By Todd Kangas, MPE President
Our homeschool classrooms employ different teaching tools. Each of these has a unique purpose that is very useful when used as designed.
But if you use this item improperly, the results are frustrating.
Let’s compare a telescope and microscope as two of these tools that may be in your home. Both instruments have lenses, tubes, and an eye opening. Both instruments are used to watch the minute details of the objects or things more clearly.
One of the main differences is that a telescope is used to view things that are far, whereas a microscope is used to view things that are very near.
The focal point in the case of a telescope may be at a far-off place. On the other hand, the focal point in the case of a microscope is just a fraction of an inch off.
You wouldn’t use a microscope to view the moon, nor would you use a telescope to look at biology slides. You just know and understand which instrument delivers results and try to avoid the frustration.
The wrong focal point
Sometimes in the life of a homeschool family, we use the wrong focal point when observing our children. The day-to-day grind often has our children under the microscope. We can so easily notice the things they are not doing. The expectations we have that are not being accomplished. While in the microscope mode, we may parent with a more exacting, maybe even critical eye.
This puts significant pressure on all parties. Our children are aware of our displeasure and disapproval. They may feel like nothing they do is good enough.
If this describes your home situation, perhaps another homeschool perspective might be helpful. We still are living together day to day. But now I’m trying to view my children with a telescopic perspective. I want to see the big picture for their life.
In space travel we don’t arrive there instantaneously. The New Horizons spacecraft that launched in January 2006 just went by Pluto this year.
What if the scientists who designed this trip were angry that the spacecraft wasn’t getting there fast enough? They poured all of their knowledge and skill into the project. The fact that after 9 years it had finally achieved its objective was a source of jubilation, along with the other successes on the journey.
Making adjustments in your perspective
Parenting is both a daily and a decades-long process. Remember what you are aiming for.
How do we make adjustments in perspective to learn to celebrate the successes? I think this begins with a picture of what we want to accomplish over time.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “Then the Lord answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.’ ”
We need to remember the vision of why we are doing what we are doing, and that the results are for an appointed time. There may appear to be setbacks, but press on. We had a vision of our children running, but it began with crawling.
Remind yourself of why you are homeschooling. Hold on to that vision.
I know it is draining to be in the trenches every day. We need to learn a secret from the lives of David and Paul. In 1 Samuel 30:6 it says, “Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
You might be facing a rebellion in your home as David did. He turned to the Lord. Psalm 18:1 says, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” You can find strength in the most challenging times from Jesus. Offer Him your love and worship and let Him respond to your point of need.
Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:12, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service…” As a homeschooler, recognize that the choice you made has been directed by Christ because He found you faithful. He put you into service.
And when Jesus puts you into service He will come alongside to strengthen you. John 16:7 says, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
Jesus has a Helper ready to come to you. Call on Him.
I would encourage you as much as possible to remind yourself of why you are homeschooling; celebrate the successes—as small or as large as they may be; enjoy the time you are working with your children; and look to our loving God for strength.
Do this and one day you will hear the hearty affirmation of the master in Matthew 25:21: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ “