Before we embark on another homeschool year, I want to clear up a couple of misunderstandings we had last year. Truth is, some school days I felt like a gladiator. You probably did too. Let’s start fresh, and agree on the following… shall we?
1. Mom is not the enemy. Most homeschool students unconsciously operate under the paradigm error that mom (and by extension anybody who doles out tasks) is the enemy. Don’t shoot the messenger applies distinctly to homeschool moms, who are the innocent messengers of academic tasks, household chores, the number of wrong questions in algebra, poor test grades, and sundry other pieces of “news” all day every day during the homeschool year. So don’t shoot the educator. She’s doing her job, her God-given job, and you make it loathsome when you complain and whine. Shooting the educator is predecessor to ticking off your boss, not a useful life skill no matter how you slice it. No, contrary to what you may believe, mom is not the enemy. She’s working her tail off to give you the gift of a solid, God-focused education, having set aside a career of her own to do it. Mom is not only your friend; she’s your biggest fan.
2. Education is not the enemy. Alas, your generation has stepped onto a culture train that believes education is a concubine, that it’s something shameful and nerdy and you keep it hidden in a closet until you take your ACT. Or that it’s something educators need to shove into your pursed lips like so much bad-tasting medicine. You’ve been handed a worldview that simultaneously loves money and hates the mechanism that acquires it: knowledge. This culture lie has become tsunamical, dragging intelligence down to its deepest depths since the dark ages. It screams at you from every form of social media. Don’t believe it. Education and knowledge are power. Just ask any IT guy.
3. Discipline is not the enemy. It’s a vital life skill, and we homeschoolers must be especially vigilant not to let it slip through the holes in our pajamas. A habit of self-discipline translates into success in just about any venue. People without self-discipline will pay big bucks for someone else’s. Think Tony Robbins, WeightWatchers, Team Beachbody, or Dave Ramsey. And what about all the businesses who promise results without the need for discipline? Take this pill and watch the fat melt off your body effortlessly… So when mom tells you to set your own alarm clock and get your subjects done by 2 PM, don’t pout and ask to be public schooled (see #4). Remind yourself that discipline is your friend, and your mom is teaching you to cultivate it while you’re young and it’s still free.
4. Public school is not the enemy, but neither is it a friend of God. Don’t demand to be public schooled every time you have a rough patch. That is insulting and disrespectful and ridiculous. Public school is not the hero coming to save you from the evil clutches of mom. It is work and stress and scary lunch food. Oh, and no pajamas, either. Public school is almost the same as homeschool, except you do your work in a great big building on hard chairs and desks with a bunch of other disgruntled students. God is the author of every subject, and shouldn’t be relegated to an elective or after-school activity. God is why we are here. On planet earth, yes, but also why we school at home. If you have a problem with it, see Him.
5. Excellence is not the enemy. If the subjects belong to God, then we have a holy duty to handle them with diligence and excellence. Excellence can only be achieved through hard work and in some cases, pain and sacrifice. Long after you’ve forgotten the hard times, your friend Excellence will stick by you. In fact, when you neglect to invite Excellence to the party, that will also stick by you. Or on you. Or on your reputation. Excellence is the friend who stands with you in a moment of glory and crawls with you in the hours of sacrifice. Learn about God’s creations: science, history, and algebra, as acts of worship, even and especially when you find it painful. Embrace excellence and dedicate your work to God.
6. Satan IS the enemy. And he’s wily. He dresses up like your annoying little sister, your overbearing mother, your needy high-maintenance friend, your impossible calculus, dreadful chores, etc. Satan wears any and every mask that will get you to break. If that doesn’t work, he can be a charmer, too, beckoning you to throw your workday down in favor of twitter, snap chat, facebook, and youtube. He is the ultimate interrupter, rude and brazen. He even interrupts your thoughts while your mother is trying to impart critical information to you. So turn off your device(s) and devote yourself entirely to something. It will feel unnerving at first, but you’ll get used to it. Satan can only interrupt you if you let him. Open the door of your mind an inch, and he’ll come through with a semi-truck. That is just his way. Know thy enemy. Recognize Satan when he comes knocking.
7. Love is your enemy’s enemy. Which makes it your friend. If you have all knowledge and have not love, you have become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. The way of the Christian is to love. Without it, we do not know God; for God is love. In your school day, when frustration sets in, when monotony threatens to put you to sleep, when every other grass seems greener, remember to love God and the people He’s placed around you. Love them by keeping your mouth shut, if that is what love would look like. Or love them by picking your socks up off the floor. Love them by gritting your teeth and throwing all you have at your chemistry problems and then, when you think you don’t have an atom of patience left, love by smiling at your mom when she asks you to fix your grammar mistakes. Anything you do with love in mind, is worship to God. No act is too small.
Glad we got that settled. We are all friends here: you, me, education, discipline, excellence, LOVE.
On behalf of homeschool moms everywhere– your friend, Mom.
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:10-13