red pencils broken in half in hand

But Where Did All the Pencils Go?

by Kyndra Steinmann
This morning was one of those school days that “did not go well.” The fourth-grader argued with the assignments and the textbooks. The third-grader dawdled and ate her pencils. The first-grader suddenly couldn’t remember any of the phonics he’d known perfectly the day before, and the toddler had a tantrum in the middle of the big children’s math lesson!

Aahh! One of those days that makes me question my sanity, not to mention my ability–missing pencils were just the half of it!

In the midst of the mayhem, we took a little break and I glanced at Facebook to see that a friend was writing an article about homeschooling and had posted some questions for homeschoolers to answer.

“Why do you homeschool?” was the first one.

“Well, why?” I asked myself, “ It certainly isn’t for days like today!”



“Yes, it is.

“It is precisely for days like today that I homeschool.”


That fourth grader arguing with the book, the assignment, and everything else? He might not do that to a teacher who isn’t Mom, but I wouldn’t bet on it. In a classroom, there isn’t time to stop and disciple him into growing that stubbornness into properly applied determination. That willingness to ask questions and not simply accept answers that he doesn’t understand can become leadership skills someday, but only through training and instruction. Where would a teacher with 25 other students find the time to work through the arguments?

So with each of my students. They each need the gift of loving time to bring them to their full potential as adults, and that is my opportunity.

These rough days?

Piecing the Pencils Together

The days are rough because souls and characters are being formed in our basement classroom and sometimes dirt has to fly before the form can be seen. They are rough because no one, not–especially–a toddler or a mama, likes to stop and do something someone else wants when we have our own ideas in mind. All of the angst, the tears, the thrown pencils, the frustrated words, the rubbing each other just the wrong way, can work in all of us to make something beautiful if we are willing to do and endure the labor of formation.

In the end, that is the goal. Formation is the goal. Growth in Christ for each of us. These rough days are really just a means of grace.

Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones about living in a houseful of young children, special needs, discipling hearts, and abundant grace! As a homeschool graduate, she has an especial burden to encourage mothers to know and enjoy their children. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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