Monday, August 13, 2018

Preparing for the Upcoming School Year: Are You a Mary or a Martha?....

Luke 10:38-42 King James Version (KJV)
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Many of us are familiar with the story of Mary and Martha found in the Book of Luke. I believe it's a great story to bear in mind as we prepare for back to school. Are you a Mary or a Martha in your preparations? Are you feeling anxious about the upcoming year? Maybe you are new to home education or you have a first time high school student. Are you feeling pressured about choosing the perfect curricula or creating just the right plan? Maybe you have frightful thoughts of ruining your child. Or, you have family members and friends doubting your methods. Are you comparing to other home educators either locally or online and feeling like you're not measuring up? Any one of these can cause stress, but fortunately, God calls us for something more.
Philippians 4:6-7 King James Version (KJV)
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He calls us to Him when we are anxious, fretting, jealous, competitive, discouraged, and unworthy. He is there in our darkest hour. He calls us to repent and rest in Him.
Matthew 11:28-30 King James Version (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
If you are feeling more like Martha these days, it's time to Repent, Recommit, and Restart.


Andrew Kern from the CiRCE Institute speaks often about repentance. He says in doing so, you will come to understand what it means to be a free person. If we make an idol of books, curricula, lesson plans, and what our neighbor is doing, we will be a slave to those things and thoughts. When we repent, we cast off those idols, which opens our hearts and minds to the grace of our Lord. When you make yourself a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ, you become free. That inner discourse becomes peace.

There is no such thing as a perfect homeschool. Repent of perfection, which often stems from comparison. God's final commandment says,
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. (KJV)
This applies to your homeschool. Do not compare and desire what your neighbor appears to have, whether that be locally or online. It is sinful. Notice I said what your neighbor appears to have. Comparing my outside (online images) to your inside (reality) is comparing apples to oranges. What appears outside is often not reality. It is my experience that we are really not that different on the inside. Learn to be content with what you have. After all, it can always be worse.

Your identity should not be wrapped up in your homeschool. Therefore, you do not need to justify it. Genesis 1:26-27 tells us we were made in the image of Christ. Psalm 139:13-16 tells us we were knit together...fearfully and wonderfully made. Our self worth is often based on what others tell us about ourselves. However, the one, true authority on our self-worth is Jesus Christ. Having gave His own life for us by dying on a cross, shows how valuable we really are.You are enough in Christ, exactly what you need to be with or without your homeschool. Don't let your homeschool define you. If you do, when your kids are grown and gone, you will be left with nothing.


Once you have repented, it's time to recommit. This is where you go back to your original intentions and goals to figure out why you homeschool in the first place and what is it you're trying to achieve. If you haven't created a vision statement for your homeschool, now is the time. A vision statement is your road map, showing what you want to become. It communicates your values and purpose, allowing you to focus on future plans.

Slow down! Often times overwhelm comes from busyness. Take time to contemplate your family's social commitments. Look at how many days a week you are away from home vs. at home. Social outings can be a source of refreshment. However, too many can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. It's OK to say no. Stay home. Recommit, reconnect and recharge with your kiddos in the solitude of your home.

Look at each subject you are teaching and determine what you can cut. It is not possible to cover everything. Your child will have gaps. Every student does regardless of their schooling. Choose to keep only that which is best. If your goal is a love of learning, your children will desire to continue to learn throughout life. Any books unfinished or not able to fit the schedule now, may result in future endeavors as an adult. Learning is not fixed. It should be constant and continual.

Reassess the nature of yourself. Be sure you're getting enough rest and proper nourishment. Not only in the physical form of food, but pabulum for your mind. Take time to fill your cup with things that encourage and allow you to grow both spiritually and mentally, as well as physically. Recommit to yourself so that you are better able to give freely to your children with a servant's heart.


After repenting and recommitting, it's time be begin anew. Kick off the year with a fresh attitude and a heart of service. Enjoy your children and this limited time with them. Flea from worry and anxiety, which are sinful. Instead, trust God and teach restfully. Sit at His feet and hear His word like Mary, rather than being cumbered by serving like Martha. Find gratitude and give thanks. In turn, you will find peace and joy.

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