I had some serious conviction come down from the Lord recently. I can tell it was from Him because it was firm but kindly given, and the aftertaste was not despair resulting in me beating myself up about it with no idea of how to change, but instead hope and an ability to immediately take action on it.
When I am teaching kids either at my homeschool co-op or in a Sunday school or anywhere else, I feel myself come alive. I am engaging and fully engaged. I put my whole effort into it, both during the teaching and during the preparation time. I try to make each child feel important and loved. I love to do it, and I feel God’s presence when I do it. I get confirmation over and over that teaching was what I was called to do, what I was made to do.
However, when I am teaching my own kids at home, I’m distracted by dishes, laundry, and my phone. I do put a lot of effort into it, but I sometimes feel more like a drill sergeant pushing my kids to do their work than an encouraging, engaging cheerleader and coach. I do want each of my children to feel important and loved, but I sometimes find myself frustrated and acting impatiently with them. I still love homeschooling a lot of the time and feel I was called to do it, but it’s definitely a different experience.
I know some of that is natural and normal to the homeschool experience vs. the large group setting experience. I will always be more distracted at home than I would be in a place where I have no other job to do but teach a group of kids all the same age. I also have to make my kids do work they don’t want to do–some of it they’d probably do in a Sunday school without complaint (because of peers willingly doing it and teachers with whom they don’t have as much familiarity), but some of it you’d never find in a Sunday school or homeschool co-op because it’s practice. Practice can be repetitive at times. Practice can be tedious. But practice is necessary to build up a skill.
However, I would never show frustration at a child in a school setting like I show it at home. This is where the conviction comes in. How impatient am I going to let myself be when I’m at home? Am I going to handle discipline issues and frustrations with grace and love like I would in public?
With God’s help, I want to be different. When teaching at home, I want to maintain the same attitude I have when I teach in other places, always with kindness and patience. When I wake every day, I want to ask God to give me the patience, love, and kindness I need to teach my kids well. When I start to be frustrated during the day, through prayer I want love to be my first response.