back to school thoughts

Our first day of school at the Wood Academy is now history and changes are underway. A lot of new changes are underway.

SOMEONE’S GOING BACK TO SCHOOL. It’s not Thomas. It’s not Mae. It’s not Kate. 

It’s ME! And I’m not going back as a student, but as the teacher! Full-time!

Over the past year, we have had many new opportunities cross our path. All of these wonderful opportunities equate to a lot of shifts for the Wood family during the coming academic year.

While Ryan and I still feel 100% called to continue on our homeschool journey this year, some of those details are going to be different this year from the years’ past.

For the past four years, we have had quite a lot of fun learning; in fact, that’s been our primary outcome of all of our studies. We have taken a fun unit study and Charlotte Mason approach. I feel quite confident that my goals for having my kids develop a love for learning has been accomplished. But they are maturing and getting older. We are always in pursuit of their changing needs.

This year, we are transitioning to a co-operative learning format. My kids will have co-op each week where they have different teachers for each of their academic subjects. The days we are at home, I’ll be more of an overseer of the activities and assignments that these other gifted and qualified teachers will give. I am happy to take on the role of more of a facilitator. I know our kids are in great hands and I look forward to all of the academic, social, and spiritual growth that will take place this year.

Looking back on the past few months and really even all of 2015, I can see how certain situations and scenarios have been unfolding for such a time as this. I have completed my book project. Our kids are set up for a wonderful co-op experience. Ryan’s op-tempo at work has allowed for much more family time at our present duty station. Just a few weeks ago, we were discussing what the Lord might have in store for us during our time left here.

Ryan and I prayerfully agreed that this would be a ideal time for me to take advantage of a part-time, adjunct teaching opportunity again. Life in the military doesn’t always (or even often) accommodate a do-able work schedule for military spouses, but the Lord worked out the details. The hours and schedule are perfect and I have been thrilled to take on the challenge.

As always we are open to where He leads us and what He calls us to do. I have had a stirring in my heart to be used by Him both inside my home and outside. But I’ll be honest, too often this feels like an either/or proposition to me. I feel torn. If I’m home, I often long to be out in the world feeling utilized. If I’m out serving in other areas, I often feel guilt…like my priority is at home and all of my needs should be met there. I’m learning, this is a lie.

God calls us to different opportunities in different seasons, but when we are walking closely with Him we can rest assured that the opportunities He places before us are ordained by Him. 

Since becoming a mother in 2003, I have never held a full-time job outside of the home. I’ve spent many years adjunct teaching, I’ve done LEGO camps as a homeschool mom, I’ve done writing and grading/scoring projects, and I have volunteered heavily. From PTA to PWOC to other ministries (both inside of church/chapel and in the military), I’ve kept a very full calendar. When the full-time job opportunity presented itself I felt positive I wanted to explore the opportunity!

I prayed. Ryan prayed. It’s a few more classes, a few more hours outside of the home, and a few more responsibilities. It’s a bit more finagling to keep our week running smoothly. It’s going to be a lot more of an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of school year for all five of us. We discussed every angle and laid it all out there. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Can I effectively do this and homeschool the kids? Is it too much pressure? Leaving too little margin?

I did not get answers to any of those questions. The truth is, I don’t know and won’t know the answers to those questions until I get into the semester and see. But I have a peace. I have the full support of Ryan and the kids. I have a wonderful, capable, sent-from-the-Lord nanny/tutor for Thomas, Mae, and Kate. I have a dean who has moved mountains to hand-select and schedule my course load and block my classes as closely together as possible on the fewest days on campus as possible. I have a husband that says, “If you want to do this, let’s make it happen.” He knows me best and sees my passion.

Most importantly I have confidence in the good work that the Lord began in me. I have confidence not in my abilities to manage it all. But I have an unyielding faith in a God who loves me and blessed me with this opportunity and who will be walking right beside me every step of the way.

I may fail. I may feel frazzled or overcommitted. But I am willing to take that risk. I am willing to try it out. I’m willing to sign a one year contract. Because I may never know if I could do it if I don’t try. Twenty-fifteen has proven to be a year of stretching, of growing, of yielding and finding good things. I don’t doubt this teaching opportunity will be any different.

As God is continuing to write the story of our lives, I am reminded that I’m not in this alone and yet, I answer (as my sweet friend put it) to an Audience of One. I’m accountable to the four other people who live in my house. They are behind me cheering the loudest. After all, I’ve spent a lot of time cheering for them too.

I won’t feel fear or shame about what others might think. I won’t try to explain to others in such a way that makes me feel like I owe any explanations. I won’t justify. I won’t be seeking to live up to others’ expectations. I won’t worry that someone else may not understand how I’m able to do both–full-time teacher and full-time homeschool mama. I won’t try to convince anyone that our way is better. Our way is our way and we are going to make it work just fine. Our way is the one the Lord has called us to. It is unique to our particular circumstances.


This school year, like each one before it, will be unique. It will be full and challenging. It will be a time of learning new things…not all of it in textbooks.

7 thoughts on “back to school thoughts

  1. Karen Winters says:

    Clair, I am so happy for you. Sounds like the Lord has worked out everything so you can have the desired of your heart…all of your desires. Love us, KK

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Sarah Goff says:

    Lovely post Clarie! As always, my heart is stirred with a “Yes and Amen!” every time I read your blog.
    I am in a similar boat, feeling slightly overcommitted but with the voice of the Lord behind me saying just keep going. Fix your eyes on me. A mentor told me recently, “you can do more think you think you are able to.” I relay this to you and I know you will “crush this”. 😉 Believing this will be a great season for your family 🙂


  3. Kathy says:

    I know that you and Ryan have prayed and feel like it is the right thing to do. That is the only thing you have to know without any explanation at all. I am happy for you….what an opportunity for you and for the students you will be teaching! You’ve got this!!


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