Thursday, June 7, 2012

To Restore All Things in Christ

So it has been almost two weeks -- has it really been that long! -- since I wrote my last planning post.  I did not mean the interim to be so long but a few things happened.

(the photos are from my morning walk)

 Remember how I was talking about how St Martha was teaching me that there is One Needful Thing, and not to get scattered and divided. 

Now part of the art of education (and organizing, indeed) is the art of dividing.  Is it not so?    We divide into subjects and then the subjects are divided into grade or developmental levels, and then the subjects are sometimes divided into sub-subjects, as when Language Arts becomes vocabulary/grammar/spelling/phonics/reading.

Then when we are homeschool planning, we might even organize our organizing, by perhaps splitting the year into months, or our role into different sections like Keeping House, Family, Child Training, or whatever else we are doing in our lives. 

In a way these compartments are silly, because life and learning itself aren't divided up that way.  A child immersed in a book about history isn't checking items off his list (Ah, I covered vocabulary and virtue and Life in the Middle Ages and of course, general reading comprehension and if I tell my Mom about it, verbal expression as well).   And it's a good thing he's not thinking that way.  If he is, the totality of his education is somewhat at risk.

When I am cleaning the kitchen, and my kids are helping, I am my single self, both keeping house and mothering my children and perhaps making the world a slightly less dirty place to live in.    And perhaps sanctifying myself through my duties, if I'm blessed enough.   But if I make my endeavors be servant to these divisions, I become scattered, overwhelmed, and my role is at risk. 

If I make myself the servant of divisions in the homeschool, whether of skill or content, I have a fragmented homeschool (which is when I stop and go back to unschooling to restore our integration).

Yet in another way, division (making distinctions) is almost what learning is all about.   A baby sees contrasting dark and pale and eventually resolves the forms into the face of his mother and then his father and siblings (so I am told, because I don't remember it myself, but I think I have seen it in the wondering eyes of my own infants).    Later on he may call everything furry on four legs "kitty" but eventually he learns the difference between a dog and a cat and maybe learns to love a litter of kitties in his garage (if he is one of Chari's kids) and names them and knows their personalities.

In the same way, when I'm doing things, I find it very helpful to divide... to emphasize different things at different times.   It is the very nature of any project to be done one step at a time, and that is a division.

The Jesuits always said, "Divide and conquer!" which allowed them to do great things in the service of God.  But of course, it was all about God:  "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!" " All for the greater glory of God!" was what they also said.   The division was in the service of the conquering, which would add up to Restoring All Things in Christ. 

I think ever since I've started homeschooling -- even before that, when I was growing up learning -- I have had trouble with the necessity of dividing and dividing yet again, and yet the danger of  dividing something up into scattered pieces.

Jesus did not reprimand Martha for having a list of discrete tasks to get done.   He told her gently that she was missing the point, the way the scattered bits are really One Thing. 

So that is where I got stuck in my planning series, because I really don't want planning to become scattered bits everywhere, and I wouldn't want those who might read my posts to think that either.    Since I set out to writing my planning posts to encourage others and share ideas, I didn't want to write out of a state of complexity.  There is enough complexity in the world and planning your homeschooling is really as simple as what Jesus told Martha!  All the rest is, or ought to be, in service of Him and His plans.   I need that posted on my computer screen. 

Rather than just keep going I decided to pause and pray.  I also got rather busy because I started our summer term and even though it is very lowkey, altering my own habits always requires lots of focus.

Then providentially the Holy Ghost led Chari to start posting every day == hooray! 

Now I have a few ideas for how to continue.   But I want to devote a whole post to this aspect because it is so KEY to what I always forget during busy seasons, or at least don't dwell on enough.. I am telling this to myself most of all:

  • Every endeavour starts, continues and ends in prayer, or it's in vain. 
  • What system you use for planning does not matter all that much.   It's in service to your purpose, which is the important part of the whole thing.
  • The important division is:  Preparation Action Conclusion (the motto of St Maximilian Kolbe).  You can see my Kolbe Academy roots are showing, and indeed their philosophy informs practically everything I do in my homeschool, in one way or another.


  1. Wow! Lots to think about here, Willa:-)

    One thought came to mind, as I read - that thinking in terms of contrasts, rather than divisions, helps me to unite the homeschooling and the separate aspects of life. I need to ponder more on this, I think.

    God bless, Willa:-)

  2. I too get awfully scattered and then confused and then overwhelmed and then I grow weary and give up. Not a good pattern! I have been praying for a calm heart and clarity and that I do everything in kindness. Very, very hard!

    I've been thinking I need order to be calm. But I also need encouragement to remain orderly since that is not my natural state. And the thing that has been really troubling my heart is how to inspire my kids. To truly inspire them to holiness and to consider everything they do in the light of their relationship with God. I want that to be my guiding question from now on.

    Thanks for the post, Willa. I feel like everything I'm reading lately is the Holy Spirit giving me little gifts of clarity and strength. So thank you!

  3. I'm finding myself still scattered too and just realized that I need to include my last two more actively in the planning discussion.


We love hearing from our readers. Please share your thoughts or just say hello!