09 September 2010

And So Begins Year 5

Two days of year 5 are under our belt. YEAR 5!!! Have I really been doing this homeschooling thing for four years? Craziness! 

I was thinking about how each year of school until now has had something new and exciting to encourage our desire to keep discovering new educational adventures together. Lukas started kindergarten the first year. The second year, everything still seemed to be new and we pieced our curriculum together and mostly used Sonlight, a new curriculum to us. It wasn't a great year for curriculum, but we had a great time together other than discovering that Singapore math is not for us. Second grade brought us My Father's World, and we loved it. Discovering the treasures inside the MFW Adventure's program was always fun. Last year was year four, and Ava began kindergarten. Something new kept us going each year. 

This year? It just seems like we picked up where we left off, and it seems a little anticlimactic to me. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it means we're just getting better at this. Maybe it means that I need to work harder to establish and keep momentum. I don't know what it means exactly, but I know this. I'm finally starting to feel seasoned. I can do this. My children are thriving. I am not ruining them. 

This lifestyle to which God called us is amazing even if others who look from the outside don't understand it, and even if those others don't understand our commitment to God's calling in difficult times. Yes, things are hard for us right now, but that is no reason to feel like we should push against the boundaries of our calling and suggest that we know a better path than our Lord, is it? This is a difficult task for many of us, no doubt, especially in hard times, but the rewards are endless. I'm loving the sweet rewards of my faithfulness to the Lord's path for our family. 

We began our study of history yesterday in the perfect place..."In the beginning." Where else does it make more sense to start? I love the way MFW has tied the beginning of our history study together with science, Bible and art. I'm not certain that we'll stick with MFW after this year, but we'll see after we've given this year a go for a while. I think we're going to study great things this year, but we're making a shift in our homeschool this year that we believe is vital to our purpose in homeschooling. 

I had a recent discussion with some friends of ours about the most important things that we teach our children. In their home, they have taken an approach which is similar to our approach. The most important things we teach in our household do not involve math, reading, science and history. The most important things are Bible, character development and encouraging our children to cultivate relationships with their Lord. If that is truly going to be our most important legacy, then we must make it our greatest priority even during our school time.

Because of this I have made a commitment to manage this year differently. I love that MFW weaves everything together with Biblical history this year so that our focus is almost always on learning more about the word throughout this particular year of study. What I don't love is that I feel like I am tied to the plan book, always pushing forward at a pace that doesn't always fit the design God has for our family and feeling hopelessly behind. I'm going to work to not do this throughout our current school year. If we want to take a couple extra weeks to study ancient Egypt and do some extra fun projects, then we're going to do it. If my kids discover that they love to write short stories or whatever peeks their interest, we're going to take the extra time to do it. I physically took a deep sigh of relief just writing that.  As long as the most important subjects are covered and our priorities are in order in all areas of life, then we know we can trust the Lord to lead us through the education of our children. He knows what we need better than we do, right?

Eric and I have talked about this extensively. He's going to be my accountability. He's so much better at this kind of thing than I am. We provide balance for each other. I am grateful that kind of balance. The Lord knew I needed Eric in my life when He chose for us to be together!

Each year at the start of our school year, we choose a short passage of scripture to be our theme scripture for our family. As Eric and I were talking about these most important things that we wanted to teach, I mentioned that our children have hung some velvet crafts on our doorways with the words, "Jesus," Rejoice," and "Faith" on them thus following the command in Deuteronomy to post the words of God on the doorposts of our home. I mentioned that I wanted to share with the kids that they were indeed following this scripture without even realizing it (they hung them there because there were already nails). During this conversation, I looked up the passage and Eric knew it had to be our family's theme verse for the upcoming school year. I agreed. This scripture so completely defines what we desire for our family. All things that we do should be filtered by scripture, and this year, our schooling will be filtered in such a way more than any other year.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 
Deuteronomy 6:5-9


  1. Danita Hurlburt via FB:

    Really enjoyed this. Thought-provoking and challening!

  2. J'Nessa Stone via FB:

    Wow! You are truely gifted with the written word Kendra, no matter what you are righting about I can't stop reading. I am so happy for that you have found clearity in your path. It's hard sometimes to see our blessing through the pain and strife, it's such a blessing when you are reminded through our children. Keep it up, you will find your way through all of it, love you, I am thankful that I have found you and have you as my friend.