Wednesday, March 3, 2010


"If I were in regular school, my teacher would just fail me and I could be done!" My highschooler was struggling with a new math concept, had been struggling for two days now, and was ready to just concede failure and move on to something else.

"You are not in regular school, and you are not going to 'fail' this," I insisted. "Maybe if we approach this problem from a different angle..."

We persevered and, eventually, the light came on. "Ooooooh, now I get it!"

My homeschooling adventure began over 16 years ago, when my oldest daughter was five years old. One morning, my lesson plan indicated that we were supposed to cover Lesson ___ in math: learning to count by tens. According to my teacher's manual, I would spend about 20 minutes explaining and illustrating the concept, after which my "students" would need to practice, with my help, counting by tens. By the end of the week, my kindergartener should be able to count by tens without assistance.

"Today, we are going to learn to count by multiples of ten!" I began enthusiastically.

"Oh, you mean like 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60....?" my daughter replied.

"Yeah, just like that." Now what was I supposed to do for the next 19 1/2 minutes? We skipped right to her worksheet, which took about 5 minutes to complete, then played sorting and counting games with Legos.

One thing I really like about homeschooling is the freedom to modify lesson plans and schedules to actually meet the educational needs of each child. My son, the reluctant math student, is correct - in a traditional classroom setting, he would probably "fail" a homework lesson or a test, and then just be drug along with the rest of the class as his overwhelmed teacher struggled to meet her course objectives for the majority of her students for the semester. And my kindergartener would have had to sit through a week of lessons hammering the concept of counting by tens, learning nothing new and probably bored out of her gourd. "School" would have quickly become synonymous with "tedium".

Reading over this again before posting, I am reminded of how very personal, specific, and deliberate God is in orchestrating the events of our lives to accomplish our sanctification. The lessons and exercises He has designed for me are very different from those He creates for my husband or my child or my next door neighbor. No standard curriculum or one-size-fits-all lesson plans in His book!

Also, I am reminded of the importance of fellowship with the body of Christ. My tenth-grader was NOT GETTING Lewis structures in Chemistry. His Mom was NOT SUCCEEDING in expanding his understanding. But his college-aged brother, weilding a rainbow of markers, enthusiastically explained Lewis structures in a way that "clicked" in only a matter of minutes. How often a sister or brother in Christ has said or done something that opened my eyes in a new way to the riches of the Gospel, or that pointed me clearly to the practical implications of Christ's work on my behalf!

Just fail me? No way. My Teacher will persevere, sanctifying me in the school of life, until He brings me to Glory.


Christian gal issues said...


I love these thoughts. They are so true! I have on many occasions, praised God for women in my life who have said or written something and God seems that much clearer! WOW! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

School was pretty much tedium for me. Tedium, and a scramble not to be at the bottom of the social ladder. Then, college happened. Like jumping into an ice-cold swimming pool, I was confronted with challenging classes for which I had to learn actual study skills. College was a social blank slate for me- I could make new friends without all of the cruel politics of high school holding me back. The more I read your blog, the more attractive homeschooling becomes.