Do you feel more joyful, motivated, passionate and excited about life when you are free to make your own decisions and choices or when you have someone else telling you what to do, how to do it and when to do it? Would you rather be free to follow your dreams and pursue your interests or try to live up to someone else’s expectations?
I have contemplated these questions recently for a variety of reasons and have been deeply struck by how important it is for people to feel free. Free to be who God made them to be. Free to pursue the dreams that God placed within them. Free to be the people that God desires them to be. Without feeling like they need to live the way that another person determines they should.
Each of us is an individual with our own talents, interests, hopes and dreams. And if we are in communion with the Lord, reading his Word and following Him then we can rest assured that all of those things have been placed in us by him; and through prayer and trust we can follow his lead to become the person he intends. We can be that person for Him.
I feel strongly about allowing our children to be the people that God created them to be. To pursue their interests, use their talents and hopefully to give Him glory through these things. I don’t want for us to just raise our children. I want to disciple our children so they know how to be followers of Christ and do the work he has called them to. Because God will call them to do his work and use those talents and abilities that he has placed within them, just as he does for us.
We are preparing our children for adulthood and even though I don’t want their time of childhood to go quickly I know that it will. The time will come when we need to let them spread their wings and fly. Will they be prepared? Will they be ready? Will we have done well at this job that God has called us to do as parents? I hope and pray the answer to those questions is yes.
And as I’ve recently considered these things I am keenly aware that I am not providing my children the best learning environment that I could. Through some recent experiences and failures God has shown me that I need to do things differently. I need to give my children more freedom in their learning. And he will be here with me to help me, because I have to tell you my friends that I can’t do it alone. This parenting and homeschooling thing is hard work, frustrating at times and often fills me with uncertainty. Thankfully He can guide our days. But that means we need to come to him daily to help us determine the most important areas to focus our time and energy on and how to best guide our children.
One change I have already made this week is to allow more free exploration time for our children. Especially Kellan who has been upset by a much too full schedule of teacher led instruction and outside activities. This special little boy who loves learning has been frustrated and tearful as he has been begging to make his own decisions and be in charge. While I know at the age of 5 he can’t solely be in charge, we can certainly give him the freedom to choose and pursue areas of interest and allow him to make some decisions on what he will work on. I’ve realized that I’ve been dictating his learning and that goes against my reason for homeschooling in the first place. But we can make changes and so we are. We will no longer be working to my schedule but working together to create a schedule that works for all of us
I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like yet but we will be changing how we do things here. I need some time to reflect and pray before deciding on the best way to move forward. In the end, you may not notice too much of a difference on the blog since most of Kellan’s work has been happening behind the scenes. While Kellan’s schedule will change, our letter of the week curriculum, which has been enjoyed by all three children, will most likely stay in place. However, from now until Christmas I am planning to take two weeks instead of just one to complete the books and activities for each letter. This will give us more time to focus on the reason for the season and celebrating Christ’s birth.
So even though you may not see much of a difference, I felt led to share this with you. Because, homeschoolers or not, we are all faced with situations as parents where we need to make a change in order to do what’s best for our children. I think we all want our children to grow and succeed and be the people God has called them to be. And sometimes that means tossing our agendas aside or making big changes even if it’s inconvenient or costly. God has entrusted these precious children to our care and with His help we can do this parenting thing well and guide our children to be the people God desires.
I will be more deliberate in these next months to spend one-on-one time with these wonderful children and allow them to take the lead on what they are interested in learning. I plan to take time with each child to read with them, play with them and talk with them as they make some choices; all without feeling rushed to get to the next thing on my list. Sometimes I get tricked into thinking that more is more when in fact less is often more. Rather than cramming ten million things into our daily schedule, I am going to choose a few important things God has guided me to and then do those things fully and completely with our children. And I have no doubt that our children will learn. And they will most likely be happier and more content as they learn things they want to learn in a way that works well for them. I truly believe that our children will thrive and flourish if they are given more freedom in this whole learning process.