Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Overcoming the Myth of the Perfect Homeschooling Mother, part 3

The final myth I want to dispel is that of thinking that if you don't have the perfect homeschool days, then you are not successful! Many times as homeschooling moms, we believe that if our days aren't peaceful, predictable, and productive, we are a failure! This probably creates more discouragement in homeschooling moms than anything else!

The truth is that our days may resemble the predictability and routine of an Emergency Room more than the perfectly organized, scheduled, and color-coded days we dream about! Sometimes, it seems that no matter how carefully we plan and schedule, our days simply defy order!

There is actually a good reason for this. God is interested in far more than the academic instruction of our children. He wants our children (and us) to learn faith and character. He knows that the best curriculum for this is trials, difficulties, hardships, frustrations, disappointments, interruptions, weariness, sickness, failure, etc.

Consider what James 1:2-4 says in the Amplified Version: "Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."

I was really encouraged to read these words from a wise homeschooling father I know:
"At home we have the greatest opportunity to teach our children how to live and work and rejoice in the context of reality. We can teach them how to work with distractions and interruptions with thankfulness. We can model how to pray and work with joy when nothing has gone 'right' all day. And we have the opportunity to ask forgiveness when we fail at these things -- and take it out on them. We have to remember that we are not making the sacrifices to homeschool our children just so that we can have the traditional education classroom at home. We have a different paradigm and different objectives: we are training our children to be followers of Christ in the context of reality." -- Paul Lewis, homeschooling father of 8

So why am I doing this??

So, by now, you may be asking yourself, "Why homeschool??" I mean, if we know we'll have an abundance of hardships and trials, and we'll never be able to accomplish everything on our to-do lists, and we aren't even guaranteed success, why are we doing this??

That's a good question! One that I have asked myself before!

First of all, I believe that if God has called us to homeschool, we must teach and disciple our children in obedience to Him. We proceed in faith, trusting that He will perform His perfect work in and through us.

Secondly, God has made the Christian life (including homeschooling) impossible to do in our own strength so that we will have to come to the end of ourselves and Cry Out to Him! When we are weak, He is strong!! (See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

Furthermore, God is interested in more than just the education of our children; He is interested in our training as well! God has built much character, skill, and wisdom into my own life as I have home educated my children. I would certainly not be the person I am today if I had not chosen to pursue this educational lifestyle!

Finally, the Bible teaches that we reap what we sow. God has promised that His Word will not return void, so as we are faithful to give out His Living Word to our children, we can trust that He will use It to accomplish His Will in their lives. We often become discouraged because we may not see the fruit of our efforts. Just remember that we cannot expect to see the harvest in the same season that we sow! But, the harvest will come, if we do not grow weary! (See Galations 6:7-10.) To quote a wise homeschooling mom that has influenced my life, "I am not doing this homeschooling thing just for fun. I am investing my life for fruit!"

To conclude this series on the Myth of the Perfect Homeschooling Mother, I'm going to share one more inspiring quote from Sally Clarkson:

"No one can replace the influence you alone can have on your children! However, your influence won't come from having read all the right books on motherhood, or having listened to the latest parenting 'experts.' It will come because of your faithfulness -- because you faithfully follow God's design for motherhood. Faithfulness is simply learning to see with God's eyes and seize with God's hands the hundreds of small opportunities you have every day to influence your children -- to shape their values and attitudes, build their faith, discipline their disobedience, inspire their genius, nurture their emotions, train their habits, cultivate their character, and set their feet on the path of righteousness." -- Educating the Whole Hearted Child, page 171.

No, we can not be perfect homeschooling mothers, but we can be faithful!

1 comment:

Neide Colson said...

Hello Elizabeth,
I just read your blog from the past 3 days (I hadn't realized I had skipped so many) and was very blessed by it. I understand now some of the struggles I had on our last 2 years of homeschooling in Wisconsin. It does bring me comfort (even though we don't homeschool anymore) on how our children are turning out (not perfect by any means)and hope for their future, knowing that the results are totally up to God. Thanks for sharing your good thoughts. Love, Neide Colson.

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