If someone were to tell me 6 years ago that my real life homeschooling plans would be constantly in flux and ever-changing, I would have said, “Yeah right.”
Well, that’s exactly what I said when a good friend of mine let me in on that reality with homeschooling. But since I was fully confident that I had figured out the perfect plan for our curriculum for the next 20+ years, I smiled and ignored the sentiment.
Now, here we are 5+ years later, and not only have we not made it through even a month of what I had thought I planned, but we have continued to be led to change and alter preconceived ideas year after year.
Real Life Homeschooling: Trust the Lord and Simplify
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” ~ Psalm 127:11
A major idea that I had failed to understand when our family initially began this homeschooling journey was that the Lord directs the steps of man, so attempting to step into the place of decision-maker and controller of all things educational was simply a work of futility.
Thankfully, the Lord was quick to correct my heart in this manner, year after year pulling away the rug of control that I superficially thought was mine to master.
You see, the facade of the current educational system is that through a series of pre-planned lessons of information, our children (and ourselves) will grow to become both profitable and moral people in this world.
The reality, however, is that “knowledge puffs up” (1 Cor. 8: 1).
Our system promotes a set of information to be highlighted and showcased as the be all and end all of a hopeful future. Child after child, however, is reaching adulthood without either a moral compass or a set of living standards to truly promote a prosperous and God-loving future.
I, too, had accepted this lie, thinking that the knowledge and wisdom of my own understanding was due to the educational materials of my own upbringing, and the continued research and learning that I was continuing to undergo.
I thought that if I simply taught our children the accepted subjects, but from a Christian standpoint, going through it all in the systematic nature of a qualified professional, they would inevitably end up with moral and quality character.
This was when the rug began to be pulled out from underneath of me. This real life homeschooling was serious…and hard.
First, my oldest was a reluctant “learner,” in the traditional sense. Although an incredibly intelligent child, the thought of sitting down and learning how to read became one of the biggest battles of the day!
It ended in tears repeatedly, and I began to question my own sanity with what I thought was expected and normal education. I had to learn to let go of that god and submit our homeschooling to the true God (here’s my testimony to God’s perfect timing).
So, I stopped trying to teach her to read, and simply stayed at the basic revelation of phonics while we carried on throughout our days. “Yes, that’s an A. A says ‘ah.’ Can you say that word? Excellent, C-Ah-T, CAT! GREAT JOB!!!”
I halted all official learning materials and simply let her learn at her own pace.
I had to learn to be creative with our education and follow where the Lord was leading us. Even if it meant removing preconceived and “good” educational materials that were not the right fit for our family, or the individuals of our household.
Now, five more kids later, 3 officially school-aged, and our days look completely different (this is why we must practice the art of embracing real life).
Although I still would love for the “school-time” to reflect what I know and am familiar with, the Lord is continuing to do a new thing in our home. He has led me to the very basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic with Bible to relieve our days of all promoted expectations and to free us back up to learn as we are led.
The freedom we have experienced is amazing, but it does not come without its own set of concerns: will the State approve? Will the children prosper? Are we doing the right thing?
But, every time I worry with concern, and become burdened with fear of the unknown (check out a printable of 23 scriptures to stop ungodly fear and worry), desiring instead the “assurance” of the world’s educational plans to secure the education of my children and their future jobs and adulthood, the Lord simply reminds me of His Word.
I don’t know what other households’ homeschools look like anymore, which once burdened my soul with the heart of comparison and superficial standards and expectations. Now, I have learned to simply trust where the Lord leads. Sometimes we binge learn a TON of history or science, and then go months without these additional lessons.
Sometimes the kids spend endless hours outside building forts, and teepees, and swings between trees with a rope and a log, but every day we are learning and growing in the character of the Lord’s people. Our guide remains firmly centered upon what’s known as the Shema, which sets the foundation of educating all of God’s people:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6: 4-8
We may teach all the knowledge in the world and still miss the Truth of the Gospel message. We may learn all the science books that abound and never truly know the Lord. We could read all the classics and never grow in grace.
The focus could remain on creating futures of grandeur, financial security, and high-powered careers, but none of these lead to a saved soul. None of these focuses promote an eternal love. All of these goals are empty and easily gone with the wind.
He has continued to show me that some things are imperative and lay a foundation for Him (3 Rs), while others can be reclaimed and learned later without any consequence (science, history, art, etc). But, if we miss the most critical lessons (all things pertaining to learning the Word of God…See Psalm 119), the ones that truly guide the soul, steer the character, and bring our children to the feet of the Lord in humble love, we will have missed the entire point of this life and led our children on sinking sand.
The Lord has continued to place our feet upon the Rock: Him…His Word, and everything else comes second or less. So, today, we simplify the expectations of our “education” and instead attune our hearts to the mind of the Lord; His good, pleasing, and perfect Will.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Joshua 24:15
This post first published at Proverbial Homemaker.