from intimidated to emboldened

The whole classical education concept is still new to me, so I was more than thrilled when the group we're attending called Classical Conversations hosted a free three-day training (practicum) in our area.

I felt confident and excited about CC and the direction we were going this year... until I walked into that practicum room. As I entered, I realized I didn't recognize a single face from my group (which wasn't terribly odd since I was new). I finally settled down at a table near the front and then glanced around to find lots of other moms grouped together.

I took a closer look to discover that most of these mamas around me had giant rolling coolers. And three-ring binders with dividers. And some had full-size scissors neatly tucked into their binder pockets. They had scissors (!), packed lunches, and cute pens, and I barely threw in a spiral notebook and made it on time. And I didn't even have to bring my kids! I felt the fear welling up in my chest.

Oh no. What am I doing here??

Why did I think I could do this? I'm not a homeschooler. I'm not organized like they are.

Then right on time, our speaker began. Sandy James was her name, and she began with a sentence that silenced the whole room. She told us all there's one thing she needed us to do for her for just the next three days. 

"I need you to believe you are enough."

My eyes instantly filled with tears as she went on. 

"You are more than enough, because God will help you."

She told us with a smile that this homeschooling thing was not our idea- that this was not even the devil's idea for us to homeschool. This was God's idea for us to homeschool.

In Isaiah 54:13, she explained, the promise of God is that "All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children."

One minute into practicum, and my tears couldn't be contained. 

"Peace- do you know where the word peace comes from here?" Shalom- and the word shalom doesn't mean absence of conflict like we think of peace, but really it's more about completeness- an idea that there is "nothing missing, and nothing broken."

The early years, she told us, are hard to see through, but we need to take the long view, she said. The 18+ year view. In the end, when we are done, nothing will be missing and nothing will be broken because God is teaching our children. He is with us at our homeschooling table, helping us, guiding us, because where two or more gather together in His name, He promises to be there in their midst.

Cue the weeping.

Is there anything, anything in the world that my Father doesn't see and meet at just the right moment?? I'm not sure if I did there or not, but I should have been repenting of my lack of faith in those first minutes! What good thing does He EVER withhold from me??

The whole practicum was three wonderful days of sitting under a sweet, older woman anointed by the Holy Spirit. It was a gift, a precious gift from the Lord Himself. I wish every believing, scared-she's-going-to-mess-this-up homeschooling mama could have experienced it with me. :)

A few more ideas she shared have lingered in my thoughts - they are just small pieces, out of the full context, but maybe they will still be a blessing to your heart like they were to mine. I want to remember them all, for at least the next 20 years:
  • "Always start with the end in mind." 
  • "Vision automatically creates discipline."
  • "If you teach your children HOW to learn, they will be able to learn anything."
  • Homeschooling is an 18-year journey, not checkboxes to be completed.
  • "For a time let us cease altogether to read the living men on their dead topics. Let us read only the dead men on their living topics." G.K. Chesterton
  • "The word the Lord speaks has power. All you have to do is obey. You don't have to know how to do it." (ex: walking on water! stretching out a withered hand: He knows your hand is withered!!!)
  • "Listen to the little things, so they will tell you the big things."
And then there was so much encouragement for when they get bigger from now (12+) through the teenage days I have ahead of me (Lord-willing):
  • "The only way to debate well is to learn the other side of the argument."
  • "Shift from the teller to the asker."
  • "Let's stop using insinuation to manipulate our children into obedience."
  • "At this age, let them push, and don't move, but push back with questions."
  • "Let them be wrong- ask them another question."
  • "The questions will be weird, but you're the steady one- you're the hum."
  • "It's okay if they don't agree with you."
  • Stay up late talking with them- that's one of the best times to hear their heart.
  • "Your job is to nurture your children's soul."
  • "Prepare yourself for how you'll react to your kids when they fail, because they will."
Don't you just love her? I so do. Encouraging isn't even a good enough word to describe Mrs. Sandy James. :) After that first morning, and the way the Lord encouraged my heart through her I didn't even dare think of feeling inadequate again. Because He is the one doing this homeschooling thing. Not me. And He reminded me of just how much He has it in less than 60 seconds.