What matters to you? For me, the answer is simple: other than my relationship with God, my family matters most to me. To get more specific, how I guide my kids through the gauntlet of child-and-teenhood is of utmost importance to me during these brief years. And that sounds great, right? Many of us might say the same. But the thing is, I get so distracted by all the good/interesting/fun/educational/creative/ministerial things I could be doing that I forget to keep my priorities straight. Like the raccoon who can’t extricate his arm from a trap because he’s clinging to the shiny bit of tinfoil, I can hang on to activities or ideas I think are good even when they’re causing me to neglect the “main things” in my life. A wise woman, teacher, and author, Sally Clarkson writes about the temptation for moms to get distracted by all sorts of things and forget to mother according to their most cherished ideals. She reminds us that we only have a few big rocks (main things) we need to fit into the jars of our lives, but many little ones (everything else). If we put the little rocks in first, you guessed it, there’s no longer room for the big rocks. I don’t know what your big rocks are, or even if you’re a mother with kids in the home. But I’d like to encourage you (and myself) that whatever matters most to you, whatever you know-as-you-know should be a the top of your life list, focus on that. Give it priority, keep it out in front of you. Don’t get distracted. In the end, I think we’ll all be glad we kept the main things the main thing.
Summer is just around the corner (notice how I keep saying that? Somebody’s, uh, ready). If you’ve been thinking “educational thoughts” lately or have had questions about schooling options for your kids, summer is a good time to read relevant books, ask questions, do a little research, etc. If your mind is made up about the fall and you’re comfortable with the path your kids are on, cheers! That is a good place to be. But, let’s say you’re not quite at ease with the way things are going at your kids’ brick-and-mortar school and you’ve creaked the door of your mind open to the possibility of teaching your kids at home. In that case, I have a book recommendation for you. I tell everyone who’s in your shoes to read it. In fact, I read it myself when I need to be reminded of why I landed on this side of the educational fence. There are other important books you might read on this topic, of course, along with poorly written and weakly argued ones. There are Christian worldview books about home education (a worldview I share), secular tomes, how-to’s, manifestos…All of them have their place, I’m sure. But this book is the one to start with, in my humble opinion. It’s the first step down the rabbit hole of Doing Things Differently. You could even read it with sand between your toes, if you’re lucky enough to have sand between your toes this summer. In any case, if you’re asking questions about why the trend of teaching children at home is exploding across the nation and abroad this book will shed some light on the subject. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that homeschooling is right for your family, too.