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Keeping Focus
June 2011
Creating from Nothing

As homeschooling parents, we recognize our responsibility to be wise stewards of the gifts – our children – that God has given us. We also know that homeschooling is work and often comes with its own unique struggles. Some are inherent in the process of training up a child. Others may be of our own doing.

One reason why we may be encountering struggles is our creative process. Are we trying to create something from nothing or make something from what already exists?

Sound familiar? It should. It comes from Genesis, chapters 1-2. The creation account uses two distinct words to describe creation: bara and asah. The first word involves creating something from nothing; the theological term is ex nihilo and is reserved for God alone since he is the only Creator Source that can accomplish that task. The second word recognizes this fact and describes creation as making something from what already exists or restoring something to its original state. When we talk about a person’s creativity, it can only be the second form.

When we consider our children’s future and plan our homeschooling, what we are really doing is trying to help our children realize their original God-given design. Or at least that is what we should be doing. Too often struggles arise because we are trying to impose our own thoughts and designs on our children. Or worse, imposing the curriculum publisher’s design on our children. We are trying to fit our children into a particular method and program rather than the other way around.

This tendency is especially apparent with new homeschoolers who become overwhelmed by the preponderance of curriculum choices available. How can they possibly research every program to decide which one is best? Because they think they are starting from scratch, they panic.

But we are not starting from scratch, from nothing. We are starting with a budding personality who exhibits specific likes and dislikes in the toys he selects, in the activities that spark her interest, in the way he responds to discipline, and in the way she thinks through tasks.

So if you are struggling with homeschooling, take some time to consider the “something” God has given you. He or she is the starting point for your creative process, not the curriculum.

Scott Adams, an American cartoonist, has this to say about the process: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which one to keep.” Dealing with the living, breathing organisms that are our children is like trying to pin down a fast-moving target. They are always changing. Which means that what worked last year may or may not work this year.

Almost every homeschooling parent has purchased curriculum on the belief that it sounds great, only to find that it bombed with our children. Making such mistakes comes with the territory of creating our own approach to home training. The art of home education is knowing which one to keep. A true artist turns to the Creator for insight.

Image Credits: © Alan Z. Uster -
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