Homeschool Heavenly Father
We’ve had a generally non-academic week. Monday we cleaned the ridiculous mess formerly known as our living quarters - prior to the rush of last week’s “time-out,” and we learned how to cook a delicious chicken and spinach entree. Tuesday we played catch-up, paying overdue bills, returning overdue library books, laundering clothes overflowing their hampers, and packing for the next day’s trip. Wednesday, after a violin lesson, we departed Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for Macon, Georgia. After several en route stops to visit Christian family and sister churches, we checked into our Marriott room shortly after midnight. Thursday we made the seventy mile trek to Atlanta to take the kids to the World of Coca Cola, my favorite field trip of my elementary years. Then we attended the Georgia Christian Convention (where their daddy was a featured speaker) Thursday night through Saturday morning, ate at a few new restaurants, made several new friends and browsed the flea market in Savannah on our way back home.
Our family with the polar bear Coke mascot
So as I reflected on these things, I asked the Lord to show me what exclusively-homeschool lesson we ought to take away from this week. Immediately, He answered. Though we didn’t do much book work this week, we did plenty of people work. Some call it “socialization,” but I say it’s so much more than just that. So many learning opportunities were afforded to my girls this week - lessons in making good first impressions, in graciously accepting compliments, in sitting quietly through the “grown-up services” (a skill also known as self-control), and in positively reflecting the organization (Promise Land Ministries) and the preacher (Daddy) they represent. They got practice in politeness - holding doors for the elderly, the handicapped, and the bellhops pulling heavy luggage carts; using good manners around tables where they were surrounded by brand new acquaintances; speaking loudly and clearly when introducing themselves and answering adults’ questions; and applying the conversational skills I’ve tried to teach them via Dobson’s “roll the ball” game (if you’re not familiar with it and would like to be, please just ask).
Now, admittedly, I (almost inadvertently) answered the Lord with, “But this ‘people work’ isn’t gonna pay the bills when they’re grown.” He responded, “Is that your goal in educating them - to enable them to pay bills?” Christians, isn’t our Lord wonderful? He’s constantly teaching ME - probably more than I’m teaching them! No, my goal for them isn’t that they be able to pay the bills - that they just get by in this world, pursuing financial gain, worldly employment and the titles and praise of men. My goal for them is that they love and serve God and that they love and serve others. Considering this ultimate purpose, it immediately became clear to me that our Georgia trip was actually one big, engaging, hands-on lesson, tailor-made for our Home Sweet School.
And aside from providing the education He knew my daughters needed this week, God ministered to me on the trip as well. I would’ve never expected to tag along with my husband for this convention - attended almost exclusively by senior citizens - to find a scheduled homeschool workshop (taught by an older gentleman who serves as administrator over his church-based Christian school); to have our booth placed right next to Florida Christian College’s display, which was tended by a couple who, after 26 years of homeschooling, will see their youngest child graduate in two weeks; and to be introduced to The Old Schoolhouse iPad app by the rep from Johnson University, whose wife is a contributing columnist for TOS magazine. Oh, it’s so wonderful to know I’m loved so much that the Author of all creation would take time to set up these divine appointments just for me!
As a matter of fact, I’d venture to say that if God came down here to be an earthly Father - like Jesus came down here to be an earthly Son - He’d likely be a homeschooling Dad. After all, only in homeschooling is the kind of individualized care I’ve described here provided. My kids aren’t just nameless faces among thousands of students in government institutions - like I’m not just a nameless face among billions of people in a fallen world. God knows my name; He knows my heart; and - by His love for me - He provides a beautiful and precious model of how I ought to know my own children’s hearts, and how I must minister to them through education and through every other provision He funnels down to them through me.