God in the Midst of Projects, Books and Crayons


Hey my friends!

Its been a little over a month since my last post, I must admit, I fell off a bit from keeping my once-a-month blog entry commitment. I’m sorry about that. Life happens right? I’m just going to keep it moving.

Though, in all honesty, one main reason for my keystroke silence can be blamed on my priority shift in the last month and a half as it relates to kicking off this new homeschool year. When mid-August showed up I knew I would need to avert my eyes from my screen for just a short while in order to ensure my little lady rabbits would be taken care of when it came to planning out our 2016/2017 school year.

Can you believe that yesterday was the start of our fourth week of this new school year?! The fog is finally starting to clear and I’m feeling like I’m getting back into the groove of things. If I’m honest, I haven’t even given more than a two-second thought about my book or any writing for that matter in the last few weeks.

Gasp! I know right?!

But hey, what are ya gonna do? When life happens you have to roll with the punches.

But since you were so nice to ask how our school year has been thus far and because you’re just dying to know all our goings on and such I’ll oblige and fill you in on the methods to my madness when it comes to educating the next generation aka The Dunlap girls.

Believe it or not, this is the fourth September in a row I’ve sought to formally educate my children. And prior to that, I actually did a half year’s worth of preK for my then four-year-old. Man, that’s crazy to me! And I can truly say that each time a new September hits, it feels completely different.

This time last year, I was a hot mess!

Let me tell you why.

Apart from our phonics and math curricula, I had absolutely NO CLUE what other subjects we’d be covering. Not to mention, I had written a total of zero daily lesson plans. Rightly so, I spent the greater part of last September and October in a cold sweat. I was petrified and what was worse, I was suffering from acute guilt with the side effects of complete burn out.

Let’s backtrack a bit. Two years ago, our 2014/2015 Kindergarten year was a blast! By the time September kicked down August’s doors that year, I could proudly say that I had daily, weekly, monthly, and a whole school year’s worth of neatly written, well constructed and thoroughly thought out lesson plans saved to my hard drive with a hard copy to match. There were plenty of field trips, science experiments, art projects, music lessons, phonics work, math problems, hyperlinks for further exploration, worksheets even some of the hand made kind and loads of excitement to go around.

I had meticioulsly worked to plan out every day but was even more excited at my seemingly flawless grasp at providing my daughter with a homeschool experience to last the ages. And nobody could tell me anything different.

Then June 2015 happened.

When I tell you I was burnt out, I don’t think y’all are really hearing me. I’m talking overly crispy, charcoal, black as night hotdogs that only your uncle wants to eat at the family’s 4th of July cookout…burnt out! I could barely muster the wherewithal to read the DVR menu and scroll to my saved Covert Affairs episodes. It was BAD! I had never experienced such exhaustion and mental fatigue in my life.

I spent the rest of that summer doing any and everything but thinking about file folder games or how I could get the most use out of our empty egg cartons.

Trust me, in the world of homeschooling, when it comes to empty egg cartons, the possibilities are endless!


Pinterest knows what’s up!

So, when I saw one of the last pools closing for the season last August, I went into full on denial mode. I’ll never forget the chills I got at my first school bus sighting of the freshly minted school year. When I wasn’t biting my nails, I was venting to my husband and when I wasn’t venting to my husband, I was crying in a corner. When it came to planning the hastening school year, I was becoming a pro at avoidance coping strategies. This is why I said I was a hot mess last school year.

Now don’t get me wrong, we did start our school year when September came. We used the phonics program I had planned to continue as well as our math books. But everything else was a blur. This my friends is NOT the way to go about building up your mental sanity.

Now, I know there are fellow homeschoolers who adhere to a un-schooling educational approach. That’s the philosophy of allowing school to happen organically with little to no lesson plans, bulky curricula or tests. Overall its an unplugging from pre-ordained, traditional school techniques, formulas, and rules. Many of those dear sisters would applaud my lack of regimental flare. Trust me, I’m not knocking those fine ladies who believe in and adhere to this approach in anyway. Many of them do it well and I admire their ability to facilitate that type of learning environment for their children. It’s just that with the way my worry-wartism and Type-A personality are set-up, I wasn’t having it!

One thing was for sure, in the midst of all that chaos and emotional upheaval, I was calling on the name of the Lord like never before! I had to y’all. Real talk, as I mentioned earlier, during the 2014/2015 school year I felt like I had Kindergarten in the bag. It was an idealist’s dream. My daughter was flourishing. We both were learning ALOT and having tons of fun while doing it. Our days were neatly outlined and every time I crossed off a completed activity from our agenda, a school hamster got its wings.

But, what was missing from my fine-tuned and well mastered plan was one key if not central ingredient.

Dependency on God.

I don’t say this to overly-spiritualize what was, at best, a greatly executed plan and at worst, a sure fire way to end up in a padded room. Rather, I say it because that’s what was and still is true to this day. Despite my “mastery of homeschool” that Kindergarten year, I failed to realize I wasn’t too concerned with how much I still needed God in the midst of projects, books, and crayons.

broken crayons.jpg

So when last year came to a crashing start (I know that sounds weird but that’s exactly what happened), I soon found out how much I did in fact need Him. Better yet, I needed to forego my former strategy of “homeschooling with pride”. And, I’m not talking about the “good” kind of pride either (if there is such a thing). Whatever my educational approach, that proved to be the least successful.

Out of the blur that was our homeschool year last fall, has emerged a more level-headed understanding of Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” I get it. But I’m also pretty sure I don’t fully “get it” and most likely never will this side of eternity.

What I can say is I get the fact that in all areas of my life, I need God. I need Him when I’m up at 4am and can’t sleep and can only think about writing a blog post (yup, that happened today). I need Him on a random Friday morning on my way home from a routine grocery trip and I get in to an annoying car accident (yup, that happened last week too!). I need Him when my daughter is crying about the multiplication problems she’s been doing for the last three and a half weeks but for some strange reason beyond my understanding, has suddenly forgotten how to do any of it (Mmm hmm…that was yesterday!). Most of all, I need Him right now!!

I can see how just a few verses later in that same chapter in Proverbs, Solomon writes with a knowing confidence, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” What we can learn from Mac-Daddy Sol and all the mistakes he made in his life was that he knew all too well the pitfalls of trust in oneself apart from God. My prayer this fall and in the however many more falls going forward, is that I will heed Solomon’s warning to not only plan but to plan well while remaining keenly aware of my need for my Savior every day.

Anywho, these are my early morning musings. Let’s hope I remember this post when the kids start to stir in the next half hour and I realize that getting up at 4am is for the birds! One day I’ll learn. I’m sure of it.

Who knows, since Covert Affairs has been off the air for over two years, I hope that if I live by these principles this school year and beyond, I will still have the stamina to read my DVR to find my latest Once Upon a Time episode once June rolls around. Don’t judge me, that verse had nothing to do with guilty pleasure TV shows! 😉

Thanks for reading my friends. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to hit that lovely “follow writeaway31” button and make sure you share this post with others! Thanks and I’ll see you soon!




Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

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