When forming my homeschool vision for the year, I always set out to incorporate more Bible, less academics than I did the previous year as I attempt to shed the public school model for preschool and grade school from my mindset. I always begin with a careful evaluation of the subjects required by my state so that my homeschool is legal and of the results of last year's standardized test so that I can make up for any deficiencies that may exist.
If I have learned one thing in planning my homeschool it is to not plan too far in advance. Having next years curriculum lying about the house has proved to be too great a temptation for my children's thirsty little minds. I'll enter a room and find that they've succumbed to their disobedient wills and are reading their new books before they've been assigned. In order to cultivate the seeds that I intend to plant this year, I don't want them to be subjected to a great deluge of information that runs off their minds, rather I want a slow gentle rain of knowledge to permeate their fertile soils so that in time to come they can reap a bountiful harvest. I feel that 3-4 weeks is sufficient time for me to evaluate last years successes and shortcomings and set goal for the upcoming year, select curriculum, search our library to see what needs they can meet, order books and materials, and wait for the arrival of the shipment. Hopefully, that is about a week before we are scheduled to begin, which gives me just enough time to prepare the first lessons.
It's when I begin that process that trouble enters the picture. A fog settles in and I lose sight of the goals that I had when I originally set my mind to this task. It is browsing attractive websites, thumbing through colorful catalogues, and reading other mom's reviews that clouds my good sense. I bookmark page after page of resources that I imagine would enrich those little minds. (Knowing my proclivity to want to purchase and plan beyond what is absolutely necessary, I am determined to avoid homeschool conventions at all costs! The enticement of vendor tables would be more than I might be able to bear. So like I restrain my children from disobedience, through delaying my yearly purchases, I restrain myself by all together avoiding the perceived temptations that a convention would have.)
While tallying up the expense, it quickly becomes very apparent that condensing is my next vital and necessary step and even after that is done, I become discouraged wondering how I am going to ever keep to my budget. This year it is even more important for me to stick to my budget as a new vocation has left us with well over 1/3 less income annually. It was necessary to suppress feelings of panic as I pondered how could I possibly provide my homeschool with adequate educational resources on such a restricted budget!?? (I did a series a few months ago, Homeschooling On A Budget, perhaps it's time I reread my writings.)
Then the Lord reminds me For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:8 His educational goals ought to be the focus of my curriculum planning NOT the states. The goal and focus of my homeschool should be to raise my children to become Ambassadors for Christ and not necessarily to hold a position that society would hold in high regard.
That's not to say that the Lord doesn't esteem education. On the contrary, the Old Testament book of Proverbs repeatedly points to the value of gaining knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
For the Lord giveth wisdom, out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. Psalm 111:10
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 4:5
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather than to be chosen than silver? Proverbs 16:16
But what kind of education? From where is this wisdom to be acquired ? Thankfully, we need look no further than the pages of Scripture for an answer! And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6,7 Of Abraham God says, For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; Genesis 18:19 Certainly not from textbooks. 1 Corinthians 3:19 reminds me, For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. While they aren't inherently evil or wrong, textbooks shouldn't be foundational to a Christian education, but supplemental and never to be used without the filter of Scripture. (I don't personally consider a graven image of "Jesus" every few pages to be a use of this filter. In fact considering the second commandment, I'd suggest that to be a complete lack of filter.)
I have found that an additional benefit to helping our children seek after God's wisdom rather than man's is that there is no last page. There is nothing for us to look toward at the end of the year to show us, in our pride, how well we've done and what great things we've accomplished. It causes us to rely entirely upon Him for our success.
With these thoughts in mind, I'm planning my school year and making my purchases this week. It's a rather exciting year too because after 5 years, I'm officially registering a new pupil. Now that I've overcome my yearly coveting of resources, I intend later this week to share more about exactly what I'll be doing this year in our homeschool and how I'll still stay within the parameters set by my state.
Desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:9,10