What we have experienced this summer has been from the hand of God. If the summer months were idyllic and wonderful, praise Him…He gave you this gift. If they were difficult, took unexpected turns and twists, praise Him….He gave you this gift! It is evident throughout scripture that all things come from God’s hands. We see that with Job, Joseph, Moses…and even in the death of Christ, which seemed like a bad thing to the disciples at the time. However, in all of these situations, God had plans that were beyond the grasp of those involved and used all of these things as part of His plan.
And guess what? Work is part of His plan too. From the beginning, in the garden, Adam and Eve had jobs!!!!! In Genesis 2:5, we are told that there were no shrubs or plants because God had sent no rain and there was no man to CULTIVATE the ground. Last time I checked, cultivate was an ‘action’ word and man would be doing that job. We also see that Adam’s first job was to name all the animals. Imagine that one…how fun would that be?? God’s intention on this big beautiful planet Earth and in the perfect garden that He made, was that man would be purposeful and necessary. All of scripture reminds us of the work of Christ. Jesus didn’t enjoy endless lazy, hazy days of relaxing. He had purpose and worked to fulfill that. But, He did go to the Father often and we see places where He slept, ate and enjoyed fellowship.
So, as tutors and students alike, prepare to go back to school, we need to understand this Biblical view of work and realize that God has called us to be students and to be tutors. This is OUR WORK for the moment. He wants us to learn well and to teach well. Of course, we all know that sin entered the world in the beautiful garden that God had established. With that came grumbling, complaining, blame shifting, dissatisfaction and frustrations. When it all boils down to it, just like Adam and Eve, who wanted things ‘their way,’ we also want things our way and when things get too difficult, we want to complain and bail out! Can we say ‘yet I will praise Him’ whether things are good or bad? You have my permission to hold me to this.
As we near the start of this ‘work’ for this year, let’s keep the following things in mind:
- We are a community of believers, called together to teach our children. Dwell on the blessing of that. We live in a country where we are free to NOT send our children to school. We have chosen this path for various reasons, but whatever the reason, we HAVE chosen it and continue to make choices for our family. Years ago, we became familiar with the customs of Belarus, a country under dictatorial rule. There are no choices. You go to government school. You serve in the military (if you are a boy). You go to the trade school or college they determine (based on your test schools). You do the job they tell you to do. You live in the housing they set up for you. Period. Or, consider children in the ‘bush ‘of Africa. Education is not a word in their vocabulary.
- We get to do this together. There is support and comradery at CHA. We may not like all the policies. We may not agree with every philosophy or with the other person’s theology. But we are Catholic and Protestant, together for one goal. Use the support you’ve been given. You have each other to help you carry life’s burdens. Talk to each other when life is hard. Help each other to more Godly marriages and parenting. Give each other ideas on ‘at home’ work days. Help each other when the load becomes heavy. Some enjoy homeschooling just within family or a small network. That’s great, but CHA is designed to give you assistance and support.
- Know when to ask for help. There are several things in place where you can bring your prayer requests or concerns. First, there is a time of prayer every morning for adults, usually in the lunch room or hallway. If you ‘drop off’ or teach later, I encourage you to go to this…maybe 10 minute…prayer time. Share your requests and pray for the academy, tutors and the students. Secondly, there are wonderful tutors and department chairs to talk to if you are struggling. Don’t keep your concerns about heavy or frustrating homework to yourself. Go, lovingly, to the tutor or department chair and ask for help or guidance. Third, there is a liaison in place to help if you are feeling like you are drowning. Finally, will you commit to pray for CHA regularly? That may be daily or weekly, but will you pray for the board, the department chairs, the tutors and the students?
- Share your ideas! We have a CHA Family FB page and a larger organizational page set up on FB…if you find something that works, share it. If you want to write a blog about something that has worked, that would be wonderful. We all have great ideas and we have a good network set up to share them.
- Intentionally, get to know other moms! One of the things I most loved in our first few years at CHA was the network of moms that would gather in the hallway to talk, share and even pray. I will never forget Madeline Jones calling us to pray right there in the hallway for difficult things. Those comfy chairs aren’t there anymore, but maybe we should drag a few out there to encourage these little groups to form.
- Keep it positive. I’m not going to gloss over the fact that there have been trying seasons at CHA. There are around 70 families at CHA. That makes about 140 or so parents and about 150 students. That makes roughly 300 people (add in a few extra siblings and some tutors with no children at CHA). 300 people, with different ideas, talents, philosophies and denominational differences…WOW! First, let’s stop and thank God that HE has maintained this group for 15 years. As we look to the next school year, consider how we can work toward 15 more. Scripture gives us guidance on this. I especially like Titus 3:2 (Remind them)… ‘to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.’ We need to learn to go to the person who has offended us. If resolution does not come, there are systems in place to help with this so that we can strive to walk in unity.
- Set time limits for homework and projects. You (and tutors) are given homework guidelines. Use timers, communicate with tutors and modify when needed. Students who are ‘perfectionists’ will have a difficult time with this one. But that is where you can provide some guidance and oversite at home.
- Sprinkle in fun activities! Take time each home day to ‘stop and smell the roses.’ Take a ½ hour break and listen to a Christian comedian (I recommend Tim Hawkins)...you can find snippets on You tube or order one of his videos. Take time for a 10 minute walk with your kids to clear your head. Or drive to McDonalds after lunch to get an ice cream cone. Consider an evening story time with one of the literature books. Older and younger kids can enjoy this too! Begin every day with a 5 minute Psalm reading or singing. BREATHE! If you don’t get all the work done one day, you don’t get it done. The grading system at CHA is for your benefit, not your demise. Check it ONLY to see what is missing. Encourage excellence, but know when to stop. God has clear rest plans in place…day and night. We work and we rest. On the 7th day, He rested, so we should do that too. I speak to myself, because I am often busy on the Sabbath.
- Ask questions! If you don’t understand, need clarification, please ask. Many tutors have been teaching for a while, and we need to know when our directions were unclear. Tutors are usually available by phone, e-mail, text. They will let you know the best way to contact them. This will often ease burdens quickly if you just contact them!
people, the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). Know Him well this year and go to Him often. He has made you and has anointed you for this work (either as student or tutor). Do your work well.