We think and choose carefully and set out for a new school year with typical September zeal.
And then: those plans will go awry.
There is no foolproof way to homeschool, and though we may try to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise, we aren’t in control. (Thank goodness!)
I have a tendency to live in my ideals. I picture our ideal day, week, or term, and then I feel chronically disappointed because it never becomes my reality. I’m tight-fisted. I cling ruthlessly to my own vision and fail to recognize that the beauty is in the muddle.
What it really boils down to is a lack of humility and a failure to see that God is glorified even when the day looks nothing like it did when I mapped it out on paper. I’m so intent on having things go my way that I don’t leave room for Him to turn the whole thing on its head and do with it what He wills.
How do we open our fist? How do we teach from rest, willing to receive anything He hands us?
I love what Jennifer says in Something Other Than God:
“The secret to being humble is to be so focused on how you can make other people’s lives better that you don’t care who’s right or wrong.”
In our case, one might say the key to being humble is to be so focused on pleasing God that we don’t care how closely our actual day aligns with our ideals. He takes enormous pleasure in bringing order from chaos- from taking our measly efforts and spinning them into something beautiful for His delight.
To that end, we are responsible to hand Him our loaves and fishes. We hand Him that basket and open our hands. He is responsible for the miracle. He never asked us to feed the 5,000- He just asked us to come with what we have and believe that He would do the feeding.
Diligence matters. Faithfulness over little things matters too.
But the outcome? That is not ours to dictate, though we fall into the trap now and again of thinking otherwise.
“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will.” –Ann Voskamp
We would do well as homeschooling mothers to make “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” a motto we lived by day by day, moment by moment, math meltdown by math meltdown. When we bring our best, let go of control, and refuse to assess our success by how closely our reality matches our initial vision, we homeschool from humility. We don’t care if we are right or wrong or whether our egos are stroked by the brilliance of our teaching- we are focused on how we can serve God alone by serving our families.
It isn’t that our hands are empty- that we hope God will take over because we have nothing to bring, nothing to give, nothing to offer Him. We offer Him all that we are, all that we hope- every history lesson and Latin declension and spelling word– and we let Him do with it what He will.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. In our homeschools, every day, all over the world.
Read the whole three-part series: Planning with the Schole Sisters