This year I planned to live and breathe more in patience and peace. (I struggle with both of these) Seems that was not part of the plan though. Looking back I realize that I determined to practice and hold onto these things but I did not play how I would do it.
I think so often I set myself up for failure; my kids too. We do not have goals. Or if we did they are unclear. This year my oldest son and I are setting some goals together. My younger two are as well! And not just for the homeschool but also for our home. Let’s face it, while being able to stay home with our children is one of the sweetest blessings of homeschooling, but it also presents so many challenges. Our homes are truly lived-in! They get messy. Fast. There are so many beautiful things about living a lifestyle of learning but it sure can take over the home. You should see our countertops and tables. lol
Sure we are home more often than the average family, but even t home we are “busy” as we go from one rabbit trail to another. Looking past all the mess 😛 That said we need to be more organized, we need to have that peace in our home. And it can only come if we, as mommas, don’t just set those goals but also bring our children along side us so that they too can learn how to keep the peace while living a lifestyle that embraces learning!
I learned this as a life lesson in fact, last night. When my husband got home; we were getting kids jammed and settled in for a short show with daddy before bedtime. And I see a bowl left on the table. A cup in the living room. Clothes on the bathroom floor from my oldest son dancing in the rain earlier in the day. It hit me then and there. We need to focus more of life skills. Living and learning is great. But so is cleaning up after your experiences! My husband agreed, we need to be better organized in our home; consistent in our expectations of our kids and giving them responsibility over their things. They need to feel a sense of ownership ownership in the home and family.
Let’s Get the Right Perspective
I forget sometimes, my perspective gets lost. We are not in this to replicate a classroom in a public or private school. We are here to encourage a love of learning, to guide our children into a life full of rich and meaningful experiences. To build them and mentor them as they become more and more who God created them to be.
1. Nothing is Perfect. We all have to admit, to some degree, that when we are organized, when our home is in order, we are as well. There is a peace that comes from things having their place and being in that place. Yet as your children get older we have to let go a bit (I can be such a control freak) and train them in this very thing. It certainly doesn’t do for momma to organize and keep everyone. Our children need to be a part of the home, its about a sense of ownership, taking responsibility. They need to learn how to be organized, how to maintain their things and their space. It sure makes house cleaning take longer but in the end it is well worth the time invested.
2. Instilling Lifelong Habits. We all have habits, both good and bad— Charlotte Mason expressed it this way: “What you would have the man become, that you must train the child to be” (Vol. 2, p. 15). The Early Years are the perfect time to concentrate on forming good habits in our children. It is never too late to instill a good habit, but how much easier it is if we instill good habits right from the start! We need to walk beside our children more often. We need to slow down and take the time to truly train these simple habits into them. It matters. This is not easy, but most things worth doing are not. With my younger son and my oldest daughter, it is an easy thing to do. They like the idea of all of their things in a place; neat and tidy. My oldest son? He is clueless ~ He doesn’t mind the mess and chaos. He will walk by the same pile of dirty clothes repeatedly until I lead him to putting them in their place in the hamper. Lessons, habits, organization and goals, these come at a much slower pace and we need smaller steps and goals leading up to that one big task.bEven if it isn’t so big to you or me.
4. Attitude is Catching. I admit it, I am not a glass half full ind of gal. I spend a lot of time doing what must be done. But the other day I read this amazing piece on how, we need our perspective to be that we “get to” rather than that we “have to”. It is the same with our children. One bad attitude can sour the whole gang. We cannot organize things, set goals, or keep home and learning a place of love and peace if we come at that as though we were going to battle. As Paul says, let us “think ourselves happy!” in all things!
5. There is no “I” in Team In the end what is the goal? Most assuredly my goal for my children is to see them living for Christ. But also my goal is for them to be independent, critical thinkers. To be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 🙂 We need to surround them with opportunities to explore and expand their minds. Whether it is a walk outside, the museum, a fun and messy experiment or creation … What is it that they are learning? I think too often we do not see all that can be learned in the simple experiences we have each day. Even washing the dishes, filing laundry, cooking a meal – these are important and full of skills to be mastered. We are all in this together. It can be difficult but we have to remember that this cannot work if we are not all in this together. It is a blessing to be able to be home educators; it is a blessing to have every one of our children. (even the loud and disgruntled little boy who never seems to do as he is told)
I have this amazing book that I was totally blessed by! ~motivate your child ~ With this is The Motivate Your Child Action Plan Book which contains specific strategies and tools to help you build your parenting plan for each child individually. Because who has two kids that are the same?
I think of how, like Solomon in the Bible, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom when it comes to our children. Can we step back and see, with another’s eyes, what it is that they have a passion for? Can we see where they struggle? Where they excel? And embrace them anyway right where they are?
My younger son, who is 5, loves to mop and vacuum our floors. My daughter, who is three, takes great joy in helping me to bake and wash dishes, fold up laundry. Yet my oldest son…He is more of a leader. Anything he is asked to do, he quickly delegates to a brother or sister eager to help! When it comes to work of any kid, he would much rather have others do the task at hand. He could be a great leader one day; for him right now it is important for him to see the value of work. We cannot truly be a leader if we cannot ourselves get our hands dirty.
Love What You Do!
Organizing. Goal Setting. These all call for us to be perseverant. They also require truth and simplicity. If our idea of cleaning our room is to throw all our things in the closet and shut the door, we are not truly cleaning or organizing. We need to work together. Smarter not harder they say right? And then, habit training comes in. We need discipline to keep things as they are once we complete the initial task. Let’s be honest: true organization, true goal setting requires us to stick with it. Every day. Whether we feel like it or not.
Enter in grace. Mercy. Patience. Togetherness. Endurance.
We must be patient. We must run the race, enduring to the end. And resting in Him for strength and wisdom all the way ❤