Last updated on September 27, 2023
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
Now that my daughters are grown, I look back with nostalgia to our homeschooling years. While some days it was a pleasure and others a chore, I recently thought about our homeschooling curriculum.
In the fourth grade, I gave my older daughter an assignment to set up a study schedule for the week—what subjects and how much time she should devote to each one. I chuckle as I remember her daily homeschooling curriculum: Reading, five minutes; English, five minutes; science, five minutes; history, three minutes; math, thirty seconds; lunch, one hour; and recess, the rest of the day. While that might have seemed like an excellent schedule to a ten-year-old, I would hate to imagine where she would be today if I had allowed her to “homeschool herself without guidance from Mom.”
During our homeschooling years, Joy, my younger daughter, and I went to the Florida Homeschooling Convention in Orlando one Memorial Day weekend. It was a rewarding semi-vacation as I reflected on what we had accomplished over the previous year and what I hoped to do next.
Upon arriving, Joy and I quickly ate and hurried down to the exhibit hall, where I pored over books, curriculum, games, and “ideas” on display. Most vendors returned every year, and there were always new ones to check out. This annual tradition encouraged me to continue for another year until God showed me it was time to enroll my daughters in traditional school. We took homeschooling one year at a time.
I would assess my daughters’ strengths and weaknesses each year and which curriculum (or non-curriculum) would work best for the following year. I didn’t use the same materials for each of them. As a homeschooling mom, tailoring the curriculum to meet their individual needs was a joy.
I admit I made mistakes. I tried math programs, which caused far too many tears and required the unexpected expense and time of switching to something else. But I never doubted God’s calling to homeschool, even as a single parent. At times, I was brought to my knees by the sheer burden and feeling of inadequacy. I couldn’t have done it without the Lord’s help. He made up for what I lacked.
As I recall what my oldest daughter wanted for a curriculum, in my finite wisdom, of course, I knew one minute of math a day would not prepare her for Algebra. Twenty-five minutes of English a week would not be sufficient to write a term paper on International Relations in college. We can chuckle at the absurdity, laughing because we know ourselves. Are we any different?
In the broader context of life, reflecting on God’s plan for us, do I know what my heavenly Father’s perfect curriculum is for me? Do I know what I need in God’s economy to become who He created me to be? What would I have chosen if God had asked me to design my curriculum at the beginning of time?
The human side of me would have said, “God, how about a little place on the beach with a pool, lots of books, and a Starbucks latte twice a day? I don’t want to cook, wash clothes, worry about car repairs, computers that crash, or anyone I love getting sick. Just give me a life where I never have to worry about anything.”
I know it’s not very “spiritual,” but I don’t think anyone would ask for “challenges” if the truth be told. After all, we don’t have the mind of God. Our little thoughts are not like His. We long selfishly for a fulfilling life, to have our needs met, and to be accepted by others. The Bible contains all the perils accompanying that mindset, beginning with Adam and Eve.
One of the courses in my life curriculum (which I would have never asked for) was working for twenty years as a court reporter. I never liked court reporting—the adversarial nature of it, the long, unpredictable hours, and the fact that most of what I wrote I perceived as meaningless in God’s eternal plan. (Who cares that someone found a cricket in a can of beans?) Plus, I never wanted to do it, but circumstances required it.
Sometimes, life takes away our freedom to choose. In those moments of doubting God’s best, it can be hard to keep our eyes on Jesus, who submitted to His Father’s will and not His own. I “begrudged” those years until recently, feeling like I contributed nothing to God’s kingdom. How many books could I have written? I can’t say discontent consumed me, but on occasion, I have questioned why God didn’t allow me to pursue writing at a younger age. Why did “this” have to happen? You can fill in the blank with your “this” and “why.”
However, what better choices can there be than what our heavenly Father’s choices for us? Do I not trust Him completely? Does He not know the best curriculum to mold me into His image? Cannot my sorrows and loss be counted as joy for the Kingdom of God? And if you look at your life, I imagine you could come to the same conclusion.
Jesus tells us in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
Jesus gave this command to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion. Little did His followers know what was about to happen. But Jesus knew if His words “abided” within their hearts, it would be sufficient to bring them through the dark days ahead. All of them died as martyrs except John.
We, too, must occupy this Kingdom of Darkness for a while longer, but God has given us everything we need here as sojourners to prepare us for His coming Kingdom. He knitted us together, gave us our talents, and much more. Undoubtedly, His curriculum is vastly better for my soul than anything I would have chosen.
God knows what curriculum we need to complete a doctorate in life and graduate Summa Cum Laude. He lovingly designs the classes, and it will probably require—at least for me—more than thirty seconds of suffering, two minutes of patience, five minutes of sacrifice, and six minutes of prayer.
I suggest if we cease our striving and complaining and slow down to seek God more, He might exempt us from a life class we would rather not take.
PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for all Your Good Works in me. Help me not grow weary but magnify Your name in the Kingdom of God.
NOTE: If you enjoyed this piece, you might enjoy reading this one also: Public High School After Homeschooling; How Hard is it to Make the Transition?