The (homeschooling) day belongs to the Lord!

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This is the 10 year anniversary of The Eastman Academy. And this homeschooling day still belongs to the Lord!

It is hard to believe we have been homeschooling for a decade, but it is true! And I LOVE it! I never thought I would feel so passionately and strongly about homeschooling, but I find the Lord increasing my resolve with each passing year. I remember the day He planted the thought in my mind, and I am so glad He never gave up nudging me in this direction, even when I resisted, or refused to trust Him for the wisdom, finances, discipline, and skills to accomplish what He was asking me to do. How blessed we are to serve a God who knows what we need before we do – and then directs our steps until we are walking in the same direction as His own.

There are many variables that come with homeschooling, and in order to achieve any semblance of success in this endeavor, FLEXIBILITY must be one of the most often used words in a homeschooling mother’s vocabulary.
Schooling at home is not the same as schooling in a brick and mortar classroom. Though there are variables in a traditional classroom, they are limited.
In a home you have ringing telephones, deliveries at the door, continual bathroom breaks, temper tantrums, discipline, food preparation, multiple subject instruction, sibling rivalry, toddlers running around, babies/toddlers making noise, constant interruptions from younger siblings, accidents, illnesses, household chores, and the list goes on.

I am going to confess something …
I am NOT flexible! (Raise your hand if you are surprised. Anyone? Hmm.)

I thrive on order. Schedules. Spreadsheets. Productivity. Purpose.
‘Moving with the flow’ does not bring me joy or a sense of accomplishment. It just makes me feel like we are randomly shooting arrows at a moving target in the hopes that we MIGHT hit it. No thanks!

I am not flexible. But I have learned how to BE flexible – by the grace of God.
I began The Eastman Academy in 2005 holding a gigantic Lesson Plan Book with each day broken down into 15 minute increments. Seriously! I am not kidding. It became an idol. Instead of letting the schedule serve me, I became its slave.
So you know what the Lord did? He gave me four more children – in five years! Trying to juggle school, pregnancy, and then a nursing infant, while running a home and serving a husband is a “sink or swim” method of teaching flexibility, to be sure!
I had to let go. I had to adapt. I had to move things around, shift my schedule, and even scratch goals off of my list. With a pen.
And it was hard.
There were many times I felt like an absolute failure. I wondered more than once why the Lord called me to do a task that I was clearly not capable of completing. I feared my husband’s disappointment. I feared my children would be lacking because of my incompetency. I wanted to give them the BEST of everything – including myself.
But I could not.
It was literally impossible.
So – the Lord had to show me another way.

Someone gets sick so we cannot perform the science experiment planned for that day? Okay, we’ll do it on Saturday.
Two children cannot stop bickering and fighting so they have to spend three hours in their room to cool off and pull it together? Fine. We will finish our work tonight when Dad is home.
Unexpected visitors come into town? Terrific! We will thoroughly enjoy our guests and double up our lesson plans next week.
An unexpected c-section birth with a six-week recovery? Um, okay. No big deal. Load up the books on tape, line up the crafts, order a great movie from the library and we will extend our semester through Christmas break.

F L E X I B I L I T Y.

It needs to be one of the most-used and favorite words of a homeschooling family.

And the best part for me … a woman who finds utter joy and peace in the pages of a yearly, monthly, and daily calendar … there is a verse to support both sides of this ever-turning coin!

The heart of man PLANS his ways, but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

How thankful I am that the Lord saved me from myself!
How miserable my children would be if they lived under the oppression of being driven to perform and succeed by a mother who refused to let go of her “perfect vision of homeschooling” simply so she could check each box and say, “DONE!” Her way.
How miserable I would be! Living with the perpetual beating of “You are a failure … You are a failure” drumming in my ears. What misery! What a burden to bear!

Homeschooling is a JOY!

It is a privilege.
It is challenging, it is difficult, and it can reveal ugly parts of our character that may have been previously untapped. (Insecurity and pride are usually the first to emerge.)
Homeschooling is rewarding!
It is not magic.
Every home-schooled child does not change the world or walk with Christ all the days of his life.

Every day is a new day.
Every day has it’s own challenges.
Every day reveals a success – whether large or small.
Some days every item on the academic agenda will be scratched off.
Other days – none will.
But either way? The homeschooling day belongs to the Lord – and He will do with it whatever He wills.
Praise Him for such truth – and – for such a promise!

Thank You, Lord, for showing me that while I can make a thousand plans and be excited and enthusiastic about each one, I need to hold onto them loosely so I can easily let go when I hear you say, “Not today, Michelle. Not today.”

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4


IMG_1266BYA welcomes guest blogger Michelle Eastman!

About Michelle:

“I am the bride of a loyal, honest, man of character who has chosen to walk with me for 19 years of marriage. We have been blessed with seven children ~ six boys, five of whom add craziness, laughter, joy, and intensity to our lives each day and are used by the Lord to continually refine us. One son, Matthew, is home with the Lord spending each day in absolute glory. And, our sweet girl, Ellie, whom the Lord graciously gave to us, when we had no idea we needed her.

But who I really am, is a woman saved by grace. Forgiven, Adored, Loved, and Pursued by a very big, very good, and incredibly amazing God.

And I stand in awe of Him.”

Read more from Michelle on her blog A Heart Surrendered.