Saturday, July 13, 2013

Let the School Preparations Begin!

I have officially been homeschooling long enough to predict the future.  Are you impressed?  I am.  I hope you are too, because this is the end of my superpowers.  Please be impressed.

I predict that in about 3 weeks, we will all be bombarded by a million wonderful photos of the perfect, if not ideal homeschool classroom.  You know what I mean, the classroom that someone has in their home, because they have all that extra room, with brightly decorated walls, books carefully displayed an sorted, pencils with not-chewed erasers, beautiful binders all organized with tabs and spreadsheets and on and on and on....

We'll see a million how-i-organize it posts, how-to-teach posts, perfect curriculum packages for me posts.  Remember, from last August?  I do.  I remember looking longingly and thinking of the glorious homeschool days to come.

Hopeless Optimist.  That's who I am.  Or have been, at any rate.

This year, I'm going into my 7th year of homeschooling.  I now have enough years under my belt to remember the other days....the not so glorious days.  The days of tears or too tired, and I tell you what:

The cute classroom, the beautifully organized binder, they don't fix anything. While it's so valuable to have a pleasant physical environment & important to know where things are- these aren't the only points of focus for me this year.

We spent the first 4 years of our homeschooling days at the kitchen table.  I quickly realized the beauty of this plan.  I could set the kids to working and then hop up and work on dishes or dinner or what not.  It was cozy and comfy.  Yes, I had to clean everything up for meals, but it really, really wasn't the end of the world.  I have lovely memories of working in the kitchen.

Now we live in a house that has an odd shaped extra little room, and when I realized that there was enough wall space in that room that I could hang up a white board and a map and I was thrilled- we moved.  I was happy in the kitchen, but I'm still pretty close and right next to the laundry.  :) 

In about a month my school room will probably join the ranks of being perfectly tidy.  For at least 10 minutes.  But, as much as I'm determined to get better organized, it will probably just be weeks before it all melts into a happy-cozy-messy-space where we will proceed through the school year.  (This is what MY pen drawer looks like today after a school year of good use.)

So now I'm here to propose an idea.  As my son often reminds me when he's not interested in brushing his hair, man looks at the outside appearance but God looks at the heart. (our version of 1 Samuel 16:7) 

I'm thinking that while y'all might be impressed if I create a super cute classroom, tidy and ultra organized with all the right books, God alone knows the shape of my heart.  

On the hardest days of homeschooling I have come to know that the order of my intentions, the order of my heart towards the boys, the constant pushing away of pride and growing of grace is what will beautify The Boys' Noise School .  

My homeschool room doesn't reflect my
 greatness or success as a homeschool
 mom any more than state testing reflects
 the character and even the skills of our children.  

While Summer simmers in the heat of July, I'm starting to think about it:  the satisfying work that needs to be done, getting my books in the best spots, setting up realistic lesson plans, hitting the sales to build our supply closets.  But I'm also thinking about my year in this:  what am I hoping to accomplish this year in the hearts and minds of our boys?  What does God have in mind for me in this school year?  Oh, yes, I know that there are many things to be learned this year.

How can I really do better for these boys this year?  I know I've come up short in some arenas, I'm going to give Math extra attention this year.  I want to push farther on with Latin and some of us have terrible penmanship!  Carefully, I'm praying about their character.  Seeking God for His path for us. Proverbs 16:9 says that' the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.'  I take so much joy in the fact that God promises (James 1:5) us wisdom!  He has good plans for all of us this year (in spite of mine) ...and He designed us all, so I certainly need to know what He has to say!

Be encouraged as you plan your school year.  God has good plans for your little school, whether you have a table, room or work on a couch God knows just what you need.  Seek Him first:

Matthew 6:25-34

New International Version (NIV)

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.