It's a funny thing that circumstances that you deem problematic at one point in your life turn out to be among the most helpful. Take for example the common circumstance within a homeschool setting whereby "things happen" that aren't on your agenda for a particular day, forcing an upheaval in the daily schedule. For me, yesterday, counted as one of those days.
It was mid-morning and we had already covered our Bible study, learned and went over thirteen new vocabulary words (SAT type prep), and were well into the math portion of our morning. While my student was tackling some Algebra problems, I thought I would finish up some laundry that I had begun the day before. Little did I know that since the last time I was in the laundry room the liquid soap container had fallen and broken. So, as I made my way to "make good use of my time," I encountered a very slippery, soapy floor, nearly falling down.
Now I mention all this because this mini-crisis needed immediate attention, and I needed the help of my daughter. Thus, Algebra stopped for awhile and she got me some towels so that I could clean up the spill and not injure myself in the process. Years ago, circumstances like this brought on tremendous anxiety. "But, I can't handle this now! This is school time. If my kids were in a regular day school, they wouldn't be called upon to help clean up messes!" Yes, I was guilty of trying to make my homeschool just like a day-school. Either I'd handle these sorts of problems myself while my children "kept working on their studies" or, I'd feel as though I was breaking some cardinal rule or law by having them stop and help me.
What's changed? For one thing, I've traveled this road before with two older children and I'm better aware of where I'm headed. But mostly, I've learned that it is in the very unplanned situations and problems of life that much learning and discipling opportunities occur. My daughter had to learn yesterday that some things take priority over others. Her math lesson would keep, but an unsafe situation in the laundry room had to be taken care of. She also learned that part and parcel of keeping and managing a household involves being flexible and solution-oriented despite how trivial or unpleasant an issue appears. I think the reason that moms in general and homeschool moms in particular can multi-task as well as anyone is because they have to stay on target throughout the day in the midst of changing circumstances.
By the end of the day my laundry room floor was pristine, the Algebra problems were corrected, and only one subject needed to be rescheduled for today. But, the piano lesson still took place, I made it to my board meeting on time, and dinner made it onto the table (albeit a bit late). And, as it turns out, we'll have more time today, because the homeschool mom who helps my daughter with her biology lab called needing to reschedule their weekly time together because of a necessary, unexpected change in her agenda.
I'm hoping that no matter what academic credentials my daughter acquires at the end of her name after she's completed her education, that she will also have the confidence that she can manage a household and deal with the little things of life and take them in stride. The words of Jesus come to mind, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things..."
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].