Monday, February 25, 2008

Vision check

I recently searched out an article that a friend of mine recommended a while back. I have so many books and articles that I want to read, and not nearly the time to read them. Now and then God calls one specifically to mind, and I obviously needed my vision focused in this regard.

Overall schooling has gone very well this year. The kids are learning so much, soaking up the core subjects and extra topics that we read and study about each day. I have a schedule that seems to work well for us to get everything done, most days anyway. Yet, despite that I have seen more impatience in myself at those interruptions that come each day, often multiple times throughout the day, and usually at the hands of my youngest one. This article carried exactly the vision check up that I needed. Diane Hopkins, a homeschooling mother of 7, knows the ups and downs of homeschooling well. Her heart for her kids and insight into a mother’s heart really challenged me. She talks of the realization one day as she struggled through similar interruptions that, “The baby IS the lesson!”

Just as Diane mentions, I have often tried to plan activities to keep my younger ones busy so they didn’t interrupt the others’ school time. Unwittingly, I taught that babies and toddlers interrupted learning, rather than that they should join us in the learning process. Here is where her words clearly and concisely refocused my vision, “How to be a Christlike person is the most valuable lesson a child could ever learn! The lesson is learned moment by moment; watching a parent being patient, handling frustration with kindness, pressing on for the goal in spite of numerous interruptions, valuing each child's needs regardless of inconvenience.” Our children observe us all day each day and see how we truly live, our actions and reactions. I need to remember one of my primary objectives in homeschooling: raising disciples of Jesus Christ. This can only be accomplished as I submit to His plan, and exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in each situation.

God has placed me in this home, with these children. When one of them has a need outside of the academic arena, that is my responsibility. He placed me as caretaker over these little ones and although the math, science, reading, and language must be taught and learned, I have missed the mark if I don’t capitalize on those opportunities to show the value of human life, teach honesty, and model dependence on God’s strength and character.

Especially in these early, preschool years, I need to focus on character development and obedience training. The older kids do a great job modeling, but I need to remember it was by God’s grace (mostly) and my diligence in training them before we even thought about academics. My younger ones need that as well. God gives us enough time each day to accomplish everything that He wants us to with it. So, while I may think of them as interruptions, I need to truly recognize them as God leading me a different way for the moment. He has a different plan for my schedule at times and I need to be sensitive to His leading and set the example of obedience and character growth.

Each day I want to look back and see time well spent, decisions made in submission to His Spirit and not my flesh, relationships built with each one of my children (which means different things to each one), and interruptions capitalized on. I cannot think of homeschooling as just my ‘day-job.’ It begins as soon as the first child awakes, and ends with the last good-night kiss and the benefits I seek are eternal.

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