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Aug 08 2013

Remembering why we Homeschool…tools for our journey series

Michael in March with his new Bible from Grandma Lorraine (my mom).

14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14 NIV

At bedtime tonight, Michael (age 5) and I had finished praying together and he was headed to his room when he stopped and turned around looking at me saying…

Michael: Mom we forgot to pray for something important.
Me: What’s that Michael?
Michael: The flooding and all of the people who have been evacuated (yes that is his new word of the week.) We need to pray that the flooding stops and for the people who had to leave their houses to are safe. (We live in Central MO and there is serious flooding going on all around us and in our town just down the hill from us.)
Me: OK, you are so right, let’s do that right now.
(We held hands and waited…)
Michael: You pray I don’t know what to say…
Me: Just tell God what you told me you want to pray about…you will do just fine.
Michael: But I know only one person’s name to pray for, Pastor Don and Mrs Janet.
Me: That’s OK Michael…just pray what you are thinking OK?
Michael: (sigh) OK…I’ll do my best.
Me: (smile)

We closed our eyes, holding hands while he prayed…

Michael: God please stop the flooding so that no else gets hurt or has to be evacuated from their houses because of the flooding. God please bless Pastor Don and Mrs Janet and keep safe. Thank you for helping them to get evacuated before they got hurt. I love them. Please keep everyone who has evacuated safe and let their homes be OK so that they can go back soon. Thank you that we are safe on our high hill. Please stop the rain soon. In Jesus Name. Amen

.
Michael: Was that OK?
Me: (with tears in my eyes hugging him) Michael that was perfect.
Michael: It is important to pray for them, you said that yesterday, that you are praying for them and I wanted to pray for them too. God is the only one who can stop the rain and make sure they are safe. So we need to pray and ask Him for help, right Mom?
Me: Absolutely right, Michael.
Michael: I love you, Mommy. Thanks for praying with me for them.
Me: I love you too, peanut. Thank you for praying.

God has reminded me through special moments like this, conversations and many other ways this week of why we became a homeschooling family and what our focus really is.

For us, Homeschooling is about discipling. God walking with me, leading, discipling, and teaching me as I am walking with, leading, discipling and teaching them. He helped me to see that I was getting too caught up in a big list of what I think we “should” be getting done in “school day” each during our first week in 2013-14 our “school year”. God reminded me that learning and discipling isn’t about a school year, per say. They are learning something new every day…lots of things actually…as am I.

In the month of July, while weren’t using a curricula of any kind, just busy living, serving, discipling, growing, and learning…I tracked over 100 subject hours of learning time for Josh alone! For some reason, when it came time to “start our school year” by adding our official curricula, I had allowed myself to get caught up in the trap of thinking I need to do everything the way the guide says instead of remembering that learning is happening every day in so many ways.

Our first day of our 2013-14 “schooling year”.

Don’t get me wrong, our curricula is wonderful! It is filled with great ideas, books, and lessons. But somewhere along the line, I had forgotten that it is here for me to use in ways that work well for our family as a resource and guide…even if that means modifying some things or leaving some things out due to time.  And most of all remembering that it isn’t there to teach our boys for me. They aren’t only learning when we use the guide/lessons as written. The books and teacher’s guide are here for me to use to help me as I walk with them, talk with them, disciple, teach and train them but they are not the ONLY way my guys are learning.

In fact, as I prepared for writing this series, I needed that reminder. I needed to open my eyes and really see what makes up our “curricula” for this year. And once I did, the stress and anxiety of trying to figure out how we were going to fit everything in our days so that they could really “learn what they need to know”…was lifted away and I was left with His peace once again.

18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NLT

So this series is going to look a little different that I originally planned. And I am so glad! I hope you will see that we homeschool imperfectly. My top priority is to encourage our boys to grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord and see Him as the leader of their lives. Our homeschool mission is to keep our eyes focused on Him in everything we read, watch, write, say, learn, pray…as we live each day.

With that in mind, I can stop and breathe deeply again…I am able to go back and remember the amazing lessons that happened this past year while we were healing and “imperfectly homeschooling”. Lessons that could never be learned from books…real heart and life lessons that changed us. In the process, the boys received the gift of deepening their understanding of God’s love for them as they grew in their personal relationship with Him. And the spark of learning turned into an enthusiastic love of learning and reading!

In this week’s “figuring things out” process, God is teaching me that in order for their love for Him, His Word, living His Gospel, and learning the information, skills, and academic information that will help them to live for Him~ I need to be living out what I am calling them to do.

So much of what our children learn is caught not taught. If they don’t see me studying His Word, worshiping, praying, learning new things, reading good books, trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone to let God take the lead in my life, how can I expect them to do it?

Our children are little sponges and I have to remind myself that what they see in my journey has a greater impact on them than me sticking with a strict schedule of learning material.

Keeping that in mind…I am excited about using the “tools” I have found to help us in our learning/discipling journey this year. Tools that help me to teach them the academic subjects but take them deeper to realize how what they are learning can become their own tools as they discover the direction God has for their lives as they grow in relationship with Him and He grows their godly character.

I hope you will come back tomorrow to see the tools I will be using in our journey this year and I hope that by sharing our imperfect journey, that you are encouraged to see the resources you have as tools for learning and discipling as you walk with your children each day…not a bunch of requirements that must be met lest you fail.

And most of all that we remind ourselves daily…God is in control and He is faithful!

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By His Grace,

Mary Joy

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

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