Keep your hands and arms inside The Box until your life comes to a complete stop (Homeschooling Adventure Part III)

It was 2:15 am.  We were woken with the running of child-like feet into our room, “DAD!  DAD!  Wake up!!”

I pause in my story to tell you, it was a Tuesday night, so Jeff had to be up for work at his normal 3:15 – 3:30. I will also add, we didn’t have any babies at the time – this was a long-legged boy type child – who was quickly nearing teen-hood.

Jeff sat up, gasping, “What?!!!”  I too sat up, adrenalin pumping.  “Dad, have you EVER heard of the Battle of Cowpens during the Revolutionary War?”  I flopped back down, rolled over and covered my head.

The history geeks were at it again.  The two of them sat and discussed this great tactical battle, which had GRAND historical significance, allowing the recapture/conquest of South Carolina.  At 2:15 am.  By choice.  With delight.  Guys!   😉

This, this natural love of learning, this sharing of learned information, this delight in finding out something new….these are all parts of Clark school now.  That is not always so.  I have shared with you that we tried…I tried to make our school fit the boxes of every other home school out there.  We tried different curriculum, different methodologies, different books, different rooms in the house.  I must say, we didn’t try different children or parents…hmmm. I digress.

Every time, I found that what ever the new thing was, it wasn’t quite…us.  It never quite fit.  We were very much focused on excelling in academics, rather than on Father. Although we read our Bibles and talked about God, He was not the focus of our schooling. So, the Lord met me and chastized/challenged me that the reason our homeschool was not working was because we were not focused on Him.

At this same time, the Lord began to teach me from a verse you have no doubt seen meditated on here, at Javadawn a time or two, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”    (The Lord keeps using this verse to transform how I think.  You’d think I’d get it – but I don’t seem to get the job done)   🙄

Because things were so strained with my children, little prompt obedience, little heart strings tied between ourselves and them, we stopped schooling, as we knew it, as we went after the Holy Spirit, seeking to understand what it meant for our home school to “add” God.  (This was all part of the Brain in the blender season)  I increased my time with the Lord, trying to grasp all this.  (There were days that I even allowed the kids to do nothing more than color or do art – while I spent the day with my Bible, in my corner of the house.)

As I sought the Lord, He first showed me that fear had been my motivating factor.  Fear that the children would not “turn out.”  Fear that someone would turn us in.  Fear that they wouldn’t be able to leave our home and get a good job.  Fear that someone would think I hadn’t done a good job homeschooling them.  (OUCH!) Fear of many things, but not Him.
Slowly, the Lord began to ask questions like this, “Who are you to fear?”  (Whom have I in heaven, but You Lord?) “Who are these children that I have given to you?  Do you know what I want done in their lives?”  “You ask me which curriculum to use….what if I don’t want you to use any?”  “What are you training My children for?  Where will your efforts end?  What will be the results if you continue on this path?” “Why do you keep trying to ADD Me when in fact, you need to add academics to Me?”

You see, being raised in the public school (and public church) I believed that my job was to raise up children who would be able to leave our home, get a good job and raise their own families.  To my horror, the Lord was asking me to step out of The Box.  (You know, THE BOX)  No more could I look at school as a one dimensional collection of things that my children were to learn.  No more could I look at the lists that the government put forth and create my check list, to tell me when we were “done” educating our children.

Suddenly, the idea that my children were created wholly in the image of God, for His purposes carried more weight than ever before.  I was training them up to remain in The Box.  What if God didn’t want them in The Box?  What if He needed them very much out of The Box?  Would I have not only neglected to train them up adequately, but worse yet, HINDERED the work of God in their lives?  Working against the plans of God is not a good thing in my estimation and it caused me to tremble.

So, we stopped everything we were doing.  We did nothing more than live with our children.  We learned who they were.  We learned what they were wired for.  We learned what delighted them and what challenged them.  We learned to talk again.  We learned to honor one another again.  We learned together what obedience means.  (Both for them to respond and me to require it and follow through – self discipline on both sides.) We learned of God.  We read together, we played together, we did art together, we did life together and we healed together.

I want to pause here a moment and add a few things to this – one, I must presume, that based on the depth and intensity of the work that the Lord has done in our lives in regards to some of these issues, that my children are going to be called to live outside of The Box. (DUH – considering the work the Holy Spirit has been doing in regards to entrepreneurship in our lives)  This does not mean your child will have the same call.  I DO believe it means we need to stop looking to society to determine what our children need to learn.  We must, as best we are able, obey the law, but NOT to the exclusion of hearing from Father who these Blessings are that live in our house and training them according to the gifts He has placed within them.

Secondly, at this season in our lives, we were not able to have any focus on academic excellence and God.  We simply weren’t able to do it.  My sinful nature was so great, that it invariably became one or the other.  Instead, our focus needed to be upon God and His character and His provision for their education.  Based on the conversation that took place at 2:15 in the morning, you can see that didn’t stop Father from teaching them.  He simply taught them in spite of me.

In addition to the fact that Father taught my children in spite of me, I would add that there is a place for academic excellence, but as Believers, when that place has eminence over knowing God, fearing God and being changed into His image, it’s in the wrong place and like most idols, will do its best to take the seat of supremacy.  I would challenge us, that as Christian homeschoolers, we need to seek to do better than the world – the world can offer our children academic excellence, it can not offer them worship and adoration of the Most High God, nor submission to the Savior of their souls.

Lastly, this is where we began to work backwards.  “What do You want to see in our children, Lord?”  The list began to flow: creativity, worship, children of prayer, children of kindness, children who would know His voice, children who would see Him as their provider of EVERY thing, and it went on and on.  Once we knew what issues the Lord wanted to deal with, we threw ourselves at Him in prayer.  (It was a long list – I was pretty stinking overwhelmed, I want to tell you!)  We asked Him to show us where to start and we began to purposefully add those character issues that the Lord wanted in our children, into our lives.  We asked (and still do) the Lord for situations that would allow them to grow in whatever particular issue He is working out in their lives.  He was faithful to do so.

I’ll end here for today….there is more coming.  Don’t give up, I will get down to some “practical” stuff here soon, but there is so much that required a change of thinking first, that I would not be serving you to leave that part out.  I would be equally remiss to not tell you that the mental changes were by far the hardest.  Brutal, would be a pretty fair representation of it.  🙂

Much grace and many blessings on your home schooling!

5 Responses to “Keep your hands and arms inside The Box until your life comes to a complete stop (Homeschooling Adventure Part III)”
  1. Lest you be tempted to prematurely shorten this conversation in order to *get down to some practical stuff*, please know that this is the most helpful thing I have ever heard. That this is exactly ~ to the letter ~ where I am right now.

    My brains *are* in a blender,
    the Lord *is* teaching me,
    I *am* slow of understanding,
    (but trying desperately to *get* it),
    and our family is at that stage of *doing nothing more than living with our children* in order to sort through some of these things.

    Please don’t leave out details if the Lord is impressing them upon you ~ even if you don’t see why they should be included.

    I…no, WE (dh and myself) believe that I have been led to your blog for such a time as this. You just don’t hear stuff like this any ‘ol place.

  2. Michelle says:

    John and I are reading this series together…stuff to talk over and pray over together. What was Jeff’s perspective during this time? What was going through his mind?

    I am so mindful of the many demands on Godly men to “do” this and “be” that. I know how difficult it is for dh to find the right balance sometimes. If I feel guilty after listening to the women at homeschooling conferences, how much more so must he after listening to the men! (I am thinking of swearing off homeschooling conferences for just this reason…)

    I hope I am making sense to someone besides myself. :o)

  3. javadawn says:

    Hey Michelle, I don’t know all he was going through – I was too much like hamburger to remember. I’ll ask him. I’ll see if he would post his thoughts right here with this.

    Julie, I wish I could tell you it’s a battle my mind won, once and for all. I am AMAZED (like gape mouthed – codfish – type amazed) at how many times I forget all that the Lord taught me during this time and went right back to the books. I OH SO understand the children of Israel in the desert. “Man, this is TOO freaky, I’m going back to doing it the way I used to. We don’t belong out here with sand in our teeth. We belong in nice comfortable Egypt.” 🙄 I find myself turning around and walking back every so often. (Like uh, a few weeks ago, in fact!)

  4. Honey – I don’t have time to say much but this is so what I need! Thank you for jumping into this!

  5. javadawn says:

    Hey Ladies, Jeff said yes, he’d post a blog about it. He wants to pray about his response and will pop in with it tomorrow evening. 🙂 (Ahhh, my hero!) 😀
    And I don’t even have any Raspberry Chocolate Truffle cake to offer him for doing it. Woe is me. 😉

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