Monday, October 30, 2006

Reading for homeschool group meeting 10/30/06

Our homeschool group meetings usually begin with a devotional reading. Now that I am the leader, I guess it's my job. So I searched and searched for something but nothing seemed right. Then I came across these verses in someone's blog (wish I could remember who's) and this pretty much wrote itself. Why did I think I needed to search for something someone else had written?

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. – Galatians 6:4-5

The context of these verses has nothing to do with homeschooling, really. But like most everything in the Bible, it has applications to homeschooling and all of family life.

I participate in a few online homeschooling communities, and I see a lot of moms struggling with comparisons. I see it sometimes in real life too. Maybe none of you ever feel anxiety when you compare your kids with someone else’s, or compare your curriculum or methods with something others are using or doing. But maybe you sometimes feel a little pang and think “should I be doing that too?” “Would my boy have his math facts down if I used that program?”

I fall into this sometimes. Sometimes I question the validity of my methods, which do not fit into any easy box of “classical,” “Charlotte Mason” or “Sonlight.” This happens most often when I see someone whose kids have memorized more of the Bible than mine, or are “ahead” of my kids in math, or better readers, or…

But we have to remember that we have been given our children, our lives, our challenges, our work. And the work you have been given may be very different from mine. Each of us (along with our husbands – definitely our husbands) will be called to account for the work we do with our children.

And our children are very different, with different talents, skills, needs, desires… and a future already ordained by God.

There seems to be nothing homeschool moms enjoy talking about more than curriculum. “What are you using for _____??” “What are you doing about _____??” It’s fun and often helpful to find out about new stuff. We love stuff! But don’t think that because one person does something one way, and is having success, that you have to do it too.

[Example: Alpha-phonics. Most people loved it. Boy hated it and wasn’t successful at it. Research. Phonics don’t work for him. Oh no! He’s a sight reader! Let him read books. Take away the phonics. Success.]

But what of Paul’s use of the word “boast?” Whenever Paul uses this word, he is making a point. When may we boast? When we have achieved the standard. And what is the standard? Or better yet, who sets the standard? Of course it’s God’s standard. It’s not Charlotte Mason’s, or Bob Jones University’s or Susan Wise Bauer’s standards we are to reach for. We are not to look up to – or down on – anyone else because their standards don’t matter. God’s standards do.

Be confident, yet humble, as you seek to educate your children, to prepare them for adulthood, to bring them up as children of God. Don’t watch too carefully what others do with their children. You have your own children. You have been given your own work.

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