Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Measuring Success in Your Homeschool



A few days ago I borrowed a homeschooling magazine titled, "The Homeschool Digest".  I cannot tell you what a blessing the articles have been to my husband and I! I love how the magazine is saturated with scripture with every article being from a Biblical worldview! How rare it is to find a magazine like this! You can order your subscription HERE. I promise, you wont be disappointed.

One of the main articles that spoke to me was called Measuring Sucess, written by Jennifer Schrodetzki. Here are several of the quotes that really challenged my way of thinking.

"But I'm grieved to realize that we are so indoctrinated into America that sometimes homeschooling is little more than reheating the predigested pablum that we've all been fed, and serving it in our homes under the sparse garnish of a "Christian influence"."

"If we truly follow our hearts, we will not gain the praise of men, rather, their curse. Jesus said it would be so. What are we doing? We deceive ourselves. We say, "I'll obey God. I'll homeschool." And then we hold up the secular yardstick to see if we're doing well. What motivates us to this contradiction is fear. In fear there is no peace."

OUCH!

"We are afraid that the world will challenge us. We are afraid to live for Heaven- It's radical-training for a kingdom nobody can see."

Some questions she asked were:

1. Do you teach according to grade level because that's the way you were taughts, or does it have real value?
2. Do you feel compelled to cram six subjects into every day? Why?
3. What makes you think that more, earlier is better?
4. Do you teach for the standard tests? Or do you teach from the heart of God?
5. Are you considering you child's best, or just getting through material?
6. What or who really runs your day?Your week? Your year? Are you sure you're free to teach the way the Lord would lead?

A book I also recommend to anyone interested in following the Holy Spirit in your homeschool is "Walk by the Spirit in Your Homeschool Decisions", by Marilyn Howshall

This is our 3rd year of homeschooling and I wish I could say that I was more Spirit led in our homeschool. There have been many times I've had to repent of fearing man, rather than fearing the Lord.
I have family members that like to quiz my children on their math skills and ask other questions that they feel my children should know. Every time we see them I can usually count on my children being asked if they are really learning anything in homeschool. It is usually when I'm not around. I would be lying if I said it didn't bother me.  It is my flesh, my pride, my sin nature that gets upset, but I quickly remind myself of the following scripture:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

A few months ago I let my children take the California Achievement Test just to see how they scored.  They both done very well, but I let them take it for the wrong reasons.  I wanted to have evidence that I could hold in my hand that my children are thriving in homeschool.  I wanted to show "them" that my children are doing just. fine. thank-you very much. It's funny that the ones that usually quiz us are unaware of the test scores because I realized that it really doesn't matter what they think about my children's academic achievement and I really didn't need to see the evidence on paper, because the evidence is daily right before my eyes.
Since we began to homeschool, I have seen a miraculous change in our family and in each of our children. Over the last 3 years my daughter has taught herself guitar, piano, learned how to knit, crochet, as well as many other homemaking skills that will last a lifetime. My daughter and I have also developed a very close relationship where she is comfortable with sharing her heart with me.  When she was in school 8 hours a day with several hours of homework in the evenings, she never had time to develop any skills or any meaningful relationships. She didn't have much of a devotional life as well. She was very peer dependant and was swayed by the opinion of her friends.  I have watched her turn from being peer dependant to being dependant on God alone.  She is not afraid to stand alone and she loves to be set apart for the Lord. She chooses modesty over what is in fashion, not because I taught her this, but because the Lord put the conviction in her heart. She has been laughed at many times by young girls that don't understand why she dresses modestly, but it doesn't seem to bother her a bit. In fact, she says that she feels that it is a compliment that she is set apart from the world.  She is a beautiful young woman with a heart to love and serve others. She can always be found helping around the house and always willing to lend a helping hand.  I can't tell you how much of a blessing my children are to me! I give God all the glory for the work He has done in our family!
 My son has turned into quite the conservationist and woodsman. He absolutely loves the outdoors and marvels at God's creation! He can pretty much tell you the name of every tree, the name of every bird, and has taken up the hobbies of whittling, arrowhead, fossil, and coin collection, as well as reading- something he hated while in school. He also loves Math and has become more social since we've begun to homeschool. Whoever came up with the idea that homeschoolers dont know how to socialize have no idea what they are talking about!
As a family, we finally have time for family devotions, family prayer, and reading God's Word. Instead of the evenings being filled up with homework, we are now free to develp the gifts the Lord has given each of us as well as minister to those around us. God has used homeschooling to humble me in so many ways and to show me that without Him I can truly do nothing.  He has also revealed areas in my life that I'm not proud to mention such as selfishness, pride, impatience, which has led me to be even more diligent in private prayer in the mornings. Homeschooling is something I never considered doing. My flesh enjoyed having my older children gone during the day so I could spend alone time with the baby and have a lot of free time on my hands to cook, blog, read, and so on.  I am an introvert so I thrive on being alone. It would have been so easy for me to ignore the call from God to homeschool, but I am so thankful that I obeyed.  Even on the worst of days, when my house feels like caos and nothing seems to be getting accomplished, I don't ever regret the day I brought my children home.  I am so thankful that true success isn't found in the perfect curriculum or high test scores, but in knowing and serving the Living God!

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