Though I've been writing lots of other things, this is my first Discipleship Deliberation post since last November. We've been chugging along with home learning - and, of course, the rest of life - since then; I just haven't taken the time to post weekly updates. In fact, I've decided to aim for monthly updates this year, which is, perhaps, more realistic.
Thus, I bring you:
My January, 2012, Deliberation
...was full. We celebrated a belated Christmas with my husband's family early in the month and my nephew's birthday with my family at the end. I served twice on worship team, and my husband traveled for a few days for his job in addition to being busy with our church situation and a somewhat similar circumstance with some folks connected to his ministry. For the fourth time in as many years, I hosted a receptive group of business people in order to share with them about home education. And, of course, we "did school;" in fact, we even accomplished all the bookwork I'd hoped to complete!
In our studies this month ~
We started our new science curriculum, the Answers in Genesis God's Design series, and are really enjoying it. I know from my own strong science background that it covers all the usual concepts quite well, with the added benefit of addressing them from a Scripturally-faithful perspective.
We also started K5 Learning, an online enrichment program I was asked to review. My review will be coming in a few weeks, but suffice it to say for now that we're enjoying it so much we intend to subscribe once our trial period ends.
And the girls started lessons with their new piano teacher, Mrs. Brown. I really like the materials Mrs. Brown is using with them (Faber), and the girls are responding really well to her instruction. I think they're even excited about the April recital.
What needs some tweaking ~
I need to figure out the best time to schedule piano practice each day. If I do it early in the day, I sometimes feel that our core academics get rushed. But, if I schedule it later, it's easy to let it slide for one reason or another. I want to put it in the afternoon even though I think it's probably best to keep it in the morning.
[One of the] best things[s] about the month ~
...was the resolution of the issue that plagued our church since October, 2011. The mediation team from our denomination came in on January 15 to share its recommendations, which the elders accepted in their entirety. My husband and I are not wholly pleased - specifically, it had been our hearts' desire that the two associate pastors whose unwarranted firings precipitated the crisis would be rehired, and they were not - but we understand the wisdom in the team having decided as it did and feel a peace about going forward with the church, at least for the time being.
Of course, things aren't suddenly all "peaches and cream." As a result of the recommendations, we currently only have a youth pastor (though we'll be meeting our two new "intentional interim pastors" this weekend), our friends whose jobs weren't restored are hurting, and we're seeing lots of internal strife within the congregation - which is equal parts sad, frustrating, and worrisome. But living in "limbo" for three months in regards to such a big part of our lives was really hard, so resolution of the original situation at least affords us all the opportunity to move forward. And an amazingly powerful sermon delivered by our youth pastor last Sunday (1/29/2012) reassured me that God will work everything out for His glory and our good.
My own discipleship ~
The day the team came to give its recommendations, the president of the denomination preached for us, emphasizing the balance between grace and truth. And that was a theme in my mind and heart for the rest of the month as my husband and I interacted with fellow church members who are feeling confused and upset by our present circumstances. In fact, he and I feel a responsibility to "preach" that message, since we personally experienced part of the issue from the inside a few years ago and chose to stay despite the pain.
So I've been trying to maintain the balance between grace and truth in my relationships with church friends and encouraging them to walk that tightrope as we seek to move forward. We can't pretend that serious errors weren't made, and we have to hold our leaders accountable for walking in truth now...but, by the same token, we have to acknowledge the deception they lived under for years and grant a period of grace to allow them to "prove" themselves now that everything has come into the Light.
Questions, comments, thoughts ~
Besides being the reason for our new science curriculum, the change to our "school calendar" hasn't yet resulted in any obvious alterations in our day-to-day functioning; we did bookwork through the month as we have every January. However, I really love the fact that we changed something to our liking instead of continuing to follow the practices of the "the system" just because "everyone else does it."
Something to share ~
Five-year old Anna did a great job with the phonics instruction we worked on through the fall, becoming a pro at decoding CVC and CVCC words, as well as easily picking up on many sight words. So the time came late in the month to pull out "the" book: First Steps, the first in the series of phonics readers I favor. I took this picture right after Anna read her first "real" story.
My online friend, Q, started a weekly home education-related link-up she calls Discipleship Deliberation, and I've enjoyed the format. If you'd like to join in, just visit Q at Napalm in the Morning to get her button, check for her most recent deliberation, review her guidelines, and link up.