By author Shari McMinn
We live in an age of Pinterest perfectionism — I call it a “Martha” world. We are super busy and too much is expected of men, women, and even children! As a homeschool mom to lots of kids, a long-time farm wife, working part-time in our home businesses, and volunteering in our community, I had a lot on my plate for many years. In my human frailty, I could only do so much despite my desire to do more, and I wanted to do it all really well. Honestly, I did not even do most of it, nor perfectly. I often did it minimally, and was grouchy because of the overload. My house was a mess, my children “farm wild,” my marriage not nurtured as it should have been, and I was a train wreck at the end of most days. Throw in a variety of unique learners to our homeschool life mix, and I flew by the seat of my pants more often than not! I have a Pinterest account but long ago gave up looking at it, so as not to become discouraged!
Yet, despite my continual failures, somehow God blessed our lives. I wonder, does He give us an A for effort when we are well-meaning in faithfully following Him? My family survived (with only a few trips to the emergency room), my kids all graduated and are now adulting, with some doing better than others. I did have daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and even decade goals. I reached some but not the majority. Looking back, I realize that the most important goal amidst the mountain of goalposts, was focusing on Christ and pointing my kids to Him day-in and day-out through nearly three decades of homeschooling.
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Luke 10:38-11:4 NKJV).
Whether you are a Martha or a Mary, a Peter or a Paul, God loves you and your family needs you to guide them each and every day. This should be primarily done by sitting at the feet of Jesus, being with Him, letting Him lead you, enjoying your fellowship together, and praying to Him. Sure, Marthas can get a lot done in a day, but is that the most important thing? Homeschooling well is important, but a life focused on and resting in Christ is even a bigger priority. And “The Lord’s Prayer” can help get you there.
So, what are reasonable goals for us as homeschooling parents and our children? Generally speaking …
Academic goal: Provide each student with an opportunity to learn – at their ability level – the 3 R’s, core curriculum, family interests, their personal strengths, and character as they endure their struggles.
Faith goal: Take time daily for individual Bible study, weekly family worship, and prayer to set the stage.
Family goal: Establish daily and weekly routines to accomplish needed activities, tasks, and fun events in relationship with one another.
Home management goal: Set daily, weekly, monthly, annual cleaning and organizing assignments for all.
Individual goal: Have each parent and student do scheduled school and/or work as required then pursue personal interests as time allows.
Notice the things that aren’t listed as goals: college prep to get into Ivy League schools, fancy garments cleaned and pressed, fine linen and china each meal, impressing friends, perfectly well-behaved children, pleasing relatives, straight A’s in all subjects, team sports every day, or even struggling students overcoming ALL of their challenges.
Though each of those idealistic items might be important on some level at some point in time, in 20 or even 50 years, will they matter? Will they mean anything in our future eternity spent with Jesus?
Even in the thick of raising adopted, disabled, foster, gifted, special needs labeled, struggling learners, et al, it is still all about you and your student(s) sitting at the feet of Jesus. In fellowship with Him, listening to His still small voice, and praying to Him for leading and wisdom. I hope this encourages you to set (or reset) simple goals this year while focusing on Christ as your Savior and Lord.
To assist you with your new homeschool year goals, check out these CHEC links:
- Meet other families in your area through a vetted and recommended Homeschool Group.
- Plan for some family fun by checking out our Community Calendar page.
- Purchase Colorado’s most essential homeschooling resource, including the very helpful and practical chapter, “Different Learners.” Homeschool Guidebook for Colorado.
- Sign-up for FREE and attend online (from the comfort and convenience of your home) during the week of October 15-19, 2022, the Homeschool Family Relationships Summit 2.0.
- Spend time finding additional resources at our webpage for Unique Learners.
Next month I’ll share my ideas for helping students who are both behind AND ahead. It is a conundrum of allowing them to soar in their strengths yet also helping them to catch up in their weaknesses.
PS: If you have a topic you want me to cover, please email me with your suggestion(s).
Shari McMinn, your trusted homeschooling friend