“I know I can’t neglect the basic educational foundations my children will need for a full and meaningful life – reading and understanding the written word, thinking clearly and wisely, communicating ably in speech and in writing, being competent in math. But I am determined not to neglect the basic spiritual truth that will undergird and give meaning to that education – seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (see Matthew 6:33). A well-educated person will be useful to God only if he is focused on God’s purposes.“
-Seasons of a Mother’s Heart
My out-of-the-box son, Nathan, is incredibly brilliant, but learned in his own unique way (definitely not by formula). Each of my four children had their own set of strengths and weaknesses, which made homeschooling a beautiful adventure. Nathan recently told me that while he enjoyed all aspects of our homeschooling experience, one of the elements he found the most beneficial to his long-term growth was through our bible times as a family. Each day, I would read a story, a parable, or a Psalm and we would take these passages as God’s personal words to us. My enthusiasm came from how greatly my life changed when I finally came to know Him. I did not lead perfectly organized devotions, but they were from my heart to my children’s hearts.
No matter what educational choices you make, we all eventually have to realize, that even with the best of intentions and carefully set schedules and goals, there is no perfect formula for guaranteeing the outcomes for each child. And every day as a homeschooling mother will not go exactly according to plan. You won’t always have a home with every child sitting still, being silent, listening well, and paying complete attention. Neither will every teacher in a Christian school or public school be able to control every part of the classroom. This is where grace, and God’s supernatural strength, are able to shine in your homeschooling.
Living a life rooted in works, what we can do, striving for perfection and the most accurate “game plan” may seem reassuring to those of us who struggle with wanting control, but it is not a life of great faith. Whatever the source, when Christian parents and particularly homeschoolers begin to rely more on formulas and less on faith in God, then they are not reaching for a higher standard.
One of my secrets that produced amazing fruit in my children was that I relied on God’s Spirit, by faith, to stimulate my children’s minds, to engage their hearts, to do the work of helping them fall in love with learning. I depended on God to supernaturally make my work complete, because He lived and worked actively in our home. How much are you relying on formula or curriculum choice and how much are you depending on God’s grace to fill in the spaces?
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.”
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
Take a deep breath, rest, and relax in the midst of your homeschooling today. Just as Matthew 6:30 reminds us of God’s great care for the wildflowers, remember that He has beautiful plans for you and your sweet children. Don’t become so busy with your work that you miss opportunities for God to work.
Feel free to take a moment to complete the reflection and application below (consider doing so in your journal!):
-Before you begin each day, homeschooling or not, are you seeking God’s wisdom? Asking for His will, His plans? Take a moment to do that right now.
-How can you encourage your children to focus on God’s purposes today?
-Do you struggle with control? Is it difficult for you when life doesn’t go according to plan? How can you allow yourself grace and let God’s plans prevail?
-Out of the scriptures listed above, is there anything that really stood out to you? How is God speaking to you this morning?