How I wish I had read it years ago when it first came out. However I felt so succumbed by various stresses of life, that I kept putting it off...until now...when my homeschool years are over. Even so, I still find it filled with great encouragement, including perhaps the "why" as to my "tunnel visioned" lifestyle back in the days of homeschooling. On so many levels I could relate to Mrs. Farris. Over and over I thought to myself, "Me too." Thus, I thought I'd share some of those "me toos" that greatly encouraged me. Knowing that I was not alone, and reading about some ideas that helped her, gave me opportunity to think through some ideas that personally help me. I decided to save this post, for obvious reasons, for Mother's Day weekend.
One of the first things that struck me was that we shared a common vision: "the vision of a righteous family growing into a righteous nation." (p 38) For me, as I prayed for and guided my children day by day, I wanted to impart how to make Jesus the center point of my life. I also wanted that to carry not just through their personal lives, but also through our family interactions. Further I wanted them to learn to serve their family and neighbors. I also wanted them to learn about self-governance. I carried these desires through their toddler years, and then into their homeschool years.
I also found it quite interesting that like Vickie Farris, I started thinking about homeschooling because of Dr. James Dobson's ministry on his radio show, Focus on the Family. (p46) From that I learned about Vickie's husband, Michael Farris, who is a Constitutional lawyer. I have been following Mr. Farris for over 20 years. After I chose to homeschool I joined the organization he founded, Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). More and more Michael Farris kept getting more and more ideas which I kept signing on to, or wishing I had signed on to. We now live an hour south of where they lived in Virginia. Since moving here my son started attending the college Mr. Farris founded, Patrick Henry College. While there we attended church together, which we like so much that now we have made that our church home. After we started visiting there we were surprised to learn (well, no, not really) that Michael Farris founded this church. We do not participate or attend any of these places because Michael Farris founded it. Instead we participate because they happen to be a good fit for us. Even now I am a volunteer with the Convention of States Project which...Michael Farris founded. So, all of that happened because of a man named Dr. James Dobson.
Like Mrs. Farris, "I need a firm foundation as I set out on this project of 'building' godly children." (p 50) From the very beginning, when I brought my first baby home from the hospital, I felt an enormous weight of responsibility of carefully guarding my own choices to be sure they line up with Scripture, to be sure that I was honoring God, to be sure that I was following Jesus, to be sure that I allowed the Holy Spirit to work within me. As my children grew I marveled that they were like a mirror to me. Sometimes when their attitudes were negative, I realized they were only imitating what they saw in me. How often I had to go to God first...before I went to my kids and apologized and then showed them the more proper way.
...they require us to grow up and shape up, to deny ourselves and to become more like Christ if we are to have any measure of success with them. And what a genuine blessing that is! Children force us onto our knees, drive us to the Lord, and sharpen us for even greater service. (104)
I enjoyed reading how the Farris family began their homeschool day: "Even our regular school schedule can serve as a means of pointing me back to my true foundation. We always start the school day with a flag salute, followed by a short time of Bible reading and prayer." (p52) That is how our each of our homeschool mornings started too. However I confess we did less in my kids' later highschool years, which I regret. That is one thing I would change if I had it to do all over again. It is so important and so special. We had rich spiritual talks as we worked through our Bibles each morning.
Even though I have a small family, I could relate to a few comments she shared in chapter 3 about her pregnancies. We both had nausea the entire 9 months. (62) "God also impressed upon me the fact that He truly was in control of the womb..." (73) "If you have ever had a miscarriage, you know that the due date for the lost baby becomes a special and very sensitive date." (76) My first baby was due around Thanksgiving...however I never made it to November. I miscarried the baby in mid-April, around Easter. If I had had my first baby, I would never have had my second, my daughter. I had a perfect, albeit nauseous, pregnancy with her. However with my third baby, my son, I had a complicated, albeit nauseous, pregnancy filled with numerous special care visits that resulted in being air evacced to Wilford Hall Medical Center (San Antonio, Texas at Lackland AFB) which was 350 miles from our home. We were blessed that a USAF plane from Scott AFB (Illinois) was en route that picked me up at Shepherd AFB (north Texas) and delivered us to Lackland. We almost died, but many miracles occurred that day. My son was born six weeks early. He's had a few hurdles in life (and so has my daughter, and I guess so have I). Through it all God is truly in charge.
I appreciated Mrs. Farris sharing Psalm 31:8, "Thou has set my feet in a large place." "God has truly done this for me over the years, not only by giving us a large family, but also by enlarging my abilities and skills in the process." (112) "...it seems that the Lord has simply increased His grace every time the burden has gotten a little heavier, and He has enabled me to meet each new challenge when it has arisen." (112) I have heard many a mother testify to this truth. I can see it in my own life, as well. This blog is full of stories. God is, indeed, our Provider.
I really liked her comment, "While I do have ultimate responsibility for the care of our home, I am certainly a believer in spreading out the work among all the members of the household. (138) "Everyone who is available pitches in until the job is done." (139) She also talked about how her husband helped her by seeing it was okay to let a few things slide, and by getting outside help for her. Blessed is the wife whose husband understands these things. I have done so much more around the house when we homeschooled, because I was home more. Now that I'm out and about driving my kids to and from college and work (because my daughter has vision therapy needs and is struggling to drive...so I might as well drive my son too and save money and lots of taxes on a third car). I have a really hard time cooking dinner anymore. Hardly anyone is even home for dinner anymore. I've had to rethink how I manage my time...and the mess in the house. I confess that the other day I very matter of factly commented that because I only make 25% of the mess in our home, it's a blessing when the other 75% of the family helps to clean up too. The result: an equally matter of fact reaction of, "Oh, okay." and there was a quick pick up that occurred! No emotions. No angst. It's just that we are all so busy that not all of us saw what was happening. 😊
I really liked Vickie Farris' chapter 7: Mary v. Martha. Although my husband actually prefers for me to be a Martha, I know God wants me to be a Mary. Therefore I really love this chapter, because Vickie wrote lots of insightful truths that helped me to find balance and peace. It is so loaded, I'm afraid I'd end up copying the entire chapter. Therefore you are just going to have to buy the book and read it!
Well, I could write so much more, but hopefully this will be enough to entice you to purchase A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris and Jayme Farris Metzgar.