What My Children Teach Me

 

Recently, a follower of mine “tweeted” (twittered? Twitted?) a link to a homeschool conference video.   The particular topic of the video was, “What did Your Kids Teach You this Past Homeschool Year?”   As humbling a thought as this is for many of us who pour hours (not to mention dollars!) into curriculum and who sweat over flawless execution of our plans, it is very real.   I should correct myself: it is very real if we are willing to step out of self and embrace the fact that we are not the only vessel through which education can flow.   So, I thought about my own year, and what my children taught me.   At first, the answers were superficial, and I almost felt silly.  Yet, a spirit willing to learn something new led me to delve deeper, and I was left with such a spine-chilling sense of purpose until I thought it might bless you, too.   This is what my kids taught me on last year, and each year, for that matter:

 

Patience is not just a virtue; it is life and breath to your home environment.    Whether you are entering year 1 of your homeschooling journey or year 101, it is your journey.   Though some will take it as their personal responsibility to tell you what you should do, where you should be, and how you should have gotten there, what will be most important is to create an environment where your children can learn.   Set goals, even stretch goals, but be open to your children’s needs, their challenges, and the way that they learn best.   You will gain far more this way than by following a strict list of have-to’s.

 

Field trips in-the-moment can be very effective, but on a budget, a living book will free both the body and the mind.    Not too long ago, our own trial with temporary unemployment during this recession left me somewhat depressed about all of the trips and tours we did not take this year.   As an aside, our area offers a number of free/ low-cost trips and tours, but I prefer an in-the-moment excursion that enhances our current studies to a field trip just for the sake of a field trip.   This means that our field trips often take us away from our immediate area and require planning and budgeting.   We were not able to do that this past year—a real source of frustration and anguish for the way that I like to educate.   Yet, one of my favorite bloggers described best what can happen when we experience learning through quality literature (if you read the blog regularly, you’ll recognize this from my sharing it before in a previous post):

 

‘Music, art, animals, nature, politics, literature, poetry, equations, Rome, Iceland, Ireland, the moors, the sea, metropolises, machinery, the universe, the past, the poor, royalty, Heaven and earth…you name it, they have dipped their hands in the chest and pulled out something of value as they have explored truth and beauty in the world around them.’

                From LindaFay’s HigherUp and Further In, “Ask and it Shall be Given You,” May 25, 2009

 

Taming the tongue is harder than taming a lion.   This applies not only to how we speak to our children, but also to the negative self-talk we fall prey to when things are not going well.    Once those plans go awry, it becomes easy to embrace what others might have said in a moment of sheer brainlessness:

“Maybe you aren’t cut out for this.”

“I’ll never be able to…” (or worse, thought about our children:) “You’ll never be able to…”

 

Come against the attack of the enemy, confess what the Lord says about you and your children, and step out on His renewed grace and mercy.

 

 

It may be the song of an unfamiliar bird, not the travels of Odysseus, that inspires a child to explore and discover.   The end result is the same.   I love to plan.  I get excited about planning the way that some women get excited at a shopping mall or a lady’s night out.   But, I realize—though it took some time—that plans can sometimes get in the way of what I really want the homeschool experience to produce in our children: a natural yearning to know more, to grow more, and to be more.   When the kids run to the field guide to identify a stranger at our feeder, or launch into a discussion about some historical event or character (when I want them to do something else), this, too, is learning.    Just because it was not written on my outline does not belittle the value of a purposeful diversion or its power to catapult their interests and overall education.

 

 

When you cannot feel God’s hand in your plans, trust His heart.   Jeremiah conveyed it to us so very well, and my words will never be as eloquent as the Word of God:

For I know the plans that I have for you.   Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.    Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

May God bless you and quicken your spirits to the lessons He wants you to teach, as well as the lesson he wants your young ones to teach you.

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5 comments on “What My Children Teach Me

  1. OldSchoolMarm says:

    Bravo Belinda!
    I needed this as the inspiration for a new shcool year has been noticably absent in my attitude lately. I need to bathe it in prayer, thanks.
    Blessings to you and your scholars for a wonderfully productive and enlightening school year for all,
    Julie

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey Belinda. Thanks for stopping by and your prayer. Briana was definitely ready to go out on her own. We were already looking at apartments. It just happened about a month sooner than we expected, and we weren't prepared ahead. No, I have not been at rest the last month and a half. Seeking it and trusting the Lord, but going through a difficult time. I have planned to blog about the transition, but have not had the chance. Quite honestly, I have greived very heavily the last month and a half. I had prepared myself for Briana to be gone to college this past school year, and to visit a lot of weekends and the breaks. When she changed her major, and we decided she would move in with my parents to pursue her dance and acting this year, we thought it would be for the school year, and she'd be home in May. By the time April got here, we knew she would probably do the spring musical, and she would be home the end of aug. By the time June got here, I knew she was probably not coming back home. Just to be clear, we know that she is *exactly* where she needs to be. Every step has been led by the Lord, and we have peace about it. However, as a mother, I have grieved deeply, knowing that she more than likely won't be back home. I miss the things we did together as a "whole" family. I grieve that she probably won't be taking family vacations with us much anymore….all of those things. I was just not prepared ahead of time for those changes. It is beginning to get better, and the grief is not such a burden most times now.
    Physically, the crisis that caused us to have to speed up her moving out has been hard on my body. I am tired. I know God is helping me through it, though, to do what needs to be done. As I type, I am in a hotel alone with my husband for 2 nights! God has provided me a time of rest for 2 days. A time of absolutely no responsibilities, except to rest and take care of myself! It's a season. A season of transition and adjustment. Add on top of that that she is seeing somone for the first time!!! Those adjustments are a whole different ballgame, too. ; ) Life is just coming at me a little fast this month. haha. I know that my Father is in absolute control, though, and, though my body is not at rest, and my mother's heart is struggling to adjust, I can rest in Him and His promises. The other good news is that when this 2 days is over I am going home, and don't plan to go anywhere for a little over 3 weeks! : )
    Thanks again!
    Letitia

  3. karen0317 says:

    What a great post. Isn't it funny how, no matter how much we plan, we always benefit most from coming back to the basics?

  4. Poiema says:

    Thank you for sharing that wisdom. Forces one to go beyond the cliche "learn from your kids" to actually doing it.

  5. solidrock says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes it has been a very busy but productive summer.We plan to start school the last week of August or the Day after Labor Day…unsure yet. I just have the two gals now so my load is so much lighter. It will be different this year. I am sad that both my boys are out of the nest ( almost ) but enjoying the one on one with the gals. I will be more active on the blog soon. As you said so much to do before Jesus comes back! The food pantry ministry has kept us on our toes this summer. We are learning so much.

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