November 11, 2009

A Journey

Life is a journey and education is a big part of that journey. At least these statements are true for me. I am only 6 months from turning 40, a milestone in my head, but not a big deal really. The journey continues and gets more interesting as each day passes.
I love to read and have since I was a child. At one point I read a lot of fiction, now the fiction is less and is sprinkled among the reading I do relating to home schooling or study relating to my faith in Christ. This past year I have been doing a tremendous amount of reading in an attempt to be better equipped in my role as a Christian wife, mother, and teacher for my children. It is an awesome responsibility, one I take seriously and strive to do well.
Proverbs 12:4 says; A wife of noble character is her husband's crown,but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.  Pretty heavy if you take it seriously.  I've always known there was much in scripture that directs a woman on her role as wife/mother, but this year I have been working to study these passages and apply them more diligently in my life.  It has been a journey - a difficult one some days, but generally it has all been very positive and I feel like I am working to glorify the Lord in all I do - which is, of course, my ultimate goal.
Being a good wife isn't something you "do" on any given day, but more of a lifestyle & mindset.  I've read a lot of articles written by Nancy Wilson this year and found them very helpful and encouraging.  Her blog is http://femina.reformedblogs.com/ and you can link to some of her books - excellent reading!
Elizabeth George has a great Bible study & book called A Woman After God's Own Heart that I had gone through with a dear friend several years ago and at the time - found a lot of guilt.  Today I can say that my heart wasn't where it should have been at the time I read it and that was the reason for the guilt.  Guilt doesn't come from God.  Conviction of sin comes though the Holy Spirit, but that conviction should lead to repentance and forgiveness.  I'm sure when I go through that study again, it will be a completely different experience.
My heart now is focused on the high calling of being Steve's wife and the mother (and teacher) of our children.  Our culture doesn't generally see these things as particularly noble or worthwhile and that is so sad. Women who would otherwise joyfully embrace these roles are ridiculed and marginalized.  It is my hope that someday God will be able to use me somehow to encourage other women in their roles as wives and mothers - becoming what is known in Christian circles as a Titus 2 Woman.  One who mentors younger women in following biblical principles in their homes.
Something important I learned recently is that there is a big difference between "principles" and "methods".  Christian principles are the things we are given in the Bible from the Lord and we are to apply in our lives.  The methods by which we apply these things can vary widely and one method is not more "holy" than another.  It is important when we are seeking to encourage others, that we don't present our methods as principles.  Scripture is Scripture and everything else is interpretation and application and edification.

In addition to learning more about how to better carry out my roles, I have also been doing a lot of reading about education - mostly theory/style/method type reading.  I have become increasingly drawn to the Classical Method espoused in the Well-Trained Mind.
Home schooling allows us to find things that work best for our children and their individual learning styles.  It also allows us to fine-tune what we believe are the truly important parts of education and focus on those things.  Every education has gaps or holes - regardless of the methods used or location of instruction.  The key difference with home education is who makes the decisions about the gaps.  As parents, we have the freedom to decide what & how our children learn.  Will they learn Latin & Greek roots or simply study the standard spelling list for a given grade?  Will they read great literature whole or simply excerpts from that literature in a textbook? Will they use primary sources for studying history or only a synthesized version of events written from one point of view?  Should they move along with a subject at their own pace or are they required to follow some rigid time-table for progress because of an arbitrary standard?
What does it mean to be truly 'educated'?  This question is vital as it drives all the other questions.  A person's individual definition of 'education' even changes as you learn more, read more and experience more life.  I am not nearly as educated as I would like to be.  This does not necessarily mean I must attend a class someplace or that I must read some specific list of books.  It means to me that God is not finished with me yet.
There is so much in His world that I have yet to absorb.  I just pray that I can filter it appropriately and learn the lessons that I need to live according to His will for my life. That I can stay on the path He has marked for me - since He is perfect and I am not, I would be foolish to pretend to have a better plan that the one He has for me.