“How do you go about regaining the joy of homeschooling and regaining your footing when you’re at the bottom of the hill”
I remember one time in particular when I felt overwhelmed and unable to keep up with everything that God had brought into my life. It seemed that we weren’t getting anything done in the way of ‘school’ work and I was afraid our children would be hurt because of this lack. When I came to Mark his response was, “Are you teaching our children to love the Lord Jesus with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength every single day?”
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ~Matthew 6:33
Kevin Swanson, founder of Generations with Vision, executive director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, and author of several books, once told us that Matthew 6:33 is his response to people who ask how they should guide their homeschooled child who wants to be a ____fill_in_the_blank____. He said that often their response is, “No, but I mean what courses should I be teaching, etc.” and He responds that God’s Word is true and that “all these things” includes our child’s education.
Here, I think, is the key: we have far too high an opinion of ourselves. We think that our task must be more complex than “seek first the kingdom of God”. Certainly God requires us to do more than simply teach our children to fear, love and serve the Lord.
With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? ~Micah 6:6-8
The world (and most homeschooling Christians) have all sorts of standards that are much ‘higher’ and more complex than seeking the kingdom of God and teaching children to fear the Lord.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. ~1 Cor. 1:25-29
We are constantly trying to outsmart God.
I’ve read them and I’m sure you’ve read them too, articles about how thus-and-such an educational system is ‘the biblical’ way to educate your children, how Christians need to read __insert book or book list here___ (and that book listed is VERY rarely the Bible) so they or their children will be equipped to face the challenges of our current culture. I’ve personally been told that if our family didn’t follow a certain educational method then our children would not be prepared to be in positions of leadership.
So how do you regain the joy of homeschooling?
Make a decision.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~Thess. 5:16-18
Seek His kingdom. We can’t expect “all these things” if we aren’t seeking His kingdom. Seeking His kingdom is living for Him.
But for the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, so far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word. One cannot possibly understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life. Anyone who wants to look at sunlight naturally wipes his eye clear first, in order to make, at any rate, some approximation to the purity of that on which he looks; and a person wishing to see a city or country goes to the place in order to do so. Similarly, anyone who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred writers must first cleanse his own life, and approach the saints by copying their deeds. Thus united to them in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the things revealed to them by God and, thenceforth escaping the peril that threatens sinners in the judgment, will receive that which is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven. Of that reward it is written: “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared” for them that live a godly life and love the God and Father in Christ Jesus our Lord, through Whom and with Whom be to the Father Himself, with the Son Himself, in the Holy Spirit, honor and might and glory to ages of ages. Amen. ~Athanasius “The Incarnation“
Remember the amazing blessing that God has given you by entrusting you with His children to raise for His glory and spend each day teaching and training them to love Him. Invest in your relationship with them, spend time with them, talk with them, love them.
Trust Him. Since He has given you the task of helping to prepare His children for the purpose that He has specifically created them to fulfill, know that He will accomplish just that. He will guide and direct. He will open doors and make them evident
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ ~Phillipians 1:6
The books are just books. He is the one who is ultimately equipping these children for His glory. If this is true then we’re never really ‘at the bottom of the hill’ or ‘behind’. We are always right where God wants us to be.
“How do you handle toddler tantrums?”
I’m going to define a “toddler tantrum” as a child physically hitting or kicking an authority figure or a child yelling, screaming, saying ‘no’, throwing themselves on the floor or otherwise obviously rebelling against someone in authority. I would not say that a child crying (not screaming) because they are sad, tired, hungry, etc. is a tantrum. I also would not say that children squabbling/fighting amongst themselves is a tantrum.
With this definition, I’m not a good one to ask as we’ve only experienced a handful of toddler tantrums in our years of parenting and two of them occurred just recently with one of our foster kids.
Rabbit trail: Those precious, sweet foster kids (age 3 and 4) lived with us for a little over a month and during that time we had the opportunity to observe them with their mom a few times and we saw behavior from them when they were with her that we did not see while they were living with us.
The interesting thing is that the things they did while with her were things that we didn’t even deal with. I don’t think it occurred to them to behave that way in our home. Also, we very rarely (perhaps once a week) had to use time-out, the only form of punishment we used for them. By God’s grace, those kids were obedient, respectful, sweet and a joy to be around. Please expect a lot of your children because they will often live up (or down) to what is expected of them.
My guess as to why we’ve not seen many tantrums is because we don’t tolerate the things that lead up to tantrums so it rarely, if ever, gets that far. [Mark and I remember one time when one of our kids threw a tantrum. (Threw herself on the floor screaming.) She was less than a year old. Can you say firecracker?]
I believe that you can almost always see a child’s heart turning away from you WAY before they get to the stage where they will actually throw a tantrum. They begin to obey slowly or obey with a poor attitude. They don’t quickly, repent and turn from their sin. They don’t look you in the face or really demonstrate love to you. There are a lot of signs and only you, as the parents, will know whether or not you have your child’s heart.
I have not read this site in years, so don’t know (or necessarily support) what all is recommended on these pages, but I know the idea of tomato staking as proposed here drastically influenced our parenting style.
We keep our children close to us guiding and correcting them ALL. THE. TIME. We rarely leave them with babysitters (even now, when we have several teenagers to babysit, I still will head to OB appointments, etc. with 5-7 of the youngest children). We take our children (all of them most of the time) with us when we go grocery shopping, pick out new furniture, purchase seeds, run errands, etc.
In my opinion, this is win/win. We LIKE to be with our children. Our children LIKE to be with us. And as a result of being together all the time, we all learn how to get along (kids learn to behave in a huge variety of social settings and parents learn how to manage children in all sorts of places and events) and we are building relationships!
You may also be interested in:
- Do You Have Your Child’s Heart?
- Going Out With Lots of Littles
- Choosing to Run Errands with Little Ones
- 7 Ways to Enjoy Waiting with Your Children
Visit the other moms of many to see what questions they are answering today: