Totally Lost

Some days, even the best homeschool teacher has trouble communicating a lesson. Whether you're teaching equations in algebra or diagramming sentences in grammar, a change begins to occur in your child when he does not comprehend the information you are covering. You've seen the look — a blank stare, a squint, eyebrows up in the form of a question mark. The body begins to fidget, and unintelligible utterances come from his mouth. He doesn't have a clue what you are talking about and is totally lost. What are you going to do?

When I was new to homeschooling, I walked away in frustration or assumed my child was not paying attention. I tried repeating the same information or using a louder voice. With infinite variations, the battle went on until I realized the problem was not with my child; it was with me. I was the teacher, and I had failed to teach. I needed to try again and approach the information from a different angle — a new learning style or additional visual aids.

Thankfully, God doesn't lose His temper or walk away from us when teaching life's lessons. When we begin our fussing routine or get that lost look, He gently wraps His arms around us and takes us back to where we last understood. Lovingly, He leads us to godly counsel from Christian friends or words of wisdom from the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit customizes each particular lesson until we grow "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).

Do you feel lost today? Let the Lord guide you back to where you should be. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus, thank You for always knowing where to find me. Without You, I am totally lost in teaching my children. Show our family where we need to be and how to keep our eyes on You. In Your name, Amen.

Comments(16 comments)


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SUELYNN T 10/06/2009 07:06:28

This devotional just described my day yesterday. I was getting frustrated with the blank stare, the fidgeting, and the \"unintelligible utterances.\" I wondered why my son wasn\'t getting it. It took awhile before I realized I wasn\'t teaching the material in a way he could understand. The problem lied within me. This little moment in life revealed the sinful condition of my heart. How much I am in need of His cleansing power and His grace to love those around me as the LORD loves me. We can rest assured that \"He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.\" (Phil 1:6)

STEPHANIE G 10/06/2009 12:18:10

This really hits close to home for me. Actually, it was the blank looks and raised eyebrows which led me to AOP in the first place. I discussed my troubles with a friend who uses the curriculum already, and thought I would try with at least one subject to start, as someone had one they could give me. It was amazing the difference I saw, the change in the expressions on my childrens\' faces...I had found it! This will work for us...I know it can, and God has shown me the path I need to take for our children to receive the education they deserve, with the Biblical knowledge He deserves from them. We were worried at first about the cost, but came to the conclusion that if God was directing us this way, and this was really His will, He would show us how to make it happen. Stephanie in Canada

LIZ R 10/06/2010 11:31:33

I can totally relate to the flustering feeling of not having the right words to teach or instruct in a certain subject...and the stares you recieve from your child is too much of a confirmation that we are definitely in a state of confusion(either that or a state of deniel!). I am so relieved to know that our Heavenly Father has so much more patience with me and continues to let His love flow endlessly unconditionally.

MICHELLE S 10/06/2010 13:05:18

Love this devotional. I look forward to everyday. Thanks

APRIL B 10/06/2010 13:32:01

Thanks! I needed this one. I went through this same frustration on Monday. I fussed at my son for not getting his addition facts. I had to leave the room because I couldn\'t understand why he wasn\'t getting it. Later, my son mustered the courage to tell me that he didn\'t like it when I yelled at him. I was making him nervous about getting the wrong answer. Needless to say, the look on his face and those heartfelt words nearly broke my heart. I pray that the Lord gives me the wisdom and patience to teach my children. Thanks again for making it clear that the problem is not with the student but the teacher. I love these devotionals.

KIMBERLY T 10/06/2010 15:49:01

I can really relate to this devotional. I have been teaching my 6-year old the concept of greater than and less than. I have been met with blank stares, shrugs, mumbles, fidgiting and more. I just couldn\'t understand why she couldn\'t get such a simple concept! I decided to get my parents to try to explain it to her, but they were unsuccessful also. Why could my child just not get it? I was very frustrated and I ended the day in tears. I felt like a complete failure. Then, after lots of prayer, I realized that my little girl didn\'t get a simple concept like greater than and less than because it isn\'t simple for a child. I\'ve been comparing numbers for many, many years and she is only beginning to learn how to do it. I had to take a good look at myself and how I was trying to teach her. I had to stop thinking like an adult who already knows the topic being taught and start thinking like a child. I came up with new ways to teach on her level and she picked right up on the math topics we were covering. Sometimes God just needs us to step back and look at the world through our childs eyes. :)

KRYSTAL S 10/06/2011 06:16:35

This describes almost all of our last school year. I struggled through our first year of \"real\" school (PreK was such a walk in the park with my son it was more like play than school) Somewhere in our break between PreK & K5 my son decided he didn\'t like school, & it was just downhill from there. His blank stares, incoherent answers that had NOTHING to do with what we were discussing, his ignoring me, & scribbling instead of trying to write answers were met with frustration, tears, & yes, yelling from me. I tried SO hard to MAKE him learn. Finally, after sending him away to play to save my sanity, throwing my books into the shelf & hiding in my room to cry my eyes out, it finally struck me that my son was not the problem. It was me. I was trying so hard to cram into learning in the way that was comfortable for me that I was making him hate learning more & more. Having come to that realization, I have striven since then to adapt to my son\'s learning style, to meet him where he\'s at, & to not freak out when it just isn\'t working the way I want it to. We do still have frustrating days, but oh! The difference that has unfolded in him is astounding, simply because I stopped being selfish & started putting my student-my son- & his needs ahead of my own.

SHERI C 10/06/2011 06:18:16

I often get frustrated with my kids and this is a good reminder to stay calm and keep trying. Kimberly, when I taught my kids greater then and less then I used a picture of a fish that had a wide open mouth that looked like the symbol. I told the kids that the fish was greedy and wanted the big number. They would position the fish between the two numbers facing the biggest number. (yes he will be upside down half the time) Later I could remove the fish and just have the symbol. They could visualize the greedy fish wanting to eat the biggest number.

ALICE P 10/06/2011 10:05:47

A perfect reminder of the gentleness of God, and an even better reminder of how we should respond to our children.

DEBBIE D 10/06/2011 10:06:32

My son is 11 and has been homeschooled since Kindergarten. We have been using Life Pac\'s, but he is losing interest and I am working. Who can tell me anything about SOS? By the way the Devotional was exceptional!

RYAN E 10/06/2011 10:37:26

Hi Debbie! You can find information on SOS here: http://www.aophomeschooling.com/switched-on-schoolhouse/features.php. It would be a good fit for you as the curriculum inside of the software is based on the LIFEPAC curriculum. Hope this helps!

AUDRA K 10/06/2011 11:12:29

Thank you for this devotional. It always inspires and convicts me. Praise God that he is so patient with me, so I need to be patient with my children and learn to be a better teacher instead of getting frustrated with them.

MICHELLE W 10/06/2011 15:47:32

This completely describes my day today. My son is struggling to understand long division and gets emotionally distressed because of all the steps. Needless to say, it has left me in tears. This is his behavior in most of 5th grade math so far. He does pretty well with all his other subjects so I don\'t want to put him back in 4th grade. Does anyone have any good suggestions about online math games that would help him understand long division and 2-digit multiplication? Or, math tutoring in general? Help!

KATHY S 10/06/2012 04:40:52

It\'s even worse when you as the teacher have that \"Blank stare \" on your face and your child see\'s it! Happened in Math lessons twice. Thank God we were at the Library, I immediatley went to the resource books and retaught myself and then taught my son. Explaining of course that is has been well over 30 years since Mom learned these things and I can\'t remember everything!

NORMA Q 10/06/2012 06:08:55

Fanstastic article!! I\'ve experienced this ... I\'ve have become frustrated and felt hopeless. Next time I experience this - My prayer is to stop and think! What can I do differently ... Instead of becoming frustrated with them ... Use that energy to become innovative. Parenting/homeschooling requires a lot introspection. At the end of the day- we are the \"real students\" learning life lessons.

ANNE G 10/09/2012 06:20:11

So encouraging! As I read the comments above I am reminded of God\'s Grace, as I, too, experienced that hopelessness when a child isn\'t \"getting it\". After tons of prayer, one day it hit me. I finally got down on my daughter\'s level in a tender moment, and told her that I was not going to give up on her, that WE would work this through until she got it, and it didn\'t matter how long it took. I stroked her hair and showed her great tenderness, just as Christ would do with us if he were here with us and we were struggling. \"I will never leave you or forsake you\". And a MIRACULOUS change occurred. Almost instantly my daughter began to break through the mental block. It was fear. That\'s ALL it was, fear! We don\'t realize that in our humanness, when we get worried, our kids know it\'s because they aren\'t understanding. We don\'t naturally have the patience that the Lord has with us, and even the mildest frustration can be detected by our children. Let\'s all vow to encourage our children that we \"will never forsake them, or leave them\"! I know it sounds ridiculous, why would they think we would leave them, right? But little ones have fears they can\'t express. I cannot tell you how much better my daughter is doing with math. She is so much more relaxed now and can think, instead of feel like she is under pressure. I make a point not to look \"worried\" anymore when she is doing math. And that has helped.

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