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November 2011
Labor of Light
by Lori Coeman

Last month we started a series designed to look at what we homeschooling parents can do that no one else can do as well. It’s an effort to bring us back to one of our “first loves,” to remind us of what a great opportunity we have raising our children in our home.

If you recall, last month we highlighted our labor of love. No one else loves our children the way we do. This month I want to focus on our labor of light. Jesus declared in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

As homeschoolers, we have the luxury – dare I say the responsibility? – of making Christ the center of our home and training. Not academics. Not the child. Not even homeschooling. But Christ. That light should cast a strong beam on how we approach our training, the academics, and the disciplining of our children.

In her August 31st blog, the Spunky Homeschooler (aka: Karen Braun) shared how God enabled her to capture this vision in her homeschooling. Three simple letters empowered her through the hard times and kept her motivated. ART. A for attitude, R for relationships, and T for teaching and training.

As she put it, “Kept in the proper order, I had a vision for the ‘work of ART’ God was creating in my family.” Ah, the power of vision.

Spunky went on to explain that, as a curriculum junkie, she was prone to focus on the last part first, expending most of her energy on the academics. What she found was that even the best curriculum doesn’t work if attitudes and relationships are not right. The result, in fact, is TAR – a sticky mess to say the least. Hmmm, been there, done that.

The mom-gene in her wanted to create a nice, cozy, enjoyable atmosphere. Oh how tempting it is to want to make training entertaining and not boring. But centering on the child’s likes and interests only creates an unbalanced, unhealthy outlook on life. Hmmm, been there, done that. As Spunky points out, putting relationships before godly attitudes leaves you with RAT, and who of us loves rats?

I looked up the word attitude and found that the root meaning is fitted and joined. Joined to what? Christ our Light. Fitted how? To the model of behavior and action He displayed. Attitude is defined as the posture of a person that reveals the mental and emotional state. I would add the spiritual state as well. In other words, attitude determines teachableness.

Secular behaviorists have found that attitude literally changes the chemical balance in the brain and affects learning. Luke 6:45 says the same thing much more poetically: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Working on attitude takes time. It takes a keen awareness of the child’s personality, behavioral tendencies, and strengths and weaknesses. Who knows those better than a parent?

Working on attitude in a group classroom setting is at best challenging, if not next to impossible. But look at what we have – the time and teachable moments to do just that. Yes, it’s work. Yes, it can be an added pressure. But may I suggest that if it is an overwhelming pressure, then perhaps we are striving in our own abilities rather than cooperating with the Spirit of Light.

To read Spunky’s full blog entry, click on http://spunkyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2011/08/motivation-to-homeschool.html.


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