Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Inspiring Messages

Hello all!

Some of you have seen my posts (hymnals and FirstAid book) but I have
never actually introduced myself to the group. I live in Virginia and am
friends with Kristi who is also on this loop. I am probably the oldest
lady here - 42. I have 5 children - ds - 13, ds - 12, dd - 8, ds 4 and
dd almost 2. I have been homeschooling all along since 1992.

I have noticed a lot of posts from ladies who seem stressed about
academics to some degree or another. Many of you seem pressured to
accomplish "so much" each day. I sense frustration from some of you that
you are not getting it all done and in a timely manner. I even see posts
with very young children who are stressed about academics. Please
understand that what follows is a sincere attempt to encourage all of you
- please forgive me if I offend anyone.

First of all, let me repeat what I am sure you have heard many, many
times before, but what some of you seemed to have forgotten: Any
curriculum is a tool for you to use - it is not your taskmaster. It is
intended to make your life simpler and easier - not more frustrating
(consider a hammer and how it eases the task of driving a nail). This is
an especially hard principle for me to remember since I graduated from
college with a degree in Education - a definite handicap for a homeschool
mom. It has taken me years to come to terms with the truth of this. No
one can possibly write a curriculum, every aspect of which you will be
able to incorporate entirely into your life as written. That is actually
one of the joys of homeschooling. We all have completely different
lives, situations, shortcomings, strengths, etc., etc., etc. Therefore,
the expression of any curriculum will manifest itself in a unique way in
each family.

I think Dorian has done an absolutely excellent job of putting together a
very usable curriculum which offers a lot of flexiblity. The fact that
it was designated for grades 4-8 is an indication that it is meant to be
adapted to your particular children at whatever level they happen to be
at while you are using it. Of course, we all want to get the maximum
benefit out of all of Dorian's hard work, so our initial goal will be to
cover every lesson completely. But I do not think we should feel at all
guilty or "behind" if we are simply unable to do this for whatever reason.

Also, consider your own style of teaching and your family's other needs
besides education. In my case, with a toddler and a preschooler, my time
must be stretched more than, say, someone with an only child who is
10-years old. I am also mildly disabled and am unable to do a lot of the
housework. My children must fill in the gaps there for me. My husband
works two jobs so he is only able to pitch in with the housework on his
days off. We only have one car, so if I find myself without a particular
resource on any given day I may have to postpone an activity or eliminate
it altogether. With only 24 hours in my day, I have resigned myself that
getting through A World of Adventure is going to be a "longer than one
year" endeavor. I also live in a rather smallish house so I have also
accepted that we cannot do every single activity Dorian has included -
especially some of the artsy-craftsy things. I make every effort to
complete the components of each lesson I believe to be the most important
for my children's academic needs at present and leave the rest to God. I
believe that He will make it clear to me if I have skipped anything
essential so that I can "redeem" that activity or lesson.

I assume that since this a Bible-based curriculum you are all Christians,
so I feel free to try to offer some advice based on Scripture. II Peter
1:5 says "...add to your faith virtue, and to your virtue knowledge." I
have read others comment on this text from a homeschooling perspective
and I think they are correct in stating that virtue ( strong moral
character) should be our first aim in educating our children and that
knowledge (academics) comes after this. I'm sure you can think of
individuals throughout history who were extrememly knowledgeable -
geniuses in fact - who did a lot more harm than good to the world because
they lacked virtue entirely (Hitler comes to mind just now).

Ladies, I commend you for your desire to give your children the best
education possible. Remember, though, that "knowledge puffeth up" if it
is not preceded by virtue. I encourage you to study the scriptures to
"see whether these things be so."

It has taken me many years to come to this place in my homeschool
experience. I have pushed my children to tears, I have demanded their
compliance to "my idea" of education, I have thrown up my hands and spent
many fretful hours worrying over all this academic stuff. I have cried
out to God on many, many occasions for deliverance from my disablity
believing that it was keeping me from accomplishing "my" educational
goals for my children and He has seen fit to leave me just where I am. I
am just now beginning to learn that, just as in salvation and
sancitification, God is sovereign in my children's education as well.
Because of our particular circumstances my children have a unique
God-designed curriculum in servanthood in addition to their academics.
It is His will and I strive daily to submit to it.

Place each day in the hands of God - listen to His gentle guidance minute
by minute. I believe He will lead you into all truth and that your
children will be prepared for the work He has for them someday. Trust
Him to do it.

Humbly offered by an older woman who is struggling right along with you,

Kathleen Dillie

God has in Himself-
all power to defend you;
all wisdom to direct you;
all mercy to pardon you;
all grace to enrich you;
all righteousness to clothe you;
all goodness to supply you; and
all happiness to crown you.
-Thomas Brooks


Penny said...

I appriciate your comments. I too have tryed to force feed my child an education. I am greatful for a fun corriculum and a forgiving God and son.

Amazing Grace said...

Praises for this beautifully written word of inspiration. Indeed we seem to quickly lose sight of why we're homeschooling our children in the first place. Thank you for sharing your insights and for blessing my heart!