Friday, January 28, 2005

ART of Homeschooling (R is for Relationships)

If you are new to this series. I am talking about the ART of Homeschooling.

Homeschooling involves three significant relationships that need to be nurtured in order to maintain order in our personal lives and achieve the success we desire.

First, is our relationship toward Christ. As a Christian, I desire a deeper walk with the Lord. This means daily seeking Him for guidance and fellowship. When I first became a Christian I was told that the best and most important time of the day was my time alone with God. It seemed so easy back then. I would just find a quiet place in the dorm early in the morning and read and pray. I am thankful for those times of fellowship with the Lord. In the midst the liberal chaos of university life I was able to focus on true wisdom and knowledge. After I was married and became a mother, however, just finding a quiet place became difficult and getting up early after being up all night seemed nearly impossible. Over time I realized that God is not boxed in to a time of the day. For a while, nap time provided a time of quiet in which to read and pray. Now that we're all sleeping thru the night again I am struggling to get back into the morning routine with the family.

I also have come to appreciate that serving my husband and family is also an act of worship to the Lord. Don't misunderstand, I am not saying I worship my family but that by doing the work God has called me to do it is just as much a form of worship as singing a praise song. I would love to just relax in a quiet place and read, pray, and worship but I must also do the things that HE has called me to do.

A relationship with Christ is dynamic and growing. The fruit of a vibrant relationship with Christ will be evident to all around you. Especially, in the next two areas my husband and children.

The second is our relationship to our husband. It is easy to let the marriage take a back seat as the demands of mothering and homeschooling are so much more obvious. But in the long run this is a costly decision. The book of Esther provides great reading about the attitude of various wives and the consequences. It was because Esther provided undivided loyalty to her husband that he respected her. Her example, has become my example. This may mean that you become less busy with outside activities to do the things necessary in the home to meet his needs. This was hard for me. Homeschooling provides many educational opportunities outside the home. I didn't want the children to miss out. But in the end I realized that we were all missing out if when we arrived back home there was chaos. It may cost you a few experiences but a happy home is priceless.

Lastly, is our relationship with the children. If there is just one thing I have learned in my years of homeschooling it is always be their mom first. Don't sacrifice a relationship for the sake of a textbook. If you see your children's hearts drifting take the time necessary to pray and examine the causes. It could be boredom, tiredness, lack of understanding or communication, or something entirely unknown. It is tempting for me to look at my children and blame them but many times it is me. I often react to situations in a critical way. My children pick up my critical attitude and react to it. (This get's back to
attitude) At this point, it is best to repent to the Lord and the children. Children are incredibly quick to forgive and my repentance sets the tone for their ability to do likewise.

Early on I have learned that homeschooling is more than just academics. It is nurturing these relationshipships so that we all may grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord. Don't sacrifice heaven for Harvard.

Click here to read "T" is for Training.

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