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Keeping Focus
March 1, 2009

The homeschool year can read much like a novel. There’s the introduction, where the setting or theme for the year is revealed. Then there’s the gradual build-up of events, activities, and plot that the author (parent) has expertly planned ahead of time. Each day’s work builds upon the other, line by line, precept upon precept. It all crescendos to a climax, when your child masters the courses with great glee and sense of triumph. Then it’s just a matter of tying up the last loose ends of each subject. The storyline is complete.

Okay, that’s how fiction works. Now back to the real world.
Noted author, Isaac Bashevis Singer, once wrote: “Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” All of us at some point in time can become disillusioned by our homeschool efforts. It’s not shaping up to be what we expected. We’re getting bogged down. Things aren’t running as smoothly as we would like. And the vision seems to be fading into the distance behind ever-growing clouds of confusion and frustration.

Take heart. We’ve all been there. In fact, it’s the norm. The key is to not let the clouds distract you from your course. Your vision of instructing your child, providing training, teaching knowledge, and instilling understanding and wisdom is still intact.

We would all like the path we take to be straight, smooth, and level. But God often has other plans. I’m reminded of The Pilgrim’s Progress Game we used to play as a family. The board game had loops and set-backs built in, and believe me, no one wanted to land on those spots. It was not fun to have your Pilgrim start all over again or lose a turn because he got stuck in the Slough of Despondency! Yet that was part of the game, and part of Pilgrim’s progress along the journey of his Christian life.

You see, the journey is just as important as the destination. We may regret that our journey is filled with bumps and detours, but God can use those to teach us, mold us, and discipline us. Hey, isn’t that what we’re trying to do in our homeschooling? So how we respond to our disillusionment and frustration can actually model behavior to our children. Do we give up? Do we say, “This is too hard!”? Or do we keep going?

Louis Pasteur once said, “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” There’s an element of truth to that statement. Sometimes we just have to bear down and not let go of what is before us. But the greater truth is that our strength lies in the joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). When in doubt, take some time to get before the Lord…quiet your spirit…let go of your human expectations…get a fresh perspective…and appreciate the journey.
KEY WORDS: focus, journey, Pasteur, tenacity, character, determination

PLEASE NOTE: For additional reading — Louis Pasteur by John Hudson Tiner is available from: a Homeschooling Resource Center sponsor — Product #090019

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