Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shema Class

We, along with a couple other homeschooling families, have been thinking, talking, praying about, and planning for joining together one day a week to do some cooperative schooling...and this week we started to actually do it.  Yippee for "Friday School!"

One of the two other women came this week with a booklet of reference materials she had kindly made up for each of the students.  It was suggested that we could make up cover sheets for these booklets for our own kids, incorporating the names we've given to our own home schools.  So that is what I set out to do this morning and just finished.  Yeah!

Year's ago, we named our home school "The Meyerdierk's Shema Class."  The word Shema comes from the Hebrew word which means "to hear."  The word Class is akin to Calare (Latin), which means to call.  For those of us who are prone to be wise in our own eyes, we need the daily reminder that instruction originates outside of us...we must submit to Another...we're called to hear God.

In addition to our name, we will have Deuteronomy 6:4-9 written nicely on our cover because it is the passage we've chosen to remind us continually that we've been called to hear and love the Lord our God with all that we are and have.

Well, I am big on making plans and working them so I decided to incorporate a mission statement of sorts for my notebook cover (the kid's will not be this crowded, but I thought it would be good to have it on mine).  Over the years I have practiced plotting the benchmarks of each subject for each child that I am schooling by term, along with revisiting the overarching goal of how we might enjoy and glorify God in all we do.  So pulling from those plottings, I came up with this abbreviated mission/philosophy of education.

Our mission: We are called to worship the one true God, to know Him (not just in the sense of intellectual assent to His existence but in the sense of being intimately related to Him as His children in a loyal, love-besotted way), to treasure Him, indeed to love Him with all our heart soul, mind and strength...HE is our subject.

Every arena of study is like another facet on a diamond, each one highlighting His glorious and manifold perfections.  Through art and science and history and geography and math and languages, etc., we are given opportunities to behold the glory of God's wisdom, power, love, mercy, justice (and on and on)...we see how He has ordered all things according to His own good pleasure; how He is Provider, Sustainer, Deliverer; how He fulfills His promises; how He is ever mindful of His gracious covenant; how He is unswervingly committed to upholding the glory of His name, etc.

The two great commands, in summary form, are to love God and love our neighbor.  We are called to take every thought captive unto Christ (2 Cor 10:4-5 says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ..”).  We are called to make use of every discipline, every resource, and every sphere of influence God gives us to love Him and to encourage others to love Him (that is what loving others is is not about having warm fuzzy feelings towards everyone you meet, but rather doing what you can to help every one you meet to taste and see the goodness of God so that they'll join you in making much of Him, for He is infinitely worthy of all our praise).  Love glories in Christ and casts down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

Love imitates kind, patient, compassionate, rejoicing in the truth...lifts burdens, shares the Gospel with others, feeds the hungry, ministers to widows and orphans, remembers the outcast, etc, with the aim of glorifying the One who does all this perfectly.  Education helps us do these things, and everything else God puts into our hands to do, with skill and discernment and proper aim.

We are called to this (individually and corporately), and we are called to this generationally...we are to have God's words written on our hearts, and we are to teach them diligently and passionately to our children, training them to teach them diligently to their children.  Our “Shema Class" is committed to loving God and loving our neighbors.  This is who we are by God's design, and oh how thankful we are to be HIS.

Knowing our labor is in vain if the Lord does not build our house, we hasten to pray: Father, we ask you to give us and our children to the last generation that lives on the earth ears to hear You.  Call us to Yourself and give us minds transformed by Your word.  Make us discerning and loving people who practice righteousness and hate wickedness.  Grant us hearts that are not in love with this world, but 100% loyal to You so that in all we do, think and say we will live in the likeness of our Savior, Jesus.  Make us unswervingly committed in body and soul to living for Your glory.  Make us humble, grateful, merciful, quick to forgive, patient, servant-hearted,cheerful giving, sold-out-to Jesus kind of people.  We ask this by faith in Jesus for Your glory and the joy of Your people.  Amen.