Starting at the beginning

It’s been a difficult year here in many ways, and as I have been praying about what to teach and what methods and materials to use for school, I have been convicted of the need to go back for some basic training before we really plunge into academic endeavors this year. Simple things like getting up at a reasonable hour have gone by the wayside, and now we need to regroup.

I like to think Hebraically with our day starting the evening before, so the first step must be to get everyone to bed in time to get adequate sleep each night. The next step of course is to actually get up on time and get started with the day. Again we’ve strayed from our routines, and much time is wasted each morning before anything meaningful is accomplished. Check sheets with lists of what needs to be done each morning can help all of us to form good habits once more.

Well begun is half done as they say, but we can’t stop halfway. Before school can start, all of us need to work on having right relationships with God and with each other. Personal devotions are part of everyone’s morning routine, and we start our school day by sharing with each other what we learned from the Scriptures and then praying together for needs we are aware of in our home, church, community, country, and around the world.

Today I reviewed some memory verses with my youngest and quickly realized that although he could quote the verses, his personal application was spotty at best. Seeking to solve that issue, we will be working on learning definitions of key words from his memory work. We started with Ephesians 6:1-3 Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.

We defined obedience as doing what someone says, right away, with a cheerful attitude not grumbling or complaining. Doing what is asked slowly, or reluctantly, or with a nasty attitude is not really obeying at all. Of course we’ve talked about this before, and I often ask him, “When do we obey?”, but we’ve gotten lax about enforcing first time cheerful obedience. I suspect this will be a tough lesson for both of us, but one that will yield great fruit for the rest of the school year if we can master it now.

We also defined honor as treating people as special and doing more than what’s expected. This concept comes from a wonderful book by Scott Turnasky and Joanne Miller called Say Goodby to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes…in you and your kids. I need to read it again because it has so many wonderful ideas for teaching honor to all members of the family. For now, I’m reminding him to look for something extra to do whenever he’s asked to do something for others.

We didn’t actually get any academics done today. He read library books about exotic fish and discussed ideas about how to build a fish pond. When big brother wasn’t on the computer studying for his first CLEP exam, dad shared videos about catching world record fish around the world. Most exciting to me though was when I asked to have the livingroom cleaned up, and he quickly gathered up his things and then proudly pointed out that he had also put all the video controllers away neatly even though he wasn’t the one who had used them.

That’s a successful first day of school in my opinion!

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