Monday, September 2, 2013

"Train Up a Child?!" ~ True Homeschool Story of Encouragement


As we enter into a new school season, I hope this true story that occurred in my first year of home education will be an encouragement to you (and perhaps offer a few smiles)...
"Crash! Boom! Bang!" 
What was that noise in the kitchen?
It was three o’clock in the morning and I was wiped out from the long day. It was my first year homeschooling and I was not sure that things were going the way they were supposed to. My daughter was four years old and I was attempting the role of the pre-school mother. What I had pictured in my mind of the eager student waiting wide-eyed for instruction was proving impossible. Instead, I had a little girl who wiggled as I read, got distracted by every noise and lost interest in all the fancy craft fun that I presented to her.
Arts and Crafts
For example, she loved reading about castles... I stayed up late into the night, cutting out a cardboard box in the shape of one, turrets and all! It took me a good hour to get this masterpiece in appropriate dimensions. I felt like the homeschool, mother-of-the-year with a project like this. I purchased paints, some decorative gems and told her she could custom-design her very own castle. And she loved the idea! For five minutes…

Well, maybe she wasn’t the artistic type?
A B C’s and Amnesia
“Why don’t we just play with letters today” I said, trying to be patient after our last flop.

We sat down with wooden letters and I asked her which one was which. She had known what “s” was the last two days but suddenly amnesia came on. It was a “c” today. I took a deep breath and gave up that subject.
Maybe she was more science minded?
Science Segment
My next attempt had me reading about birds and discussing all the magnificent ways they were created. I did a darling demonstration about how they were able to fly. She seemed to really grasp this and I got very excited. There was progress in this school!

I figured it was best to call it a day while we were finally ahead.
Dinnertime Delusions
It was at the dinner table when I completely lost it. I was going over all our activities of the day to my husband. I asked my daughter to explain to him why birds were able to fly. She stared at me with a confused look on her face. I began to prod her even more. 
“You know”, I said, “how their bones are created special?”
I am rewarded with another blank stare.
“We went over it today. Remember the bird book we read together?”
She proceeded to put another piece of spaghetti in her mouth.

I begin to wonder if I was teaching anybody today? Was this homeschool a figment of my imagination? Was this a complete waste of my precious time?
When the dinner dishes were finally cleaned, I felt like a total failure as I plopped onto the couch. My daughter approached me with a bedtime story, God’s Wisdom for Little Girls: Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31. Defeated, I turned the pages and read the very same book that I had read to her all week. Of course, I lacked enthusiasm at this point and read in a monotone voice. She doesn’t seem to be paying attention anyways. She is staring at her toes this time.
Bedtime Blares
Mentally tired and exhausted from what I thought was a fruitless day, I was woken up by some clanging noises. It was either a very clumsy burglar or some sleepwalker (hopefully from our house!). I crawled out of bed not wanting to wake my dear husband. What I saw as I entered the kitchen freaked me out!

It was my little girl... with flour all over her pajamas and a pathetic apron dangling off her right shoulder. Crumbs of dough were sprinkled all over the floor and clumps of it were swinging from the freezer door. Pots and pans were strewn savagely all over the sink. This had been going on for some time.
“What are you doing? It is three in the morning???!!!”
She looked up innocently and attempted to quote scripture...

“She waketh up early to prepare food for her family."
I just stared.

This was what she learned today... She gleaned “the good part”(Luke 10:42)!

She was applying God’s word.

While some girls were playing princess, she was the Proverbs 31 woman.

Comforting Conclusion

How quickly we forget our reasons for homeschooling. It is so easy to lose focus and worry about when they should recognize letters and read, do specific math problems according to the government school schedule, that we forget our “first love”(Revelations 2:4).
I have come to the conclusion that while we are homeschooling our children, God is homeschooling us. He used quite an incident to show that His word is alive and was working in my daughter late into the night while her mother was exhausted from the worldly goals she had set for herself.
That messy kitchen suddenly became an orderly sight! It all made sense. Perhaps tomorrow she will know an “s” when she sees one, but in the meantime, I will be there to nurture and love her, read God’s word with her, learn about His creation, and snuggle up together with wonderful books. You can be sure that God is doing His work with what seems to us like chaos (Romans 8:28)!


This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: Modest Mom Monday'sTeach Me TuesdayDomestically Divine TuesdayRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpSimple Living WednesdaysHomemaking Thursdays and Deep Roots at Home. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

27 comments:

  1. Awww!! How cute!!! Thank you for sharing!:)

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  2. Beautiful! Blinking away the tears!

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  3. A friend posted this on Facebook and led me here. What a great story! I just graduated my baby after home schooling for the past 14 years. It was a great journey!
    I used to go to church with Elizabeth George, the author of the book you mentioned, but I haven't seen her in years. I see Judy, the illustrator, every once in a while, and I'll share this story with her when I do. She'll love it!
    Thank you for encouraging others to press on!

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    1. Oh, thank you for sharing! And I would so appreciate if she knew the inspiration she created in our home! :)

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    2. I sent this blog to Judy. If I hear back from her, I'll tell her to share it with Liz!

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    3. What a precious story of your four year old living out Proverbs 31! There's no greater joy than to hear of the faithfulness of a Mom teaching her Little One...and no greater blessing than to know that that Little One has responded to the Word of God! Laughing and rejoicing with you! And thank you, Betsy for leading me here. I am the illustrator of God's Wisdom for Little Girls...Judy Luenebrink. Yes, it was fun to illustrate this book, but not as much fun to hear your daughter live it out!

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    4. Hi there!! It is a pleasure to "meet" you!! Your illustrations are so lovely (we also enjoy them in A LITTLE GIRL AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART)! Thank you for being a part of beautiful books that inspire our little Girls to love the Lord! They are rare gems these days…

      And thank you Betsy for sharing the illustrator with us :) What fun this was!

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  4. Aww...I love your daughter! And I love you for being prepared in heart to allow her time to gradually understand to the more practical school topics. Knowing she was receiving the deeper spiritual lessons, I'm sure you could patiently await and expect that all the rest would come in due time. I would love to meet her now (and you, too, JES!! ;), of course! You are just too far away!
    Does she love to hear you tell this story?

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  5. Oh I so needed this today! This is our first time homeschooling - we have a five year old strong-willed boy. It's been going so well but this past weekend he was testing the boundaries and today it was like pulling teeth to get any of the "school" work done. And I feel like a failure. Before we started "Officially schooling", he loved when I sat down to teach him something. I don't think it's him...I think it's me. I've put a lot of expectations on what I think we are supposed to accomplish during the day and maybe I'm losing the focus of just simply enjoying and trusting that the learning will fall into place.

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    1. Thanks for sharing here today :) Sounds like you already came to a "good" conclusion. Something else to consider is that spirited boys do really well with hands on activities (legos, etc.) and field trips (police station, fire station, etc.) at this stage. According to Raymond and Dorothy Moore (teachers and homeschool authors/advocates), boys are ready for sit down school work at the age of 7… This might be something to look into which will relieve you of high expectations and stress (I know their books really helped me in that department)… It is always comforting to remember that dear Thomas Edison was kicked out of school because of his high energy and lack of interest in book work. His mind just thought differently but was genius just the same :)

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  6. Such a beautiful story--it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

    That blank look can be so discouraging as I'm teaching my little ones, but often weeks later I'll find the truth really did sink in... just not at all in the way I expected.

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    1. Ahh, yes the fatal blank stare… but you are right, they are absorbing something in all of it (just not the textbook way)! Thank you for sharing here today!

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  7. Awwwww... bless this little girl... and her mummy!! :) xxxx

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  8. What a sweet and clever girl :) and what a profound lesson she taught you (us)! I have often said that my real education began when we began our homeschooling journey. God uses our children to teach us many things, doesn't he?

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  9. Best story I have read in a long time!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit, Country Girl :)

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  10. This is so sweet! I know that sometimes I am trying to be more of a Pinterest mom than a Godly mom. This usually ends in frustration for all. Thank you for the reminder of what's really important :)

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    1. So true about being a Pinterest Perfect mom! Love the title you gave it! :)

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  11. JES,,,Must tell you that this is my most favorite blog post, anywhere, at anytime.....it brings tears to this mother's eyes, Deedy

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    1. Thank you Deedy, I think it is because we can relate so much to it as mothers "thinking" our labor is in vain oftentimes...

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  12. JES, I love this. Thank you so much. After pulling our son out of preschool, I have felt like a bit of a failure because nothing I have planned or tried to start has worked. Oh, that I keep forgetting the "good part". Thank you for the humble reminder. I do so love your blog.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to share Sarah! May God bless your efforts every inch of the way on this new path of yours!

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  13. Hi. Im a mother of 4, my oldest turning 6 this week. I am trying to figure out homeschooling grade 1 this year. I so appreciate finding your blog. I have been so stressed about curriculum and sight words and failing my son academically. I typed 'teaching your children to read with dick and jane' into google and stumbled upon you. It's so easy to lose sight of my main goal for my children: to develop a deep love and understanding of God's Word, and to speak to them about Christ and demonstrate His love for them. Thank you for sharing this sweet story. I appreciate your heart and you have helped this nervous homeschool mama!

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    1. Hi Heather, thank you for taking the time out to share here today! Homeschooling is such a blessing, if we allow it to be. I found the best thing was to let go of the public school education mindset and just let your children learn the way God leads you to teach them. I love the early years of picture books, puzzles, glue sticks and scissors! I hope you enjoy yourself as well! :) Love, JES

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