We started our first week of homeschool last week. It went better than I expected. I had been praying about our homeschool year all summer. I was using this week as our tester week to see what may need to change, but all in all, I can’t complain with how the first week went. We had some resistance at first but once my son started to see that school was done when he finished everything on his checklist, he was much more focused and motivated to get his work done.
Our schedule this year is four mornings each week with a focus on reading, writing and math. Our afternoons are filled with all the fun stuff like science, building, art, and field trips. My vision for the mornings was to do three days of skills-based learning and on the fourth day assess what we had learned.
This year I started spelling and I was quite apprehensive about it. I did know how well it would go with my son. The first day went painfully slow, but by day two and three, he had improved significantly. I felt confident that he would do well on his spelling test.
The big day came and I started dictating the words to him. His first two words he did with ease, but then his third word that stumped him. He started with the t then proceeded to spell the at ending. I tried sounding out the word slower and emphasizing the th sound but he wasn’t getting it. As I watched him spell it wrong I got so agitated. I so badly wanted and needed him to spell the word correctly. I realized I couldn’t do anything else to get him to change the spelling of the word, so we carried on with his other words. Again, the next few words came with ease, but the ninth word than again caused him some difficulty. This time I sat and watched as he wrote the word as han. Again, I tried slowly sounding it out and emphasizing the th but to no avail. He just didn’t see the error in his spelling. We finished off the spelling test and although he did really well for his first time, it still bothered me that he didn’t spell the th words correctly.
It was after the spelling test was done, that I could hear the Spirit whisper to me that this was not a big deal and that I did not need to take this personally, which is exactly what I was doing. I had turned this test into a test of how well I was teaching. I realized in that moment my foolishness.
How easily the devil takes our simple everyday things and turns them around on us. He finds ways to make us feel inadequate and feed into our pride. He plays into our sinfulness and earthly desires. I wanted to be the best teacher. I wanted people to know how good I was doing at homeschooling. I wanted my child to be without fault. These are easy traps for us to fall in to and if we don’t have the Spirit to keep us in check, we can easily remain trapped in this way of thinking.
Thankfully, the Spirit nudged me gently and reminded me of the true purpose for the test—to see what my son understood and retained, and what he did not. It wasn’t meant to make him feel inadequate for not knowing how to spell every word correctly. It wasn’t meant to create a division between us. It was meant to reveal to me the areas we need to spend some extra time on to help him understand it well and instill in him confidence in his abilities.
In these moments, I’m always reminded of the reasons why we chose to homeschool our children. We desired to raise our children in an environment where they know and see God at work in their lives daily, to build and establish loving and meaningful relationships with one another and to learn alongside one another. It’s so important to me that my children never feel inadequate or stupid, because this is not how God ever sees us. He knows each of us and what we are fully capable of with proper nurturing and training. The Lord has given me this opportunity to nurture and train my children to grow up to be confident and successful. If I see my child struggling, I must intervene and provide opportunity for them to become confident and have success in their giftings and abilities. I’d say it’s been quite a successful first week of learning for the both of us and I look forward to all that the Spirit has to teach me in the weeks to come. I know I still have much to learn.
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