I feel so much pressure and stress lately when it comes to our home education. I admit it, right now, I feel like its just not going so well for us. And I worry because in a few more months we will have number four, a sweet baby girl, in the house too. It’s been a rougher pregnancy than I am used to. Everything makes me sick. Getting dressed makes me tired. Not so bad really. Due at the end of April – not so far away. But with three kids that are used to being very busy, very active, things are crazier than usual. And I feel like we are lacking; as if we are not doing “enough”. What is a momma to do to get some peace of mind these days?
Recently I was watching Andrew Kern’s Teaching From a State of Rest and it really got me thinking. I mean, a state of REST. I want to be in that state. Then I was blessed with a copy of Teaching from a State of Rest and I knew this was something that I desperately needed from the very first page where I read:
“Can we seek Him first? Can we live and teach from a state of rest? My prayer
is that we will. But we must approach the Holy Spirit every single day, asking
Him to lead us and to quiet our anxious souls so that we can really bless
our children- not with shiny curriculum or perfect lesson plans, but rather
with purposeful, restful spirits.”
This was to without a doubt a message from God: it was time to change our path.
Ironically, this year I chose to focus on “peace” as God’s Word defines it – both in my life and in my home. And here, immediately after I open this book, I read about the need for purposeful rest. (isn’t that another way of saying peace?).
I began searching the scriptures to see what I could find; what wisdom I gleaned too. In a very short period of time. God has so much to say about the value and need for peace in our lives.
Did you know that Paul commands us to “be anxious about nothing.” Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit too; we have it but do we claim it as our own? His peace, it comes supernaturally, it comes from hearts and minds that are in obedience to His word. It comes from us acknowledging our weaknesses and turning to Him in faith and love, for all things. “Perfect love casts out fear” and I have heard it said so often that where there is fear there is no faith. We must step out in a greater faith, so that we can claim those gifts He has for us.
Isaiah 26:3-4 says that “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”
So what does all this mean for our home and our families?
I had to take a good look at the materials we were using, at the activities we were taking part in outside of the home. I had to be honest with myself and my family. We all had to step back just a bit. Looking with new eyes at our days.
My oldest son is nine. A talented artist, a lover of music, softball and Bible Quizzing through our church and he loves foreign languages. He loves the park; anywhere that he can run and jump and climb and shout. My younger son is 5 and is also a Bible Quizzer, he loves to build with Legos, is learning to read and do some basic math – anything planes and trains and dinosaurs rocks his world (museums are a favorite of his). My daughter is three – she loves ballet since seeing the Nutcracker this winter. She likes to dance and sing and play dolls and ponies. The zoo is a favorite place of hers. All of them love to read or I should say, for now, be read to.
So here’s where we are at today (and probably for awhile – I’m okay with that really):
- We are taking a break from co-op classes; no outside art, music or language classes for now ( a wonderful older gentleman from church is teaching the boys as time allows, guitar)
- Not all subjects are done daily like art and music, languages and creative writing
- We are using more books, this includes audio, to help teach history, and science. Read aloud time, daily, in our home. Gives momma a rest, time off her feet, encourages a love of literature in the kids. (snuggle time is awesome too!)
- We focus on fun things together – daily activities – like cooking, my 5 year old son is a superstar when it comes to doing floors – my oldest is stellar at making beds – my daughter makes a mean loaf of bread.
- We find learning in whatever we do each day – we focus on character and virtues – time together – making and taking the time to really enjoy whatever activity we are involved in.
- Taking advantage of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Minecraft – to utilize their resources for learning (watched How the States Got their Shapes this morning – right now my boys are building ancient cities in Minecraft – will read together from The Story of our Country Every Child Should Know) – Got great reading and movie lists from Ambleside Online and Thomas Jefferson Education too!
It seems like a lot but taking one day at a time makes all the difference. We still plan our days but we are much more relaxed and our plan isn’t written in stone. Its a plan written in our hearts. Through much prayer and study of the Word of God (did I mention we are working in the Book of Proverbs this year?) we are growing as a family and as a home school – With Jesus at the center of it all. What peace there is when we submit to Him.
Jennifer is a wife, mother of three wonderful, sweet and very busy children, and a daughter of Christ. Follow her homeschool journey at A “Peace” of Mind.