Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Choosing A Pace

Snow is lingering—if not on the ground, then in my mind. I dread its loss. My husband sees its exit as the start of the race season.

Training matters, but winning races involves strategy as much as physical fitness. My husband was not yet a runner when he learned this truth from a collegiate, cross-country roommate.

2014 Kent Island Start Line

Runners have pulled ahead too soon and been unable to maintain their speed. Or withdrawn. Runners have not followed the leaders’ surges and later been unable to close the gap. Runners have won by staying behind before their own late surge.

Pull ahead? Stay with the group? Hang back and wait?

Successful runners know when to leave the pack and when to let the pack leave them.

Along the way, I learned that the same strategies applied to parenting and homeschooling decisions.

Should I stick with standard curricula and goals? Was I falling behind and dragging my children with me if I resisted the latest parenting or homeschooling trends—especially when acquaintances were on an accelerated track? Would matching their pace lead to victory? Or defeat? Our optimal strategy was occasionally unclear.

How do you choose your pace?

Homeschooling, Parenting

Unhappy?

February was one of the hardest months when my children were living at home. Some days, nothing worked. I didn’t like my kids or my spouse or certain friends or homeschooling or my curriculum or my house or perhaps all of the above. And none of them liked me back.

All of us lived and eventually liked each other again. (The love never stopped.)

No one ever said that they learned their deepest lessons of life or had their sweetest encounters with God, on the sunny days. People go deep with God when the drought comes.

John Piper

How is your February?

Decisions, Homeschooling

Homeschooling This Year?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God. not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Homeschooling did many things for our family. My children could learn at their own pace. We weren’t confined to grade levels when choosing curricula. We had flexibility if I didn’t let others claim it. (See here.) We shared experiences. We traveled outside of the summer season.

Most importantly, homeschooling allowed my husband and me to share and reinforce our Christian beliefs. However, one thing homeschooling could not do is impart saving faith to my sons.

The fact that only Jesus saves should be obvious—like the fact that homeschooling works best if you want to homeschool (See here). However, my friends and I occasionally crossed into dangerous territory by believing that our “works”—such as homeschooling—mattered as much or perhaps even more than Jesus.

As my family and others look back over our homeschool efforts, some of our children chose our faith and some didn’t. Discouraging? Not necessarily. Their stories aren’t finished.

Setting any goals beyond your control this year?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Showing Up

Races are unpredictable. Even after consistent training, sometimes, a runner’s best long-run strategy is dropping out. (See here) Other times, their best strategy is simply showing up.

2021 Colorado Half-Marathon Start Line

Whether I was running the parenting marathon or the homeschooling marathon or the care-giving marathon, there were days when showing up at the start line was the best I could do.

Elite runner Des Linden made history at the 2018 Boston Marathon by showing up—and continuing to show up—mile after mile. Des told another American runner that although she had started, she would probably drop out. It wasn’t her day. Des offered to block the wind—or anything else—to help Shalane Flanagan win.

The icy weather was epic. Given the forecast, race organizers increased their medical assistance along the route. For 26.2 miles, Des showed up until she broke the tape at the finish line—the first American to win the women’s Boston Marathon in 33 years.

I might not have broken a race tape on the days I simply showed up, but I like to think I made a difference.

Which is the best strategy for your current race? Showing up or dropping out?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Thinking About Dropping Out?

Failing at something doesn’t make one a failure. It means you are learning.

Molly Siedel 2020 Olympic Bronze Medalist

September, October, and November are busy months for distance runners, including my husband. Not only does he run—while I wait at the finish line—but he also follows the stories of elite runners, which means I follow their stories.

Finish Line Reunion

If we can’t watch a race, we eagerly await its results. Sometimes, the results are disappointing and bring questions.

Why didn’t Galen Rupp finish the 2018 Boston Marathon?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish … due to having problems breathing and hypothermia … I am hopeful to race again.

Galen Rupp statement

Rupp won the 2018 Prague Marathon a month later.

Why didn’t Molly Seidel finish the 2022 Boston Marathon?

I gave it my all and it wasn’t good enough…. (mile) 16 it was clear there was no way I could keep running without really injuring myself … I can’t wait to eventually finish this dream.

Molly Seidel Instagram

Given the commitment and training that distance running requires, I admire runners who accept unforeseen events, and then, press on.

Overwhelmed? Injured? Dropping out to race another day?