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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.

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