Things That Matter – Homeschooling with a Fresh Perspective

Looks like we found Connor, but where did Cait go?

(Disclaimer: This is my personal journal, and these are my own experiences, you are welcome to read if you like. It’s not meant to make the reader think I’m trying to preach or persuade you or make you feel bad if you don’t do things the way I do. Just my own thoughts, from my own life journey:) 

I loved school. Homeschooled through elementary and most of middle school, I ended up going back to public school when I was in 8th grade. I got good grades in High school, I was even privileged enough to deliver the Valedictorian speech at my graduation ceremony, I must admit I was not the smartest student in my class, just happened to get the highest grade point average ;) I applied myself in school and I did very well, but it was a lot of work.

Why am I talking about my academic victories in High school? I know, it honestly doesn’t really matter that much, except for the fact that all of us have a past, and so much of our past formulates who we are as adults, whether we like it or not. I always wanted to teach my children at home, to give them the same benefits I gained from being schooled away from all of the distractions that often come from the public school environment.

Fast forward to current day. With a growing family, and always with a toddler and/or baby in the home, it seems that we’ve had a very slow start with school for my older children. I’ve struggled many many days with this burden, that I’m stunting them academically, or that I’m not capable of giving them what they need. My three oldest are ironically at basically the same place intellectually (where reading is concerned). Aidan is almost 9, Eamon is 7 1/2, and Guenna is almost 6. Each of them are at about a first grade reading level, which would mean that Aidan is about 1 1/2 years behind, and Guenna is about 1 1/2 years ahead. While I’ve been proud of Guenna’s natural ability to teach herself to read (at age 3), I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed my eldest son in some way. I’m sure that many other homeschooling moms can relate with this feeling.

This year in particular, I’ve wrestled with this burden. More than anything, I don’t want my kids to be behind. I think it has partially to do with the fact that while I was in school, I was very dedicated to my schoolwork (a little too dedicated possibly :). But this year as I have had to deal with the fact that I AM pregnant, and that MY plans for this school year with the children have been kind of set back, it’s allowed me time to get down to the root of my thoughts. I’ve allowed myself to take on the worries of the world, and have not taken on the mind of Christ. And the question is, “What REALLY matters?”

The other day, Aidan out of the blue, started a conversation that has really brought to light the answer to this question. He said, “mom, in Sunday School I had this thought, I wondered, how do I really know that I’m saved? And then I thought, I’m going to do my best to obey mom and dad and God.” Wow. You can imagine that this was the beginning of a really amazing conversation with my children, not led by me, but truly led by the Spirit of God, in my son. I saw the Holy Spirit truly bringing light to my kids hearts about their salvation. And shared with them the assurance of their own salvation, of who we are standing before a perfect and holy God, in desperate need of a Savior. And they got it. Not because I was talking to them, but because God’s Spirit was talking to them, I was just a vessel of truth. It was in this moment that I realized what really matters. Not how smart my kids are, not what kind of grades they get, or what kind of job they get, or how much money they will one day make. What REALLY matters is that we lead our children to the Father. That we show them who they are and that their value is not in how well they read or the talents they may have. They can’t “do” anything to make God love them more, or less, He simply loves them and so must we. Just as they are, accepting them with their weaknesses and strengths, their disabilities or abilities, and all the while leading them to where they get their worth, our Heavenly Father.

The truth is, Aidan is not behind. He is right where God wants him. He’s a young boy and full of the distractions of little boys in his head. Thoughts of being an inventor, and a soldier and a warrior, and a whole lot more “boy” stuff. He’s not me, and that is OKAY. Guenna is probably a lot more like me :) I was just realizing the other day, if Aidan was in public school it is very likely that he would be in Special Ed, not that Special Ed is a bad thing for a lot of students, but the reality is I’m glad he doesn’t know he’s “behind” I’m so glad that I can teach him at his pace and that he doesn’t feel like he’s behind the rest of his class. Chris was telling me that he was reading about a young boy named, Thomas Edison, who after three months in public school was labeled as “addled” or confused by his teacher. But his mother knew differently, she could see the intelligence in her boy, and so she removed him from school and taught him herself. Had she not, who would have been responsible for inventing our modern day light bulb, and thousands of other inventions, that we take for granted. I see some of these capabilities in my young son, and yet, very possibly in a public school setting he would be confused and frustrated. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that we’ve chosen to homeschool our children, as difficult and challenging as it is some days.

So, I take my own inadequacy to my Father, I lay it at His feet and ask the all-knowing God to give me wisdom. How do I lead these, Your children, today? Let tomorrow take care of itself, I need wisdom for today. Please help me not to be consumed with the ideals of our society, give me Your heart for each one of my children, and help me to raise them to know You, and fear You, and follow you with all of their hearts. Thank you for this privilege, and thank You for showing me this week what really matters.

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