Gniog uoy era erehw

Ahhhh, the old joke of men never being willing to stop for directions…I know it well. I live it. On a trip back from Naperville, IL, where I grew up, Jeff and I were disagreeing over which way to turn on the toll road. He won. All the way I kept asking, “This doesn’t look familiar, how far are you going to go before stopping to get directions?” He didn’t have a good answer for me. But, several hours later, when we arrived at the Wisconsin state line, he decided then would be a good time.

Talk about lost! (There’s more to that story and I’ll share it another time – remind me it was a great lesson for me!) We were broke as broke can be – we had only enough money for tolls, gas – to and from Naperville – and $5 for food, in case we had to have it. We had spent $2 of it so far and had driven WAY off our appointed path. BUT, thankfully for us, when we arrived at the Wisconsin state line, we KNEW we were going the wrong way. We knew to turn around. How different it would have been, had we not even known that Wisconsin was the wrong direction from Indiana.

THIS is how we were going after our homeschooling. We were just driving, usually with little money in our pockets, too. 😉 We were driving fast and furious, because we wanted to “do this right.” The first thing that the Lord did, when dealing with the practical side of this process was make us stop and identify our goals.

Without a goal, how can we know if we’re even headed in the right direction, let alone know what directions to get if you get lost?!!! We had spent years homeschooling, with no goal….no vision. No wonder we were running amok. We were living the truth of Proverbs 29:18 . “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,” OH BOY we were unrestrained!

Where did we want our children’s education to take them? College? The mission field? Work in the factory? Now, I’ll confess right here and now, this is a trick question. But, I didn’t see that. I spent days coming up with what I thought our goals should be. As soon as I got ready to “present” them to God, I knew I was a worm! I knew that once again I was presumptuous enough to think that I should know what it was that the Lord had for my kids.

So, back to the prayer closet for me. (Well, us, really) This question is an ongoing one, that the Lord is choosing to reveal, to us at least, one small bit at a time, as our children get old enough to pursue their own interests.  So, little by little, I started making a list of the things that were important to me to see in our children.  CHARACTER TRAITS, not academic accomplishments.

Once I had my character traits list, I began to work backward.  If I want my children to leave home with an understanding of how to use money, how will I teach that to them?  If I want them to leave home with a heart for service, how is that to be taught?  By knowing the goals, I could work backward, figuring out how to get where we wanted to go.  No longer were we just cruising along, without the end in sight.  The children all had a purpose and a vision (as did we).

If you are homeschooling, I would adjure you ask yourself, “What end goals do I have for my children?”  If you don’t know the answer to that, are you sure that the path that you’re on will get you where you want to go?  If our end goal is wrong, then all the effort that we’re pouring out will never, no matter how hard we’re working, ever get us where we want to go.  No matter how many times Jeff wanted to be driving toward Indiana, we were still headed toward Wisconsin.

Rather than spinning your wheels, expending much energy, with no clear direction in mind, won’t you …spend some time in prayer….talk to your hubby… and see if the path you are on is one that will get you to the goals you have for your family?  Then start and work your way backward….backward to the one clear goal.

.suseJ tsirhC ni doG fo llac drawpu eht fo ezirp eht rof laog eht drawot no sserp I

(If you feel that it will serve you, I will explain what our school looks like…our organic school.  🙂  It will likely frustrate you, because on the outside, it’s not very impressive looking.  But, the fruit has been GRAND!  Just post any questions you want me to answer and I’ll get them tackled.  I may try to do them tomorrow yet, so you can ruminate for the weekend.  Cause you KNOW I won’t be around on Sunday.)    😉

8 Responses to “Gniog uoy era erehw”
  1. DawnP says:

    Thank you Dawn. I would love to hear more specifics on the character traits you identified and especially the COURSE you took for those traits(knowing of course that all of us will be different). I also agree with Julie (where she commented on the previous post I think) that putting “feet” to those RELATIONSHIPS with your kids would be so helpful. You words really minister grace to the hearers Dawn!

  2. Margie says:

    I agree that it would be helpful to see the paths you took (still take) toward differing character traits. I often know what character traits my children should have but don’t have a clue how to get there.

  3. Lynn says:

    More, more! Please keep the posts coming, Dawn, because your words are blessing me. I started out as a very structured home school mom with my daily lists to check off. But the more children I had the less check marks I was making – and to a firstborn, that’s disastrous. Now, we’re focusing on the 3R’s and it has been very freeing, yet something has been missing… and you, my dear, have nailed it on the head. I do need a list, but my list needs to come from Father. It needs to include what character traits HE wants to see in my children. Not just something I can check off with an “okay, now that’s done, on to the next subject.”

    BTW… what/where exactly is your prayer closet?

  4. Lynn, 🙂 right now, my prayer closet is a burgandy recliner in the corner of my living room, right next to my electric fireplace. In the summer, it’s the back porch, surrounded in windows and wicker.

    Just between you and I 🙄 I have had seasons where the Holy Spirit is so present in my prayer time, that I wonder if someone else comes over and unknowingly sits in my chair….do they feel His presence there, as well? Silly, I know – but I can walk in and sit down and it’s like He’s been waiting for me.

  5. javadawn says:

    Sigh….I love having teenagers that are computer literate. I just wish *I* would end up being more computer literate and pay attention to who is signed on where. 😆

    The above statement was written by ME, not Djo…

  6. April says:

    Great post, Dawn. This applies so well to all parenting, dontchathink? I mean, even if folks are formally homeschooling, they’re still schooling their children. This is the kind of thing I need to be praying about NOW instead of when Annalivia is 18 and it occurs to me that she can’t balance a checkbook. Thanks.

  7. Margie says:

    I have picked up a book from the library called Guerrilla Learning. Not sure what “possesed” me to grab it, but it has been an inspiration (and I’m only through the first chapter). I am sharing some thoughts on my blog if you are interested in popping over to check it out. (Just click on my name above) Those that don’t have Xanga won’t be able to comment, sorry, that is one of the downfalls of Xanga (as you know, Dawn).

    The book uses homeschoolers and their methods of education to explain how parents of children in the public and private schools can bring real learning to their children’s lives. It talks about the pitfalls of the education system. There were some awesome points brought up in just the first chapter. First of all that education is the responsibility and the privilege of the family whether your children go to school or are homeschooled. Also, that we need to seek to define what education means for our family.

    The Father has been using this book and your blog, Dawn to really get me to consider His ways for our children. I am headed to my prayer closet to seek guidance on our path.

  8. javadawn says:

    April, if you can get a handle on that, you will be LIGHTYEARS ahead of where we were….even just a few years ago.

    Ok, my dears, it’s Sunday night and I’m clueless as to where we were in this discussion. So, I’m going to re-read stuff, then I’m headed to bed and I’ll pray through a response tomorrow am. 🙂

    (If you have a specific question, this would be a good time to ask.) 😆

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