homeschool devotional

Homeschooling: Especially for First time Homeschool Moms

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I have found that there are three stages in every work of God:  first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.       J. Hudson Taylor

 

Dear First Time Homeschool Mom,

For the last 28 years I sat where you are today.  I remember.

This is scary stuff, and it definitely isn’t as easy as it looks.

I am cheering for you from the sidelines; and since I remember how it feels, there are a few things I want to say to you.

  1. Congratulations.

Whether this is your first year, or you are an experienced homescool mom feeling a little weary, this is the best decision you and your husband will ever have made for your family.   Really it is.

 

 

  1. It is normal to feel overwhelmed.

There are giants in the land.   It seems there are always giants in the land that God sets before His people.   Israel’s giants were literal. Yours are figurative, but nevertheless they are real, and they can be scary.

My very first year, in the very first weeks of homeschooling, 28 long years ago,  I was overwhelmed.  I locked myself in my room and told the Lord that I refused to go downstairs and face those kids. (Ok… I was feeling dramatic, but they were a tough crowd.)   I needed help. I needed encouragement. I needed Him to give me something that would make me able to do this even one more minute, let alone one more day.   He answered and gave me an answer that sustained me to school 7 kids over the next 27 years. I can share my answer sometime if you are interested, but honestly it doesn’t matter.  The point is that the same God who answered and sustained me will answer and sustain you.  He has the help that you need. Ask Him.  He is always faithful.

 

  1. Your children will learn.

This is an important to say, because I promise you it will often seem as if they aren’t, don’t, can’t and won’t.   When they were in school you didn’t see the blank stares, the inattention, the dawdling, the rushing to fill out the paperwork just so they could play on the computer or go out for recess. All those habits are common to children, and yours may bring any or all of them to your homeschool.   Nevertheless, they will learn. You are enough. The same woman who didn’t flinch at teaching her kids to tie their shoes, or eat like a human, can teach them to multiply. God calls, and God equips.

Little progress added up over a year equals great achievement.

Don’t measure your progress by days. Some days the kids are impossible and thick headed. Some days they are distracted and whiny. Some days they are wonderful, attentive, and evidently learning. All the days matter. They are all good. Some days they are learning fractions, other days they are learning persistence. Both are needful. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Plod on. They will learn.

 

 

  1. You are weaving a tapestry, not sewing a simple seam.

I’ve heard it expressed as a marathon, not a sprint. Whichever metaphor works for you, the point is the same.   Homeschooling is a great work, and you can’t see the finished product from the meager beginning. Stitch by stitch, lesson by lesson, day by day you are infusing character, and doing life with your precious children. Remember the goal. Cherish the opportunity. I promise that even 28 years goes by really fast.

 

 

  1. Don’t obsess.

Remember the enemy. He will make you think your mistakes are huge, your accomplishments insignificant, and declare that you are not enough. Resist Him.   Focus on the One who called you to this great work and who is always enough.   He will make your paths straight. He loves your children even more than you do. He knows your weaknesses and your strengths.   The God of the universe will help you explain even decimals.  (I mention decimals because my first year homeschooling, that was the new concept I was responsible to communicate to my then 4th grader.  She proceeded to miss every decimal question that year on her standardized test.  It was an epic fail for me that taught us both persistence and eventually how to win.  Failure is temporary…. quitting is permanent)

He will help you teach them to read. He wants them to read His Word.

He is behind you, before you and all around you and is not limited by your limits.

 

 

  1. Have Fun.

Families are fun places. Homeschooling is learning done in a family. Take time to make it fun for your kids (and you).  Take breaks, laugh, play, do things in a new or different way.  Win their hearts, and you win them forever.

 

Be encouraged brave lady as you continue on this journey with your family. God has your back. He called. He will enable. Don’t listen to your fears, your insecurities, or the kids whining. Listen instead to His voice and believe that the work you do this day, this week, this month, and this year will impact generations to come; because you were faithful.

 

Praying God’s blessings on your homeschool this year. Let me know if I can be of help to you.

Homeschooling: Remembering Bread…..really?

 

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Opposition is uncomfortable, but in the end it makes you stronger and more determined.

Distractions however are deadly.

If you really want to destroy something, distract it.

Turn it from its original purpose.

Give it something else to be focused on and passionate about.

It’s especially insidious and effective if it’s a “good thing”.

Homeschooling’s greatest enemy is found in that very principle.

I won’t touch any of the current distractions I see dancing around on social media sites, at homeschool conventions, and in homeschool mom conversations.  Instead I’ll travel back to the 90’s to something that’s no longer in vogue to make my point.  If you weren’t homeschooling back then it’s probably hard to believe that this is true, or even imagine how strong the pressure was.  I’m sure it will even seem silly, but to the homeschool community of the 90’s along came militant bread baking.   I’m sure the idea that you could turn hard-working already stretched moms into militant anything is ludicrous to you, but I assure you it happened.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  I love homemade bread. I have a daughter who enjoys making it, and I relish every loaf she shares. I’m not even slightly bashing bread or bakers.   This is just an easy example because this particular cause doesn’t have the following or draw that it once did.

The 90’s bread baking revolution wasn’t just a gathering of souls who loved the smell of homemade loaves, and enjoyed the process.  No, this was a  movement that avidly researched the various grains of wheat, and the best ratios for the richest gluten flours.  They gave classes on the timetables for grinding to baking and the benefits to your colon.  Pre-ground wheat was useless.  White flour was akin to poison.  Every homeschool convention had classes on wheat grinding and bread making.  Next to the newest reading program would be a vendor showing enlarged pictures of your family’s squeaky clean pink colons brought about by eating homemade home ground wheat bread using their superior grinding system.

 Their booth was packed.

Their classes were full.

If you fed your kids Wonder Bread, you didn’t mention it.

The health benefits touted were huge. Grinding your own wheat and baking your own bread would cure everything from learning disabilities to deadly disease.  It prevented every ill, and testimonials abounded to its curative powers. You were a substandard mom, if you didn’t get on the train with everyone else and at least lust after and save for the Lexus of wheat grinders.  Not knowing what a wheat berry was made you unenlightened and in need of evangelizing.

Moms that before would have discussed how to raise their families, educate their children, and focus them more firmly on what mattered, were now clustered together discussing how to find time to grind and bake.  Understand me.  These moms were passionate and sincere about their family’s health.  Their motives were the best.  They only meant good.  A tremendous amount of each finite mom’s energy went to the cause.  Many could not keep up and had to choose.  It’s a measure of how powerful these deceptions can be that the choice was a hard one, rather than an obvious one.

Recently a popular homeschool speaker shared his privileged visit at the deathbed of a dear saint. She was a beloved, well-known homeschool mom, and he asked her what she would have done differently if she had it to do over.  She considered, and very wisely said,

I would have baked less bread“.

Amen sister.  In the light of eternity… Well said.

Health and nutrition are good things, but homeschooling is a better thing, and raising godly children is the ultimate thing.

In the end the body is merely the bag you lived in.  Your children are the eternal souls you are entrusted to raise.

That’s the focus.

That’s the call.

That’s the thing to never waver or be distracted from.

I could have chosen many “good things” to focus this post on.  Homeschooling had only been known about for a few years, before the distractions starting hitting the movement, and hitting it hard.  These distractions were always “good things” or at least appeared as “good things”.

If you want to destroy something, distract it from its purpose.

 

Nehemiah said it best when his enemies called him from his wall building for a meeting.  He was not fooled and replied,

” I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.  Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh.6:3)  Four times his enemies came to him and four times they received the same reply.  “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.”

Moms, don’t let the good things and the interesting things distract you from the one thing.

Homeschooling your children is a God-given privilege and purpose.  I won’t list distractions for you.  Everyone has their own, and the movement itself always has any number vying for your attention. They always look like “good things”, but they take your energy and focus from the “best things”.

Avoid them.

Ignore the clamor.

Evaluate your focus.

Remember the goal.

You are raising mighty men and women for the Lord.

Bread is irrelevant.

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