First Thoughts on a First Day of School

I don’t know where the time has gone, First Grade completely came out of nowhere. It seems like it was just yesterday when he was captivated by a little train named Thomas and all his friends. He was toddling about barely forming words, much less a full sentence. Yet, here I look at him, toddler turned boy. It seems just like that, too. I look at him now. He speaks with more knowledge than I sometimes give him credit for and he is a little sponge that soaks in as much information as possible – anxious to process and apply all that he has learned. Yet, here we are stepping into the first day of First Grade and I know for all that I have planned and prepared – it still is not enough unless offered up to the Life-Giver.

I awoke early this morning, though due to a restless night not as early as I wanted to, and I spent some time just thinking and praying. I have been preparing for this school year for months now…and now suddenly it was here. Part of me was questioning if I really had prepared everything I could have (or should have) for the new year. I was wrestling with the idea of perfection. I had a mindset that was intent on having everything “just right”. From all manner of curricula to hours spent researching the perfect books for our school year, it was all seeming to wane and that feeling of not enough was beginning to set in my mind and spirit.

Identify your goal.

It was the end product I was overlooking. The result, the effect, the outcome…I was missing a clear and distinct goal for my school year. While, the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty is what I want to pour into the lives of my children, I felt the distinct gap of the goal for pursuing such worthy things. I had to ask the question, why. In this beautiful time of quiet, with just me and my God aware of the questions and struggles going through the maze of my mind – clarity began to form.

It was during my search for our school year’s verse that it was brought to me, so perfectly clear. I had been searching and searching for the right verse, the one that would perfectly shine everything I was wanting to obtain and reflect during this school year. That is when He lead me to the book of Genesis…the second chapter…the seventh verse. Where I had been searching for the perfect verse, the perfect verse found me.

So the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground, breathed life into his lungs, and the man became a living being.

So many things about this verse spoke to me. However, I will spare you the lengthy post. I will give you my 3 main takeaways from this morning.

  1. It stands as a reminder for me to do nothing apart from Him. He breathed life into dust, and man became a living being. I can have all the best resources, plans, activities and curriculum…but apart from Him, without his breath of life, it is but dust. I want Him to exhale his breath fully into the life of our school year, so that what results are young minds and hearts who pursue truth, beauty and goodness through the One who is Truth, Beauty and Goodness.
  2. It stands as a reminder for me to offer up all my great plans (which is mere dust) for His breath of life to produce living. I want the hearts and minds of my children to be living – truly living – as seen through the eyes of God. I want them to grow in Him so they can live for Him. Every moment I spend teaching and planning, may it be as an offering. “Thus grace in the soil grows not of itself in nature’s soil, but it is the work of God.” – Matthew Henry
  3. It stands as a reminder for me to cling to His grace and mercy. My soul to be opened to Him, so His breath of life be in me. May His grace cover my shortcomings and faults. His waves of mercy are new every morning – a hope to cling to during the days where I mess up. Grace and mercy; Mercy and grace, life-giving and life-sustaining.

I am thankful for the reminders I received today. I am thankful for this first day of school. I am thankful for One who walks with me on this journey of educating my children. I am thankful for sweet moments spent with Him. I am thankful for the opportunity to offer up this gift of homeschooling as an offering to Him. I am thankful for grace. I am thankful for mercy. I am thankful that this first day of school is but a small part of a continuing journey that He is breathing life into – for His glory.

 

 

Reflections: The Educational Pursuit

Reflect

The days of spring are beginning to fade away and we have wrapped up another successful year of school here at home. I have spent the last week organizing and rearranging various curriculum. I have loaded down my Amazon cart and library hold list with books I want to get my hands on, as I continue to hone in on those things that I hope to establish in my children by the end of their academic journey here at home.

Pursuit

I kind of happened into this new realm, haphazardly, in one sense. Education and academia was a familiar space I felt rather comfortable in, that is until I began to really sort through the many various aspects, avenues, approaches and philosophies. To take what I knew into a new realm of exploration was — frightening. Discomfort and uncertainty were not feelings I was altogether used to having when it came to understanding education. But, huddled in the midst of them, there I found myself. I had to step away from all that I knew, in the pursuit of establishing something else. I needed to find that which was worth pursuing. There in the reflecting, all which I have discovered since beginning this journey, leads me to the understanding that this was not a haphazard happening.

Truth, beauty and goodness

I guess, somewhere along the way, I had lost my own sense of wonder for learning. I was not in a state of arrival; I was in a state of “good enough”.  In the same way the Creator of All poured Himself into my life anew, He also has renewed my love and passion for learning. This redeemed mind of mine, is soaking information while being able to sort through and distinguish what I can hold on to and call my own. I have been able to reclaim some of my former underlying principles, ones that will compliment and edify those ideas and philosophies whose goal is to grow in all things truth, beauty and goodness. It is an outcome that no longer seeks to develop the mind for the sake of out-ranking and success. It is an outcome that seeks to develop the mind and heart for the goal of knowing and understanding the Creator of the world and all in it; it is seeking an outcome to use all that one knows and understands, to then make Him (Creator) known.

 In all things

To be able to seek His wisdom, discernment, love and grace in what we see, read, hear, and say – is something worth pursuing. It is something I find highly valuable for myself and for my children. We have been learning  to take the things, people and situations around us with wonder and thoughtfulness. Every day unfolds before us with something new in it to discover. We stand before a vast infinity swirling with concepts and ideas  – some discovered, many not. What joy we should take in being able to approach learning in a way that teaches us to know and understand more of who God is.

Discover the good

A recent practicum I attended, left me even more certain of where we are and where we are heading. This path, for us is good. My hope for all, is that there will be a willingness to plow through and sort out all that is being sent their way. Through the sifting, I hope that there is a discovery for each person. May it be the beginning of a road traveled in the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty – a road that ultimately leads to knowing Him and making Him known. For us, my family? This quote from the speaker at my practicum says it all, “the goodness is revealed in the utility of learning classically – it works to give our students an understanding of God’s universe”.

(Guest Post) A Mission-Minded Mom

The Mission-Minded Mom Graphic

I have had the opportunity to write a blog post for Classes by Beth Plus where there is a celebration of mothers going on over there this week. Here is an excerpt to the post, click on the link below to read the full post.

A Mission-Minded Mom: Turning Ordinary Moments Into Kingdom Moments

“Mamas out there, hear me when I say, Everything you are doing -right now- should be done as if you were in the throne room of heaven accomplishing it for the Most High God. Approach the mundane with an attitude of a servant, a servant of the King. Everything you do for Him can be used by Him for His kingdom. Little moments that go unnoticed, are seen by a loving Father. Tears of frustration and stress are seen and wiped away by the Joy-Giver. When the unlovely and predictable moments of motherhood are ever at your doorstep, greet them with the heart and mind of a woman on a mission for the kingdom. Give over all moments to Him and see what He can do in and through them. With every victory claimed while in the trenches of motherhood, honor and glorify God; With every failure felt while in the trenches of motherhood, shine the goodness and grace of the gospel message. We are not being called to showcase perfection, we are called to showcase His perfection.”