Overachievement and perfection, accompanied with doubt and fear. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as we homeschool our children. Looking back over your year, you will most likely ask yourself if you did enough. Did I teach my child enough math facts? Are my children becoming better readers and writers? What about science and social studies, did we do enough experiments and read an assortment of books? It is very natural and expected to assess how your year has gone. For the most part, this is a very healthy thing to do. But sometimes we do it with the wrong perspective or our priorities are out of order and our assessment becomes inaccurate, and when that happens it is very common to feel defeated in our journey. We often hear the saying, “Put first things first”. So, if you were to assess your year, what were your priorities and what did you put first? Did you place a higher emphasis on teaching your child her multiplication facts over training a rebellious heart? Or did you work more on shaping your child’s heart towards Christ rather than writing. Perhaps your answer is both. But realistically, you know in your heart that you placed a heavier emphasis on one over the other. I know for myself that when my priorities change I find myself rushing through devotions and Bible reading so I can get to the ‘so called’ more important subjects. Although that is not my heart, it is how I have been conditioned by ‘the world’. Yes, we want our children equipped so they can build the Kingdom of God and we want them to thrive in life, but there is always a cost to consider. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6 It is a constant battle of our mind to continue to pursue Christ and His ways BEFORE all other things. We need to always remember what the Bible says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 In this verse, “all these things” refers to our basic necessities of life; food and clothing. Earlier in this passage Jesus said, “these are the things that the Gentiles seek after” and he rebukes his disciples as he tells them that “their Heavenly Father knows that they need all these things.” Will this passage still apply to our children when they are grown? Of course it will! However, it is very easy today in our society to get caught up in the ways of the Gentiles, but that is not how we would think or even speak to others as we purpose to educate our children. In our minds we are educating them so they could further the kingdom of God and also so they could provide for their families. Our intentions are good and honorable, but God does not require your children to have minds filled with a bunch of knowledge, He is seeking men and women who have a heart after Him, like David. 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'Acts 13:22 The Bible does not state that David was an educated man like Paul, so it is safe to assume that he was not. What the Bible does say about David is that he was a shepherd who tended and protected his flock of sheep from lions and bears; he had boldness as he approached the king, along with courage and faith as a young boy when he fought the giant, Goliath; and he was a servant as he played his harp to King Saul. This was David’s resume before he became the King of Israel! When you read Paul’s resume, most assuredly according to the world’s standards you would be impressed by it, Paul himself said, in Philippians 3:4 that “he was a man who had confidence in his flesh”, he goes on to say, ”But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7 When you get to the end of Paul’s list of achievements, this is what he had to say about it, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 Paul knew what mattered most in his life. He spoke with authority about worthless pursuits. Don’t lose heart or become discouraged if you feel that your children are not measuring up. Are your goals unrealistic or are your standards too high? Perhaps your children are excelling academically but your home life is a mess and you are losing your mind because of all the pressure you put upon yourself. Keep in mind the race that you are running. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 As hard as this journey may be at times, be encouraged to know that you are running to obtain an imperishable crown, one with an eternal purpose. Your children will reflect the things that you pour into them so make sure that the things you pursue will last forever. God does not require your children to have a college degree in order to use them, but what He does require is their heart!