Saturday, April 30, 2016

Changing My Point of View

I don't normally write posts like this, but perhaps it will be a help and a blessing to someone out there!  I thought perhaps today I would share with you how God has changed my point of view when it comes to educating my 3 Treasures.
When we got married, we had already determined that we would homeschool the children God gave us.  With the exception of part of Martha's kindergarten year, and by God's grace, we are about to start our third year of homeschooling our children...I am living the dream!  I will be honest - there are days when the dream looks more nightmarish than fairy tale, but God always gives wisdom, strength, and guidance.
I had all sorts of ideas and theories when we started this journey.  I had it all figured out - I thought!  I had plans laid out from K-5 and beyond! (I love schedules and being organized!) The Lord quickly showed me that my plans are meaningless without Him!  And some of my well-thought out plans and schedules turned into dust and ashes when I tried to put them into practice!  It never entered into my thinking that there might be a different way to get the results I was seeking after!  A lot of my planning and thinking stemmed from how it was when I was in school - how could THAT fail?!?
The Lord saw fit to send challenges my way...little bumps in the road at first...then the challenges got bigger, and soon it looked like mountains looming ahead in the distance.  My Beloved encouraged me to keep going, keep trying, keep pressing forward, but he also encouraged me to try to look at education from a different angle.  Honestly, it scared me!  It scared me to try to think "outside the box" when it came to education.  It frightened me to try to see and plan and act outside of what I looked at as "the norm."  Fears of every shape and size peered at me from every angle, and loomed in front of me, fears as big as Goliath himself!  The "what ifs" crowded around me...
Then we hit a brick wall.  We came to a difficulty that seemed to have no answer, no solution...there was unhappiness and wasn't fun anymore.  I didn't know what to do...I asked the Lord for answers, and He graciously gave them to me.  I started doing some reading and researching. I spent hours messaging with a sister-friend who is further down the road on this education journey.
Slowly, even before I hardly realized it, my thinking started to change! I started trying different things here and there, and the mountains started getting smaller.  Next, we did something that surprised me, but it has been the biggest blessing in educating our children.  We changed a couple of curriculums!  Nothing earth-shattering - people do it all the time, but for me it was a giant leap of faith! I was leaving my "comfort zone" behind!
It started with Math.  We tried a different Math curriculum - one that was more "hands-on." My Treasures flourished!  Math was no longer a dull, dreaded, obscure subject - it was alive, fun, vibrant - and best of all...they were learning and loving it!  Wait a minute....did I just use the word "fun" in connection with Math?!?!?  Yep!  And we loved it so much that we were doing a lesson every day, and we only needed to do one lesson a week!
Now I was starting to warm up to the idea of homeschooling in an "unconventional" way.  The next change was in Spelling.  This curriculum, too, was more "hands-on." (Are you starting to see a trend here?). History repeated itself...we started understanding and flourishing, and now I have 2 Math whizzes and 2 Spelling geniuses running around my house!  Seriously, one of their favorite pastimes is to rapidly throw out impossible math facts and see how fast Mommy can solve the conundrum!  And how many times a day do I hear, "Mommy, listen to this.....I can spell........"  Just wait until my 3rd Treasure catches up to her brother and sister - oh boy!
So here I am...standing on the brink of a new school year, sharing our story with you.  We have thrown out the traditional Monday-Friday, August/September to May/June school schedule.  No, we haven't lost our minds (yet), yes,  we still have a schedule (did you forget that I adore schedules - I can't live without one....) - but our schedule works for us.  I know it wouldn't work for everyone, and that's okay.  God didn't intend for us to be everyone else.  He wants us to!  So we have school Tuesday-Friday ideally 9am to 1pm.  Sometimes we start late.  But we are learning, and Mommy/Teacher is doing her best to remember that learning IS fun, should be fun, and can be fun!
I take heart in the fact that I must be learning as well, because this year I am reading up on a new method (okay, new to me method) of learning called "Notebooking."  We have already been using this method in Geography (it takes a while for the dots to connect sometimes in this brain of mine), and I have been amazed at how much the kids are remembering!  I heard one of my Treasures reading Spanish, then later that day in English.  It was a blessing and joy to my heart to hear this Treasure reading smoothly and comprehending what was being read - in 2 different languages!
We haven't "arrived" by any stretch of the imagination! We don't have all the answers, and we know there will be more difficult days in the future.  There will be more questions which seem to have no answers.  But for now?  For now it is enough to know that what we are doing right now works for us. God has changed my point of view, and that is always a good thing!

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