Home education is not about the children.
Well, I suppose it is a little. Ok, maybe a lot. But the longer I homeschool, the more I realize this home education journey I am navigating is not just about my students. It is about my heart just as much.
God did not call me to this only because He wants my children to learn. Soon after we began homeschooling, it became evident that He wants me to learn just as much as them.
This calling became my next step in the process of God’s work of sanctification in my heart. As a young person, I thought I was pretty selfless. Then I got married. Then I had a baby. Then another, and another… Then I became a homeschool teacher. Each step revealed more of the true nature of my selfish heart.
But God has more in mind for my heart – Transformation.
The more I understand the true nature of my heart, the more I am willing to surrender to this process of transformation. I want a restful home education environment, but it obviously is not coming from me naturally.
Restful home education. Oxymoron? Perhaps.
Can home education really be restful? Can a home educator really be at rest?
My mind screams an argument. Homeschool? Rest? Yeah, right.
I have seriously doubted whether the concept of rest is even remotely possible for the homeschool mom. There seems to be no possible way that rest can enter my days of homeschooling.
Many words could describe my typical homeschool day. But restful is not at the top of the list. Or in the top ten. Or perhaps in the top 100. Many words could describe me as a home educator. But restful is not at the top of that list either.
Yet, I am (sometimes grudgingly) realizing that the environment of my family’s day is more dependent on the state of my heart than anything else.
A restful home education is influenced most by one thing: A restful home educator.
That’s you, mom.
If we want our families to enjoy a restful home education, then we must allow God to transform our hearts.
Thankfully, God has given us instruction for how to be transformed. We just need to apply His Word in our homeschool context. Rest is on the horizon, but the process is going to be hard. Are you with me?
“Therefore, I urge you, (sisters), by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship…”
Homeschooling is not my spiritual act of worship. Presenting myself as a living sacrifice is.
The first step to being transformed is offering myself as a sacrifice – surrendering my desires, my agenda, my expectations, my plan.
No easy task. But essential.
Homeschooling provides an ideal context to surrender myself. When it comes to my family’s education, I have a plethora of desires, agendas, expectations, and plans to surrender.
As I surrender myself to Jesus, He transforms my heart. As I allow my heart to be transformed, Jesus gives rest to my weary soul. As I begin to walk in rest, His Name is glorified. That is worship.
Do Not Conform
“…And do not be conformed to this world…”
Choose your method of education.
I am not against public education. Rather, I advocate for believers making an intentional decision about where their children will be educated.
Conforming to the world, in the area of education, is responding on default and just doing what everyone else does. It is putting your child on the yellow school bus without asking God if that is His plan for your family. If you pray for God’s guidance for your family’s educational path and He leads you to private or public education, then you are not conforming.
The world decides by default. Believers decide by prayer.
For my family, the answer was to teach our children at home. This decision was a definite step toward not being conformed to the world. After making that decision, however, I realized it was still all too easy conform to the world.
Reconsider your definition of school.
My school room at home could be a simple imitation of a “real’ school room: desks, American flag, worksheets, posters on the wall. We can school at home and still default into conforming to what the world does around us. Or perhaps we can reconsider what we are aiming to do.
Defining school and education has been a long process for me, a process that is yet ongoing. I have been asking myself questions such as:
- What is school?
- What is education?
- What should I teach?
- How should I teach?
Simple questions without simple answers. But as I ask the Lord how He would answer those questions, my definitions begin to change.
Our world has many different ideas about education. But God has some ideas too.
Using the term “home education” helps me remember that imitating school is not my goal. God has more in mind for my family. My heart begins to rest when I am confident I am pursuing the education God desires for my children.
“…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
This is where it really gets hard.
If I want to be a restful home educator, I must first present myself as a living sacrifice. I must surrender my ideas of what education should be.
Then I must choose to not be conformed to the way everyone else is doing it. Rather than decide by default, I intentionally decide by prayer.
But then, I must allow the transformation.
To be transformed by the renewing of my mind, I must change some of my thought patterns. I know all too well that the thought patterns in my mind often do not lead to a sense of rest in my heart.
A multitude of thoughts constantly crashes in on me as a home educator, but I must take them captive to be obedient to Jesus. My choice to hold on to these thoughts might be the exact problem that prevents rest in my heart.
As I look back over years of homeschooling, I see some thought patterns of mine that have been renewed. It is a long process, but I really am more restful than when I began.
Rest in What is Good
“…so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
My unrest as a home educator surfaces when I doubt my decision, question my circumstance, or forget my calling.
With a renewed mind, my process for making decisions is transformed. I learn to ask God, listen for a response (through His Word, His Spirit, or His people), then trust the decision to which He leads me.
With a renewed mind, my perspective of my circumstances is transformed. I learn to see God working in all circumstances, and I see all circumstances as an opportunity to grow in His grace.
With a renewed mind, my purpose in my calling as a home educator is transformed. I learn that I am not responsible for the outcome. God is doing a work in my students, my children, that is far greater than anything I could even dream to accomplish.
With a renewed mind, my heart is transformed so that rest is possible.
I want to know what is good and acceptable and perfect. I want to know God’s will for my family’s school. That is what I receive when I offer myself as a sacrifice, choose to not be conformed to the world, and allow my heart to be transformed by renewing my mind.
Restful home education is possible with a mom who surrenders to the process of being transformed into a restful home educator.
My writing about homeschooling will not focus on tips for organization, lapbooks, and schedules. Rather, my focus is on our hearts – because a mom with a restful heart will bless her family with a restful environment. Our hearts are far more influential on our home schools than anything we do.
A restful home educator need not be an oxymoron. I’m slowly learning. Will you join me?