September always feels like a restart for me. By this point in the year, certain routines have long passed and I am suddenly feeling the urge to put them back into place. There’s a comfort about a daily routine that makes our days go by a little smoother.
As I start preparing for the upcoming school year, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to sit down and write this blog. This September is definitely a lot different than ones in years past. We welcome a lot more families into the homeschooling world. I’m sure there is much fear and anxiety mixed in with excitement and anticipation for the year ahead. I am by no means a veteran at this homeschooling thing, but I definitely have some stories from my journey so far that I hope you can all find valuable.
A big part of homeschooling for us is bringing up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Last year, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to a wonderful Christian curriculum. It was a great fit for my boys learning styles, as well as, provided faith based discussion in every subject area. We had our language arts book, our math book, our science and social studies book and even our Bible studies book. The school year started off great, but by January we had hit a rut. It was difficult to get, not only the kids, but myself back into routine and into our books. By this point, no one wanted to open up their textbooks. We would get through our language arts and math and have no energy left to do the rest. I was feeling guilty that science, social studies and Bible were being forgotten and neglected. I felt like we had lost the joy in our homeschooling. It became something we begrudgingly got through each day. This was not how I had imagined it going and it was not how I wanted to end our school year.
It is often in the quiet moments of my days that I can clearly hear the Holy Spirit instruct and guide me. I remember just conversing with the Spirit about my frustration and guilt and almost immediately, I felt the leading to change up our routine. As best as I can describe it, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Put me first.”
I know. I know. This sounds all too familiar. I have written about starting your day with God first. This is not a new concept for me, but it was a different way than I had been approaching our homeschool. I was starting my mornings with my own Bible devotion time, but I had chosen to put God last in our homeschool day. I didn’t want to prolong the inevitable fights and meltdowns that the days tend to bring. I didn’t want to run out of time to get through language arts and math. I wanted to use their best efforts for their so-called “important” subjects of the day. But I now know how foolish my thinking was. The same that is true for me, is the same for my kids. God wants us to put Him first in everything we do. He promises that when we put Him first, our plans will go well and that our plans will succeed. The thing is, I had chosen not to trust Him in these promises. I had chosen to do what I thought was best, forgetting that His ways are always better.
So this is what I want you all to know, so that you don’t have to go through the same hardship as me.
The next morning, I committed to putting God first. This meant that all other subjects that I had deemed important like language arts and math, were put aside until after we gathered for Bible devotion and worship. I pulled out colouring pages for my kids to colour while I read from a children’s devotional. We discussed what we read and ended with prayer and worship. What this provided our family was an opportunity to come together and just be present. We weren’t rushing into the hard things and ploughing through our day. The littles were able to be part of our school in a really fun and easy way and at the same time have their cups filled.
The first week was such a success that I decided to incorporate our science and social studies, alternating them days. These are the fun subjects that the kids loved doing, but we just never had the time for them. This became our modified morning time basket. I decided to make it a fun and welcoming experience by setting up the table with books of interest, colouring pages, games and other items that fit that days theme. The attitude and atmosphere in our homeschool immediately transformed. The kids eagerly rushed downstairs each morning to see what the day held. By starting the day on such a positive note, it carried us through the rest of the day. This whole routine took an additional hour of our morning. So this is where God comes in.
Prior to putting God first in our homeschool day, we would usually start school around 9 and finish by noon. Oftentimes, this did not include science, social studies or Bible. By the afternoons, we were either too spent from doing the “important” subjects or just done with fighting with one another that we wouldn’t go back to do those subjects. I knew we were missing out, but I just couldn’t imagine incorporating it into our day and making it any longer or any more challenging.
But here’s the thing, when we commit our plans to the Lord, He will make them succeed (Proverbs 16:3). This held true in our homeschool. Even though starting our mornings with Bible devotion, worship and a fun activity added a whole hour to our morning, we were able to finish the other “important” subjects by noon. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t explain it, other than this is how God works. He is author and creator of time. He’s in control of everything. He is Sovereign. He is good and all of His ways are good. I know these truths, but I struggle so often to apply them to my life. It is in these moments, when I experience His word firsthand and receive His blessing, that I turn it back to Him in praise. I shared this experience with my husband and my best friend, and now I am sharing it with you. This is my simple act of worship.
I hope that as many of you begin this school year that you will be encouraged to put the Lord first. I am confident that He will establish your plans and bring great success over your homeschooling journey.
SHARE: What is your favourite morning time devotion to do alongside your children?