Our homeschool desk, aka our kitchen table. Note the hair products among the academics. That’s how we roll!
One of the things that I love about God is how He does incredible things through ordinary people. I am one of those ordinary people. This has been my very favorite year of homeschooling. We have homeschooled on and off for about 5 or 6 years. Our youngest is an 8th grader, and to be brutally honest, I had become more unattached as I allowed her to be more independent with her schoolwork. (Can any of you homeschool moms relate?) Last year we started a more vigorous curriculum with more accountability, and we continued on with it this year. The reason this year was so amazing is that God made it our most spectacular!
Last summer, I got a phone call. Crazy adventures with God often start with a casual conversation. The call was from our daughter’s teacher from her one-day-a-week class with a homeschool group called Classical Conversations. Every Monday, we’d go to a classroom and this dynamic lady, Wendy Lawhon, would present all of the coming week’s material in each subject to our students. However, she was pregnant and asked if I would consider taking over in the late fall when she left to have her baby. I ended up saying yes, and it turned out to be a great yes.
It was pretty intimidating for a woman like me to think about tackling Latin, Logic, Math, & Debate. Those were the big bad subjects that I was pretty sure would do me in. I knew that I was completely inadequate for the task. You are talking about a woman who barely made it through high school because of drug and alcohol addiction. I was able to graduate because I ended up living in a residential rehab program the second semester of my senior year, and I was required to complete my work in a homeschool setting. Ironic, huh? I am pretty smart, but beyond going to real estate school in my early twenties, that’s the extent of my formal education.
Fortunately for this group of ten 8th graders that I’d be teaching, God is a God who uses foolish things and people of this world to show His power. I was certain that God wanted me to do it, so with the encouragement of my family, I resolved to study hard and give it everything I had. And what I didn’t have, I was continually asking God to do for me and through me. He has done it! I am certainly far from perfect and I won’t get an award for presenting academics, but it has been an amazing year. It makes me think of something God said to the apostle Paul said about his insufficiency:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Do you ever wonder, why don’t we get to see God at work doing miraculous things as He did through the apostles? What about the parting of the Red Sea? Then maybe it would help to broaden your understanding of what a miracle is, and what the working of God’s power looks like. We often overlook extraordinary displays of God’s power in our daily modern lives, but I can confidently tell you that I’ve seen it in my life every week this school year. That’s why I’m so giddy and excited to tell you something that should be embarrassing. However, it’s so wonderful that I’m telling you about it on the world-wide web! I see what Paul meant when he said:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Here I am, boasting to you about my foolishness, inadequacies, and weaknesses. Joyfully! Because when you understand how unqualified I am, you see the mighty working of God’s hand to impact lives. It’s important to emphasize that I clearly haven’t been persecuted and gone through the type of hardships Paul is speaking about here as he suffered for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a hostile environment. However, I can agree with what Paul says, that for Christ’s sake, I am delighting in my weaknesses and difficulties because it’s a joy to look back on this year and say that He has done it!!
In the fall, I began asking God to show me each student through His eyes. That way, I could see their gifts, strengths, and needs so that I could encourage and teach them. What He gave me was a joy for teaching and a love for each of these ten kiddos. He’s made me practically giddy every week to present new topics in these subjects that I feared before. How annoying for my students; as we begin almost every subject I tell excitedly tell them how fun this week’s material is! I can barely contain myself and I know that it’s the power and joy of God oozing out. When we are weakest, His power is displayed in a beautiful way.
If you are a parent of one of these students, rest in this truth from 1 Peter 4:8: Love covers over a multitude of sins. I haven’t been a perfect teacher this year. One thing I have done is to love these students deeply. I’m better for it, and I pray that they are too!
The culmination of our school year was a mock trial to wrap up our debate/rhetoric class. We went to a downtown Harris County courthouse and had a real judge!
Here are some of the students. They had two teams, consisting of a prosecution side, defense attorneys, witnesses, and the bailiff. He’s the one in front. 🙂
Dynamic duo, Danielle and John Phillip look over their prosecution strategy.
The defense team works hard to protect their client. She was a battered woman accused of murder. (in the middle)
- Our bailiff swears in witness for testimony.