Does it seem like chaos rules at your house since you started home schooling? Do you spend most days wishing you could reduce the noise and stress levels by dropping the kids off at the nearest public school so that you could enjoy your mom-cave of peace and quiet for a few blissful hours?
While it’s natural that commotion levels will rise in direct proportion to the number of bodies occupying territory under the same roof, there are practical steps you can take to reduce turmoil, preserve your sanity, and create a sense of peace for everyone in your home.
It starts with getting our priorities in order. This means if we get things right spiritually first, a beachhead of peace will be established. Then, with a few tweaks here and there, the rest will fall into place nicely.
According to 1 Corinthians 14:33, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace ….” Peace is an aspect of Who God is, and since it is part of His nature, it can become part of ours as well. If our home is in a state of upheaval most of the time, something is amiss in our relationship with the Lord, because confusion is not of Him, while peace is.
One of the Holy Spirit’s objectives, as He dwells within us, is to help us continually grow into the likeness of Jesus. In fact, Galatians 5:22, 23 tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit [at work within us] is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness [humility], temperance [self control].” The various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit don’t work separately from each other. In other words, as we depend on the Holy Spirit to help us respond lovingly, gently, with patience and self control, we feel more peaceful, and if we determine to stay peaceful, it will in turn help us be more patient, loving, joyful, etc.
So, how do we go about establishing a beachhead of peace in our own hearts and then the hearts of our children?
Start your day with prayer. Many of us miss how important this is. It’s vital for you, the parent, to have that time alone with the Lord, but it’s equally vital for your children. My book, The Homeschool Guide to Raising Prayer-Filled Kids, is a short and inexpensive step-by-step plan for how to teach your children to pray and get them into the habit of prayer. If you don’t know where to begin, it will really help you.
Start your school day by gathering the family to pray and read the Bible together. (You can count this as Bible class if you want to.) After you have prayed together for a while (not just a quick sentence or two and you’re done), give the older children some time on their own to pray. Use that time to be with the Lord yourself, if you haven’t already taken time for Him.
Spending time with the Lord allows Him to instill in us His character traits, and peace is one of them. As we make the effort to build relationship with Him, something wonderful happens: His Presence fills the atmosphere around us. As we consciously abide with and in Him, we are also filled, refilled, and increasingly filled with the Holy Spirit. In the process, we become like Him.
Ephesians 5:18-20 commands us to “… be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The details mentioned here of how to be filled and refilled with the Spirit are all elements of prayer. If we start our day fully focused on the Lord, that flow of communion with the Holy Spirit continues with us throughout the day, so that we keep on carrying His peace and joy into all that we do, say, and think. This is why prayer is so important for both you and your children.
Quite frankly, prayer time is not an extra option. It is the prayerful home that is the peaceful home. If we don’t make the effort to start with prayer, none of the other steps I’ll be listing in the next post are going to help a whole lot. So, let’s begin there.
Next: Part 2