Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dear Younger Mom

Mama encouragement, homeschooling

Dear younger homeschooling Mom,

I want to encourage you on your journey. Whether this will be your first year educating your children at home, or your tenth, know that you are following God’s commands to teach your children at home, about Him. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20.)

Have you ever hear date expression “The days are long, but the years are short" ? While this applies to all of parenting, it especially applies to the Mama who chooses to give up several years of her life to educate her children at home. There will be days when you cannot wait for your husband to get home from work, just so you can step outside and have five whole minutes to yourself. There will be other days when everyone eagerly awaits Daddy’s arrival to show him what you dissected in science or made during art class. There will be stellar days, and other days when you will weep. But remember this one thing: the years are short! 

Looking ahead to this fall I can almost see the end of  our home education journey. Our youngest daughter is finishing her senior year of high school, and as I contemplate this 16th year of our journey, I wish I could reach out and give each and every one of you a big hug! There are going to be tough days, maybe even tough years ahead of you - but know this - GOD is always faithful! There are five lessons He has taught me along this path that I want to share with you. They might not mean much to you today, but when the time comes, I hope you will remember them, and turn to God for the daily strength and help you need.

Begin with Prayer

Each day, each year, each time you face a challenge, begin with prayer. God is right there waiting to give you what you need to successfully raise your children. He wants you to know Him intimately, He wants you to read  His word - for yourself, and to your children. He is waiting for you to humble yourself in prayer and ask for His guidance. On the days when you fall short and loose your temper, He will be there waiting for you to ask forgiveness through prayer. On the days when you rejoice because your child finally found the connections between letters and sounds and learns to read - He will be there, waiting for your praise. On each and every day He is only a breath away through prayer.

Less is More

As you begin homeschooling you can easily become overwhelmed with the vast array of choices of curriculum and learning styles. Step back. Breathe. Less curriculum is better than more. There are always new and shiny things begging for your attention, and your money. Choose less re-made curriculum instead of more as you begin to educate your children, and remember, for thousands of years the Jewish people educated  their children with only the first five books of the Old Testament. There will come a time when you need a math curriculum or a biology book, but if your children are still little, all you need is a Bible, some paper and crayons, and a library card.

Love first, learn second

While your children DO need to be taught, the most important lesson they will ever learn is that you love them! When you plan for the year, do not get so wrapped up in finishing your plans that you miss God’s plans. He has given you these tender, although sometimes stubborn, hearts to care for to show them His love. If your children do not believe that you love them, they will have a difficult time believing a God that they cannot see could ever love them. Love means affection, love means correction, and love means direction. When your children are secure in your unconditional love for them, they will blossom. They will want to learn, because they will want to spend time with you.

Character trumps achievement

You may see posts on Facebook, or overhear conversations during the local support group meetings about the glorious achievements of other children. Do not play the dangerous comparison game! Your children will have glorious achievements one day, they will learn to read or ride a bike, they will choose to put someone else first, or they will serve at a soup kitchen. The character of your children should always trump worldly achievements. Be happy and rejoice with others when they rejoice in what their children have done, and rest in knowing you have continually put your children at the feet of Jesus - choose the best.

Celebrate the small things

It is tight and good to celebrate the small victories. It is not right and good to brag. Many of your celebrations will never be know outside of your immediate family, and that is OK! When a child is potty trained we celebrate, when they learn to read, we celebrate. When they graduate high school - then we celebrate with everyone … and sometimes we cry a little. When your child knows you find joy in their accomplishments, they will try harder at the difficult spots. They will want to rejoice with you when they overcome their obstacles. And maybe someday, you’ll get a text, from the not-so-little girl who did not enjoy math class, with a photo of her college test - with an A! Celebrate!

Dear younger Mom, this journey you are on is a life-changer. It will change you, as you work and learn alongside your children. As you are obedient to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to love your children, and tell them about Him, He will shower you with a peace that even the toughest day cannot overcome!

Begin with Prayer.

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