I just recently finished reading the book, How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carmen. I think God must have placed this book in my lap because it was exactly what I needed to hear and at exactly the right time.
The author is a homeschooling mama so she does shares stories about her experiences teaching her children at home. However, the book is not about homeschooling. It's about loving your children and appreciating them for who they are and Whose they are. I think every parent could benefit from reading this book. I know once I started it, I was soaking up every word and didn't want to put it down.
Every parent worries if they are doing a good job with their children. As a mom, I worry about this daily but also as teacher I have the additional responsibility of providing their education as well. What a stress that can be! But the author has laid my worries to rest as she pointed out somethings that are truly necessary to be a good parent. Yes, I need to address issues with silly phonics rules and frustrations with spelling. But being a good mom, whether a homeschool mom or not, is also about praying to God to help my husband and me to be better role models for our children. It's about making our marriage stronger for our family's sake. It's about loving our kids for who God made them to be. It's about trusting God's plan for our family and our children. And it's about teaching our children to follow His path. When these core life skills are addressed, the other worries over whether to choose textbook A or textbook B will more easily fall into place.
H.E.A.R.T. is an acronym for these tenets that I mentioned above. There is a chapter to cover each one.
H - Have A Heart For The Things of God
I find that I often get tangled up in silly worries that can totally mess up my outlook and attitude. I seem to forget that God already has His hands in our lives. I just need to pray to Him for direction in my life and especially in our school work. How crazy is this - I would easily pray for God to help Nicholas to do well on his karate belt test yet I haven't been praying for God to direct our family's homeschool journey. Sometimes the most simple concepts are the most often overlooked.
"When I asked for wisdom and direction, He gave them freely. He even started to show me things I hadn’t asked for, things I hadn’t realized I needed."I have since started praying each night before I work on our lessons plans for the next day. It has given me comfort and confidence to get through the planning and makes me excited to go forward and teach my children the following day.
E - Enrich Your Marriage
It is so easy to let the daily tasks overwhelm me. At the end of the day I'm tired and just need break. My sweet husband comes in from his stressful job and wants a break too. But how easy it is to forget his needs and just complain that the dishwasher still needs to be emptied or bug him about the socks on the floor. Rachael says,
"We need to stop criticizing others and begin looking inward and clean up ourselves. We have some corners to dust, some floors to sweep, some sticky spots to attend to."Seriously! How can I complain about dishes and socks when the entire kitchen island is deemed unusable because it is covered with stacks of papers and plans for wonderful projects that I plan to do "something with someday", yet he never complains about it. We all have our quirks and vices but in a marriage we need to work together as a team to show our children that love is about working together, forgiving each other, and yes, sometimes even sacrificing the use of the kitchen island.
A - Accept Your Kids
This was the chapter that God wanted to smack me over the head with. So often I let my frustration about the things that my children are doing or not doing get the best of me. Why is he so loud and bouncy? Why is she so curious and into everything? Arrrgghh! Why can't they just do what they are supposed to do?
Rachael helped me to remember that they ARE doing what they are supposed to do because they are made in the most wonderful way by the Creator of the Universe.
Who am I to question or want to change that?
"Is it possible that you or I have given birth to an answer to a prayer……It’s possible that the answers to some of these prayesr are already here in the form of a child, a teenager, or a young adult. Are the answers to these prayers growing up under your roof?"I need to quit wishing for my children to be like other children. I need to quit thinking that they are here just to drive me crazy. Instead, I need to pray for God's plan for these little people to be fulfilled in the most perfect way because they have a beautiful life prepared for them. They just may bring a blessing or miracle to someone else or even the world as long as I don't try to steer them off their intended path just to make my own life easier.
"We must seek God first when it comes to molding our children, or we will make the mistake of molding them into our image instead of His. We will try to make them into what we want them to be for our pleasure and pride and not for the glory and praise of their heavenly Father."I think this chapter was written just for me. It was what I needed to hear most in this season of my life.
R - Release Them To God
Our children need us to "train them in the way they should go". They are not ours forever. They are sent by God and we must encourage them to follow His path even after they have left the comfort of our nest for He has great plans for them.
When you teach them about God’s faithfulness, sovereignty, and grace; when you don’t rain on their parades with words like “too much”, “too far away”, “too big”, or “too hard”; then they begin to believe that anything is possible. Your kids were meant to change the world. Think of it: young men and women dreaming great dreams for His glory. Isn’t that what this is all about?T - Teach Them The Truth
We need to be sure to teach our children about Jesus
Regular family worship sets the stage for their day. It puts first things first and sets a tone of praise, submission, service, and sacrifice. Old Testament law taught the value of “firstfruits” (Exodus 23:19), and in the New Testament Jesus admonished His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). When we set aside the first part of our morning for worship of Him, He blesses us. He knows what our day will hold even before we rise, and it is His desire to prepare us for it, individually and as a family.
Why haven't we been doing this? We say our blessings over breakfast each morning and we memorize Bible verses each week but we have not had a regular plan for prayer in the morning before starting our school work. What better way to start our day than with giving thanks and asking for direction from the Shepherd and Teacher who wants to guide and light our paths, if we will only let Him.
This book has been such a blessing to me. In just the short time since I've read it, I can already feel a change in my outlook for each day. Our days are so much more joyful and everything seems to run more smoothly.
How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carmen is available from Apologia Educational Ministries for $13.00. Click HERE to order you copy. You won't regret it!
Apologia offers has some fantastic homeschool curriculum. We currently have one of their science books but I'm planning on using one of their geography books next year.
I was blessed to receive my copy of How To Have A H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids from Apologia in order for me to review the book. I was not compensated for my time and my opinions are all my own. Please check out what others on the TOS Homeschool Crew have to say about this awesome book!