Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leaving Egypt and Entering the Promised Land

You have probably heard the term “Scope and Sequence” since you began your homeschooling journey. I remember hearing it too, and I was not sure of what it meant. So I looked up the definition. “Scope and Sequence “ means, what you are going to teach to your children and when are you going to teach it. One of the first places I turned to figure out what to teach and when to teach it, was the State’s Standards (also known as the State’s Scope and Sequence), and things that I remembered from my own public school experience. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE!!!! That should have been the last place I turned to, yet nevertheless, it was my natural tendency to turn there first because of the indoctrination that I was exposed to.
The California Education Code does not mandate us as homeschoolers to follow the State’s Standards regarding what our children need to learn per grade level. We have a great amount of freedom in California as homeschoolers, because the Education Code just states that we are to “offer instruction in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools.” Yet, we embrace the public schools’ Standards. What do I meant by that? The State’s Scope and Sequence tells us our children should be reading by age 5 or 6 years of age, so we think our children at age 5 or 6 should know how to read, or, according to the State, they should know their multiplication tables in the 3rd grade, and in the 4th grade they should be writing stories, otherwise, they will be behind. Behind what? The State’s Standards. Like the Israelites were in bondage to the king of Egypt, I was in bondage to the State’s Standards as a homeschooling mom because I thought I had to mimic the State.
Although it was not easy, I continued on in my homeschooling journey out of obedience to the Word of God, but I sought the Truth, the Holy Word, to try to figure out why my journey was so difficult. What I realized was the State’s Scope and Sequence dictated my priorities. However, if you were to ask me why I homeschooled, I would have said, “So I can raise godly children who would follow the Lord wholeheartedly and for my children to become leaders for Jesus Christ.” This biblical vision that I had for my children did not line up with the State’s Standards that I followed. The Word of God was not mentioned anywhere in the 12 year program of the State’s Scope and Sequence. Needless to say, I still clung to the State’s Standards because of how I was taught in the public schools that I attended for 12+ years. I thought that was the path to follow to teach my children and I would just add a little bit of Jesus to all of the academics. But there was not enough of God’s Word being taught to my boys and there was a constant tug of war between the spiritual things I wanted to teach them and the academics that I always felt I was behind in. Many days we would start with math or reading, because I felt my boys were “behind”, yet, I knew I should have started off with prayer, worship and the teaching of the Word of God. But because I was trying to keep up with the State, I would forsake the teaching of the Lord. I did not know how to balance the two priorities, the spiritual life and the academic life for my boys, so once again, I went back to the Bible for direction.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God is our authority. The Bible does not say, your child needs to be able to read at age 5. It does not say, your daughter should know her multiplication tables when she is 8 or your son should be writing stories at age 9. The Bible is what I am going to teach my children and it is going to be taught daily, regardless of where my boys are academically, according to the State’s Standards, (which I now refer to as, “Satan’s Standards”!) God’s Word is my priority, so I am going to embrace it as my ”Scope and Sequence.” It is going to dictate to me what my children need to learn. I am not going to balance the two so-called priorities, the spiritual growth verses the academic growth. When you think of the word, ‘priority’, you naturally think, what comes first. You don’t think balance! Put first things first. If it is godly children that you desire, seek the Word of God, not Satan’s Standards. The Word says to test all things. Line up the State’s Scope and Sequence with the Word of God. If your child is reading at age 5 or 6 according to the State, but their behavior with you is completely disobedient, something is out of order according to your priorities. Maybe your child writes wonderfully, but she has a disrespectful attitude towards you and your husband. My challenge to you is to ask yourself if that is what you want your child’s character to look like; they have the knowledge of the world, but their heart is turned away from you and the Lord. All of that is because of where we turned to receive our guidance on what and when to teach our children. The Word of God says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
God’s Word is the perfect standard for our children and we need to embrace all aspects of it. For the Holy Word says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 Seek the Bible and do not be uptight and anxious if your child is not at the State’s level of reading, writing or math, etc. The State is not your authority unless you have given them the authority. I was in bondage to what the State said I needed to do. It took me several years to break free from that way of thinking and my journey is much more fruitful and my children are learning the things of the Lord. It has taken me several years to enter the “Promise Land of homeschooling”. I encourage you to teach your children to love the Lord first and foremost. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:5-7 Keep this verse at the forefront of your mind when things don’t go according to plan or when your children are not excelling in all of the academic areas according to the State. Remember, God’s Standard’s don’t require them to! Say “good-bye” to Egypt and “hello” to the Promised Land of homeschooling discipleship!

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