We've been about two weeks behind in our schooling for some time. We took an unexpected week off in late October to attend a missionary conference in MN, and then we didn't get much schoolwork done over Thanksgiving while we were visiting my in-laws in MD. Add to that a couple of sick days, and you can easily see why we're beginning week 15 instead of 17 or 18 (out of 36).
This morning, during my quiet time, I was asking for wisdom about this very thing. God is so good. He does give generously without finding fault! He reminded me that my standard in homeschooling (as well as everything else, of course) is Him! And one place where His standard for educating my children can be found is in Deuteronomy 6:5-7.
"And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."
Another area of obeying God's standard for home education is submitting to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1). For me, that means teaching 875 hours and incorporating six certain subjects. (Thankfully, Wisconsin keeps things fairly simple. Your "governing authorities" could be different than mine.)
So why...why have I done this to my children?
This is Jeffrey's binder. See, I'm a planner, which I think is a good thing. But instead of using this binder as a guideline, it has become our master. And to top it off, Emma and Lydia have their own binders. So, I've had three binder-masters! Hmmm...come to think of it, the word "binder" has a double meaning here. It keeps all of the pages in there nicely, but it has also bound us--chained us--to crossing everything off. Slavery to the binder is not a good thing. Having a plan? Yes, that's good. I'm glad I took the time to fill all of this stuff in. However, I think I put too much in there. I've got busywork and completely unnecessary things in there. And worse yet, we get so busy trying to catch up that we don't enjoy any of it anymore! Once we get everything checked off for the school day, our mind set is like this, "Whew! Good! School is done for today." And that's not true. (See Deut. 6:5-7 above.) Because I think we're done, I don't even look for teachable moments. I'm too tired and frustrated. Besides, I've got supper to make, housework to do, kids to bathe.... My day is one big "To Do" list, and I'm sick of it. But the good news is:
WE'RE NOT BEHIND AT ALL!!!!!
I am following the governing authorities perfectly. My children are learning for at least five hours per day in more than six subjects. Any feelings of being behind have only come from me--from that binder to which I've enslaved us. See, I've taken God's standard and added to it the things which would make us look good. Uh-huh. Homeschool Pharisee. That's me. And just like a Pharisee, I've been frustrated with my kids--and with myself--for not being able to keep up with the impossible. Along with that, I've sacrificed much relational time with my children for the sake of ritualistic "stuff and fluff". We're going to make some changes around here.
To be honest, I don't know. But I'm actually okay with that. I'm trusting God and asking Him for wisdom. And really, I'm just so very relieved! His yoke is easy and His burden is light. *happy sigh*