You would think that as a former high school English teacher and a seasoned homeschooler, I'd be a great planner. And in many ways I am. But school planning is something that has always stressed me out. That's why I debated whether to join in the discussion about it at Homeschool Blogger (HSB) this week. But as I reflected a little bit, I realized how well the theme fits in with my whole Monday Musings on the Creator in Me meme. . .
You see, there's an element of who I am -- the creator (small c) in me -- that really enjoys making plans and gathering materials and designing schedules and establishing control over my children's education, as well as the expenditure of our time, energy, and resources. I can delight in making a mighty master plan of how we will spend our minutes and days, what we will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks, and how we will grow in family harmony, wisdom, and knowledge. I revel in the fact that I can command my printer to spit forth lovely colour-coded schedules and charts and menu plans so that I know our family vessel will sail smoothly on our charted course.
Trouble is -- when I do all this magnificent planning, the end result is always frustration -- for everyone! Life has a distinct way of -- well -- getting in the way! Sicknesses, sadnesses, interruptions, inconveniences, moods, messes, challenges, choices -- a whole alphabet of counter-calendar obstructions can blow us right off course, and set us spinning in a whirlpool of negative emotions. As the creator of that master plan, I inevitably become defeated and discouraged -- and we all know that "if mama ain't happy -- ain't nobody happy!" (I know I'm not alone in this; just this morning I read this post with some good insights.)
So this is where the Creator (capital c) in me comes in to this Monday's musings. As I was reflecting on the topic, Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." And it struck me -- this whole school planning thing is a spiritual issue as much as anything else! Like any other plans we make in our own strength, we're doomed to experience failure and defeat if we're not following His plans for our life, and the lives of our children.
Does that mean we just lie down on deck and let the waves of life wash over us, carrying us hither and yon? I don't think so. But we certainly need to apply the same spiritual principles to school planning as we do to every other aspect of life: we need to allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. This will look different for each of us -- but ultimately it will consider the God-given bents and needs of every family member, and it will result in people's needs being met with prosperity, with hope, and with a promise of a good future (Jeremiah 29:11).
If you're anything like me, allowing myself to be led by the Spirit in my school planning also means an on-going guarding of my heart and mind against the invisible antagonists that would have me believe I'm not doing "enough," or I'm not doing it "right" compared to all manner of other educational models. The already-defeated-defeat-artist would like nothing more than to make me feel like a failure -- make me believe that my children will have no hope for a good future if I'm the one responsible for their education.
So, as I approach the charting of our swiftly approaching new academic voyage, I am determined to be armed for the battle with the brain birds that are bound to peck at my peace while I'm way out at sea. For example, Kat at Inspired to Action, well, inspired me to establish a morning routine that will enable me to be better equipped to face the flow of waters that will tilt and twirl our family vessel, and keep me more in tune with the Spirit's whisper, especially on those windy days. More important than any educational plan will be my ability to respond to the Spirit's leading -- every moment of every day. HE has already made the perfect plan! I just need to learn to follow.
How will you plan for smooth sailing in this coming school year?