Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lie #4

**This is the fourth post in a series that I have been writing from the book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, by Todd Wilson. (If you haven't read my other posts on the topic, you can find them by clicking on the link in the label at the end of this post.) **

It's at this point in the year that you may be evaluating how your kids are doing in the curriculum you've been using, or you may be thinking through how you're going to get it all done before trying to take some sort of summer break. January and February are historically difficult times for most homeschool moms because there's a let-down after the holidays, no major "breaks" coming up (unless you count the Valentines Day Party- if a co-op or group you're in does one). Day after day you fight your kids' attitudes about their work, try to stay on some sort of schedule and every Friday you tell yourself, "Okay, next week will get better!" I, personally, have gotten so frustrated at times with my kids (well, mainly it was frustration with myself which I took out on them) that I have said such harsh things to them that I've thought, "If they went to school and a teacher talked to them this way I would yank them out of there so fast..." Part of the frustration, for me, is feeling like I'm falling short. Falling short of the wonderful plans I had back in August, short of what Susan Bauer does in the Well Trained Mind, short of what they're doing at the elementary school down the street, and certainly falling short compared to what the other homeschoolers I know are doing. That's because I have believed...

Lie #4- Everyone is more disciplined than you and more spiritual.

This one is a biggie.

I spoke at a homeschool association meeting in the fall, and had my lesson plan binder with me to show how I had it put together. As I was across the room talking with someone after the meeting, I looked up at the head table and saw some ladies flipping through my binder, pointing, and commenting. I will share with you that at that moment I would rather have been standing there in my swim suit than had people analyzing anything in my plan book... but that's another post for another day! Anyway, I got over there and they had been discussing our daily schedule that I had in the front. I have a lovely Excel spreadsheet, color-coded by activity and blocked off by segments of our day, mapping out an organized, orderly day in which everything-including chores and quiet times- gets done. My wise, funny friend cut right to the chase. She pointed at the schedule and asked, "How many days actually look like this???" I laughed and told her, "So far, one. So I quickly made a chart of it and preserved it in my computer!"

So many of the homeschooling books and articles we read set a standard that I have to wonder if the authors themselves even keep. There's one I love to read, but the author's children are now in school full time. Other moms appear to have it all together, mapped out, planned... but how many days actually look like that? But, like I said in Lie #1, does it really matter? Does that really have any bearing on my family at all?

And then there's the spiritual aspect of it. "Everyone's more spiritual than you." If "spiritual" means "speaks lovingly and softly to her children, reflecting a meek and quiet spirit," then I'm not spiritual at all! If "spiritual" means, "can quote extensive amounts of scripture, including the references" then I can just forget it. It's so easy to think that everyone is more "spiritual" than yourself... however you define spiritual.

I have a wise friend, who is a pastor's wife. When people come to her, struggling with disorder and angst in their lives, she always asks, "How are your quiet times lately?" That's an off-putting question to some, but I know what she means. I have seen a direct correlation to how my schedule, life, relationship with my kids, teaching, intimacy with my husband- all areas of my life- are functioning, and the consistency of my time in the Word and in prayer. But the reason to remedy this situation and begin increasing- even if only by a minute or two a day- time reading Scripture and praying is not because others or "more spiritual." It should be because I crave the relationship and fellowship with my Heavenly Father. Several years ago when I felt like everything was falling apart and my home was in complete disarray, I organized one thing: a quiet time notebook. I made one change: a quiet time, at some point, every single day (even if only for a few minutes). That one change brought about a snowball of changes in my life that you would not believe. How that would work in your life, I don't know, but I've seen it work in mine. But does that mean I'm more "spiritual" than you? Absolutely not! There's a difference in being inspired by what someone else does, and feeling condemned by what they do. Can you guess which one is a tool of the enemy?

All moms struggle with discipline and consistency, they just do. Even the most "spiritual" mom thinks others are more "spiritual" than her. Don't believe the lie!


Amberly said...

People told me last year when I began homeschooling that January and February would be difficult. I understand that better now that I'm here! It's easy to get discouraged when everything isn't going according to schedule. Thank you for the encouraging post!

Dana said...

I needed to read your post. This whole month has just been frustrating. I need extra grace with my daughter, her attitude, my attitude. It is encouraging to see that what I am going through is normal. Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this entire series! As I said before, I am not homeschooling (my kids are not school-age), but I still find myself frustrated during this time of year. When I was a classroom teacher, I found this time difficult as well. I know that I need to take more quiet-time to help me with my own attitude. I usually do this at night, but I think I need to find some time in the morning! That way I can start my day with the right attitude. Thanks!


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