March 17, 2013
This time of year is a season of reflection for our family as another school year nears its end and we start planning for the next. It is a time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. If it didn’t work, why didn’t it work? Was it bad material? Faulty instructions? Or operator error?
For the academics those questions are difficult to answer. Maybe it’s none of those; or maybe it’s all of them. What works for one family may not work for another. I have read many articles over the years that say if it doesn’t work don’t be afraid to dump the curriculum and try something else. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. I have even passed that sage knowledge on to others.
Know your child is another gem of wisdom. Identify their learning style. Study them to ascertain the optimal time of day to teach certain subjects. For instance, if your child is fidgety in the afternoons, it is probably not a good idea to do seat work. If your child is easily distracted, don’t have his work space near a picture window.
Tackle your most difficult subjects first and save the easy-breezy stuff for last. There’s nothing like trying to fight over Math at the same time the little ones are waking from their naps, you’re thinking about what’s for dinner, and phone calls start coming in because everyone knows your “school day” is almost over. Plus, saving the easy stuff for last ends the day on a positive note and that makes for a pleasant evening.
Save the extras for last. We cover the core every day, but we have a few subjects that we study that are not required at his age. If we have time to get them done, GREAT. If not, NO BIG DEAL. Life is about learning not checking off a To Do list.
So the academics are easy to sort through. Took five, maybe ten minutes to decide what to keep and what to dump, what we’re adding in next year and what will wait. But since our focus is on the eternal futures of our children, part of this season of reflection must include our training and discipleship.
I took the same approach in evaluating this part of our education and found the answers a little more straight forward.
What worked? Practically nothing! I read a daily devotional to my children in the morning after breakfast. Or at least I did until I couldn’t take the jockey for position next to Mommy, the fighting over who gets to hold the Bible while I read from the Devotional, and the covert teasing that inevitably ensued. I gave up.
Was the material bad? No. I love it and the kids love it but we just didn’t seem to be able to get through it without conflict.
Were the instructions faulty? No. It is the Word of God afterall!
Operator error? Clearly! And that is the problem across the board when it comes to training and discipleship. This year (and last) has been difficult for us. I keep thinking today will be the day I break through the fog. Today will be the day everything clicks. Today will be the day we can start building our fortress instead of excavating the foundation. But then evening comes and I wonder how it all went so wrong.
Maybe I should read the Lesson Plan again.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17