Our Children are Hearing, But Not Receiving

Our Children are Hearing, But Not Receiving“Son, are you hearing me?” His voice filled with agitation, he gives a curt, positive response. I begin again only to find his eyes wandering out the window and his mind engaged in other activity. I gently ask him to repeat what I just said. He gives me back the words, but we both know… he’s hearing, but not receiving.

I do my best to keep our homeschool lessons short and sweet, especially for the younger of my children. Testing their patience is never pretty, and we want learning to be an engaging activity. Something our children love to do, and will continue long after I’m gone. No matter how good a teacher I think I am, there are going to be days when no matter what I do, my children are not going to receive what I’m offering. For one reason or another, they are hearing my words but not taking in wisdom and knowledge. Maybe it’s time I explore the reasons why.

Prayer – I can always tell when I’ve been slacking in my prayer life, tough as it is to admit. I become short-tempered and we start going through motions of doing school instead of actively using this as an opportunity to reach my children’s hearts for Christ. One of the reasons we might be having learning issues is because I need to repent of my disobedience and ask the Lord to meet my children where they are.

I am Over-Burdening Them – Another confession: In my desire to teach my children “everything”, I sometimes try to fit in everything. Now there’s a recipe for danger. Four active kids, too much book work, add an overabundance of lecturing and there you go. A bomb which leaves a hideous mess in its wake.

It’s All Just Words – How much is too much? I wish I knew. Some amount of lesson giving needs to take place. I wish I could say its only different for each child, but it’s not. It’s different for each child, each day of their lives. Some days are better than others. Some days all words fly right out the window and being out-of-doors is a fantastic idea.

They Have a Physical Need – This is a little easier to understand. Lack of sleep, food, water, exercise. There’s a physical reason which requires a physical response. If only all of life’s challenges were this simple.

This Is a Character Issue – Here is a tough one. This takes time, energy, care, and gentleness. This is when everything else stops – and should – so we can get to the bottom of the issue. Are my children experiencing a spiritual attack, or is this an act of laziness; worse, rebellion?

It’s Not What it Looks Like – I had visions of what learning would look like. Eager faces turned in my direction, excited answers and anticipation of lessons. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, this happens sometimes. Sometimes. And that’s not a bad thing. Just because learning doesn’t always look as I imagined, doesn’t mean my kids aren’t learning. It just looks… different.

Turning Hearts, and Minds, is Not My Job – (This one thought deserves an entire blog post, which we might come back to later.) After all is said and done, I need to leave the issue – whatever it might be – at the feet of Christ. If I have done my part by praying over my children, changing learning to meet needs, dealt with physical and character issues, and more, the rest is up to Him. We only need be faithful in what God is calling us do. He will see His work is done.

As a parent and educator, my job isn’t to force my children to receive wisdom. That is impossible. It is my responsibility to lead my children to Christ, by example and deed, encouraging them and training them. It is my privilege to instruct and teach, continually stimulating growth. Reaching my children’s hearts and minds is God’s work.

When I become discouraged or distracted because it appears my children are not learning, may the Lord prompt me to pray and leave it at His feet. May He meet my children where they are; opening their hearts, minds, and ears to hear. May He soften them towards learning and grant me wisdom to teach as He would lead.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
~ I Corinthians 3:6-9

Your Turn!: What helps redirect learning when it appears your children are not receiving?

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Child-Led Changes to Our Homeschooling

child-led_changes_in_homeschoolingI plan our year well in advance. Everything is in order, everything has a place. So when my child comes to me and says we need to make a change, you can bet I’m not jumping for joy. My control is slowly slipping away. But something better is taking its place, if only I have eyes to see.

We want our children to take an active part in their learning; to communicate their needs and struggles. While not every suggestion will be met with affirmation, we wish to take their thoughts into consideration and help them grow.

Whether it’s a schedule change, a mix-up of curriculum, or a newfound interest which requires more time, when we let go of our control and allow God to lead, amazing things begin to happen. Encouraging our children to share their thoughts on our homeschooling creates open communication and a better learning experience.

While I do my best to plan our year well and pray over each area of study, there will inevitably be changes. This doesn’t necessarily mean my planning went wrong, or that I wasn’t listening to the Lord. Instead, the Lord has something better in store and a lesson needed to be learned. (Not that I should discount the occasional redirection when my ideas have gone astray from where the Lord intended. I’m human.)

It would be key for me to remember, I truly never have control. This isn’t my homeschooling, but the Lord’s. I can fight, I can fuss. But at the end of the day, God’s will is best. It’s when I let go of control and let God move that I begin to see the fulness of His plan unfold. It’s a beautiful thing.

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”
~ Proverbs 19:21

📢 Chime In!: Have your children suggested any changes for the year so far? Share them with us!

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Spare Some Change?

My Boy

My son, after having three girls! Now THAT was a huge change for us!

Every once in a while, our family goes through some major changes. It doesn’t happen very often and we try to keep the changes limited, but on occasion something needs to give.

After much prayer and lots of thought, we inform the kiddos of the upcoming alteration to our lives and do our best to handle the aftermath.

There have been times that I have had to change our homeschooling methods or curriculum. We have changed our church, our homeschooling group, our set of friends, and, at one point, almost moved out-of-state!

Our kids, like most others, do not always handle change well. They become anxious, moody, fearful, sad, obstinate, or clingy when life goes out of balance.

It becomes our responsibility to help our children overcome their fears and accept the new area of their lives.

Each child will need to be comforted in their own way, but there are a few methods that work on most anyone:

I try to make myself available to them. If we are going to a new homeschooling group, I want to make sure that they are with me through it all. This way the children do not feel abandoned, but know that we are doing this together.

I talk about the changes we are going through. I am honest about my fears, anxiety, and excitement. This helps them to know they are not alone and we are going through this as a team.

I let them know that they are free to talk about their worries. My kids need to know that I am here to listen to their concerns and there is nothing they can’t tell me.

I help them prepare for what is ahead. When we started at our new church, we got to church a little early and walked the campus together.

I try to keep everything else normal. I try not to overwhelm them with too many changes at once. If we are changing curriculum, we keep everything else about our day normal. This keeps life a little more stable and gives them less to worry about.

I try to keep a positive attitude about the situation. It helps my kids when I get excited about the change and I show them how much they have to look forward to.

I try to make sure they are keeping healthy. This may sound funny, but it is vital. Kids get anxious about change, which can make them sick. It helps if I keep my kids on a regular diet; making sure they get exercise and plenty of rest.

Right now we are contemplating some changes to our lives. We are not sure where the Lord is leading or if we will actually be going forward with them at all. We are simply spending a lot of time in prayer and trying to focus on the right path for our family.

If these decisions come to fruition, we will to need to put these actions into practice, helping our kids to overcome any fears they might be experiencing.

How does your family handle life changing situations?

 

 

An Educational Experience

Playing Games

The kids playing games with my in-laws. Listening to my kids carry on conversations, can be quite a riot!

I find it interesting that, even though my children take periodic chapter tests, I learn just as much about what they have retained, through their conversations with other people. It is definitely an educational experience!

I may think that I have done a decent job teaching, they might have even gotten perfect scores on their tests, but it isn’t until someone outside of our immediately family starts asking them what they are learning, that I really get to see what they remember the most.

It amazed me that sometimes the littlest things are remembered and yet the big picture gets overlooked. It amazed me how much detail they remember and how much of an impact a particular topic can have.

I love listening to what they found to be fun and what they are struggling with. I enjoy hearing their take on how a topic was taught and how they retell a lesson.

I wonder if this isn’t an essential part of the whole learning process; not just the taking in of information, but the giving out.

It helps me to truly know how much they understood and how I might improve my methods. It helps me to see what was appreciated and what they need.

My sister-in-law is currently in town and right now mommy is doing some learning of her own. She is learning by listening and it has been an educational experience.

Do you find this to be true in your household?