Wednesday, July 7, 2010

press toward the goal of the upward call...

"I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented [in youth] than cured [in adults].  I think, moreover, that the talents for the education of youth are the gift of God; and that he on whom they are bestowed, whenever a way is opened for the use of them, is as strongly called as if he heard a voice from heaven..."  (from the "American Enlightenment")

Moms, guess what?  You have a gift from God to teach your children.  You have a calling from heaven.  If you are a mom, you are a teacher...even if you don't home school.  What great purpose! 

I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would be a teacher.  But, it is absolutely my calling as a mom.  A perfect fit for me and my children.

"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." ~James 3:1
Makes you want to be a teacher, huh?  It is a great calling and a great responsibility.  To raise our children in wisdom, character, and knowledge.  But, not only that, we must also be people of wisdom, character, and knowledge.  Ouch!  Thank goodness His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

Let me also address those teachers and others who influence little children to turn away from the Lord, or to be contrary to the things of God...
"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." ~Matthew 18:6

Teachers, Moms,  we have a great duty to teach our children the truth.  Really, this is so easy to do.  Seek God's word.  Seek true history.  And share what you know with your children.  They will love it.  We were watching the history channel on the 4th of July. The boys loved it!  Haha!  Until a year ago, even I would not have enjoyed the history channel in the least.  But, I have learned to love history and have shared it with my boys, and now they love it too!  If you are enthusiastic about what you share with your children, they will be enthusiastic about it too!  

We have been reading the Miller's books.  These are wonderful books about the truth of God's word, character, etc.  The boys ask for the stories because they enjoy them so much.  The life lessons are such treasures.

Educating out-of-the-box, or really without-a-box, has been the perfect fit for my family. I am a girl who doesn't like to be told what to do, so the rebel in me loves creating my own "curriculum" for my children.  I love it!  I have a tendency to become over-scheduled and rigid, and thus stressed out, so I avoid it altogether by starting off in a relaxed manner.  I, inevitably, will bring the pressure on myself, so I try to avoid it at all costs and in any way I can.  By not having to keep up with a curriculum, I know I am sparing myself of unnecessary pressures, time constraints, and limitations.  No offense to those of you who adhere to a specified curriculum.  I understand that we all have differing personalities, needs, and ways to go about things.  And some really thrive on structure.  There is nothing wrong with this.  Thank God He provides such diverse, and multiple ways to educate our children.  But for me, doing it my way makes me happy.  (Can you see my satisfied smile?)  
I remember in high school, there was a new program called AVID.  My geometry teacher was also the AVID teacher and he insisted we take notes a certain way and keep our notebooks just so.  It drove me crazy!  I love my organized choas!  Don't try to change me! ;)  I told you, I am a rebel at heart.  
Since I have the tendency to do things unconventionally, it gives me freedom to go wherever the Lord leads with our schooling.  If the boys are interested in a particular subject, off we go!  It is so fantastic to capitalize on where my boys are at that very moment and to steer our education in that direction.
Silas was the youngest and the first to share his memory verse (Ephesians 6:10-20...11 verses to be exact) at our home school group last year.  I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, I just wanted to bring up an interesting and easy way to memorize scripture.  I had read something by Charlotte Mason that to memorize scripture, all one had to do was just read it aloud once a day.  So, that's what I did.  Every morning at breakfast, I read Ephesians 6:10-20 to the boys.  They knew it in no time did I!  Try it.  It's so easy!
I capitalize on mealtimes.  My boys eat VERY SLOWLY and it drives me nuts to be on their case about finishing their food, not playing around at the table, etc.  So, I use this time for school.  We read and learn during these times.  It keeps the boys focused on their food and the lesson, keeps them from getting into trouble, and I get to keep my sanity.  When breakfast is over, they get some playtime and sometimes I will squeeze in any work that requires pencil to paper and then they are back to playing.  This works for us.  I know it isn't right for everyone and it may even change for us as the boys grow, but for now, it's our thing.  The boys are reading, they are familiar with many stories from the Bible, we have conquered math basics, Revolutionary War history, touched on the Civil War and World War II, studied the solar system and other aspects of our universe, learned about the science of what makes an airplane fly, and on and on.  Life is school.  Life is education and children hunger for it.  All we have to do is engage them, answer their questions, and make the most of the opportunities presented to us.

So, Mom, you are doing well.  Relax.  Enjoy. Don't let the pressures of culture get you down or tell you that your children aren't good enough or doing enough.  Don't discount the value of character.  That is far more important than language arts and math.  Take the time.  I say this for myself, too, as I can easily get caught up in the pressures of worldly expectations.
"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:12-14

It is ok that I am imperfect and flawed.  "For when I am weak, then I am strong."  And I can always shift gears for a better and new way!  "Looking unto Jesus." (Hebrews 12:1-3)  He's at the finish line!  Can you see Him?  He is smiling at you and cheering you on!

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