It was after dinner time and we needed some milk. So, with my four boys happily playing in the backyard with their dad, I slipped away to run this errand alone…in peace. I love these sweet opportunities, as they give me a welcome and always needed moment of silence. Time to spend with my God where it’s quiet. With a house full of boys, finding that time in my home is not easy. I’m guessing it isn’t always easy for you either.
I pulled into a slightly out of the way parking space and just sat. My husband knows these moments are precious to me. He knows that when there aren’t any pressing needs and all is well at home, breaks are a breath of fresh air to this often weary mom and he encourages me to go. Even the shortest trips to the store or a casual walk through the library alone can provide the sweetest refreshing to my soul. I am thankful for these moments. God knows we, often weary, moms need them.
As I sat there, thoughts swirling, ideas brewing, emotions and feelings stirring…I was suddenly struck by the overwhelming need to just pour out to Jesus. Why was I carrying on this one way conversation with myself, when I could (and should) just talk to the One who created me and knows me best? How often do I keep myself from Him? And when I’m in this place, all consumed with ME and my own thoughts, does that ever really work out?
The answer? No.
Truthfully, it’s only when we can first seek God and allow Him into these conversations that true wisdom, knowledge and understanding take place. He knows our every thought anyway.
So, on this day, in the silence of my car, I poured out to God. And on this day, my mind was consumed with homeschooling and my heart was in need of some Peace. Like many of you, we’re settling back in to the groove of school. Let me rephrase that. We’re ever so s.l.o.w.l.y. trying to find our daily rhythm and routine again. Last year’s school routine won’t work for this year because so much has changed. Our kids are a year older. Now we have a very active toddler who is oh-so-very TWO, which is adorable, but also challenging to say the least. Our four year old wants to be a part of school time, but is also distracted easily, so finding the right balance for a preschool aged child needs to be considered. Our first grader, who is six is excited about school, but gets frustrated very easily and our oldest who is eight and in third grade, is able to be a bit more independent, but still craves my focused attention.
And I feel like I’m never enough. Do you ever feel this way? Are there days, weeks or seasons when you wonder why it feels like you’re always spinning your wheels? Do you wonder when or if it might get a little easier? I do.
Each year, along with the new ages of my boys, new attitudes and behaviors (some good and some needing adjustment) and new routines and challenges, there are also all of those new curricula choices I’ve made now sitting before me. I love the lesson planning process of homeschooling. But sometimes, my plans don’t turn out the way I hoped. Sometimes, those plans don’t work out at all and then I begin to panic a bit.
This was one of those moments for me. The curriculum in and of itself, is amazing. The lessons I’ve planned seem fun, engaging, and obviously educational. But, they haven’t been working out well. Somehow, the excitement and love of learning I’m used to seeing from my kids, is missing. There’s a disconnect, but where did I go wrong? Is it the way I’m teaching? The curriculum?
I poured all of these concerns out to God. And then I waited. And then suddenly, the Scripture I had read only days before came rushing back to my mind and heart.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
“A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?” -Proverbs 20:24
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” -Psalm 37:23-24
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” -Jeremiah 29:11-14a
Do you hear the theme here? I looked up each verse that came to my mind for further clarification. I have read these verses before, but on this day God spoke His Truth to me by bringing His Word together in a way that gave me a much better perspective about all of my homeschooling plans. It wasn’t the curriculum that was necessarily the problem. It was me.
You see, somehow with the start of a new school year, I momentarily forgot one very important thing. The good, right and straight path to homeschooling our kids is NOT contained within the pages of those great teacher’s manuals, alone, that come with all that wonderful curriculum. It’s the plans we submit to God first that work according to His good will and purposes for our children’s education that’s most important. Our lesson plans first need to come from THE Teacher’s Manual which is the Word of God, and then He will make our paths straight and order our steps as we delight in Him.
I am so very thankful for the freedom we have to homeschool. And our Teacher’s Manual reminds me that I am not a prisoner to the curriculum we’ve chosen. I can use what we have as a guide, remembering that part of the beauty of homeschooling is the ability to choose what works and set aside what doesn’t. God cares about these details too and longs for us to seek Him first in everything….even our lesson plans.