Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ask A Veteran: The Answer Edition

I invited our Facebook folks to pose their questions and promised to answer today. Here goes:

Dear Homeschool Veteran,

How do I save my last nerve? And my final marble?

Valerie, mom of 7

Well Valerie, your last nerve can be preserved if you carefully encase it in bubble wrap, cover it in duct tape, and hide it behind the crisper drawer in the fridge. You know, where you keep the emergency chocolate. Let that final marble loose in the dryer. You know that's where it's going to end up anyway. Thanks for writing!

Seriously though, what mom hasn't felt like Valerie? One kid or a dozen, home schooling or not, being a mom ain't fer sissies! So how do we preserve that precious last nerve? How can we safeguard what must surely be the very last marble? How do we say sane, to say nothing of joyful on this journey? Here are my suggestions, forged over 20+ years of mothering (what? I was a child bride).

Memorize a verse or passage of Scripture or an insightful quote to return to as often as needed to keep your vision and purpose clear.

One of my favorite non-Bible quotes is this one from Elisabeth Elliot:
“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” 
This brings my vision into sharp focus when the eye twitch threatens to make me blind from exhaustion or exasperation. I can choose to be faithful in the seeming small things of home keeping and home schooling, and I can decide to form my words, actions, attitudes, thoughts and motives around the unchanging truth of God's Word rather than my ever-changing feelings of the moment.

Do the work of finding a way to get into the Word every day.

You can't pour anything out of an empty cup. You DO have time to study God's Word. Keep one of these by the stove and read it while you're waiting for the water to boil for the thousandth batch of mac and cheese. It's all Scripture, arranged topically and portioned into morning and evening readings. And it takes a whopping 3 minutes at most. Read it more than once a day. Read it out loud over lunch (it's the only time they're all quiet ).

Consider making 20 minutes of your homeschool day "Bible Time". In our house, we use this for our daily Scripture reading. Since I'm not doing the reading, I can be training little ones to sit still or play quietly. We listen to 4 chapters each day, which is about 20 minutes most days. The older kids can read along in inexpensive, large print (for younger readers) Bibles. We start in Genesis and go straight through, and then we start again.

Lastly, for personal Bible study, may I suggest the very simple practice of reading one book of the Bible, in its entirety, every day for a month? I figured out a long time ago that I would learn more, sin less and be more firmly convicted of Truth if I just read the Bible, over and over, until its words were folded into the deepest places in my heart and were branded into the very center of my mind. I came to view tepid, hand-holdy Bible study books, with their fill-in-the-blank spoon feeding, with the same aversion I had for the notion of eating food someone else had chewed first. Give me the fresh meat of God's Word, and give me lots of it. For more on this approach to studying the bible, read this.

Ground yourself

Make time for that one thing that will "reset" you. Take a bath. Take a walk. Pull your husband or wife to you for a toe-curling, soul-healing, loin-stirring kiss (a personal favorite). Now. Doesn't everything look a bit better?

Do you have a question for the Homeschool Veteran? Send it to wilson(at)ochec(dot)com.

Yours in Christ,

Dana Wilson

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