Making a Plan and Letting It Go

By Amy Osborn

This is my favorite time of the day. The house is completely quiet as everyone is still asleep. I am enjoying a pot of tea and my quiet time.

Our house is rarely quiet with two parents, a 15-year-old, a 13-year-old, a 9-year-old, a 2-year-old, and two rambunctious dogs around! In fact, Eric and I affectionately call our family “The Thundering Horde.” So when it’s quiet, I try to stop and enjoy the moment. But I didn’t always enjoy the quiet!

Our journey to parenthood took much longer than we expected. Scratch that—than we planned! Yes, we are both firstborns, and we are definitely planners! When we married in 1987, we had many plans. Since then, we have come to understand the truth behind this Scripture: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NASB)

One of our plans was to wait a few years and enjoy some time together before we had children. We also planned to have two or four children. I wanted an even number of children so that no one would be without a playmate. We didn’t plan on infertility.

While our infertility was very hard, the Lord allowed us to see that there were benefits too. In fact, during those days, I had a list of “Benefits of Infertility” in my Bible to help me through the hardest days. But a quiet house was never on the list. Our house was always clean, always quiet, and I hated it.

After pursuing a few medical options, we decided that further medical intervention was not for us. Proceeding further, we knew we’d be presented with decisions that we were not comfortable making. We knew a few families who had adopted children, and we decided to look into that option for our family. There are many ways to adopt, but after some research we chose to adopt through the foster care system.

It took a few years to be matched to a child, and while we were waiting, we tried to learn as much as we could about the challenges that our future children might face. We learned about drug exposure, long-term effects of abuse and neglect, and fetal alcohol exposure. We also took the time to learn about homeschooling. Homeschooling really appealed to me as an opportunity to spend more time with my children for whom I had waited for so long! As I learned more about the needs of my children, I realized homeschooling was going to be necessary to help them learn.

Now we are parents to four children who were all exposed in the womb to drugs and alcohol. The first year of life was very hard for each of them, but through early interventions, at 2 or 3 years of age each of them caught up with their peers. However, we were cautioned that they might have more issues when they reached school age.

While we consider ourselves a homeschooling family, we’ve had times when the children have gone to school with Eric, who teaches at a Christian school. Currently Jason (9) goes to the Christian school, but we have to greatly supplement his education due to his learning issues. James (15), Jeremy (13) and Christa (2) are home with me each day. James is in an Independent Study program for high school, and Jeremy is enrolled in Almaden Valley Christian School (http://www.avcsbooks.com/). AVCS is a home education service for families of children with learning differences, difficulties, and disabilities run by Sharon Hensley, the author of Home Schooling Children With Special Needs. She has been a great help to me to find resources to help my child who struggles so much with every aspect of learning. Also, I just started a local support group for moms of special learners. We meet monthly to pray and encourage one another.

One of my favorite questions when I’m in a group of homeschooling moms is this: What are your favorite curricula? Well, I want to share some of mine!

• For math we like Teaching Textbooks. The boys are able to work independently, which is a big plus for me. It also appeals to their strongest learning channel, so math has been a joy for all of us since we started using this program!

• For history and science, we take a Charlotte Mason approach. Currently, we are working through The Story of the World series and Apologia’s Elementary Science books.

• For language arts, we use the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series, All About Spelling, and we are trying a new product for us, Bring the Classics to Life workbooks.

• For Bible, we use a lot of variety, but our favorite is to read the Bible at dinnertime and discuss what was read as a family.

When I was a young wife, I loved making plans. Now, as an experienced mom, I recognize that a plan is a good tool, but there are times when I have to let go. And I never regret it! As I raise my four special learners, I am asking the Lord for the wisdom to see His plan for each of the children!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5, NIV)

Amy Osborn enjoys an occasional quiet morning in northern California. In addition to being a homeschooling mom, she also is a bit of a knitting geek and loves working for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine as advertising support manager. She and her husband, Eric, are parents of five children, including one who is waiting for them in Heaven. Amy shares about her faith, family, and her Journal Back to Joy at http://osbornz.net/amy/.

Copyright 2010. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine®, Summer 2010. Used with permission.

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