A Walk in the Park

"For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation" (Psalm 149:4).

Are you too busy completing your curriculum to let your homeschooler play? During my first years of homeschooling, I foolishly lived under the pressure of completing our workbooks. I traded my children's playtime for finishing every problem and watched as they became more frustrated with this routine. Realizing something was wrong, I thought, "Why aren't they enjoying school anymore?" The next day as I struggled to finish math with my son, I saw we were getting nowhere. Finally, I stopped and said, "Why don't we just go for a walk and play in the park this afternoon?"

Immediately, my children's countenances changed, and they excitedly responded, "Really, Mom? Yes, let's go!"

Leaving schoolwork behind, we packed the car and headed to the park. After playing only a few minutes, I saw my children's stress levels drop as they enjoyed the slides, merry-go-round, swings, and teeter-totter. Laughing and giggling, the smiles came back, and I knew the answer to my teaching problems. Homeschooling was more than just completing workbooks. It was also taking time for a walk in the park.

As Christians, we forget that God enjoys spending time with us, too. We get involved in doing things for God, when all He wants is for us to enjoy being with Him. Yes, serving the Lord is wonderful, but we must also take time to walk with God and experience the sweet joy of His loving presence. If you find yourself doing too much, perhaps it's time to take a break and enjoy a Mary moment at Jesus' feet.

Lord, thank You for Your love and the joy of being Your child. Teach me to relax in Your love and enjoy every moment with You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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WENDY H 05/16/2011 05:57:16

Amazing! As I woke up this morning this was exactly what was on my mind. I was praying, "Lord, help me to find the balance between getting things done and pushing them to do their best and not pushing too hard that their schoolwork becomes overwhelming to them." Thank you for this!

SHEILA G 05/16/2011 06:14:08

Time is precious!! We will start home school this fall and cannot wait. I see public school as overwhelming and stressful. They do not let the kids play anymore. There is little if any free time. I pray God keeps me balanced in this endeavor and we enjoy playtime and learning time in harmony with His perfect will for us. Thanks for the reminder!

TONI E 05/16/2011 08:40:40

I really needed this! I have 5 children, 8 and under. I am constantly thinking, \"oh, I need to get this done and that done\". There is always something that needs to be done. I tend to do the same thing with my son with his schoolwork. Here lately I\'ve started to notice that he\'s not enjoying it like he used to. I forget about just sitting down and enjoying just \"playing\". Just like you pointed out, it is the same with God\'s work. We get so busy doing things for His ministry, that sometimes we lose that passion and the true reason as to why we are doing it. We always need to take time and spend quiet time with God alone and let Him restore us! Thanks for the reminder!!

CATHINA O 05/16/2012 03:56:43

Just what I needed this morning!

SHANNON S 05/16/2012 05:08:40

This was GREAT! We are starting homeschool in the fall and I will need help finding a balance! Part of the reason we are homeschooling is to have this precious time with our little ones because they are only ours for a little while.

SANDY C 05/16/2012 06:21:02

This was an awesome devotional! I was home school for almost 2 years and I really remember it being so much fun. I was reflecting this morning and she got an ice cream maker and it made me reflect back on how when I was homeschooled we would milk the cow and use the milk to do home made ice cream!!! Her response was \" Go back to your roots girly!!! Wow!!! Slow down and enjoy life and your children!!!

JAYNE A 05/16/2012 06:56:38

Amen! It\'s a beautiful day. We are taking our sheltie for a walk. Thank you Lord for this reminder; I\'ll see you out there. God bless all of you!

KATHERINE B 05/19/2012 05:42:19

Thank you for this post!! I am a grandma, homeschooling three grandkids. This is our first year of homeschooling and there are days that we too feel frustrated. Seems we are trying too hard to get everything finished by the end of this school year!! Sooo, we took a day and went to Amish country, we live close, and relaxed! The kids held puppies, fed goats and got to pet a giant horse. We went to Heini\'s Cheese House and ate samples. We had a great time and the kids told me \'thanks\' several times.

Jennifer Maxwell 05/16/2013 13:29:19

This was so timely for me. I sat down yesterday at typed up my tentative schedule for next school year. I spent the better part of the day figuring out how to wedge French class between typing and science, and the best time to do an hour long group history lesson. When I was done, I looked at my neat, color coded chart and realized that I had booked my children (and myself) solid from 7 am to 3 pm with only a small break for lunch at noon. And that wasn't even taking into account baseball practice and ballet; activities that stretch our daily schedule to six o'clock and beyond. I have been so caught up in the trap of having to prove that homeschool kids can be even more successful and well rounded than their traditionally schooled peers, that I have forgotten that they need play time more than just on the weekends. I think that often as homeschooling parents we are made to feel guilty if our children aren't spending every minute of their day involved in some educational pursuit. That by taking a few hours off during the day to jump on the trampoline or dig in the sandbox, we are slacking in our responsibility. Thank you for reminding me that play time is just as vital to my children's success as anything out of a textbook.

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