For Your Consideration: What is Necessary?

I glean a lot of useful information and teaching from Marilyn Howshall and Barbie Poling at www.LOLACHE.com. You can become a member of LOLACHE and get access to everything they offer or you can go to their blog and read their wonderful posts about their Lifestyle of Learning testimonies.

I was really impressed by this blog post today. So I asked Barbie for permission to share some of it here. The whole blog post is here:

http://lolache.com/LOLblog/what-is-necessary/

“Gal 5:24-26 “Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good – crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”

This phrase really stuck out to me, “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” I was remembering how my life was before I learned how to be led by the Spirit. It really was mindless. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any thoughts. It’s that I didn’t spend much time thinking about the way we were living our lives. The schedule of our church activities along with the schedule of our school-at-home activities made it so that I didn’t have to think much about what we were going to do in a day. It was mindless. I used to say, “my life ran itself.”
It was mindless because I whole-heartedly embraced what I saw everyone else doing – I was following along with what “others called ‘necessities’.” I thought it was necessary to be involved in everything happening at our church. I thought it was necessary to follow grade-level, subject-divided curriculum in order to educate my children. I thought it was necessary to provide my children with peers for friends. I mindlessly followed these things that seemed to me to be necessary simply because everyone else thought they were necessary.”

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Many of the things on the list of “necessities” that Barbie mentioned in the post are things that I used to consider “necessities”, too. Needless to say, I think a lot differently now. The Lord has led me into a whole new way of thinking and “doing homeschool”. I sometimes feel a little pressure from other people to do things like everybody else does them. Even from Christians – sometimes even from other homeschoolers!!! But I keep doing what the Lord leads me to do through the Holy Spirit. It’s funny. Well, not really. It sometimes stings a little. People always want you to do what they are doing. If you are doing something different, they act like you are judging them and thinking that you are better than they are. What I do has nothing to do with what anybody else is doing. I share here what is working for us because I want to encourage people to listen to what the Spirit is saying. The Lord knows what is best for each family, for each child, for each member of the family. If I obey the Lord, then I know that He is pleased, and that is all that He requires of me.

One thing that I share with new homeschoolers is that if you are too rigid you will probably not enjoy homeschooling, and I can guarantee that your children will not enjoy it. There is a balance between doing things just because they have to be done and doing things that are so interesting to you that they are fun. We need to do some of each. But the totality of our homeschool activities should not be drudgery and things that are difficult or uninteresting to us. We can use educational things that are fun as rewards for putting in some time doing things we don’t enjoy as much. We can take breaks when things are not working. We can change curriculum or not use curriculum at all. There are lots of options. I am relaxed, and my kids are not stressed. They are learning a lot. They are very smart. This is how the Lord has led me to homeschool. I have homeschooled my older kids all the way through. I still have young children, and I plan to continue homeschooling them all the way through, too. If you try to do too much or compare what you are doing with others, you will probably end up burnt out, discouraged, and may end up quitting. I will never consider quitting unless the Lord tells me I have to. But we need to do what the Lord tells us to do, and we need to do it in a way that is sustainable.

In the near future, my oldest son Shawn and I are planning to write a blog post called, “Come On, Homeschoolers, Get Outside of the Box!” We want to encourage homeschoolers to think differently from the world and especially from the public school system. God is raising up a mighty army. We need to be His people, not people just like everybody else. Our goals and desires should be different from the goals of the world or the culture around us. I’m excited to have Shawn collaborate with me. Be watching for this blog post. It’s going to be good. Get ready to think deeply, because Shawn is a philosopher.

You can read more of Barbie’s post at http://lolache.com/LOLblog/what-is-necessary/. I encourage you to read this post and all of the other posts on LOLACHE’s blog. They are teaching a message that I think we all need to hear.

Teaching Children Reverence for God

I was inspired to think about this topic through the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival that is happening here this week.

My overarching philosophy is “Values are caught more than they are taught”, so my first thought about this is that parents model reverence for God, and then children automatically revere and honor God, too. It may not always turn out that way, but I believe this is generally what happens.

One way that I have modeled reverence for God is that I speak about Him with reverence. I never take His name in vain and don’t allow that kind of language in our entertainment. Whenever I speak about God I talk about how great and holy and loving He is. I often speak about the wonderful things He has done for us.

Whenever we study Science, I usually say something about how awesome God is as our Creator and the Creator of all things. When we study the universe, we are awed by how majestic and omnipotent God is. We see the stars and how far away they are, the planets and how enormous and diverse they are, the galaxies and how beautiful and magnificent they are, and we are filled with reverence and wonder. Then we study the microscopic world and are overwhelmed with God’s attention to detail and the care He takes to give intricacy to forms of life that we can’t even see with the naked eye. All of this inspires reverence for God, our Creator, the Creator of all things.

When we study the Bible, I emphasize God’s mighty acts and steadfast love. We have studied the major Bible stories and Bible characters and God always shows His power and omnipotence and omniscience through the events that are recorded in these stories in Scripture. He does miracles. He delivers His people. He speaks to the people who will listen to Him. He is active and interested in the affairs of men and nations. His purposes unfold. History itself is His Story!

I worship God and honor Him through singing and bowing before Him and raising my hands to Him. We sing worship songs together and individually with CD’s, or other forms of media. We sing to Him a capella or accompanied by Anna on her guitar. We spontaneously sing to Him when our hearts well up with gratitude to Him. I try to maintain a worshipful attitude in our home. This is not always possible because of video games or other entertainment that some members of the family are engaged in throughout the day, but for the most part, I try to do things myself that are God-centered because those are the things that I enjoy the most. I am not trying to act all holy, but in this day and age, I believe that the closer we can stay to God, the better prepared we will be for the things that are coming.

We have family prayer time every day. We bring our petitions to Him. We thank Him for what He has done. We praise Him for who He is. We pray for others. Sometimes we share a devotional reading or a family-building teaching during this time. We sometimes reminisce about the miraculous things He has done for us in the past. Our children see both of their parents deferring to God as the leader of our family and the Provider and Protector that we depend on to meet all of our needs. We say The Lord’s Prayer together at this time, too.

This is a true and honest account of the ways that I have tried to instill reverence for God in the hearts of my children.

To me, actions speak louder than words, and when our children observe our reverent attitude toward God, they adopt that attitude themselves.

Charlotte Mason spoke of the dangers of children developing an image of God as an Almighty Being watching from a distance, unconcerned about the affairs of man. Or another false idea of God standing by waiting to punish disobedience. But I believe that the personal approach we take to our relationship with God prevents these ideas from forming in the minds and hearts of our children. But at the same time, they develop the proper respect and reverence for Him as their Creator and Father in Heaven.