Monday, February 23, 2009

What do you want me to do next?"

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?"
~Hymn by Richard Keene, 1787, emphasis mine

"What do you want me to do next?"

That's the question. Always.

Admittedly, and probably justifiably, I've been flying by the seat of my pants this school year, more than I have in the past 10 years of home schooling. Honestly, I feel like I just can NOT get it together. Oh, it looks together, and school is happening (I think) but this has been a discombobulated year for sure. I said, "justifiably" because it is no small task to complete an international adoption and transition an older child into the family. It is joy-filled, to be sure, but not as easy to organize as in years past, with children who, though ever-changing, were familiar to me. So, I think the "unknowns" associated with my precious new son have caused me to go into "analysis paralysis" in all areas of homeschooling, even with my other two. I've been guilty on more than one occasion this year, almost weekly in fact, of staring gape-jawed at the books, unsure of what to plan or wondering how to do it a new way, rather than just, well, doing it like I know how to. Why is that??? I'm still figuring that out, but here's something that came to me last week.

It's a biblical principle I learned several years ago, in fact. One that God seemed to be telling me again in my quiet time last week. I have been praying so hard over some issues in recent weeks, child-raising issues which really do confound me, and I have been praying Jeremiah 33:3, asking God to tell me things- "great and mighty things"- that I do not know. I feel like there is SO much I don't know, and so I've been turning to the One Who does! There is certainly nothing wrong with that, and there are plenty of directives in Scripture (just like the one I mentioned) that encourage us to do exactly that. But last week, it's as if God whispered to my soul (again), "Child, why are you crying out to me for new truths when I'm simply waiting on you to act on the truths you know? Simply do what you know to do." How...simple. But what a challenge! To take what I do understand and act on it. To make my theology work its way into my reality. Then some of those "great and mighty things" that I do not know will become more clear. I'm seeing it already in a couple of situations, and I'm so thankful to the Lord for this reminder.

What does this have to do with homeschooling?

This has been, like I said, a very disorganized year for me. As a result, I haven't always had the assignment sheets ready like I usually have. Planning in Excel has still continued to be what works best for me, and now that he's in 7th grade, my sweet son can now handle having a complete week's worth of assignments on a sheet staring him in the face. So, it's still a great system, but I don't ::gasp:: always have the sheet ready. Last week, during one his "Mom, what-do-you-want-me-to-do-next" moments, for which I, in my "analysis-paralysis" mode had no idea, I heard myself say, "Just do what you know to do until I let you know the rest." Yes, I had yet to figure it all out, but he knew to read the next chapters in his assigned reading, go on to the next English lesson, write his science vocabulary cards, etc. There are some "built in" assignments in our home school that are always in place. There is always something to read, math facts to practice, vocabulary exercises to complete, outlines to study, etc. The rest of it will get filled in when mom gets it together. Now, I know theologically speaking, as it applies to my lesson above, I'm not waiting on God to "get it together" by any stretch, but the principle of doing what you know to do while you wait to find out the unknowns has been a lesson we are both learning.

So if "What do I do next???" is a question you are hearing at your house, either from your own lips or from your kids, I encourage you (and them!) to simply act on what you do know. Do the next right thing. The rest will become clearer. It always does.


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