The Most Important Thing in Homeschooling

Walnut in the Jar Analogy

I was thinking today about the walnut in the jar.  Perhaps you’ve seen the cute little decorated baby food jars that are to help us remember to order our days and lives, carefully choosing to put in the most important first.

The Order Is Important

There is the walnut, which is a symbol of the “Important eternal things.”  Then there is somewhat lesser things, but still “important” represented by rice.  Then there is the sand.  The countless “grains” represent the thousands of minute details that can fill a woman’s day.  And water.

The way it works, try it yourself, is that if you put the walnut in first, then the rice, then the sand, then the water, it will all fit, but if you try to put in the millions of little details, obligations, meetings, urgent, but not “important” in the eternal scope of things, and then try to fit the walnut in last–the Important Things and Eternal, especially Time sitting at the Lord’s Feet each day and Prayer–it won’t work.

Eternal Impact of Scheduling

I was thinking about this analogy and how very, very important it is–I constantly have to work on this–to put the important eternal things into my day first.  I have to go to the Lord and ask Him what He wants me to do, and revamp my plans and schedule whenever a new thing comes in.

It is so easy to get off track and suddenly realize that the more “important” things are getting neglected.  Satan desperately wants to get us side-tracked, so that we fill our days and lives with, well, anything but what God wants.

Good Things or Best

Even “good” activities will suffice if they keep us from the “best” that God has for us.  The walnut illustration came to my mind today, and it’s such a great analogy, because if I spend time with the Lord in His Word first thing every day, and pray over the plans, then there’s time and order and direction in my home and life.

He fills my heart with peace, He answers my prayer as to the order in which He wants me to do things.  He places His desires in my heart and gives me His eyes to see what’s important.

The Walnut in Homeschooling

Taking this analogy one step further, I thought about Homeschooling and little children.  God places a great importance on “first” things.  In Homeschooling, we always tried to get the most “important” things done first.  Then if we didn’t get to everything, as often is the case, we would have done the important things.

I always try to encourage young Homeschooling moms that about 90% of Homeschooling is Spiritual, 10% Academic.  The most important thing is to teach your children about the Lord, to spend time in the Word with them, to help them memorize Bible verses (and chapters and books).  To teach them to love the Lord Jesus, and to trust Him with their whole lives.  Character and Godliness.

It’s So Important

Starting their day in prayer and Bible reading is so important.  Little children memorize almost effortlessly.  Repeating Bible verses to them is all it takes for them to remember them, it seems.

A Story

When our children were little, we would also read at night during our evening bedtime ritual.  We had read the Christmas stories, put out by Arch publishing, so many times before bed, that when Dane was three, he could recite one of the books entirely, turning the pages at exactly the right time. (It helps a lot that Arch books are all written in rhyme 🙂

We would sit on “Mommy and Daddy’s bed” (it was bigger so everybody could fit) with our stack of books, and snuggle under the covers together and read and read and read.  Then we would pray, I would sing Lullaby and Goodnight and Jesus Loves Me and put them to bed.

Socialization and All That Stuff

The world would tell you to get all stressed out over “socialization” and your child’s test scores, and try to scare you until you’re a wreck thinking that your child is never going to make it because they can’t recite the Pythagorean theorem by age 6, etc., etc., etc.

Tell me what you really remember from what you learned in school.  I am not advocating slothfulness or irresponsibility.  I am saying, “Go to God and He’ll show you what’s important in your school day.  Listen to Him, follow His direction.  He’ll give wisdom.”

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
James 1:5-6

You can go back and learn what you missed academically, but you can’t go back and re-lay the spiritual foundation and the training in Godliness.

Redeeming the Years the Locusts Have Eaten

God is gracious and can redeem the years the locusts have eaten, but if you have small children, everything you’re doing with them to train them in character and obedience to God’s Word, all the time that you’re spending answering their questions (sometimes seemingly endless questions) about God and His creation–“Why can’t we see God?”  “Why do zebras have stripes?”–it is not wasted time.

“And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Galatians 6:9

If You Read Nothing Else, Read This

Let’s remember to put the walnut in first–
in our children,
in our day,
in our life.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33

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