This blog entry was previously posted at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschooling with Heart blog.
This time of year I’m more often than not preoccupied with thoughts of curriculum and lesson planning. I’m excited for the start of a new school year, anticipating the flurry of activity days and field trips from the two homeschool groups our family is a part of.
It’s the season of hoping and praying that this school year will be normal. That my 13-year-old son won’t be in the hospital yet again for another surgery or battling an infection or illness that will trigger another downward spiral. The last several years have begun well but shortly went off the rails.
It is easy to fall behind and become overwhelmed. Especially when your children are already struggling learners. The melancholy settles in your heart and everything in you desires to pull inside yourself and go it alone.
Doubts creep in and you find yourself comparing your life to others and feeling hopeless to change. That anything will change. That this will be the year you pull yourself out of your funk and make it.
Affliction floods your soul and leaves a wasteland. But rather than bemoan an empty darkness, I’ve learned to look for the light behind the storm clouds. Our best-laid plans are often tossed aside because they’re not His plans. The detour is anything but.
When we homeschool with a heart for Christ, when we do anything with a heart for Christ, we are acknowledging that He is sovereign. Over curriculum, over lesson plans, over life. Our disappointments are in reality His appointments. There is much to be gained in trials, in affliction, in difficult circumstances.
Last year was especially hard for our family. At the beginning of the school year, my son was hospitalized for a total of 25 days. Having to stay there with him, we struggled to place my three other children. But as Romans 8:28 tells us, all things work together for the good of those who love Him, to the called according to His purpose. Yes, it was difficult, but at the same time, it was a great blessing. God brings people into our lives at just the right time and I was exceedingly blessed to have my children cared for by a wonderful Christian friend who leads one of the local homeschool groups.
I was able to concentrate on my son knowing that my children were in good hands. They were kept busy on a farm and experienced new things. Although the separation was hard for our family and the circumstances were difficult, I was blessed immensely.
In our most strenuous times, God generously bestows grace and strength. When we focus on Him, the tempests dissipate and the darkness flees. As you begin a new school year, be excited for a fresh start, for new curriculum and lesson plans, for activity and friendships. But don’t let that excitement steal the spotlight.
Homeschooling with a heart for Christ keeps Him as our focus. Whether in times of calm or storm, our dependence should rest solely on Him.
Personal peace and affluence is not our goal for our children. Rather, it is to know, love, and glorify Christ. If all else falls by the wayside, yet we continue in our love for Him, we have everything. As you endeavor to equip your children with the tools needed to further Christ’s kingdom, keep Him in your sight. And if the storm blows your way, cling to Him. It will soon pass over. He will leave you with a greater yearning to follow Him.
Have a blessed school year.
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