As with last week, we have been busy enjoying Advent and preparing for Christmas. I have not had much time for reading, but as I stop and reflect (sitting by an open fire and listening to beautiful choral music), I am thankful for many things. Some specific encouragement this week have been:
1) Last night we had two other families round to sing Christmas carols. This was quite a new experience for one of the families. Nine children aged five and under played various kinds of percussion instruments, and it probably sounded quite unusual to anybody who heard. But we did not care, but rather enjoyed rejoicing together as we celebrate the greatest event in history.
2) Our local Christian home educators' group had a Christmas party. I have greatly enjoyed the fellowship that this group provides. We come from a fairly wide geographical area, but try to arrange something every fortnight. Between us, we have a range of ages of children (probably more younger than teenagers) and use a variety of curricula and teaching methods. Our lives are often quite different, but we share the desire to raise our children to know the Lord and to have a biblical worldview, and it is sometimes encouraging simply to know there are others who choose to live this way in our godless society.
3) Our boys' first Nativity play. A nearby church attended by many of our friends held a 'Nativity from Scratch' today. We dropped the five year olds at 10am with a packed lunch and returned to watch the play at 3pm. This was great for several reasons. Firstly, it was very relaxing for my husband and I to have a day with just our two year old. We were able to talk! Secondly, it was the longest time our boys have ever been without us, and they managed well - this is good for their confidence. Thirdly, it was a lovely, simple, Christ-focussed Nativity play, and the boys really enjoyed being part of it (they were angels)
4) Peace and security. Listening to the news has been horrible for the past few months - it seems there are so many awful things happening in many parts of the world. Ebola. Terrorism. Ruthless murder of children. Fear. Racial and religious hatred. I am thankful that I can enjoy comfort, warmth, peace, choice, freedom and relationships. It is easy to feel guilty, but I think a better approach is to simply live one day at a time. I know so many families where life has changed overnight. It has happened to us, and could do again. But for now, I can rest and be thankful. And we can pray that as we approach Christmas that the message of peace and hope would not be empty, but that it will be heard as a powerful and life-transforming truth to those who are lost.
5) That my boys do seem to be developing a Biblical worldview that often surprises me. I've mentioned the Jesse tree project in several places, but this has been one of the most worthwhile things we have done, and has taken on a bit of a life of its own. It will certainly become a family tradition. My five year old was asking about the exile to Babylon earlier, and is starting to understand that through history, God had a plan to preserve His remnant, and that even now, in days which can seem dark and godless, His perfect plans have not changes. Jesus would often speak about 'little children' and how we can learn a lot from their innocent trust. I am learning from my boys as they grasp concepts which many older people struggle more with. There have been days when home educating is tiring, and even times when one might be tempted to question whether it really is worth the investment and whether it really is the best thing for the children. Some of the conversations, comments and insights over the past few weeks have encouraged me greatly that there is fruit developing in their young lives.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure (using font only to enable access in settings with poor internet)