Homeschooling for a Harvest

by James Summers, CHEWV dad and Board member

As I write this, we are heading into prime harvest season.  It’s the time of year when you have to keep your windows rolled up and doors locked while you’re at church – or else you’ll come out and find your car full of zucchinis.  Every day we are reaping the rewards of both God’s graciousness and our hard work.  This year my schedule and the weather mostly cooperated, and I was able to keep the weeds from “taking over” the garden – at least for a while.  Somewhere along the line, though, I got too busy to work the garden during the peak of summer activities.  The early harvest was good, but now I find myself searching through the tall weeds for any tomatoes and beans that made it through, despite my lack of attention and work.  I drive by a well-kept garden with envy and regret.

It can be this way with our marriages, families, and yes, homeschooling, as well. 

We reap what we sow.  A crop of Silver Queen corn doesn’t just mysteriously appear in my garden.  I have to plant the seeds.  If I want a marriage that radiates God’s glory, or kids that are dedicated Christ followers, or a homeschool that redeems education to God’s purpose, I have to sow the seeds to reap this harvest.  I have to think about what results I desire (and God desires) and then act to bring them about. 

A man reaps what he sows.
Galatians 6:7

Not only do we have to sow the right seeds, we also have to tend the garden.  Gardeners with the greatest harvest spend much time tending their garden – hoeing, weeding, fertilizing, watering, pruning, building trellises, staking tomatoes, dusting for bugs, shooting groundhogs or trapping raccoons, and maintaining the fence to keep out the deer.  Often the work is hard.  Sometimes it is just a simple task, but the work is always intentional.  Master gardeners do what they know needs to be done each day.   Though they almost never see an immediate result, they trust that the desired results will come about.  They follow the wisdom accumulated from hundreds of generations of farmers before them and talk with other gardeners, especially more experienced ones, when they have a question.  Every day they spend time in their garden.

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest,
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

So what kind of harvest do you want to reap from your years of homeschooling?  What kind of seeds are you sowing, and what kind of work are you doing each day to move toward these goals? 

Really, seriously, stop and think about these questions for an extended time. Talk about them with your spouse.  Pray about them.  Consider how you can make your homeschool years about more than just academics.  What does the Creator – the Originator and God of all wisdom and knowledge – desire of your homeschool years?

If you want a more bountiful harvest, cast a bigger vision.  Set higher goals.  Don’t always look for immediate results; think multi-generationally.  Determine to leave a positive spiritual impact on your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Make loving and serving Jesus a bigger priority in your family than anything else.  Do the work that you know needs to be done each day.  Spend time every day in the garden where God has placed you to work.  Determine to finish the journey you have started, but know that the most enduring fruit of your labor may not even come in your lifetime.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.…

2 Corinthians 4:16-18