I missed my personal deadline for the weekly homeschool wrap-up. I could still write it, but there is a point when the weeks begin to run together for me. Not to mention that I have all of these ideas flowing through my head, and because I don’t stop to write them down, I can never remember them when I’m in a time crunch! So, with this being a short week such that I know I won’t have much to say about school, I might just use this weekend’s downtime to write a 2-week wrap-up. Yeah, that’s it. In the meantime, I’ve wanted to catch everyone up on our Sunday school, and it took a while to pull all of the links together, but I finally sat and took the time to make it happen.
This past Sunday was our Sunday to teach the lesson to our younger teen’s class, and while the kids worked, my husband and I were discussing how much has changed from when we arrived. Our pre-teen and teen teachers are tremendous ministers of the gospel. They all have callings to pastor churches; this has been, in my opinion, both a blessing and a curse. In almost every case, they have perhaps forgotten more about God’s Word than I will ever know. Yet, their teaching style—YIKES!—is to stand before the children and preach. And preach. And preach. Such was the case with our class’s previous teacher when we arrived, complete with the homeschooler’s trademark–object lessons. Now suddenly, the kids were expected to move around, to respond, and to complete a project or individual activity. I talked some about the reading abilities, the lack of self esteem, etc. in an earlier post. Most of those kids ran from our class the minute they got old enough to move into the next class, not waiting for our annual “promotion day.” They longed for, and got, another preacher who’d allow them to sit and veg, to text, and to talk amongst themselves during a weekly sermon.
For many months, our class ran lean—only 4-6 students. Our Children’s Director pressed for numbers. Growth is good, but it’s not my primary goal. That’s a source of disconnect between the Director, our co-teacher, and I, but I have peace that I’m on the right path. The angels in heaven rejoice when one is saved—why get worked up over a classroom full of people who aren’t looking for Christ? Anyway, as much as I’m thankful for a class that now averages 10+ kids each week—largely because of the promotion day, not necessarily because of us—now seemed as good a time as any to talk about some of what God has used us to help those kids walk through. For these opportunities, I am truly thankful.
I wrote last spring about a student whose parent shared with us a potential felony that the student was facing. If you’d care to read it, that story is here. The student spent weeks in an alternative school, which was a frightening enough experience, but was also facing a court date to see if time in a juvenile detention center was also appropriate. The parents were to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer, but the husband decided against it. His words were that “we’re not paying some stranger to prove who she is. God already knows who she is.” When they reached the public attorney’s office, the lawyer assigned to them said, “This child is going places. Let’s try and get this dismissed.” And it was. Hallelujah! That child moved on to the next class this year, but we give God glory that we were able to touch and agree for her deliverance from the hands of the enemy.
I wrote about the 5 boys from a nearby foster home. The one who was being punished, in part, and kept from Sunday school is now back. He popped out and gave us all such a pleasant surprise this past Sunday, and I think he was as happy to see us as we were to see him. The sad news is that he told us that one of the other boys was transferred to a different home after a behavior problem. The boy who was transferred was another interested and bright student, and the last one that I would have thought to have behavioral issues. The two that remain in our class are curiously quiet about the whole thing, which leads me to more prayer. We lost another of the boys to a mental facility, which I believe I’d shared before. The fifth little boy, who didn’t talk (found here), was too young for our class and now sits faithfully in a group that is more age appropriate for him. He has had to join us when that teacher is absent, and I now know his name—John. John loves to talk, when in an environment where others don’t laugh at his speech impediment, which sounds like that of a child who has hearing problems. Two weeks ago, I asked him to share something, calling him by name. His blue eyes twinkled, and he beamed like a baby who can confidently take a few steps amidst applauding parents when he said, “You know my name!” The fact that I could quickly memorize names, while most people struggled with mine, embarrassed me as a younger person, but being able to call him “John” after only hearing his name once allowed me to see how God can use even the smallest gifts to yield big results.
This past Sunday, I was sharing with the kids that I live my dream on most days. I talked about the kids, I talked about working from home, and I talked about being married for almost 20 years (in actuality we’ll celebrate year 18 in about 3 months). My husband let out something that sounded close to a rebel yell, and the oldest almost went under her desk. Later she told my husband how embarrassed she was at his clamor. We both began to share the stories of several of these kids. There are others—children watching parents fight constantly as they contemplate divorce, children struggling to pass school, and there are probably hosts of other trials of which we’re unaware. Our children are relatively sheltered—they live with two Christian parents in a healthy marriage, and though we have our own struggles and dysfunctions, our issues rarely affect the kids in a tangible way. She, and our other two, may not appreciate this for the blessing that it is until they have children of their own, but during this time of year, I’m not only celebrating Thanksgiving, I’m embracing Thanksliving. As my very eloquent cousin, Homeschool Daddy, says, ‘Thanksgiving is one day; Thanksliving is a way of life.’ (You simply must see his post on not being “that dad!” May God grant you a beautiful Thanksliving as well.