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Archive for the ‘Adventures in Learning at Home’ Category

Photo Credit: Meshele Tomplait

In the journey of motherhood there are many things that you will encounter that will take you by surprise; some pleasantly and some not so much.  I’m not sure how other mother’s feel but I expected that as time went on and the more children I had I would get stronger in my mommy skills and be confident and secure in the decisions I made regarding their future. You could say this was one of the not so pleasant surprises I’ve uncovered along the way!  As it turns out, since I am still learning and growing in the Word and as a person it reflects in my parenting process as well. I had to be willing to be flexible and bend my mothering tactics around the new growth I had achieved.  You could say I find myself at one of those places now.

As a Christian home schooling mother I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve had the wrong focus and have not given adequate attention to training my children in the Word.  Yes, we have a Bible lesson and read from a little devotional but outside of those few minutes, how did the rest of our day reflect the Jesus that we claimed to live inside us? I have neglected my true priority as a mother: to disciple my children.  When Jesus walked this Earth, He spent three full years training His disciples to emulate Him after He returned to the Father. Not only should this be closely examined as a pattern for our own lives but also a pattern for parenting. As parents our only priority is to train our children as Disciples of Christ, first and foremost, and the details in life like food, clothing, education, luxuries will come as a consequence or direct result of that action.

 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.”   — Matthew 6:33

I just finished the most amazing book, Disciple Like Jesus for Parents, that really put my responsibility into perspective for me. It spoke to that part of me that knows I should be training my children better but feels so incredibly inadequate that failure seemed imminent.  After all, I’ve never been to seminary, what do I REALLY know about God? As it turns out, I know plenty! I know the most important thing – to look in my Bible! I learned that it’s ok to not know everything, have every answer or even ANY answers! What’s important is that we never stop learning. It’s the most incredibly rewarding experience to learn alongside your children. As you dig deeper into the Word, God is able to reveal things to you in ways he couldn’t otherwise because nothing speaks to a Mamma’s heart quite like tending the heart of her own children.  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding”; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:2

So what am I doing different now? Instead of treating the Word of God like another subject in school to get through, it’s become the main theme of the day. When we studied the Parable of the Sower, for example, it was the main project of day and we spent the most time discussing it and working crafts. In science we planted seeds in starter cups, weeded the garden and worked math problems w/ the general theme or tackled them together as they came up in our day.  My girls are older so I also tied in the Parable of the Tares and the Wheat with this lesson since they seemed to build upon each other, cultivating the soil of our heart, guiding the seed to fertile soil, digging out rocks or thorns and to be sure it doesn’t grow a crop of weeds instead of wheat. Numerous times throughout the day we found examples of how these parables applied in our daily lives. Now as future situations occur we have a solid memory of an entire day of examples of this parable to draw back on, instead of ‘that story we read one time’.

Do you see the difference? I sure did, and I was shocked! Here I had spent many countless hours stressing over lesson plans or finding interesting content for each subject when I should’ve been building my day around a single Bible concept.  I’m just getting started too; this is our first week attempting a new approach! I have a lot of ideas of how I would like to see this go, but I know the most important thing is to spark as many conversations a day as I can with my children about our Daddy God, His Word, and how it applies to our everyday lives because that’s the biggest challenge we face in our faith at any age.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”Deuteronomy 6:7

 This is just one of many examples of how we are here to learn how to build every detail of our lives around Daddy God, instead of the world’s system.  In doing so we discover that all the wrinkles in our fabric of life just seem to iron themselves right out!

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Photo Credit: Meshele Tomplait

Before I get started on detailing anything specific about how we approach our home schooling, let me give you a little bit of background. You’ve gotta know where you’re coming from to know what road you’re on!

My husband and I were both raised as only children although we each have half-siblings that are in our lives. Somehow we ended up with five children so far in life (ya never know what God has in store!) and at times wonder if we’ve lost our minds! In the beginning I always intended for my children to attend public school and the oldest one did until around midway through her first grade year.  I hated the whole concept of what they called education. Anytime I stopped by the class was always in disarray and the children were eating something sugary. At the time we were only just glimpsing the horizon of organic foods and nutrition in general so my anger over the sugary snacks didn’t stem from that teaching. I couldn’t understand why this teacher was always complaining about an unruly classroom when she was practically force feeding them candy all day! After repeated attempts to make the teacher understand my point of view and my words falling on deaf ears my rebellious nature took control! I decided I could do this bad by myself and with all the available curriculum out there these days there was no reason why I had to play by anyone else’s rules! Of course, this was just a means to an end and God had a bigger plan.

I began to see my children differently. No longer were they a task that needed completion before 9:00pm. They WERE the thing I got to do all day now! It was my rules! My schedule! My way! It appealed to the only child in me.  To make a long story short, God used this time to nurture my heart right a long with them. I began to understand a bit deeper how the love of God works on a very intimate level. I think this is what the Bible means about children being our reward.

My children have already taught me at least as much as I have taught them. Each day I look for the lessons God would show me as the Potter molds his vessel and makes me an example to my children. An example to show that we never arrive at all God wants us to be but we must be willing to be constantly changed; being molded and shaped by the Potter’s Hands.

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