I have been thinking about the best way to share links to good articles and posts I’ve read around the internet, and finally settled on picking the three best every week and sharing them in a quick post on Saturdays.
Keeping First Things First
A life prioritized on Christ will lead to gospel-fueled godly service: to one’s husband, children, neighbors, local church, and who knows how far it may reach. A life prioritized instead on service, including service to good ends like our children, will likely run out of steam, and even all that service will be as filthy rags.
It is so easy to focus on what we should do, rather than on who we are and Who Christ is. What we do is not insignificant, but if what we do is a product of sanctification rather than self-righteous striving, it will be the grateful overflow, not the focus.
It’s a Happier Life Being Ordinary
There was, apparently, a quite lengthy article in The Atlantic by a mom politician who gave up her D.C. gig so she could actually live in the same house as her family. What a concept. Her article is titled, “Women Still Can’t Have It All.” I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen a few responses to it. Meagan, here, addresses the fact that most of the women controlling the feminist conversation are simply out of touch with what normal — non D.C., non-power-career — women’s lives are like, even for moms with jobs outside the home. She points out that many of the author’s problems are problems that come with the high-profile nature of her job; they are not problems of the typical mother balancing a career and family, and those who choose not to have a career often aren’t doing so just because they can’t hack it.
Meagan’s piece here is a good reminder that it’s actually easier to be happy, healthy, and content when you live an ordinary life.
How can we shift our cultural focus from achievement, money and status to the experience of being human, of doing meaningful work, of loving and caring for our families and spending time with our friends?
Who Should We Go to for Homeschooling Advice?
When we first got online, my oldest was just 13 and Chari’s oldest was just 11. We loved the deep lively discussions and working out of educational methods and ideas. But looking around our online community, we couldn’t help being aware that we were apparently in the veteran front guard. Hardly anyone with kids older than ours ever spoke up. We knew there MUST be homeschooling mothers with older children than ours, who had much experience to share. But where were they?
It does seem true that the vast majority of homeschool blogs are moms whose children are in the elementary and younger range primarily. Those with preschool age children eat up advice. Those in the thick of it love to evangelize for their choices. Those who have been there, done that, and are finished, tell the moms of preschoolers to relax and not jump the gun on starting an academic load. But what about the moms in the thick of it with elementary students? Just as when I was the mom with preschoolers, I heard most often from the older moms to start slow and relax, but their theme for elementary in-the-trenches moms seems to be mostly, “I don’t know. I didn’t do a great job. I can’t give you any advice or answers” or “It’s tough and it gets tougher. Have you thought about the day school options?” Sure, there are some who are die-hard evangelizers for their method or choices, but I don’t think I actually personally know any of those types. Mostly I encounter moms who are tired after their long years in the trenches and ready to move on to a new phase of life; the last thing they want to do is talk about being in the trenches again.
But perhaps we in-the-trenches moms should consider our approach. Are we having a conversation here or there, looking for an Answer? Moms who have been homeschooling for 20-30 years know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, they know you have to do the best you can do with the materials and wisdom and faith you have, and they can’t give pat solutions to elementary & middle school dilemmas. “Relax” is a good pat answer to tell preschool moms. There just isn’t an equivalent for the middle years, and we shouldn’t be disappointed when older moms won’t give us three easy steps. And perhaps one of the lessons we should take from them, in their perspective, rather than curriculum-junkie peers, is that life is actually about more than homeschooling.
Do younger moms listen well enough to older moms? Do older moms share useful advice? What is your experience on this issue?