In 1963 a Harvard Professor named Robert Rosenthal conducted a study in an elementary school near San Francisco, CA. The children in the school were given an IQ Test and the results were kept secret. The teachers were only told that certain students, about 20% of each class, were considered to be “intellectual bloomers.” These students, the teachers were told, had extreme potential to do big things someday. The teachers went about their school year armed with this knowledge and at the end of the year the students were retested. As predicted, the students that had been identified as “intellectual bloomers” (especially those in 1st and 2nd grade) had a remarkable increase in IQ rate compared to their peers.
As you may have guessed, the problem was how the “intellectual bloomers” had been chosen at random. There was nothing special about them. This enforced Rosenthal’s hypothesis that what the teachers believed would affect how they communicated with the children and the children would learn more than their peers who were considered unexceptional. Ouch.
As a homeschool mom/teacher, this study sends all kinds of emotion through me. My first inclination was to be frustrated that experiments like this happen to traditional school students. Second, I’m grateful I can keep my kids from being guinea pigs in a social experiment. But then it hit me! What do I believe about myself, my kids and my homeschool and how does it flow through my fingertips on a daily basis?
Sometimes I say or think things like, “I’m not qualified to homeschool” or “My kids need more help than I can give them” or “We are not doing enough (fill in the blank) in our school day.” When these kinds of thoughts become the story I tell myself, I’m foolish to think that doesn’t affect me or the kids. Maybe I have less energy or excitement to get through my days. Perhaps my kids see me worried or frowning more than being peaceful and cheerful.
We need to replace these lies with truth from God’s Word. Consider the parable of Jesus found in Mark 4:26-29:
“And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
If God has called you to homeschool, he will take your broken, sinful self and use you to complete a work in your children. Don’t hear me saying you can sit around and surf Facebook all day and your children will be educated. Planting seeds is hard work, y’all! God only asks for your obedience to plant your seeds and he will cause the growth! I hope this gives you as much peace and relief as it gives me! Because this is His work, we can be patient, humble and confident.
“ And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”-Philippians 1:6
God’s timing is different than ours. While we are all wrapped up in the day to day, He sees a huge tapestry outside of time. Don’t give up! He finishes what He starts! Be patient with the process.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. – I Corinthians 3:6
The results of this work are in God’s hands. If we think it’s all about us, we will fall into one of two pits. Either we will be prideful and pat ourselves on the back for being so gosh darn wonderful or we will feel shame when our children fail and put unhealthy pressure on them and us. Believe me, they will fail! And so will you. And God will take that and use it as part of his big, beautiful plan for your lives.
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11
You can be sure that just as the earth will automatically bring forth a plant from a seed, so the work of God in your children’s lives will be accomplished. In due time, the harvest will come. So, go about your days with cheerful confidence, not in yourself or your curriculum or your child’s abilities, but in your loving, Heavenly Father who holds you all.