Sprittibee is holding a contest, sponsored by Academic Superstore, in which readers are invited to share their favorite homeschool lesson plan. In order to keep with the theme, I’ve included my favorite lesson plan. More importantly, however, I want to share with you my favorite lesson.
“That’s it, Chuck, I’m done,” I said to my husband, one evening last April after the kids were down for the night.
“Done, with what?”
“Homeschooling. I can’t take it anymore. I’m no good at it, the kids aren’t cooperating, and Alex is going into 3rd grade next year – a critical academic year – and I don’t want him to fall behind. They’re going to public school.”
“Well, I tend to disagree that you’re not doing a good job, or that the kids will be better off in school, but we’ll do what it takes to make you happy.”
What will it take to make you happy?
I’d been an emotional wreck for a while, battling melancholy so severe that it required all my will to get out of bed in the morning. We’d been struggling financially, I had gained weight and I wasn’t planning our school time at all. The kids spent the school year walking on eggshells, afraid that Mommy might break down in tears at any moment.
I’d convinced myself that it was homeschooling that caused my anxiety. Being cooped up with kids all day – kids who complained and argued over every assignment. I had no support group, no money to get out, and no desire to continue. In short, I felt like a failure. Besides, there were other things I wanted to do: go back to work, pursue my writing and just have some me time. That’s what I thought I needed to be happy.
When I took a mental inventory of the reasons why I had decided that homeschooling was a bad idea and public school (we can’t afford private) was a good idea:
- I’m not a planner, have no discipline.
- The boys are uncooperative.
- We need more money.
- I want to write.
- I want to get a job.
What if it doesn’t make you happy?
There was that voice in my head. The voice that warned me of the truth: none of those things would make me happy. Happiness would require a change of heart. I realized that I’d waited far too long to seek the Lord on the matter; it was time to confess and let Him work on me.
I was humbled to note that nothing on my list addressed raising godly boys, or ensuring they receive the highest quality education, or being a godly wife, or bringing any glory to God. Rather, my list was all focused on me. All about what I would be able to do if the boys were out of my hair for the day.
I took a good look at our life, the kind of wife and mother I’d become – bitter, angry, and sad. By all accounts I have everything to be thankful for: God, who has called me to be His, a husband who loves me to no end, two of the most beautiful, bright, loving boys in the world, a beautiful home, plenty of food, and an exciting life to which I can look forward. And, I live in a country that allows me the privilege of educating my children! Would I really squander all of that?
I was grieved by my selfishness – but in a good way. It was grief that motivated me to action. To repentance.
By mid-June I was still concerned about schooling at home. I am just not a natural planner and I knew that, in order to do this thing successfully, it would take more discipline than I could muster on my own.
Okay, the favorite lesson plan: I stumbled across the book, “The Well-Trained Mind,” by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise-Bauer. I read it from cover to cover and when I finished, was filled with such a peace and purpose, that I couldn’t wait to start planning our school year.
My favorite lesson: The reminder that God’s grace is sufficient. He alone has the power to change hearts and lives. All glory goes to God, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who gives me strength.
God has worked a miracle on my heart over the past couple of months. We are loving school. I have not had a breakdown in a long time, though still struggle through mild depression. I know that as I continue to turn more of my life over to the Lord, by His grace my peace will increase.