I am going to merge a little bit of my religious life with homeschooling world in this blog. Many years ago, I was serving in a leadership position in my particular church with a very wise wonderful man. One of the frequent conversations that came up in our one on one meetings was around the topic of being an administrator or a minister.
Homeschooling your children, in my opinion no matter what your religious beliefs, is a spiritual matter. I have shared many posts already exploring both sides of the coin. To have a well run homeschool requires many of the skills of an administrator. A homeschool parent is a teacher, aide, principal, front desk receptionist, CEO, nurse and psychologist all rolled into one. If you don't provide structure, organization and parameters, good luck on that science experiment you will never get around to! Without some of the skills that administrators have or develop quickly to survive in their jobs, you will most likely find yourself in hot water over not obtaining that yearly evaluation. You will accumulate fines at the library that might have financed an important item for your homeschooling program. Your children really might benefit from public or private schooling. I had to assist a few families in this boat to put their children back into school because they were in a perpetual state of chaos in their homes and lost the desire to even try to improve.
However, to balance it all out, you also need the attitude of a minister to be truly effective in your children's lives. "For every little boy or girl in our world, there’s a father or mother who can get so focused on achieving life’s little goals that he or she fails to see the opportunities to make their child prince or princess for an hour, or a day- and do an eternal work in their hearts. Our noble missions, even legitimate ministry involvements, steal time that ought to be given to our children." Monte Swan, 'Romancing Your Child's Heart'."
I had the opportunity one year at a FPEA convention to hear Monte and his wife discuss this concept. There are times to take the administrator's hat off and minister to your children. While some structure is good to prevent the chaos from swallowing up your learning opportunities, rigidity will kill off desire for learning. Again, I have mentioned in several earlier blogs to allow for spontaneous learning, to be willing to take detours and to encourage enthusiasm. There are times with certain bad days to turn the emotional climate around and leave the house to let the kids run in the park.
Of most importance, is a minister's ability to care about the individual above programs. In our particular faith denomination, a frequent saying is "People before programs". We have programs that enhance and enrich our lives. We have wonderful programs. But even with all that is wonderful, every person in leadership needs to learn how to make sure they are capable of leaving the ninety and nine to seek out the one.
As it should be in our own homes. The concept of romancing our children's hearts never left me after sitting in on that particular forum. It's tough work to progress towards this balance. There will be no one perfect at it. I sincerely believe, in almost all circumstances, that parents love their children and want only the best for them.
So feel encouraged to throw out the curriculum that worked well with two of the children and is absolutely killing the desire to learn in the third child. Go ahead and rework the schedule to allow for that weekly enrichment lesson or extracurricular activity out of the home that one of these kids desperately wants and therefore needs! This next suggestion might earn me a boo or a hiss. Be brave and change your schooling situation completely if chaos prevails and your heart is so not into it that you are now resentful of the whole adventure. I think very few will find themselves in this category. However, continue to want what's best for your child.
Throughout the New Testament, we read of Jesus ministering to the one. He urged his listeners to leave the ninety and nine and find the lost one. Ministering to our children, while also doing a decent job of being an administrator, is one of the best gifts we can give to our children. It will never be wasted time. On certain bad days or weeks, you might be the one who needs rescuing! Recognize it and take care of it quickly so you can go back to romancing your child's heart!
"The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes." President Harold B. Lee