We homeschool; our oldest daughter is finishing up pre-k and will be starting kindergarten in the next month or so, while our younger daughter will be starting pre-k when her big sister moves up a level. There are enormous advantages to homeschooling, among which are the flexibility to incorporate just about any practical skill you can imagine into any given lesson. In other words, if we’re counting, we can figure out how many wipes it takes to clean that chair upon which someone chose to fingerpaint yesterday, or cook something tasty if we’re using units of measure; if we’re doing phonics, we snag the seed catalog and figure out what things we could grow that start with /t/. Our curriculum comes from Seton Home Study, and its kind authors recommend beginning each day with faith formation (or religious instruction, if you prefer), so that each school session is grounded in the concept of gratitude for, and wonder at, God’s creation. We take that first part of each school day to color a picture of Christ’s ministry and talk about mercy, read a story from the Bible and discuss what the Lord asks of us, learn or practice a prayer, and ask the Lord to help each of us (including their teacher) to offer the best of what we have to Him and to each other.
There are days when that instruction begins at breakfast. We have a house rule about meals; each person is expected to eat what is set before him or her, even if it’s not a favorite, unless there is something so wrong with it that my husband or I deem it to be actually inedible. A large part of that derives from the concept of stewardship; there are those around us who hunger and thirst, and it would be wrong to discard food simply because it’s not exactly what we had in mind (for the record, I hate peas, but if I’m serving them for dinner, I eat every one of them with a smile). That probably sounds an awful lot like our parents’ reminder that there are starving children in Africa, and, as the years progress, may earn me the same eye-rolling response from my children that I gave my parents thirty (plus) years ago, but it is no less true now than it was then. Still, it is important to us that they understand that the Lord provides what we need, and that we should accept His gifts with grateful hearts. My oldest would prefer to have chocolate chip waffles every day, but in the interests of making sure she understands proper nutrition, she can’t.
Today’s prayer: Lord, You have provided our house with plenty; none beneath this roof has ever known real hunger. Thank You for Your bounty! There are days when part of my vocation includes teaching Your blessings about why candy is not a breakfast food, and why they should eat their entire meals. Please help me set an example that I want them to follow, and remind me that in pausing to enjoy the taste of the plenty on our table, I offer You a humble prayer of thanks by the act of slowing down long enough to appreciate what You have given.