I so enjoyed a recent blog post from my dear friend Kerimae on goal setting for the homeschooling year. (By the way, she also offers her lectures to mothers of preschoolers on Lulu.com ). Feel free to be refreshed through her words here.
I was especially intrigued at her observation that, after the paper, pencils, books, etc., are purchased, there still remains that question that touches us waaaaay down deep: What am I going to do with my children?
I think the question exists for me because I am totally convinced that academic education is a small, though significant, part of what is happening in our home. The pieces that are far more important to me than short-term memorization of dates and names are the connections—connections to books, connections to the relationships within and between books, and a larger connection to what those words, phrases and lives mean to the readers, my children, in terms of how they should respond to what they’ve read. This isn’t revelatory for me, so to speak, but when I reflect on our last academic year, it occurs to me that my convictions about homeschooling were completely overshadowed by my preoccupation with high school. Actually, it wasn’t necessarily high school, but thoughts of college preparation came looming over me like a dark cloud that the wind just wouldn’t sweep away. Subscribing to homeschooler Yahoo loops where other peoples’ children fall just short of curing cancer and discovering new planets didn’t help. Our success, or lack thereof, by June of last year is a matter of record, so I won’t rehash it. Plus, in sheer frustration, I probably blogged too much on last academic year about the children, and this post (and future posts like it) will be about me and what the Lord is uncovering in me to help me help them, Amen?
I’ve known what I wanted to do academically for a number of months now. Planning for the next school year was at times a welcome respite when I felt most out of control. And don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t all doom and gloom, but we definitely had a very different year than I’m accustomed to having. So I started the summer with work to do, still determined, but mentally drained. I remember a title from evangelist Joyce Meyer (I think) called Reduce Me to Love, and that’s exactly what I was—reduced, i.e., humbled. What am I to do, Lord? One thing about a heart that’s humbled—the Lord can do much with it. I continued with all of our normal summer plans, trudging through some, and, at best, trotting through others, but most of what I did was talk honestly to God. I don’t want another year like last year. If the truth be told, I don’t want something ordinary. I want something special to happen at our table, and in our lives together. Show me what I need to do. Show me my own faults that I may change what I can. And that is exactly what He did. I spent the last few weeks before we began school coming to grips with me, and how my own “stuff” impacts the school environment. It will take time and resolve to release some things completely, but I am much more aware of when I’m acting out of my fears vs. a legitimate problem with one of the kids. So when I talk in previous posts about being at a place of peace when I should be running around like a crazed woman, I speak truth.
What am I to do with my children, Lord, we ask. He says simply: Pray, and then trust me to do what I said I will do.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11, NIV)