My children are homeschooled. There are many things that people say to me when they discover that I educate my children at home. I am often asked questions like, “How do they get socialization?” (Meaning…”Are you making your children into creepy little socially awkward weirdos?”) “Do you really teach them everything?” “Are you going to keep them home all the way through high school?”
One of my favorite things that people have told me is, “I would never have the patience to homeschool my children.”
Seriously….some days Idon’t even have the patience to homeschool my children.
As my 8 year-old son gets older, my husband and I encounter more and more glimpses of his developing character. In our home, math has a tendency to bring out the not-so-pretty parts. This year his math requires thought, organization and attention to details and steps when completing the problems. Additionally, he is learning processes that will become the foundation upon which we will build more advanced skills. He prefers to do all of the math in his head and tends to forgo setting up the problems as instructed.
On one particularly difficult day, there was yelling, tears, and ultimately refusal to do any math. Why? I am glad you asked. When I instructed him to set up his problems as the lesson taught, he got very angry because he wanted to do it his way…in his head. Sometimes his mental calculations are off even though he can usually compute like nobody’s business. I attribute this to distractions that come up while he his working in his room such as discovering a new Pokemon card or stopping to rock out to Lizzo and Beyonce songs in the middle of a multiplication problem and writing down the wrong answer. I explained to him my need to validate his understanding of the process–and I cannot do this if there is only an answer written on the page. He explained that that my way-the Saxon math way-required more time than he was willing to give, and it inhibited him from doing the other “stuff” he had scheduled for himself (e.g. LEGOS and Pokemon).
Cue tears, snot bubbles and flailing.
We took the time to talk about the situation and I finally reached the heart of the matter. He explained his desire do it his way and that he does NOT like it when I correct him and tell him what to do in math.
Translation: You’re not the boss of me.
I did not see that one coming.
Once he articulated how he felt, we did not have an easy conversation. It has actually become a series of conversations, often precipitated by math lessons. We discussed themes in Proverbs surrounding correction, wisdom, and accepting instruction. He really wants to do math (and life) his way. He does not like being told that he is wrong. We talked about how guidelines are necessary for him as he develops his skills…in each area of his life there will inevitably be times where he will be told that his way is not the right way, while other guidelines are provided.
Have you ever tried explaining to a really precocious, strong-willed elementary-schooler that sometimes they are wrong? I salute you….it’s hard out here for a parent.
I led with my experience in homeschooling because in our home my children are often with me throughout the course of the day. As such, our sinful hearts are constantly on display. Our sin nature is like the huge elephant dancing around my living room each day. The issue of sin is not unique to our family. However, being together all day often brings some of our glaring heart issues front and center, to the point where we often need to stop and deal with them before they inhibit us from dwelling together in peace for several hours. During our days, we spend time cultivating our hearts and academic abilities.
So, is math the problem? No. We are actually making headway with this subject. The problem was exposed through math–not wanting to be wrong and consequently not wanting to be challenged in the area of obedience. I am teaching my son that guidelines and boundaries can be good things, and that correction can actually be a blessing.
Hopefully this lesson will bring both of our hearts closer to God.
Over the summer, I lost a friend to old age. Thinking about
it, we were 48 years apart. I have friends my age, but there was something
about Miss Betty that kept our friendship going for many years. She lived next
door to me for years. Un-married. No children. Devout Catholic. Miss Betty was
an independent person. She loved her home and all her possessions. After her
stroke and a weak heart, she had no choice but to move into a senior living
facility. First an apartment to herself and then hospice care in her last
years. When I went to visit at the facility, we talked about her health, my
family, work, money, you name it. At every ending of our time together, we
prayed. She said she loved my prayers. I mean Pentecostals pray a prayer! I
knew she would not make it for long. Every time I left her place, I would say,
“I’ll see you again.” I never knew the day before she passed, that would be the
last time I said those words.
Prior to Miss Betty’s passing, I told my good friend about our
wonderful conversations and how we talked about God. My spiritual friend asked,
“Have you ever led her into the sinner’s prayer?” I responded, “We prayed, but
I never ask her to invite Christ into her life.” My friend told me to start
your prayer and say repeat after me. I mean hearing those simple words gave me
the confidence to do it. And the week before Miss Betty passed, she accepted
Christ. It came from my mouth, but it was Holy Spirit guiding me. In my
lifetime, I have always asked those I encountered, “Do you want to accept
Christ as your Savior?” Some said yes, while others said not at this time.
Jesus talked a lot about seed planting. Even if the person
you share the Word with says, not this time, you are still planting the seed!
As God works through us and we share our faith with others, we never know if
the Word we share will take root or when. I’ve known Miss Betty for many years,
but the moment she received Christ as her personal Savior it was God’s time! I
miss my friend but I know she’s in glory with our Heavenly Father. We
Be encouraged that our sowing of the Good News might, even
after many years, be received by someone who will “accept it, and produce a