Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to School...

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
Proverbs 16:20

It's that time again - school buses fill the streets and school bells fill the air.

For our family it means back to a more set schedule - we rise a bit earlier and work to accomplish the goals we set each week.

Our most important goal I shared here. Especially for me as a Mom of 8.

I'm starting to see a change in the children again as we prepare for a busy fall of birthdays.

Soon they will be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 15.

In many ways I'm looking forward to the changes and getting one step closer to being out of diapers. I don't know about you - but dealing with diapers for almost 7 years has taken its toll on me. I'm ready for a break. I'll gladly buy more toilet paper and be done with the cost of wipes and diapers for three.

Then I think am I really ready for all of them to be in school. I will be homeschooling 7 at once in a few years.

I also see many parents who begin schooling their children at 3 and even 4. I read their schedules and I feel overwhelmed. I can't imagine sitting down with my 3 and 4 yr old sons doing half of what others Mom's work to accomplish each day - let alone each week.

We as a society compare ourselves to each other - we see what other Mom's do and we begin to doubt what we are doing. God doesn't want us doing that. Nor does He wants us trying to do more than others or keeping up with each other. God wants us to honor Him and bring glory to His name in all areas of our lives - especially as Mothers who are homeschooling His children. It means finding a pace and schedule that works best for you the Mom and your children. It means figuring out what age is right for your family and children to begin doing some fun learning games and then workbooks. It means not pushing your children to be in school when they are not even out of diapers or requiring them to know their alphabet by the same age as your friends children. It means finding balance and helping your children to be all that God wants them to be for the future He has planned for them. One day at a time and being flexible with the school day. Some days you may accomplish a ton with your children - other days you may only get done 15 minutes of true learning time. That is OK! Every moment of our day is an opportunity to learn and gain wisdom. A head stuck in a school book always doing busy work is a mind missing out on life - where the real lessons are learned.

I get so concerned that the art/joy of being a child is pushed aside and being replaced with knowing things of the world.

I worry that we are so concerned as parents to entertain our children every moment of the day or have a schedule that keeps them busy - we don't allow for them to be bored and learn to play by themselves or develop an imaginary friend, store, school or hospital. Imaginary play allows for them to recreate the lessons they have learned from you - how to be a Mom, a Dad, a teacher, a friend, a vet, a doctor, a clerk at the grocery store, etc. Life is full of boring moments and it is wonderful to learn this at an early age. Learning to wait is an important life skill and will be needed more than anything for the rest of their lives. God has us all in waiting seasons and it is where our faith has a chance to grow deeper roots! Instant gratification does children a disservice and sets them up for years of disappointment.

Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!
Travel steadily along His path.
Psalm 37:34

I realize some children are born to learn and love it! I get that.

I realize some children thrive on structure every minute of their day. I get that too! Trust me I do.

I realize some children thrive in playtime learning vs. being schooled.

Yet, I wonder how important is it really to know so much stuff at such tender ages.

I wonder if we are filling their minds with knowledge as much as we are wisdom.

Because what God continues to impress upon me over and over again is this - training them up in the way they should go has nothing to do with their A, B, C's. It has everything to do with them listening and obeying you so they will do the exact same thing with HIM.

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Back to school means more training in this area for our children. It means spending more time in devotionals as a family - praying for one another and working to live out our faith right here at home. While we clean, cook, shop, do school work and spend time with friends and family.

Preparing our children to be God's warriors to light the world on fire is our first goal and knowing that they will all get what they need for knowledge as we strive to gain wisdom!

Does a 4 yr old really need to know geography or their math facts? I don't know.

I do know that our children know something the world still can't seem to figure out - that God made everything they see and that He is here right now living inside of them and He wants everyone to listen and obey Him. It has been the same desire since Adam and Eve and yet we still are not even close to getting that right.

That my friends is a lesson worth teaching from the moment they are old enough to tell you "I love you." You are able to show me and Daddy your love by listening and obeying us. By showing us you love us - you show God who created you perfectly in my womb that you love Him too! Everything we do either tells God we love Him and trust Him or it tells Him we don't need Him and love ourselves.

So here we are about to start another busy school year - and my goal remains the same:
  1. Listen + Obey = Love
  2. Truth is Love = Love is Truth!
  3. Don't hurt anyone on the inside or the outside
  4. Clean up after yourself
  5. Pray for others
  6. Ask God to keep you humble and teach you to be compassionate
  7. Learning to read is the key to opening His word and love for you
  8. Knowledge without wisdom is wasted information
  9. Look for God in the small things and learn all you can from them!
  10. Together we will strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ.
  11. Esteem others greater than yourself and look everyone in the eyes and smile!
  12. Never get ahead of God and always seek to walk right behind Him or beside Him!
What I have learned through my journey of parenthood thus far and raising this many children is this:
  • Spend time together reading, playing games, exploring and letting your child lead the way of what interests them - together learn about what makes their mind ask for more! Don't worry about what the children (same age as yours) are learning in schools around you - because in the end not only will they have caught up - many homeschooled children surpass their peers in almost every area! I know you have all heard the saying - not one child has ended up in first grade still wearing diapers. Well, the same goes for learning the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers and how to read. Every child will get there and will have not only mastered those will have moved onto true discovery of the world around them in 3rd grade!
But if any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God,
who gives to all generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Enjoy your little ones and don't stress about if they are learning enough. Teach them the things of God and focus on matters of the heart!

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth
to strengthen those whose hearts are
fully committed to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9

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  1. Amen! Thank you so much for investing your time to share this very wise and encouraging post.

    We're in this together as sisters in Christ. It is wonderful to be able to share and encourage one another in the Lord.


  2. Love this post Jill! It's so easy to get caught up in "oh no...why doesn't my child know that already?" If we focus on their hearts then the rest will come. Thanks for the encouragement :)

  3. great post. just wonderful and a perfect reminder as the year begins.

  4. Wonderful. I love your outlook on learning and school.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I feel a litte out of sync with the world this time of year because not only am I not sending kids back to school right now, I'm not even re-starting. We take our breaks from school year-round so we also school year round at our house.

    I will say this for back-to-school time. It reminds me to be grateful for the privilege I have to be a stay at home mom, and not feel forced into employment for the sake of financial survival. I know for a good many families, mom not working isn't a viable option. I'm grateful that althouh I have days I'd like to have free from sibling rivalry and algebra concepts I must relearn to teach, I don't share the sentiments of parents "glad to be rid of the kids again." I could go there, but I honestly love being the one to share learning with my five. I'm grateful for the flexibility which allows me to slow down for an entire week or two if necessary to teach a critical concept. I'm grateful that I can push my kids without shoving them, so that one childearned to read at age 3 and one at age 8, with both loving reading and neither one feeling out of place with their learning speed. I'm grateful that my children have greater opportunities for socialization and are not socially stunted by interacting most exclusively with their peers.

    I'm most grateful for the fact that my children are growing up learning about EVERYthing (including awareness of evolution and (gag) homosexuality) from a Christian world-view. Whatever I'd prefer they weren't surrounded with, they'll grow up knowing truth from God's Word about it.

  6. I found your blogg from Homeschool Creations. I loved how you expressed not allowing our children to get bored, have imaginary friends etc..Before I homeschooled my older children I had a teacher tell me "Kid's aren't suppose to have an imagination." That was when I pulled them out of public school.

  7. Amen!!! Great post! Frank and I were just talking about this while seeing the commercial for Your Baby Can Read!!! We both agreed that we love Ladybug just the way she a sweet baby, who does baby things!!! HE was asking me if I thought the program worked. I said that yes it does work, but is that what we should really desire for our babes? Eventually they all learn that stuff (like you said). There's no rush!!!

    Being the mom of "Tot School" I get SO many emails and comments regarding age appropriateness and such. I try SO hard to tell moms to just play and enjoy their children. The activities are wonderful, but all they really need is love and direction like you wrote about. I pray often about my role guiding these moms to keep this balance in perspective. Sharing the difference between EXPOSING early learning skills and EXPECTING MASTERY of skills at a young age.

    I also agree that down-time is SOOOO valuable for young kids. For the exact reasons you mentioned. I think moms get confused by my lengthy tot school posts and think K is involved with me all day long-which he most certainly is NOT!!! I would go nuts!

    Anyway, I loved your post, and I am going to link to it soon from 1+1+1=1.

    Love you!

  8. Found this entry through 1+1+1, and am now following your blog. This was the most well-written, amazing post! THANK YOU! I have a 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 year old, and hope for more. My husband desperately wants to homeschool. I was on the fence. We agree we will never send our children to public school, but we don't have a dime for private.

    After speaking with a friend this week, and reading this post, I've made up my mind (obviously with prayer and guidence from the Lord over the next 2 years) - I want to homeschool. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom. And to ease my fears about having to start schooling right NOW or else I'll be behind!

    Wow, I just cannot thank you enough for this beautiful, encouraging, scripture-filled post!!!

  9. Hi, here from Carissa's blog. Thank you for sharing your heart about this! I really needed this today and it hit home in many areas. Thanks so much!

  10. I found your post through Clarissa's blog. Your words spoke to my heart. As a mother of a special needs child who is nine, I have not pushed my son to do what his peers are doing at higher grade levels. He is working at his pace and loving it. He has learning disabilities and being born prematurely meant everything from learning to crawl, stand and walk were at his pace and not on a time set by me but by the Lord.

    I thank God for giving me patience and humility to see through my son that he is not a cookie cut out to be compared to all the other "cookies" but he is special in his own way and that God loves him.

    I thank you for sharing your thoughts and God's word in this.

  11. What a great post! Thanks for sharing! I am proud to say that two of my three children had an imaginary friend. My youngest still has hers, and I love hearing "them" play together. If you listen closely, you will hear exactly what your child is learning!

  12. Hi Jill! Where did you find the armor with the lion on it? I love it and my son has been wanting some "armor" and I can't find anything with a decent picture on it.


  13. Mari - I believe my MIL bought them for the children from Christian Bookstore online.

    If you can't find them let me know - they are the armor of God. They are very cool!!!

    We might have to bring them out again and fight a war for God right here in their hearts!!!

    Love and blessings - Jill

  14. Hi - we have never "chatted" before until now. I came to your link from 1+1=1 and I have to say that I cannot thank you enough for all that you shared with me. I cannot help but cry uncontrollably because I feel like I'm so aimless with my kids during the day. My 5 yr old is in Kinder and my 3.5 yr old is home with me with baby girl 1 yrs old. I decided to homeschool my 3.5 yr old but I feel so clueless somedays and like I'm failing him somehow because I don't have a grip on what my day should look like - no direction with homeschooling him. I have ideas and have done some things with him but there are days that I just wish I could disappear. I feel so conflicted with my 5 yr old in public school, I don't know what to do. Can I homeschool? Would I be successful at it? Would I teach him all that he would need to know? My husband put doubts in my head earlier this year and I cannot get over it. He says I am not a teacher and don't have a degree to do this. He speaks out of the other side of his mouth and tells me that he believes I could do it - so I don't know what he really means to be the truth. I love him, he is a Godly man, but I think he fears I won't put in the time to teach them right. So as tears run down my face with frustration and feeling torn, I thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart with me. I struggle to do the right thing here. I want to homeschool, but what if it turns out that he's right and I don't teach them all they need to know? Help me. Email me. Chat with me? I need encouragement here. Lots of it.

  15. This is my first year to homeschool, and I am really struggling. I feel like we are under attack, and I feel like giving up. BUT I KNOW GOD CALLED US TO THIS, and HE WILL NOT FORSAKE US.

    I so needed to read this. I feel like we need to just step back and just WORSHIP God and praise Him and adore Him. If we get nothing else done this year, well then we have done it. Right?

    I have read your blog before, but I had lost it. I came over from 1+1+1=1 as well. I love her Tot School ideas, but to be honest it is not working w/ our 3 1/2YO. She needs my love and attention and reassurance more than anything. And you know what, she does not know her colors, letters, shapes or any of that. But oh how she loves to look at the bugs we are finding outside and "studying" as we talk about how amazingly God created each one.

    May I ask (and I'm sure you've shared) but if you felt led, could you share how you start each day w/ your children? I mean, not so much how you start but once they get up? Do you wake them? Allow them to awaken? Do you eat first and then worship, pray, etc.? I just need some guidance! I have two who wake up early and one who does not. I really wish I could allow him a bit of time, b/c well he just does so much better when he wakes up on his own (usually by 8 a.m.), but should I awaken him to accommodate the others? What to do?

    Any advice in this area appreciated!!! Thanks so much for your blog and words of wisdom!

  16. P.S. I FOUND your family blog! OK, I was thinking you sounded familiar but your blog looked different! LOL! Anyway, I LOVE your HSing blog. Can I link it on my blog? I am now at roomforatleastonemore (dot) wordpress (dot) com. I saw you had my old blog on your sidebar and didn't know if you knew I was still blogging but at a different URL.

    We are ADOPTING again btw. He is 9!!!

  17. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I am actually one of those mums that allows my children the time to get bored. (we've been homeschooling for just over 2 years, my kids are 7, 5 and 1)

    However I have often felt guilty for not doing enough! When I read other blogs and see 3 and 4 year olds streets ahead of my 5 year old I often cringe. (at myself)

    You have just reminded me that I home school for a reason. For my children to have that freedom to spend the entire day outside creating a whole town from cardboard boxes and sheets. To have the time to develop a passion for drawing, where all they want to do all day is draw. To know and have the confidence to look after their baby brother whilst I take a shower. Simply because they are always around him and have been a part of his upbringing for the past 12 months....

    I could ramble on here for ages but all I really want to say is thank you, thank you for the reminder that we all need.

  18. Love ya lady and so glad to know you through blogging. :)

    I know my overall goal with the kids is just to have FUN and enjoy learning.


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