As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Feast

I am as committed to homeschooling my youngest child as I was when we began our homeschooling journey twenty-plus years ago.  I am committed because I believe that is what God called me to do.  But then there are days when it does not take any commitment on my part because I can see just how good it is.  Yesterday was such a day.  

It was a day that was rich with truth, rich with ideas, rich with substance.

Bekah had done well with her independent work--vocabulary, copy work, grammar, math.  Lots of things seem to be "clicking" with her this year, which is encouraging to both of us.  

But when we began Morning Time (after lunch), I was reminded of all that is good about homeschooling with a feast of ideas, as Charlotte Mason* espoused.

We read II Samuel 9.  David sought out a descendant of King Saul, "that I [David] might show him kindness for Jonathan's sake."  We saw David showing kindness and mercy to lame Mephibosheth,  Jonathan's son.  

We continued our memory work on Romans 8, together reciting the first seventeen verses.  They are new every time.  Powerful truth.  

We sang the hymn that we began learning this week, "He Leadeth Me" by Joseph Gilmore.  Bekah is already familiar with this hymn, but we strive to memorize the words.  After we sang it through together, she asked if she could play it on the piano.  As she played a beautiful arrangement from a song book that we own, my eyes filled with tears.  It was so lovely, and I love that the words are filling her heart.  "He leadeth me, O blessed thought!  O words with heav'nly comfort fraught!  Whate'er I do, where'er I be, still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me." 

As she continued to play, I looked over her copy work for the day.  Again I was moved.  Yesterday's lesson was the first stanza of Amy Carmichael's poem "God of the Stars."  
I am the God of the stars.
They do not lose their way;
Not one do I mislay.
Their times are in my hand;
They move at my command.
Here was another reminder that God is at work, in control, leading those that are His.  I remarked on the beauty of the poem (there are two more stanzas) and Bekah suggested that I make this one my poem to memorize.  I think I shall.  

Then we sat down on the loveseat in the kitchen to read some books.  One was Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison , a Newbery Honor book in 1942.  A fictionalized account of a real life event during the French and Indian War, Indian Captive is the story of 12-year-old Mary whose family is forcefully carried away from their eastern Pennsylvania farm by a band of Seneca Indians.

The story is poignant.  And, as "living books" are, it is full of noble ideas, food for thought.

This passage from yesterday's reading was full of raw emotion...the parting words of a mother to her daughter as Mary is being separated from the group to be taken to live with the Seneca, while the others are doomed to slaughter at their captives' hands.  I could hardly read it...

Molly heard her mother speak.  She heard her say the name Mary, which she used only on rare occasions. 
"Mary, my child..."  Her mother paused, as if to catch her breath.  Molly turned to look at her.  Above the full-gathered homespun gown, with snow-white kerchief and apron, she saw the deep blue of her eyes.  She heard her mother speaking in hurried, breathless words, each word weighed down with pain.  But under the pain was a kindness, a kindness so deep and complete it pierced her heart.  Molly was to remember those words of her mother's and how she looked when she said them, to the very end of her life. 
"Mary, my child," her mother said, "the Indians are a-takin' you away from us...You...are a-goin' on with them... What's to become of the rest of us, only God knows--we are in His hand.  It looks as if your life would be spared...but they're a-takin' you away from your family, from white people of your own kind, from everything you've ever known! 
"I don't know where they'll take you, but no matter where it is, may God go with you!  Make the best of things and be happy if you can.  Don't try to run away from the Indians, Molly; don't try to git away and come back to us.  They'd find you for certain and kill you...Oh, promise me you'll never try it... 
"No matter where you are, Mary, my child, have courage, be brave!  It don't matter what happens, if you're only strong and have great courage.  Don't forget your own name or your father's and mother's.  Don't forget to speak in English.  Say your prayers and catechism to yourself each day the way I learned you--God will be listening.  Say them again and again...don't forget, oh don't forget!  You're a-goin' now...God bless you, Mary, my child."

Oh.  Tell me that you could read those words to your own child and not get choked up.  I couldn't.

As I reflected on the day and the joys it brought, I was thankful for this opportunity to spread a feast of rich ideas before my child.  Education can be so much more than filling in the blanks and studying for the test.  

Good reads...

* Read this article to learn more about Miss Mason's educational philosophy.

** Karen Andreola writes here about the value of "living books" in education.  


  1. Ohhh...that was intense, yet the very essence of truth is in those words. If you haven't already visited Abby at Little Birdie Blessings, you might find her Thursday post very interesting regarding the importance of hymns. Bekah is a good student with a loving and good teacher!

  2. What a wonderful day, Cheryl. Full of truth and wisdom and power. Last night I was visiting Kristin's blog after reading your post. The way she lives and serves God is full of beauty.....I see that Kati and Bekah will be doing the same with their families some day.....just as the example you have set, and the seeds you have sown in their lives.

  3. Beautiful! I love those days when everything clicks!

    That story is so heart wrenching - I hope I would be so clear thinking as Mary's mother was, to remind her of following the Lord and keeping His truth in her heart.

    What a blessed privilege to mentor our own children - to build their character, point their hearts to God....

    Thanks for sharing this!


  4. Oh, may God continue to bless your heart and home. I am so encouraged to hear of the character-building you are doing as you point your children to the Lord, good literature, hymns and - above all - the Word of God.

  5. This is simply beautiful. I was always amazed at how God brought things together during our homeschooling days. Savor every moment!

  6. Oh, to think what my last words to my children would be if I thought I would never see them again...

  7. Cheryl, Thanks for finding me, what a heartwarming blog you have here. Your children are (were) truly blessed to have you as their teacher. ~ Abby

  8. This is such a beautiful, encouraging post in so many ways. God bless you and Bekah! I admit to feeling a bit stagnant in our school days (not that there haven't been wonderful moments, just a feeling of 'staleness') since Christmas. Always God gives me a shot in the arm, something that delights my soul and turns my head back to the beauty in our studies. Today, it is your post. Thank you sweet friend!

    Blessings, Debbie


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