G. K. Chesterton likened a mother’s duties to those of a monarch. You are presiding over a large, eternally influential kingdom. He remarked: “How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?” [This means teaching general knowledge.] How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone [having an outside career like a bank teller, doing the same thing hour after hour] and narrow to be everything to your children?!!! A mother’s job is gigantic!
I know some of what you are going through. For over 20 years I labored, training and educating between 20 and 30 children, every day, for the bulk of the day. I did everything but feed ‘em and tuck ‘em into bed at night. It is a thrilling thing to come up under child after child and lift them to lofty heights. It takes all of your vital energy. But there is no duty more glorious in the end. To see your children reach adulthood, devoted to the Heavenly Father, thoroughly educated, accomplished, capable, refined in as many areas as is possible is a joy unspeakable. Love and serve your children, be to them everything they need, and in so doing, He will be to you everything you need.
Just do the next thing, and stay focused on your great task. Helen Keller said, “I long to accomplish some great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” If you have few resources and are stymied about curriculum, you can at least tackle these small tasks with your children:
- Make sure that every child knows 1,000 spelling words. Drill them day after day until they know them cold.
- Make them know their multiplication facts to perfection. Then go on and teach them how to thoroughly multiply and divide, up to three digits.
- Print out just one map of the world. Teach all seven continents today, the major oceans tomorrow, individual countries, rivers, mountains, cities…until they know the world in great detail…progressively, line upon line, more and more each day.
- Print out a timeline of key historical dates. Teach them one a day…until they know an overview of key events and dates of the entire scope and sequence of world history. Review.