"Knowledge is more than an accumulation of information. It involves the ability to view that information with the right perspective and to use it for its proper end... It is the fear of the Lord that gives us the right perspective and prompts us to use it for the right end...Our main goal should be to glorify God. That is the ultimate goal to which all knowledge should be directed. Regardless of how helpful an item or body of knowledge may be to society, if it does not have as its final purpose the glory of God, it remains defective."
- Jerry Bridges The Joy of Fearing God
I recently received this group email from an older, homeschooling mom of a large family and I asked her if I could share it here. I was really blessed, and I thought someone else might be, too :) The following are her thoughts:
"I have sat at many get togethers discussing 'how to get it done' with many moms. We all sat around and scratched our heads in wonder.
Being a mom of a large family is a full-time job and homeschooling is a full-time job. That is two full-time jobs for one woman. That is a tall order. I felt guilty about all that I was not doing for so long. Now I am starting to realize that I can only do so much and I need to adjust my expectations to reality.
Here are some things that helped me.
1. Teach your kids (3rd grade and above) to self teach. I really enjoy teaching my children, doing unit studies, notebooking etc. But their are times (like pregnancy) when I just can't. They can still get a good education at these times. Give them a Math book, some high quality literature and some copywork or written narrations and let them learn on their own for awhile until life evens out a bit.
2. Simplify. Put away all the dust-collecting knickknacks. Limit toys. Cook simple meals (pot roast with potatoes and carrots in a crock). Limit children's clothing. Keep toys in a central location like a play room or familyroom so that only one area of the house need be messed up.
3. If you have kids age 6 and up, delegate housework. My oldest daughter did all the housework and some of the cooking all on her own when I was extremely ill with CFIDS. Not ideal, but she managed and learned responsibility in the process. I no longer feel guilty about handing out chores to my children. They learn so much that they will never learn from books.
4. I don't schedule more than one activity in a week. I don't schedule more than one activity on the weekend. I just get too wore out (and I am not currently pregnant either!) I just cannot get the schooling done if I schedule too many outside activities. Sometimes we feel guilty if our children are missing out on all the opportunities available to them outside the home. I don't allow myself to feel guilty about this anymore.
5. Set aside time to clean. We do a half day of school on Fridays and spend the rest of the day cleaning house. Daddy is happy to have a clean, orderly home for the weekend. We do not do any heavy duty cleaning the other 4 weekdays, but focus on school and meals. If you haven't met FlyLady, you will love her book and website. She saved my sanity!
6. Use audiobooks. We check out audiobooks of classic literature to listen to at bedtime and while traveling. We love Joy Hakims History of US series. So my children are being "read to" while I am not doing the reading.
7. Use your computer. I like Phonics Tutor to teach phonics to K-3rd graders. Very effective, although not very exciting and colorful. There are also some good free online spelling tutors, math flashcard drills and even SAT vocabulary drills. Assign one of these activities or hand them a good book and take a nap. (I have to jump in here and say I prefer the book idea, lol)
8. Make and keep a regular school schedule with strict hours. This was a tough one for me. I realized if I held a job outside the home, I could not schedule anything in the hours I was working. I could not take phone calls while I was at work. I could not check my e-mail either. So I try to view my schooling as my "career" of sorts and don't answer the phone unless there is an emergency. I schedule doctor's appts late in the day after we are usually finished with school.
9. Make sleep a priority. I am crabby and emotional if I get sleep deprived. I also get less done in the long run because I cannot think clearly and efficiently. So I will allow myself to sleep in or nap if I am up with a fussy, teething baby or sick child. I view sleep deprivation as dangerous. It can result in accidents (physical or spiritual). I have come to see it as setting a stumbling block before me if I allow myself not to get enough sleep. I am more likely to scold and yell at my children in an ungodly manner. I just plain find it difficult not to have a bad attitude when I am overtired. I act just like my 3 year old when he misses his nap!
10. Keep time with God #1. If I neglect time to nurture my relationship with God, I don't receive the wisdom and guidance I need to manage each day.
So here are some ideas I have employed. I still have my days and weeks when things go awry and we don't get much done. At those times, I try (but admittedly don't always succeed) to trust the Lord that He is sovereign and we will get done what is needful in His plan for our lives."
... that this is just a blog. It's not real life. Because I want the posts and photos I share to encourage and inspire our readers, I don't often write about the negative, discouraging times. Believe me, though, they are there. Every day. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are sinful people striving to live lives of obedience that glorify Him and to love one another. Anything good is all of His grace and all of His work in us. Let God Almighty have the glory.