I hope y’all are having a great week and getting in gear for the new school year. My two who are still in college at University of Georgia started back last week. They have a computer architecture class together and are so happy about that. It’s like homeschooling again—learning the same subject together. They’ll both graduate this May with their computer science degrees. It’s wonderful to see your children pursuing their passions, retaining their love for learning, and enjoying a close-knit relationship.
Homeschooling is a foundational investment in your family’s future relationships with one another.
You’ll never regret this decision!
I do miss those homeschooling years, though. How sweet they were. I wish I could gather my kids on the couch and do devotions. How I would love to once more read aloud from a life-giving book that enthralls us all with nail-biting adventures.
As I ponder the past, I remember the struggles I had balancing my schedule with the work God wanted to do in my children’s lives, in their relationships, and in their hearts. Oftentimes, my schedule conflicted with those things.
LEAVING ROOM FOR GOD
When I first started homeschooling, I created elaborate unrealistic minute-by-minute schedules for our homeschool day. Nothing is more discouraging in real life than when you have an unrealistic, idealistic day planned.
For some reason, I never planned for the arguments, the spilled water, the lost book, the tears over a wrong answer. My schedule would have only worked if my children were well programmed robots. Of course, I probably would have forgotten to put them on the charger the night before if they were robots!
Don’t get me wrong. Creating a schedule is important.
But we must leave room for God in our schedule.
We must make room for the Holy Spirit and His leading. When we make a schedule, we should do so with a James 4 mindset of…if it’s God’s will.
“Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your proud intentions. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
WHAT’S TRULY NECESSARY
The true purpose of homeschooling is far greater than our children’s academic advancement. Our focus, our primary focus, should be our children’s hearts—the person they are becoming.
Their character has far greater consequences and influence on their future than any amount of academic achievement.
You see, sometimes we discover our child needs extra attention or extra time discussing a heart issue. Ministering to our children’s personal needs is more necessary than tending to their academic needs.
The spiritual health of our children should always take precedence over schoolwork.
One time my daughter was attempting to finish a page in her math book. Her preschool aged brother was pretending to be a dog, crawling all around the school room, yapping at everyone. He crawled under the table and licked her feet. She got angry and yelled at him, and I found myself reprimanding him. After all…this was MATH! The almighty math work needed to be done more than my daughter needed to have a sweet spirit, more than I needed to be gentle and patient. Didn’t it?
The Lord convicted my heart at that moment.
I realized I was training my daughter in a bad habit: A habit of putting herself first, of believing her schoolwork (or anything she was doing) was more important than her brother. I was training my children to believe that poor behavior and unkindness toward one another was acceptable under certain circumstances.
Heart issues came second to academic achievement.
I can tell you today that my children’s relationships with one another is one of the most important things in their lives. And nurturing those relationships, teaching them to treat one another with respect in all circumstances, is far more serious than anything else—especially a math lesson.
FREE FROM THE RULE OF FEAR
Sometimes, however, we allow fear to rule our homeschool, to rule our schedule. We fear “falling behind” or that our children won’t measure up. We fear what people will think, so we schedule lessons or activities that look good on others but are not God’s best for our family.
Fear of man is indeed a snare. It will keep us from living in the peace of being led by the Spirit each day, each moment.
Stress, worry, and anxiety are words we use today in place of the word fear. God clearly and often tells us in His word not to live in fear. Yet, we often allow stress, worry, or anxiety to rule our decisions and behavior.
As a homeschool mom, I fell under the rule and authority of fear more times than I care to admit. It’s the enemy’s number one weapon against parents. If it’s not God’s will for us, it’s missing the mark. It’s sin.
How do we get rid of fear so that the peace of Christ may rule in our hearts, rule in our homes and rule in our schedules?
Confess it as sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
And follow the model of Christ by speaking the Word of Truth.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:8
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4
Not everyone falls into the fear trap. But I think we can easily fall into the “Academics First” trap. The truth is, if we lead our children’s hearts to the Lord first and foremost, if we schedule our devotions before anything else in the day, our children will accomplish all that God desires for them to do.
After all, academic excellence will not produce spiritual maturity. But spiritual maturity will produce, not only academic excellence, but excellence in our children’s character and calling.
Have a blessed school year!
And if you are looking for a planner to help keep you focused on the things that matter, like walking with the Lord, prayer, and giving your children a beautiful education, take a peek at my Charlotte Mason Heirloom Planner. I recently heard someone call it the Homeschool Baby Book. I believe that’s a perfect description as it will become a treasured record of your homeschool years.