Have you ever noticed that, when it comes to homeschooling, you can spend weeks planning, organizing, purchasing materials, making a schedule, but that those plans may change in the blink of an eye? This has happened to us many times and has already happened to us this year. I planned to start school in early August so that we could get a head start this year. We had four days of school and then woke up to a flooded basement.
Instead of plunging ahead in our school books as I had so carefully and meticulously planned, we spent the next week drying, cleaning, sorting, throwing away ruined items (thankfully nothing too important!), tearing up carpet and hauling away trash from the basement. This was not in my plans. Here, I had decided, quite wisely, in my opinion, to get a good ten to fifteen days of school done in August as a “cushion” in case we had to take time off during the school year for any reason. Instead, we were already taking time off…a mere four days into the school year!!
However, as I prayed about my frustration, and, trust me, I was frustrated, I was reminded that God ordains our days. My well thought out, well planned schedule is not my god. While I, personally, find that our school day goes better if we have a loose schedule, God is ultimately in control of how we spend our days.
I also realized that my children received another kind of “education” that week, one they would not have received through textbooks. My sons spent many hours helping us clean out the basement and tear up carpet. My daughters kept the upstairs running by folding laundry, making meals and doing the dishes, among other chores. They learned the value of hard work. They learned the importance of working together and of everyone doing their share. They learned that sometimes life sends things our way that we neither expected nor desired.
Over my thirteen years of being a homeschool mom, I have learned that I need to remember to allow God to work in my children’s lives (and my own) in ways that did not go according to my careful planning. When we have to give up part of a school day to make a meal for someone who is sick, my children are learning so much more than they would from a textbook or a worksheet. They are learning to care for those in need and to sacrifice their own time. When we babysit a child whose mother is on bedrest with a pregnancy, my children learn that some thing are more important than getting all our school work done that day. They are learning how to care for younger children. They also learn to be put others first.
I am certainly not saying that we should go looking for reasons not to do our school work. Day after day of “I am sure that going to the park is more educational than school books” would not help our children and their education in the long run. But when the Lord sends specific circumstances or people into our lives that change our plans, we need to accept the fact that His ways and His plans are infinitely better than ours. The Lord loves our children even more than we do. The plans He has for them are even better than our well thought out plans for them. Everything that the Lord allows or brings into our lives will help us to grow in Him and to better to able to serve and glorify him, if we allow Him to work in our lives through the circumstances.
So, the next time you wake up to water in your basement, or some similar circumstance, and your carefully laid out plans for the week are completely changed, try not to stress and get frustrated (much easier said than done and I know that from personal experience). Instead, remember that His Plans are infinitely better than our own and that we can trust Him and rest safely in His Loving Arms as we go through life, both the planned and unplanned part of life.