20 March 2009

It's like the Tide


Well, yesterday morning, with no notice really, my parents came over for breakfast. The house was perfectly clean! My mom even commented how nice it looked. That was at about 9:30. Today, less than 24 hours later, it seems like a disaster. I have a few comments to make on this point that we should all keep in mind.
First, we are called HOMEschoolers. We are home all day, living in our homes and using the things in them. At my house, there are 5 people and 2 dogs and miscellaneous guests here all the time. We clean our homes and then immediately start re-making a mess. I'm sure if we cleaned and then left for the day the house would look better.
Second, there are four small people here with sinful, selfish, lazy tendencies (just like me) who are slowly being trained to clean up after themselves and serve others. I need to remind myself how merciful God has been with me when I resist what he is teaching me- how to be a responsible, serving reflection of his Son. Like my daughter who would rather play Pollys or my son who is engrossed with his latest Lego creation, I would much prefer to lay in bed, reading and dozing, than educating a sometimes resistant child.
There are a few quotes that I really like that apply here. One, I made into art for the kid's bathroom. It says "Cleaning house while your children are growing is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing." Love it! The other is something I'd like to put on my front porch: "If you'd like to see my house, call and make an appointment. If you'd like to see us, ring the bell."
The last one is from Ecclesistes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season." Our homes will not always be messy. There will come a day when the kids have all moved out and things will be quiet and untouched for days on end. But in trade for that, the little hands and feet will have grown and the little voices will just come on the other end of the phone line. So lets enjoy the time we have in our messy homes.
We homeschool because we want to be with our children and influence their development. Not because we want a perfect home. If family or neighbors who don't homeschool don't understand why the house looks 'lived in' all the time, just smile and remind yourself that it is lived in. We homeschool with the knowledge that education is happening in our homes, sometimes literally under our feet. We don't all have the blessing of separate schoolrooms. We can't necessarily pack away the materials or the project or experiment so that the house looks gorgeous. One week last year I had 5 peanut butter jars on the counter, with different kinds of soil settling in them. Not as attractive as matching flour/sugar/tea/coffee canisters, I can tell you!
Newborns have dirty diapers. Clean dishes leave behind dirty dishwater. Homeschooling includes a home in which the level of tidiness ebbs and flows like the tide. But soon enough the mess-makers will graduate and the house will look sparkling and tidy all the time, because this season has passed and another season has started.

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