Season of Re-education
& Renewing of the Mind
Invest in This
There are three primary things you'll want to plan to invest in this season: your whole heart, a good chunk of your time, and some money. Let's take them one by one:
A GOOD CHUNK OF YOUR TIME: The bottom line is that what we value, we spend our time on. Those with younger children have less elective time, but they do have elective time. Ask the Lord to direct you in showing where you can do some "rearranging" to make the most of the time you do have available, or how to actually create time by spending the rest of your time in a more productive manner. This one I actually deal with in two other sections: "How Can I Make Time for This?" which you'll come to in the section after this, and "How Much Time Should I Take for This Season?" which you just read, assuming you're reading these in order. So some more practical "how to's" are to be found there.
MONEY: Because "How much will it cost?" is one of the first questions I often hear, I can't state an exact price of the cost of the course as that depends on the various books you'll need to buy and the ages of your children. You probably won't need to buy them all from us. Here are a few creative options:
Look for a homeschooler or a homeschool support group library that has some of these resources and will let you borrow them.
You may be able to find some of them "used" at a homeschool store. Or if you don't have one locally, ask a local bookstore if they'd consider dedicating a few shelves to used curriculum, on consignment.
Find another homeschool mom (or two or three) who'd like to go in with you on the books. It's likely that you'll want to have copies of your own for your own homeschool library (we used many of them for our high schoolers' classes!), but you can always buy other copies later on.
If money is tight for you, ask God to provide in unexpected ways. Just yesterday we got an order in the mail for a ton of books with this note: "Praise God! My husband was laid off and my parents gave us an early inheritance!"
Any money you have to spend will be well-spent on resources that are going to edify and encourage you. You don't have to be in a hurry. At least you don't need to be if you get a Jumpstart Plan set in motion. We know several families that get a few at time, one order per payday, or every other payday. You do spend more on shipping this way, but it's more workable.
And if you do have to invest some of your hard-earned money, keep in mind that many of these authors are homeschoolers themselves, and homeschool pioneers who have gone before you and done all this ground(-and-back-)breaking work. They are "servants who are worthy of their hire," and by supporting them, you are making it possible for them to continue in their ministry to homeschoolers. Without their having taken the time to put all their knowledge into readable, hearable form, you would be on your own – as we were when first starting out! There was a grand total of three homeschool books when I started my search for knowledge in this area 17 years ago! I would have given my eye teeth and possibly even my firstborn* to have had all the wealth of resources available now!!! So realize you are not just "buying books" and "spending money," you are supporting the ongoing ministries of many homeschool servants.
* This is just an old saying; don't worry, Sharnessa! I could never give you up! (Nor you, my dear old eye teeth, either!)
Also realize that you'll be saving yourself hundreds of dollars by not having to go through a curriculum company. The bundle you'd spend there (or at a Christian school) in just one or two months is no more than the money you will be spending on enriching resources that will more than adequately equip you to do the job yourself! Yes you'll still probably end up using a few text and workbooks, but nothing like what you thought you'd need before you allowed God to start changing your ideas about education and learning! If, after reading and processing all the suggested resources, you still feel you need closer guidance, that's the time to go to a company that offers curriculum guidance all along the way. But my humble opinion – my strong and educated hunch – is that you won't need them...
Why? Because more often than not, once the fears and misconceptions have been exposed and dealt with, and an understanding of the learning process and how to best facilitate it in your children has been gained, you will be quite able to "stand alone," not needing a prepared curriculum program. (Yes, really! Remember, our goal is not to imitate school; school is actually an imitation of the real thing: LIFE! And at home you have an opportunity to experience real life!)
In fact, once you start gaining vision, you'll find that the total textbook approach will only bind and "cramp your style." This is assuming, of course, that you are firmly planted in and standing on the solid ground of Jesus Christ with Him as your Curriculum Guidance Counselor! "Let your [homeschool's] roots grow down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love, and draw up nourishment from Him." (Colossians 2:6b - Living Bible)
And lastly, you'll want to invest...
ALL YOUR HEART (into this season.): This will actually be the easy part! That is, unless you're just thinking of this as a "Let's Just Get This DONE" kind of a thing. The saying "Anything that's worth doing at all is worth doing well" applies to this as much as anything! Here's an excerpt from Wisdom's Way of Learning that turns our focus to the right place:
"The condition of my heart was the main contributing factor to the role that studying played in my life. I had been broken in spirit, and was as completely yielded to the Lord as possible, more so than I had ever experienced. Becoming teachable was what gave this season so much power to transform my life. This is all God needs: A heart that approaches Him with a poor spirit willing to be corrected on every preconceived idea about life--even treasured, time-honored, traditional ways of thinking and doing things. Without this attitude of repentance operating in the student's life, what results is knowledge gained that simply serves to 'puff up' [1 Cor. 8:1], lacking in power to transform the individual. Even the best method of education, God's Word, cannot produce in an individual what God has planned for him without a surrendered heart walking in true faithful obedience." ~ Marilyn Howshall
I need to insert that what Marilyn is referring to here as a "season" was what the Lord took her through, on her own, completely unique and tailor-made for her! It was not the same as what I suggest here, though there is surely some overlap. In fact, this "season" will be different for everyone, even if the same resources and tools are used! Please see item #17 of this section (Is This the Same Season as What Marilyn H. and Others Suggest?) for a more thorough explanation of this!
I just happen to have a wonderful example of a mom who is investing her whole heart into this season ~ into JESUS Himself, really! (Susan Hitchcock) This is what she recently shared with me: (I have left all of her all-cap words and exclamation marks just as she put them! ;-D )
"The LORD is soooo kind and merciful and compassionate and good in EVERY WAY!!!! Last night, I just WEPT AND WEPT AND WEPT before Him!!!!!!!!! I cried out with all my heart to KNOW HIM!!!!! One thing I reminded Him was that I ONLY wanted ONE THING from Him but was confused as to HOW to delight myself in Him so HE COULD give me the desire of my heart!!!!! I'm praying much about HOW to find all my good in Jesus alone!!!! How to make HIM my complete joy and rejoicing!!!! I told Him that I only DESIRED ONE THING: intimacy with Him!!!! Take EVERYTHING ELSE that is artificial, BUT GIVE ME Your altar, oh Lord!!!! Your INTIMATE PRESENCE is my sustaining JOY!!!!!!!!"
THIS is such a wonderful example of "investing your whole heart" that I just had to share it so you could see what I mean!
Don't let yourself fall into the "checklist mentality"; let every bit of this season – every resource, every tool, every prayer, every trial, every situation – sink in and take root. It may be that some of the material won't apply to you; if so, don't worry about that. Just read through it quickly and then keep moving on. (He may bring you back to it later.) But allow the Holy Spirit to speak to and teach you between the lines of what you read and listen to. "Let Him have His perfect way in you" and "study to show yourself approved of God." You and your family will be SO much the richer for it!
Remember, we are living in a culture that has pretty much all of its values backwards from God's values! So just by living in this culture, we automatically have those values imbedded in our hearts and minds! It takes some DOing to UNdo that thinking! Some investing!