by Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse
What is it about a new school year that is so refreshing and so discouraging at the same time? It’s like our brains have split into two different personalities telling us things like:
“Wow, there are so many wonderful things we can accomplish this new school year!”
“Ha! You barely scraped by last year; in fact, you didn’t finish a lot of things you started!”
“But we have new curriculum and fun new ideas ready to start!”
“Who are you kidding? You won’t follow through with most of them.”
“I have a beautiful new planner and have already mapped out the courses the kids will take!”
“Sure looks good on paper! It probably won’t work in real life, though.”
“Come on, kids! Let’s go get new school supplies!”
“Wait, look at that messy school cupboard. You don’t even know how many supplies you already have!”
Does anyone else have these private parent-teacher conferences in their own heads? The parent in me wants to fire the teacher. And the teacher in me wants to fire the parent. What we really need is a new, united perspective for a new school year—one new, united, and faith filled parent-teacher. Let’s get those two together and take inventory.
Reviewing the Past
This is what you should be telling yourself as you look back at all you accomplished as a parent and as a teacher this last school year. Look at all the little victories. (Big wars are won by a series of small victories.) Look at how God faithfully helped you with everything you needed in all areas of your life. Look at the progress the children made. They didn’t stay stagnant. They learned new things, discovered new ideas, progressed from one stage to another. Look at the character qualities that everyone was tested and challenged in and how they grew. Look at how much closer you are now as a family, and how much closer you are personally to the Lord! Mark God’s milestones in each of the children in spirit, soul, and body as well as academics. You will see that they grew like Jesus: in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man.
Look ahead at the new school year with new united eyes. The parent in me is looking forward to relationships being strengthened, the family unit becoming stronger and more cohesive and fluent, and the devotional life of each member being bolstered and reinforced. The teacher in me is looking forward to incorporating all of that into the academics and directed learning that will delight each one.
Getting the parent and the teacher in me together, we have decided what we need for the new school year:
- I need to pull out our mission statement and review it together with the family. Do you have a mission statement? Or at least one main Scripture to stand on? If not, choose one. Go over the Scripture the first week of school. Use as copywork until memorized. Make a poster or banner together.
- I need a spiritual goal for myself and each child. Perhaps a family devotion or personal journal for each; a new Bible study or family Scripture memorization.
- I need to prioritize what was missed last year (e.g., schedule that foreign language class for the high schooler, guitar for the middle schooler, and start that read-aloud; study that missionary’s history and geography and put it on the timeline). I need to mark these for the first semester of school.
- I want to create a unit study for what each child is delighted in (e.g., study chocolate with a visit to a factory; raise praying mantises with a trip to an entomology center; study freshwater fish and set up an aquarium.)
- I need more time in prayer. I want to set my alarm to go off several times a day to spend with Christ in prayer.
- I need a new teacher. See below.
A New Teacher Named Grace
The new teacher I need, and we all need, is Grace.
When either the parent or the teacher in you says, “This seems like more than I can handle!” and you have felt insufficient to meet all the needs around you, God says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
God’s provision of that grace is so sufficient, you will always have all sufficiency in all things!
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV).
The definition of grace here is “God’s divine influence on our hearts and its reflection in our lives.”
So, if I feel that I don’t have all that I need, or feel insufficient, then His influence is missing in my life. Not that He’s not there, rather I am not placing myself under His influence! I am coming under the influence of something else. (Maybe I am giving more influence to that parent or teacher voice in my head than to His voice.)
We are either under the influence of the flesh or of the Spirit of God. If we feed our spirits by immersing ourselves in His Word, we will be strongly influenced and reflect that influence in all areas of our lives, even in homeschooling.
Maybe our attitude of “I’ve got this!” could be holding off the flow of God’s grace. Pride receives no grace. “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6b, KJV).
How do we learn humility? By a continual coming to Christ as the One we partner with in His work. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28, ESV).
We may not have it all together according to the standards here, but our lives will be victorious through the cross of Jesus Christ and the grace He showered on us there.
The source of grace is the death of Christ. He was everything but became nothing so that He could give us everything. We need to look at the cross and stay there awhile. His grace shows up when we deserve nothing. Those around us may deserve nothing, yet He wants us to give everything that He is to them by way of grace.
This grace—this unmerited favor of God—is not to be kept to ourselves. He wants us to shower others with that unmerited favor. Many times, it is only through death to self that we really understand God’s grace in order to give it freely. And believe me, there is much death to self in home education. It is almost a prerequisite. Our parent-teacher hearts must be influenced by God so that our real-life actions reflect Him.
“God is able to make all grace [His divine influence in our hearts and its reflection in our lives] abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times [having all that you need], you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8, ESV).
Receive and embrace the new teacher named “Grace” that God has for you. He loves that your heart is after His. He loves that you have chosen to steward His little children well and for His glory. He loves that you are trying to do what is important for them spiritually. And He showers His grace upon you as you keep them Home. Where They Belong.
Deborah Wuehler is Senior Editor for TOS, wife to Richard, and has eight children and one grandchild. She writes for The Homeschool Minute (www.TheHomeschoolMinute.com). She is author of Homeschool Moms Teach the Psalms Bible plan on Bible.com. You can contact Deborah at [email protected].
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.