Homeschooling seldom lives up to the calm and peaceful vision we imagine before we take it on. Frustrations, sibling rivalries, complaints, and endless messes threaten to rob us of the joy we thought we’d have. But, when we change our perspective and view home education as a celebration, rather than a chore, something wonderful happens: we see the goodness, truth, and beauty hidden all around us.
Growing up, we marked special times of the year with elaborate—albeit frugal—celebrations. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day. Each holiday had its own special type of decor, dishes, and foods to feast upon. And, at most events, thoughtful gifts were distributed amongst squeals of joy.
In many ways, celebration was a cornerstone of my childhood. It denoted seasons and growth and change. It ushered in renewal and made space to distinguish our time together as significant. And, it honored times passed and the people that left their mark along the way.
Unfortunately, as an overly serious, busy, and oft-consumed adult, I’ve faltered in honoring celebratory events to the extent that my sweet mama did. I mean, I’ve done okay. But generally speaking, I approach celebrations as checklists with the purpose of “making everyone happy” rather than as a true celebration.
What is Celebration?
According to “Faith in Practice” from She Reads Truth, “Celebration is the practice of acknowledging and rejoicing in beauty, goodness, and truth.” I love that definition.
In fact, celebration is profoundly Biblical. It is is an acknowledgment of God’s goodness, a remembrance of his amazing acts of grace and mercy, and an opportunity to enjoy the blessings we are experiencing. Celebration is a recognition of God’s presence in the significant events in history and in the small moments of every day.
For example, when the Israelites escaped captivity in Egypt, God gave them specific directives for remembering and honoring His works in bringing them safely out of slavery and protecting them in the many plagues. Leviticus gives detailed instructions for remembering and honoring (23:4-8). Clearly, remembrance and celebration are extremely important to God.
So, as we go about daily life, we look forward to the big moments that take place in our year—major holidays and Biblical festivals—as we rightly should. These events are significant to the Church and should receive due recognition and honor. But what about the mundane moments, especially in home education? Are those moments celebratory in some way?
CHRISTIAN HOME EDUCATION AS CELEBRATION
- A practice—a planned activity, consistently done with purpose.
- An acknowledgment—a time to remember and make known prior works.
- Expectant—filled with hope for the future and positive outcomes from the practice.
- Joyful—denoting the presence of the Holy Spirit as we are filled with His hope and peace.
- Beautiful—reflecting the very nature of God, given to us as image-bearers.
As a whole, Christian home education is the practice of acknowledging and rejoicing in beauty, goodness, and truth through nature study, historical adventures, living literature, the logic of math, and the rhythm of poetry, which makes Christian home education a celebration.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HARD DAYS?
Many days, it certainly does not feel that way though.
- Tears of frustration over forgotten multiplication tables or phonemic sounds.
- Lost workbooks or destroyed science projects.
- Schedules that are so busy we never get to the “fun stuff.
- Fears over falling behind, or not being “enough.”
- Teenage attitudes over how it’s all so “stupid.”
- Toddlers that won’t give one moment of peace.
Home education can become another checklist item that’s done just for the sake of getting it done, to fulfill our obligations, and to get on to the next “thing”—far from the celebrations of my childhood.
A PERSPECTIVE SHIFT
However, when we approach home education with a heart for God-ordained celebration, it flips our checklist mentality right on its head.
Home education is:
- A practice—as we intentionally plan resources with consistency and purpose.
- An acknowledgment—as it is an intentional time to remember God’s works in human history and in His Creation (including seemingly ungodly things like Algebra 2).
- Expectant—as it is filled with hope for the future and positive outcomes like virtue, wisdom, and knowledge.
- Joyful—denoting the presence of the Holy Spirit as we are filled with His peace and glorify His name in all matters of knowledge.
- Beautiful—reflecting the very nature of God in the small moments of revelation and in the loud moments of mess and chaos.
Orienting Our Hearts Towards Him
When we approach home education as an act of celebration, we orient our hearts toward WHO we are celebrating. In turn, this helps us focus much less on WHAT we do. And, when our hearts are pointed toward WHO, the checklist-mentality easily fades away.
Above all, when WHO is the cornerstone, the struggles become opportunities:
- Forgotten multiplication tables provide an opportunity to pray for clarity and perseverance.
- Lost workbooks and destroyed science projects present a chance to learn more about stewardship and responsibility.
- Fears of all kinds provide an opportunity to model taking our thoughts captive and speaking Truth to combat lies.
- Teenage attitudes open a door to fervent prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit.
- Toddlers reorient our hearts toward joy, enthusiasm, and curiosity.
When home education is a Jesus-pursuing celebration in which we are seeking to rejoice in goodness, truth, and beauty, even complications and distractions provide an opportunity for worship and gladness.
Just as with my thrown-together, hodge-podge Easter dinner this year—sometimes it looks really messy. Regardless of whether your days of homeschooling are worthy of a magazine spread or something you’d rather hide from prying eyes, the practice of acknowledging God in each moment creates a celebratory culture that is a pleasing aroma to our Lord.
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