"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

Do Your Research

Good end results require a lot of research up front and throughout the entire process. You must determine what you want to do and how to do it, what you want to buy and how much it costs. If your roof starts to leak and you tear it off without a plan to replace it, you may be stuck in the rain.

Our homeschools need research too, don't they? We need to know what it is we want to accomplish and how and what it will cost. Homeschooling without doing a little research first may end up falling short of the results we had hoped to achieve. Selecting curricula for a new year or new subjects also requires a bit of research and a lot of prayer. You not only will be looking at the choices of material, but you will be looking at how your child learns and how you teach as well. How will this all fit together? Will your child be able to handle this independently, or will it be a "high maintenance" endeavor? Will your student retain information better with an auditory program or a hands-on program? What about cost?

Here comes my favorite part—our spiritual lives. What is it exactly that we are here for? I believe we are here to glorify God in every aspect of our lives. What does that look like and how do we do it? Our research manual, of course, is the Bible. To know the answers to these questions and to know Him, we must read it. There is no way around it. If we are not "researching" God's Word for how to live, then we are not going to end up living the way He desires. Our goals for glorifying Him will not be met. And the cost? I've done a little research here and have found the cost to be all that you have. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7) Another translation of this verse reads, ". . . Though it costs all you have, get understanding." Proverbs 3:13-17 says: "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." Obviously it is wisdom and understanding that we are to be spending our time and resources getting, and they are so important that we are to go after them though it cost all that we have.

Though it costs us time away from regular schoolwork, housework, or yard work, we must pay the cost. Though it costs extra strength to get up early to read the instruction manual of our lives, we must realize the worth and the end result that will ensue in our hearts and the hearts of our children. What end result are we looking for? If we don't study our Bible for all its worth with our children, what will the end result be? Within the pages of this incredible book, the Bible, we find everything we need for life and Godliness; but it will cost everything we have. Is it worth the cost?

From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "How poor, contemptible, and wretched are those, who, with all their wealth and power, die without getting understanding, without Christ, without hope, and without God!"

From the Geneva Study Bible: ". . . We must first begin with God's word, if we will that other things prosper with us, contrary to the judgment of the world, which make it their last study, or else care not for it at all."

Get Rid of the Old

One of our projects started out as a small project. The fish tank in the big boy's room had overflowed, and we'd had to cut out a chunk of carpet. The concrete floor underneath wasn't very appealing, and neither was the semi-carpeted room. It was time for a little home improvement.

After everything was removed from the room and put in the hallway (or gotten rid of), it proved to be an opportune time to paint, and a nice shade of green paint was applied to the walls. The next step was to rip out the old carpet and lay in wood flooring. To lay in the wood flooring we had to tear out and replace the baseboards. Of course, since we were fixing up the room, we saw the need to put in some new blinds. The boys didn't just get a new room; they also had great learning experiences that they can use for the rest of their lives: research, trial and error, hard work, accomplishment, and time well spent learning life skills with their dad.

It takes time and work to rip out the old. Sometimes a few tears may be shed as you get rid of familiar things; memories may be tied up in those dirty walls and stained carpet. You must come to a place where you are ready and willing to make the necessary changes. You must be willing to get rid of the old in order to make room for the new. 

Sometimes our homeschools need improvements. Not only do we need to get rid of what doesn't work, but we also must be willing to start new plans or try new curricula. We may shed a few tears before we come to the place where we are ready to make the change—to give up the old and sail into new territory.

What about our spiritual lives? Our hearts may need some renovation as we rip out the roots that have grown there over time. Maybe a root of bitterness has sprung up toward those who are less than supportive of your family or your ideals. Perhaps there is anger that always pours forth over the smallest issue or the smallest children. It needs to go. We need to replace what tears down with what builds up. What is it that's tearing your family down? It needs to be gotten rid of—torn out—demolished, so that the new life of Christ can flow through you to your family. A wise woman tears down what is hindering the flow of God's abundant life as she builds up the new home in Christ. The foolish tear their homes down by their own bitterness and their own foolish belief that their way is the only right way. The end result of that kind of thinking is death.

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." (Proverbs 14:1)