I Need to Start
But I Have NO Idea
Where to (Re)Start!
(or I'm burning out,
OD'd, or disillusioned)
FIRST, FROM MY HEART
FIRST, FROM MY HEART
I want this experience of homeschooling to be the best that it can possibly be for your family. For this to happen, you will need to come with an open mind and heart, no matter where you're at right now, willing to have your view of education changed and broadened. Homeschooling at its best and most effective is not what people commonly think it is. But more on that in just a moment.
Many of those who contact me are at a "crossroad" with their child, with this option of homeschooling possibly even being their "last hope." You may identify with this mom:
Others have been homeschooling a long time and are not happy with what
they are doing. Because of how much is at stake, and because you will not hear what I have to say from any other source, I'm going to speak more boldly and forthrightly than I normally do. Some of what I say may be hard to hear. Since I can't cover the many different situations in one clean sweep, only
you will know what "fits" and what doesn't. Keep what does; discard what
It is for this reason that I ask you to please hear me out, even if you begin feeling uncomfortable with what you read here. There may be things that will possibly be even downright irritating or maddening! But please know that I speak with much love and concern in my heart. This may be a turning point for you as it was for us. Turning points seldom have comfortable or easy beginnings!
There seem to be
eight main situations, for better or worse, honorable or not, that motivate people into looking into
(or staying with) homeschooling, even if they were closed to the idea at
# 8 - I added this eighth one more recently, in light of all the latest violence in the schools. Some (more likely many) parents are going to pull (or keep) their kids out of school to guard them from the possibility of being shot. This is certainly understandable, but what I find interesting is that they did not recognize the many other dangers they should have been just as concerned about long before this! A bullet can kill a body, but the moral environment of the schools is just as likely to kill a child's sense of morality, the learning environment just as likely to kill a child's love of learning, and the flirtatious, promiscuous s-xual environment just as likely to kill a desire for purity. (This is not always the case in schools, but it is more and more prevalent even in the "best" of schools.)
(I'm going to make a quick digression here for
those who may be in need of it...)
If you truly want things to be turned around, you will need to realize that you, the
parents, must be the initiators in this process. You will need to be willing to face some things in your family and your own hearts, views, opinions, ways of dealing with things, manners of responding, and attitudes that you have very likely not ever seen before; at least you have not seen how they all work together in the "bigger picture."
OFF WITH THE OLD!
No matter what your situation, it is imperative that you be willing to shed old ways of thinking. Until you do, God will not be free to breathe His new life into your situation. You cannot insist that the traditional school methods and curriculum be brought home and still discover God's way out of this situation.
Homeschooling will be a complete waste of your time and resources, totally fruitless, ineffective, and pointless if you do not approach it with this open-hearted attitude. I assure you, though, that not only is it well-worth the effort, it is the only way out of your frustrations. I know families who have made drastic and wonderful changes that resulted in transformed children and parents, but they had to start with this heart.
some point soon after finishing this article I want to encourage you to
read "The Biblical
S.A.T.'s of Learning" by Marilyn Howshall. This will
greatly aid you in starting to re-form your ideas about education and
will actually help free you to start thinking that something other than
what you have been thinking is "OK" to think! You'll
know what I mean more as you read it.
It is not about expecting your child to "get serious about their education" as is so commonly stated by parents, as if the responsibility rests solely on the child's shoulders. Yes, they need to be responsive and responsible, but you must recognize that they have been part of a system (public or private!) that has been placing requirements on them that are in and of themselves UNdoing the very things you are wanting to develop in your child ~ like a love of learning and self-motivation! The traditional school system ~ just the system itself, the way it all works ~ drains our children of their best energy and prevents them from discovering their purpose in life, if nothing else, because it completely uses up their time! Insisting on adherence to this system will only produce further exasperation in your child. Worse yet, it will only cover up the real problems, leaving them to fester. If left unrecognized and if not dealt with, your only end result will be heartache and frustration. Curriculum alone will not produce the results you are so much hoping to obtain. In fact, improper or over-use of curriculum will actually be counter-productive to your own goals! (I can't over-emphasize this!)
True education is about growing and developing the whole child: his mind, yes, but also and primarily his heart, soul, and character ~ these are his real, most fundamental educational needs. If left unattended, or way down at the bottom of the list, all other efforts are in vain.
"But what about curriculum?!" you ask again. Yes, we use curriculum, and I have some great forms and a framework I use, different ones at different ages. However what we do is not what or how much new homeschoolers might think we use. But it has worked for us! We graduated our oldest daughter in 1996, and our son in 1998! And they are two of the neatest people I know! (I'm not a bit prejudiced either! But actually, we have received many wonderful comments on all three of our kids, so I'm not just imagining this!)
(Lest you think you are "high 'n' dry" and on your own to figure out what to do without a textbook program to depend on, I share what we did for high school, along with all the record keeping forms, answers to all the high school related questions I receive, and much more in my book Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la. ... What we did when they were younger, between 4ish and 12ish, is contained in "The Homeschool Jumpstart Navigator" for ages 4~12. And there are also a few other books that help with the bigger picture.)
But the "best" curriculum in the world is not going to do anything
~ I repeat,
ANYthing ~ to truly "educate" the whole person. The world already has an over-abundance of people who are very
well "schooled," with high degrees and honors, but a dearth of those who
truly educated. Or maybe a better way to put it is that "many are
educated on the outside, but few on the inside." The academic portion of their brains is full of knowledge, but neither their minds nor their spirits are renewed. And which is the only part that counts with God?
Which would you want in leadership over you or as a co-worker? Which do you want teaching and influencing your children for the bulk of their childhood years?
A nutshell version of the hundreds of comments I have received from homeschool moms is: "I can't thank you enough for getting me started
on a different (from the traditional, binding, burning-out norm) path of homeschooling!"
. . . "I have avoided so many pitfalls that my homeschooling friends are now stuck in and are having a hard time getting out of!" . . . "What a joy and relief to have started out on the peaceful, tailor-made path God has for my family!"
... I don't care if you ever come back and thank me, I just want a clear conscience, and to be able to sleep at night!
The people I'll be able to help are those who are open-minded and willing to approach homeschooling as
God would have them do it. If this is your heart, I can help you get onto a path of finding out what that means for
you and your family. God doesn't have a one-size-fits-all plan for all families!
His ways are not easy, but they are more rewarding and joyous than we can possibly imagine!!!
This could be one of the most exciting adventures you have
"I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures engraving them in the youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be
We are not merely "evolved creatures" eking out an existence, hoping to be one of the "fortunate" who will be among the fittest and survive, our only end being death. No! We are here for a very definite purpose, and only God, the Creator of each individual life, knows what that is and has the power and wisdom to bring it about!
As we begin to walk in wisdom about education, get to know our
child(ren), and allow God to show us how to prepare them for whatever His intentions are for their lives now and for their futures, we will enjoy walking in that purpose.
(This is a primary focus of Marilyn Howshall's Lifestyle
of Learning ministry. That link will take you to the Main Page of
my introduction of this ministry, and some other articles by Marilyn, a
review of Wisdom's Way of Learning, and some other links.)
If both parents are not "on the same page" in understanding, and in unity on how to approach the education of their children, there will be disharmony, confusion, strife, and unrest in the home. Your wife will be over-burdened and perpetually frustrated with trying to pursue what she believes God is trying to lead her into while her husband tries to pull her in a different direction, supposedly trying to "help" but in reality only weighing her down, and impeding what the Lord is wanting to do in your family.
Let me ask you this... If you were to tell your wife that you think she should start feeding the kids Trix for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and TV dinners for dinner, every meal, every day, would you expect her to just "submit"? I hope not. Anyone with even just a basic knowledge of nutrition knows that this will not produce healthy children. Guess what... the exact same thing is true for education.
Homeschooling is at least as much about redeeming unsatisfactory family situations, including unruly or sassy children, fighting siblings, disrespectful and broken relationships between parents and children. It is as much about parents becoming learners who are wise to the learning process as it is about the children getting an education. I have learned so much in our experience of homeschooling for the last fifteen years! But I'm not even talking about just academic "knowledge" here ~ I'm talking about parenting, and growing as persons and family members.
Dad, I hope you will be open to learning some things that will bring more
fruit in your children than your current ideas of education could ever bring forth!
As the provider of your home you probably don't have time for as in-depth a season of learning as your wife does. But what has worked well for many couples is for the husband to listen to tapes the wife listens to, and for the wife to highlight things she reads that she feels would be good for her husband to hear. Then they can discuss the ideas and come to agreement about what will be best for
their family. The most vital point is for Dad (Mom too!) to take on the
heart of a learner. If you do not, you will miss God's best
for you and possibly (most likely) bring about much division,
frustration, and burn-out.
The word "redeem" means "to make good." More specifically, it means "to take something of little or no value and replace it with something of great value." In my case, God has redeemed many areas of my life, including my mind, my sense of humor, my attitude toward writing, my sense of inferiority, my inability to stay focused when reading (which was awful in school!), and my marriage, just to name a few. I wouldn't be happily married right now if it were not for the amazing things God has done in both me and my husband! We were even separated for six months a few years ago!
I can't even begin to express to you how grateful I am that God has redeemed our terrible, messy situation, and also changed us in the process, which is really where it had to begin! But I had to start by giving him the undesirable, needy, broken thing, in this case my marriage, that needed to be transformed. That was the hard part! In many cases I didn't even know that I ~ or the situation ~ needed redeeming! In other cases, I knew it, but thought it was impossible. But "with God, all things are possible"!!!
God wants to touch some areas in
your home that will be life-affecting for not only your family now, but also for your children's entire lives. So even if your child has been expelled from school, is being shunned or mistreated by peers, or is not being understood or given the (positive) attention he needs, God can work in this situation for
good! But, as with me, God will be free to begin, or continue, the process in your life only IF you will seek Him on how He wants to proceed, and then allow Him to lead you. His plan is a good one!
I need to be up front with you and say that if you are not willing to turn your heart and situation over to God ~ which you can do the moment you want to ~ this book will be futile. I have no other suggestions outside the Christian realm, as a child in rebellion does not need "behavior modification" ~ he or she needs heart transformation! Which only God can do! And I cannot stress enough that this must start with the parent. A child who is rebellious did not get that way on their own. We as parents must be big enough to admit that we had something to do with it. It is a process God will lead us in.
Our own children have not been rebellious, but we have had to deal with a few problems, and I have had to repent to them in some cases! I had to take responsibility for my own wrong ways of dealing with things, my inconsistencies, my wrong thinking, and my ungodly reactions. Like I said, God has redeemed much in my life and in my family! But it wasn't because I passively waited around for them to see the light or learn the hard way! It had to start with me!!!
The other book I recommend, Shepherding A Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, gives much more practical how-to and encouragement, and is applicable to
all parents, whether the children are rebellious or not. (Neither are widely available, but both can be obtained through us.
See this section of
our online catalog.)
So what I will offer you is suggestions for starting onto a path that is much less expensive and that will help you get the results that you desire
~ a much lighter and well-fitting "load" than a pile of curriculum!
the starting point for this for those online is what I suggest for a...
RENEWING OF THE MIND
There are several wonderful resources I recommend for this season, a few produced by me, but most by other authors I greatly admire. (These resources are listed in the "Season of Re-education and Renewing of the Mind" area here at my website.)
For an overview of my course, start here.
* Just want you to know that I personally have no problem using the full words that have bleeped-out (hyphenated) letters in them. But if I wrote the whole word, for instance: replacing the hyphen in s-x with the e that belongs there, certain Christian search engines would ban my entire website from being accessible to anyone whose engine or server had such "morality controls" or "improper word screens"! The reason is that they scan for such "bad" words, assuming that any site containing such words is "adult viewing." With millions of websites out there, they don't have the time or technology to actually read every article at every site and see whether or not the usage of such words is appropriate, so the search engine would automatically disallow any viewing of my website in an effort to keep your web viewing child/family friendly.
If you got here via Kelli's website,
click on your BACK button to return there
(that's the fastest way, and will get you to the
same place on the page you were on)
or click here.
|To Barb's Article Chart||To Barb's Main Lobby|
The bird in the branch, stack of books, bar of roses, the Daddy bear with two babies, the planters, the roses. and the and floral background are from:
... and the window and the heart-shaped wreath with pink gingham bow is from:
[About Our Ministry] [Article Chart] [Catalog] [Contact Us] [Course (Season of Re-ed) Intro] [Course (Season of Re-ed) Menu] [Email List Options] [For Newsletter Editors] [Help! Article] [High School Helps] [Lifestyle of Learning] [Local (Longview, WA) Pages] [Love Lullabyes] [Reader Comments] [Recipes] [Shelton Family Scrapbook] [Site Map] [Storehouse] [V-Enna] [Website Tips] [What's New]