Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.
One of my favorite lines from a favorite movie — You’ve Got Mail.
I love the pulse of back-to-school season. Here at home, I’ve been reshuffling books, moving last year’s books to lower shelves and replacing them with this year’s stuff. Backpacks have been reorganized. I’ve replenished our stockpile of spiral notebooks and lined paper. And I’ve begun laying out this year’s school schedule.
We are, amazingly, going into our 16th year of homeschooling.
When God called us to homeschool, I really struggled with the decision. My oldest two were in a sweet, small Christian school and we were zoned to an excellent public elementary school. Though I was used to being at home with my kids, taking on their education was seemed gargantuan.
I remember telling Dan that I’d do it, but he’d have to let me get out of the house a lot because I’d be a crazy woman by 5:00 p.m. every day!
But as I prayed through the summer, God clearly called us to home educate. The verse He continued to set before me was Deuteronomy 6:4-7:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
And so we plunged into the great unknown.
I had no idea what my homeschool philosophy was (that you could even have one!) and I certainly had no long-term vision. I was taking it one year at a time and I had little clue what the routine of our days would look like.
With so much to learn and to figure out that year, the ONE thing I did right was to start our day with Bible time.
I really only had an inkling that we needed to steward our day just like we stewarded our money by setting aside the first part for God.
So I gathered up five little children, put the baby on my lap, and opened the Bible to Genesis 1.
I didn’t have any curriculum. It was pretty simple: we read and asked questions and applied the fresh Word that God had for us that day.
Slowly we worked our way through Genesis and then through the next book and the next.
On so many days, I woke up preoccupied with the day’s long to-do list. Math work loomed. The telephone always rang.
And as the years of homeschooling went on, the lure of pressing academics pulled even more.
But – knowing I needed to but not yet seeing its full impact — I protected that Bible time.
I realized that if nothing else got done that day except our Bible time, it was a good day.
And something happened as we gathered each morning. It became my favorite part of the day.
After getting up and dressed, eating breakfast and doing chores, we pushed pause on the day’s rush to open the Word together. Morning after morning turned into months and then into years.
We memorized verses, worked through a catechism, read and discovered and discussed and applied. We prayed for missionaries, looking up their countries on our globes. We prayed for family and friends and people across the world.
There have been days when we got the phone call and dropped everything to tend to an immediate need. There have been days when academics stopped altogether to work on character and days when science didn’t happen because mom forgot to buy insulted copper wire and a 6-volt battery.
But if we’ve gathered the family together to open the Bible together, it’s a good day.
In the mysterious economy of God, He blesses the rest when we give him the first. And as the days have turned to months and now years, I can see that.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
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