come back, I still want to read the butterfly post!

    I just wanted to tell you something some fellow homeschooling friends told me when I first started. They said they wrote a list of all the reasons they homeschool and every time Mary, (the mother) felt like we all do, overwhelmed, ready to quit, sick of the messy house, you know…they would take out the list and re-read it. They said it always helps! I am yet to make that list, maybe this weekend?

  5. Ashley Wright

    Learning issues, social challenges, attention or emotional problems can all cause kids to disengage academically. As a parent, our presence in the academic life of our child is crucial to his/her commitment to work. My son enrolled with an online high school and I am proud that he is doing it independently. Thanks for your encouragement.


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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