Some of the most important things we can learn are not to be found in textbooks.
Little did anyone imagine that every kid in Minnesota (and in many other states across the country) would be doing school at home for a substantial amount of time this spring. Whether you are a homeschooler by choice or a coronavirus homeschooler, this season is hard. We are facing circumstances beyond anything we imagined, and we are doing it with kids bouncing off the walls. Lest we overburden ourselves by trying to check off every academic assignment as we face this crisis, let’s remember that the most important things we learn this spring probably won’t be found in textbooks or assessed on tests.
My kids and I will continue to do our school routine. We will work on learning math, but we will also work on learning to plot out our movements carefully. How long can we go between trips to the store? Just how much milk do we need for one week? If we cut the pan of brownies into four columns instead of three, how many more servings will we get? We will learn to use carefully and waste less.
We will work on learning to read but also learn to get along with each other, wrestling through relationship at close range. How does the tone of my voice change the impact of my words? How can I love my sister when she is crabby? How can I help my talkative younger brother feel loved when he just needs to be heard? We will learn how to help each other make it through when the days feel long.
We will work on learning to write, but also on learning to make our own fun. When the books have all been read, why not write down our own stories? What new adventure could we imagine today? What game can we play together? How can we use what is in our recycling bin to make something new? We will learn to be thankful for the home we have, the toys we have, the books we have, the richness we have. We will learn how to happily “make do” with what is on hand.
We will work on learning history, and we will see how often man’s plans did not come to fruition. As we walk through days of canceled concerts, canceled playdates, canceled gatherings, and canceled getaways, we will learn to hold loosely to our plans and instead trust that the Lord orders all our days for our good. We will learn to enjoy the times He gives us. We will learn to accept from our Father’s hand that which He deems best, even when we don’t perceive His purposes.
We will work a little on science, and on how to wash hands and do the “vampire cough.” Mostly, we will learn how to take care of people when they are sick—checking on their needs when we are going to the store, asking if they need anything from our own pantries and bookshelves, and offering soup and muffins and movies. We will learn how to serve our friends, family, and neighbors by staying home when we are sick, and then going out to help others when we are healthy. We will learn to keep germs at home but to give loving service everywhere.
We will work on memorizing verses to help us fight fear, but we will also learn what it means to worship God when the church is closed. We will learn to set aside time in our daily and weekly schedules for reading, singing, praying, and listening to sermons even when there are no eyes keeping track of our attendance. We will learn that church is not just a building, and that worship is not just for Sunday mornings. We will learn to honor God because He is worthy of it and because taking time to worship Him for who He is and what He has done strengthens our weary hearts. (See other recent posts from Sarah related to Scripture memory: "Give them a Verse," "What does the Bible Say?" and "Memorizing Scripture When You've Lost Your Mind.")
We will learn to trust God for His provision and to rest in His protective care. We will learn to live bravely, to keep on going even when the headlines would make us want to curl up and stay in bed. We will learn more what it means to live by faith in future grace—to trust that the grace we need for tomorrow will be there for us when we need it, just as the grace for this moment is here to sustain us now. We will learn to hold tightly to the hand of our all-knowing God as we travel through unknown valleys. We will learn that our strength and our courage cannot come from our own hearts or resources, but must flow from His sovereign strength and all-sufficient abundance.
Lord-willing, we will have learned a lot by the end of this school year, but hopefully, the most memorable lessons will not have come from textbooks. In this unique season, may we learn how to live better, love bravely, and walk boldly in the strength that God supplies. May we learn that He is our truest Help, our best Strength, our only Salvation, and our most-needed Life. That, after all, is what we need to know the most.
Sarah House is a stay-at-home wife and homeschooling mom to four children. Her days are filled with loving, learning, playing, teaching, reading, surviving, serving, and trusting in the loving grace and sovereign wisdom of Jesus Christ through all of it.