Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Homeschooling With Grace

Hi, friends! I know it has been a while since I have posted on homeschooling. We had quite an eventful summer, with a move to a new home, etc...but so far, our schooling this year has gone wonderfully. Wonderfully, yet not without it's bumps and bruises, schedule changes here and there, and a couple curriculum changes at semester. Yet, through these times, I have learned the value of one particular word - grace.

I believe that as homeschooling parents, we tend to put more pressure on ourselves than most parents about our child's education, and that pressure overflows to our children. Primarily, because we care. That is the reason we chose to home school in the first place. But also because we feel that we have to prove to the world that our choice was right. We have to show that our child's abilities are above average, their social skills are unmatched and they show the utmost responsibility in their work and home tasks. Only then do we feel that we are justified in our choice to home school.

This is wrong! This tears apart the very fabric of your homeschooling environment. We, nor our children, can live up to the expectation of perfection. No public or private school family does either! We need to build a homeschooling environment around grace. Grace for our children and grace for ourselves.

First, we need to depend on the grace that Christ has given to us. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." Amen!

Secondly, share that grace with our children. They will never be perfect. Our job as parents is not to form perfect children, but to equip our children with the tools necessary to live in this world! When they are having a bad day, stop what you are doing, give them a hug (maybe a piece of chocolate) and sit down and discuss a strategy together to overcome whatever obstacle you are facing. Forget about the clock, or the checklist, or the grade and focus on what is most important and that is your child and whether they are learning and growing. We should focus more on teaching them to seek knowledge and love learning, so that they will continue to do so long after they are out from under our watchful eye, instead of focusing so much on lesson plans and memorization tools.

Lastly, apply that salve of grace to yourself. I don't know about all of you, but I feel that I should be doing everything any other parent does in a day, plus home school all day long, plus work alongside my husband in youth ministry. Some days I feel like melting into the sofa by 4:00 in the afternoon. Some days I don't want to get out of bed. Those days, I need to let myself be less-than-perfect. I need to relax and focus on the important things in my life. Sometimes I just need to get away and blast some of my favorite music and paint something. Or read a book (not school or church related). I need to enjoy who I was made to be and stop trying to be who everyone else is.

This could very easily be taken as a post to encourage you to lazily live through life without direction, purpose, or drive. I do not believe that this is what we are called to do. I believe we each should live to the best of our abilities to impact the lives of our children and the world around us. I think the importance of our child's education should be second only to their biblical foundations in our homeschooling quests. Just don't forget to have grace.

Today, we were burned out. We were unhappy. We had no drive.  We cried.
I applied grace. We ate chocolate. We took a walk. We snuggled.
The dishes sat. The math sat.
Tomorrow, we begin again with a refreshed spirit.

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