Mostly I counted on the latter, but I think now that this was one of the reasons I was drawn to the kinds of methods that don't come any more than necessary between the child and the learning. Like unschooling, and Charlotte Mason, and a modified kind of classical. I figured my childrens' best chance to succeed, besides being beloved children of His Majesty, was in being able to pull their own learning out of their own environment. Books, nature, time to ponder, time to make things and try things out, time spent with those who love them unconditionally, seemed like the best ways to make that happen. And so it has been.
"Give us this day our daily bread...."
Back then, if you had told me that I would someday have 3 kids out in the world succeeding in various ways -- job, marriage, and continuing education -- and living lives of integrity, following their faith, I would probably have thought that this future hypothetical me, their mother, would be quite wise, together and successful.
It did not happen that way. I don't feel any wiser or more competent than that much younger homeschooling mom a couple of decades ago. I genuinely don't think I am. If I laid claim to any kind of wisdom it would be Socrates': "If I am wise it is because I know I am not wise."
But less paradoxically, I think the heart of it is that I was exactly right two decades ago, when I first earnestly dedicated my homeschool to the Holy Mother of Our Lord and asked her to fill the gaps in my mothering. I was NOT naturally or by character equipped for homeschooling. Every day, God would give me exactly the graces I needed for that day and that circumstance, to accomplish what He wanted me to accomplish. Perhaps I didn't always access them as fully as I could have, indeed I am very sure I fell down on that multiple times, but those graces were there. ... carefully and lovingly handed out just to me, like the manna to the wandering Israelites.
That would explain why I can't do some of the things I could do ten years ago, why what works for us now with homeschooling isn't exactly the same as what worked for the older ones ten years ago. It explains why having some successes doesn't make me somehow into a different person who now knows the answer to all kinds of things. I can't hoard yesterday's manna. I have to look up to heaven for today's supply.
I started this off feeling a little melancholy, but I think the Holy Spirit must have come in and given me a hand, because I feel like now I understand my situation better than I did half an hour ago. All in all, given my choice, I'd rather have God's providence to depend on than my own resources. My own resources will fail and fast. God's will not.
Thank You, dear Counsellor. I hope thinking about how God provides graces as we need them will help someone who reads this.