What kind of a teacher or worker are you? In my professional or nonprofit volunteer life, before we were blessed with Jackson, you would look at me and see a Type A woman. I was always the ultra-responsible one; the one who showed up for every activity, who worked (seemingly) tirelessly.
That kind of personality (and apologies to any other Type As out there; remember, we’re talking about me here, not necessarily you) can be both a blessing and a curse in homeschool. A blessing: when you seek out the best curricula for your children, and faithfully use it; when you encourage them to do their best and complete their assignments; when you explore all they can do and help them achieve. A curse: when in your schooling you become inflexible or irritated when concepts are slow to come; when your focus becomes getting the day’s work completed at all costs; when you lose sight of the fact that every moment you spend interacting with your child is setting them on a path of life.
God has been shaping me over the years of our homeschooling (especially in the last two years), probably as much if not more as He has shaped me in other seasons of my life. He permitted some rather horrible physical issues that required two surgeries and long recuperation times back at the end of 2012 and into 2013. And suddenly, Wren the Type A was constrained from overloading (or even having) a busy volunteer schedule. Instead, I spent months at home. By God’s grace, we were able to complete our homeschool year….but not too much of anything else. And into that forced confinement, the Lord spoke. He began to show me so much about the way I had lived and the way He wanted me to live, from here on out.
And the biggest thing He wanted to show me?
Love in action…in word…in relationship. He even let me know that this word, love, was to be my goal and focus for 2014.
One of the ways I’m seeking to live out that love, this year, is to approach our homeschool days not primarily as a to-do list. We DO have a specific schedule and lesson plan for each day, and yes, it’s important that we get each item crossed off, each new concept understood and completed.
But I am trying to do this in the context of relationship. To create a loving atmosphere for learning to occur. To shepherd our son with love each day.
I found this concept stressed again in Tom Blackaby’s and Rick Osborne’s Experiencing God At Home Day-By-Day. Here’s what it said on Week 2, Day 5, talking about the home that parents create for their children:
“They would create a home designed to raise the children that God would give them. A home is where you can be yourself and be loved for who you are. Every home might be a little different because each family is different—yet exactly what God wants them to be because He places them there.”
I was reminded again how very important it is that our children feel loved, valued, and cherished at home. They may or may not experience that love out in the world; instead, they may face cruelty, antagonism, relational struggles. But if they can come home to a place where they can, as Blackaby and Osborne wrote, be themselves and be loved for who they are…..how healed and blessed their little hearts and minds will be!
- If I teach Jackson how to speak French and Russian but don’t speak to him kindly and lovingly…I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
- If I open the secrets of science and history to him….and if I truly believe in God, with a strong faith but don’t do it lovingly……I am nothing.
- If I give everything I own to the poor and sacrifice my own life for others, but do it without love….I gain nothing.
Ouch. But 1 Corinthians 13 goes on, and gives me instructions for how to live:
- Am I being patient?
- Am I kind?
- Am I falling into envy or boastfulness, or pride?
- Am I rude or self-seeking?
- Am I easily angered?
- Am I keeping a list of offenses?
- Am I delighting in evil?
- Or am I rejoicing with the truth?
- Am I protecting? Trusting? Hoping? Persevering?
That is my checklist. And of course, being me, I fail some and I succeed some. Overall, I am trying to keep my focus on love and relationship this year. When my son wants to show me something while I am writing a blog post, I am making it my goal to turn away from the computer and to his face, and to engage. If I am trying to take a few minutes to read a book, and he wants to tell me something about his new Lego creation, I am putting the book down and engaging. If I would like to fall into bed before bedtime, but our little guy is requesting a board game….I get out the board game.
And you know what? As I am working on these things, it IS making a difference in my home! As I try to work on love, we are all experiencing more love.
So much comes down, in the end, to relationship. And to being aware.
It’s not going to be just a year-long aim, I am sure; it’s going to be a lifelong one.
But oh, the rewards—-incredible!
If you’d like to see what others in my group wrote today, follow the links below.
Erica @ Be The One
Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story
Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessings
Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews
Michelle @ Delightful Learning
Sharon @ Life with the Tribe
Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio
Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Heather @ Principled Academy
Or, click on the banner below to go directly to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. There are 90 amazing bloggers listed there, who’ve all participated in this series on homeschooling essentials!
Enjoy! And thanks for joining us for this blog hop! –Wren