It’s About Time!
We all know homeschooled kids like these (and they come in all ages): Grace plays the cello, guitar, piano, and drums—and makes jewelry too. Greg does woodworking, collects fossils, mows lawns, and fixes bicycles. Holly is in drama, bakes and sells bread, grows her own garden, and visits elderly neighbors often. Eric is an Eagle Scout, works in political campaigns, raises tropical fish for sale, and plays basketball. Mom volunteers at church, helps her homeschooling friends with curriculum, works part-time from home, and sews beautiful quilts—all this while still maintaining excellence in academics as well.
How is this possible? It’s about time. It is because homeschool families have ample time for academics, hobbies, volunteer work, artistic pursuits, and job opportunities. They have time on their side. They are not bound to someone else’s governmental time clock and mandated work assignments. They are free to learn and be and do.
One of the first things I noticed in homeschooling my children was that the academics didn’t take up as much time as I thought they would, and we were able to do a lot of additional productive, fruitful, and creative activities both inside and outside the home. We would go on many field trips, visit with people in the community, volunteer our time, learn new skills, or try an outside class. We could travel, we could spend time with extended family, and we could take breaks when there were emergencies or illnesses or other circumstances in our lives that prevented the regular routine. All because we had time to make up the academics or pick up the interests where we left off. There was no time pressure, from within or from without. We experienced life on a much grander scale than that offered by a confined classroom setting, and instead of being herded around, we wandered from one learning adventure to another to our hearts’ content.
We all have the same number of hours in our days, but homeschool families have the flexibility, blessing, and opportunity to use them wisely and efficiently. Most public and private schooled children today have so little free time that they don’t quite know what to do with extra time. Day marches into day, and nothing of significance seems to be accomplished or experienced. Same old routine day in and day out: school, soccer practice, dinner, homework, TV, and bedtime. They are easily “bored” because they are used to being dictated to about what they are to be doing and when and for how long, or kept entertained during any free time. Not so for homeschooled children. They complete academic work in a few hours and have the rest of the day for exploring their world, their community, and their interests. They know how to play, create, compose, think, learn new things on their own, and be ministers of the Gospel—it’s about time!
Time also benefits both the gifted and the struggling home learners. Homeschooled entrepreneurs start home-based businesses; gifted homeschoolers graduate early and go on to college or join the work force in their teens because they were allowed to excel at their own pace. Struggling learners are given the time needed to strengthen weak areas, spend more time on difficult subjects, and learn practical life skills, so that they, too, come out way ahead.
Time is why you see homeschoolers who are well ahead of the game as musicians, spellers, artists, and engineers. They win contests … because they have the time to prepare and enter! They perform and leave us spellbound because they have had the time to practice well and master a craft. They win scholarships and a lofty reputation in the public eye—all because of time.
Why is there such blessing as it relates to time and homeschooling? I believe the Scriptures will enlighten us on the subject. One of my favorite passages about time is found in Psalm 90:12,16–17:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”
This passage is beautiful and significant in its entirety, but let’s also see what we glean when we break the verses down:
“teach us to number our days”
The words teach us indicate that we don’t have time to invest in prideful, selfish attitudes. We must have a humble, teachable heart, always looking to God for His instruction. We definitely need his direction in numbering our days. We must maintain a short vision of putting down roots in this world and a proper vision for preparing for eternity. The number of our eternal days far outweighs the number of our temporal days, so our preparations must be made accordingly.
“that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”
If our days are truly numbered, then we know we must make obtaining true wisdom a priority. Just as we want our own students to apply themselves to their studies, we, too, must be good students and apply our hearts to wisdom.
“Let thy work appear unto thy servants”
As we apply our hearts to wisdom, we begin to ask God to show us His mighty works and deeds and to ask Him what mighty deeds He’d have us to do with our temporal time rather than asking Him to bless the plans of our own making. We pray that He would show us His important work in the lives of His children.
“and thy glory unto their children”
Throughout Scripture, God desires to reveal to our children His deeds and His glory. We must take the time to pray daily that the glory of God would be revealed to them and even through us. The Hebrew word for glory in this verse (hadar) is also translated as beauty, glory, and majesty. This is exactly what should be filling our lives and our school days.1
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”
The magnificence and glory of God will be revealed to our children, and most likely in the same proportions, as the beauty of the Lord is seen upon us. For our own sake and for the sake of our children, we must take the time ourselves to allow God’s magnificence and glory and beauty to have its work in our own hearts. Parents have been made the conduit of revealing the glory of God to their children.
“and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it”
Once we have defined our eternal values and timeline (versus the temporal work of our hands) and have understood that we are here to reveal God’s glory to the next generation, we then pray that God will indeed establish the work of our hands. According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word translated as establish kuwn is also translated in the Bible as follows: confirm, direct, faithfulness, fashion, fasten, firm, and make . . . ready.”
We must take time to make these requests of our heavenly Father: “Direct us in faithfulness. Fashion our days. Fasten us to You and Your ways. Firmly fit us for heaven and establish with certainty what we are to be doing here on this earth. Yes, Lord, establish the work of our hands.”
It’s About Time—to Wake Up
Remember what was written to the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:2–3: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent”?
A watchman cannot be lazy in his duties, because if he is, then a whole city can be destroyed. A homeschool parent cannot be weak and lazy and ready to give up, or the enemy will come and destroy the foundations. We must wake up and strengthen that which remains, that which is ready to die. We must remember our God and hold fast to that which He has called us to do. We must repent for our propensity to give up and repent for spending our precious temporal time on that which is unworthy.
When we do these things, God will bless our time well spent, even our days of meager efforts, and He will bring forth fruitful rewards in the lives of our children.
When people begin to see all the wonderful things your children are doing with their time and begin to laud them or you for their excellence, it will be automatic that you quickly transfer all the glory to God. For, truthfully, it’s about time that we give all the glory to God for His rewards bestowed upon our families for keeping our children Home Where They Belong.
Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.