Monday, October 22, 2012

lessons of the heart

I have struggled with how to document this school year's progress.  In some ways, I feel like I am still trying to figure some things out which leaves me in no position to speak with confidence or authority about methods or materials.
And then, in other ways, I do feel confident in what I want learning to look like in our home, but I hate making it sound like I've got it all together.
How about some transparency?
I'm typing this right now when normally we would be working on grammar, spelling, read alouds and other quieter work while the girls nap.
But a little while ago, as I was looking over some copywork that Seth had completed in cursive earlier this morning, I noticed two letters that I wanted him to re-write a different way.  His cursive is very nice and I am very pleased with the neatness and accuracy of his handwriting.  However, I saw some changes that needed to be made. I also noticed that he missed a word in the copywork, so I pointed that out as well, asking him to correct that.  Something else that he was doing, not related to academics, needed some correcting, until it all snowballed into him becoming upset and bringing further problems to the table.
As I spoke to him about these issues and watched him angrily correct the mistakes, I was reading through the passage that he had previously read and completed both a oral and written narration on and found many details that he had neglected to tell and write about.  His narrations were very skimpy, given the rich detail found in the few paragraphs of material.  By now, he is no mood to hear any further reproof and was quite upset and complaining that he should be able to have a nap(unheard of for him).
And by now, I'm quite annoyed by all that has transpired in the last five minutes, so I order him up to his room with his book to re-read the selected passage and add to his written narration.  He left quite mad.  I also was mad over how quickly the situation had deteriorated.
At this point, I couldn't care less about his handwriting or written narration, I am much more focused on helping him mature in his character development(and mine too!) Or what I think of as his spiritual training, his discipling.  Biblical parenting is a fully-orbed discipleship program.  One minute you are discussing barnacles and the next, you are asking them to maturely handle making corrections to their work.  Minutes later, you are praying with them to be victorious in a bad habit and then going on to enjoy the next chapter of Little Men together, which is how I hoped this afternoon could end.
But the day is not over and since he has fallen asleep now (which is definitely not normal for him), I will give him time to rest and when he comes back downstairs, I will offer a hug and speak with more gentleness about how we can do better tomorrow.  Yes, I have lessons and books planned, but I don't put much hope in lessons on grammar and spelling when the lessons of the heart need more attention.
I have found that all of this, whether it is planning science lessons or teaching self control, require me to be in constant prayer for wisdom and a gentle spirit, because my natural personality is not to be gentle.  As soon as I start thinking, "I've got this under control or I've got this great routine", then I forget to pray and seek God's help for each situation.
This is not the homeschool update I thought I was going to try to write today.  I will try to post something more typical soon, but some days don't happen the way you think they will.  <Nervous laugh>  And that's the lesson for everyday.

In his heart a man plans his course,
    but the Lord determines his steps.
~Proverbs 16:9


  1. I often pray for that gentle and quiet spirit, too!

    Thank you for your transparency, Heather. It's nice to know others have those kinds of days, too!


  2. Thankful for your example and your encouragement, Stacy. You are kind to leave a note for me. ♥

  3. Anonymous9:42 AM

    This was the perfect post Heather - as my family stumbles through October, after the glow of the new school year has worn off .... and I weep over the ineluctable facts of fallen daily life together - anger and rage and selfish ambition - those are just a few ... what would I do without knowing you are with me in this?

    Bless you for your hand-holding and care of those that are still just starting this journey. I pray taht psalm 139 woudl be true that He woudl search me and know my anxiety - test me and know my thoughts. He would pluck out the evil in me and lead in His everlasting ways.


  4. Kathleen,
    You dear friend. It was a humbling afternoon and I needed some humbling. Now remember this the next time you think it's only you who can't get this parenting thing down pat...and then pray for ME!
    love you!

  5. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I do pray for you, Heather. I need to pray more
    love you and miss you all =)


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