missy andrewsPin
Pinterest Hidden Image

Today I am joined my Missy Andrews from the Center for Lit to talk about her book My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey.

I can’t explain how encouraged I was by today’s episode. No spoilers, but there is one nugget that Missy lays down that is going to have lasting change on how I view myself as a homeschool mom and how I view the work I am doing with my children.

We also chat about the definition of education, homeschool disillusionment, and the dangers of tying our identities to the success of our homeschool. I think you will be encouraged.

Pam: This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day. Hello there and welcome to Episode 80 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Okay, guys, so much fun on today’s episode of the podcast. Actually, maybe fun is not the right word to describe it. Recording this episode of the podcast with my guest really made me think hard about myself as a homeschooling mother, and ended up giving me so much grace to think about what my role is and what I’m supposed to be doing, and kind of changed my paradigm a little bit at how I look at myself as a homeschooling mom. All of this was brought about by my guest, Missy Andrews, from centerforlit.com. She has a book out called My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey, where she reflects on all of her years of homeschooling, and from there, has some really great insights about what education is all about, and about how we get tied up with the idea of success in our identity as homeschool moms. We have some really great insights for you, and I think you’re going to enjoy it right after this word from our sponsor.

This episode of the Your Morning Basket podcast is brought to you by Your Morning Basket Plus. Get the tools you need to put the joy back into your home school. If you have been wanting to do Morning Time in your home school, but you’re a little overwhelmed at the idea of which resources to use, or which books should you choose, we have done all the hard work for you. Your Morning Basket Plus is how you can get more out your Morning Time with less work for mom. In the Plus subscription, we have over 42 sets of Morning Time plans that you can download and are open and go. We also have live events every month with some of your favorite Morning Time teachers, event replays, and so much more to add to your Morning Time.
Now, we have just released our brand new monthly subscription option. Up until now, you could only get an annual subscription that’s still available, and it’s still your best deal, but if you would like a monthly option to get in and try the subscription out and see what we have available, you can find more information about that on the website. Come on over to pambarnhill.com, click the green Get the Tools button, and check out the Your Morning Basket Plus subscription today.
Now on with the podcast.
Missy Andrews is co-director of the Center for Literary Education and the mother of six homeschool graduates. She earned her BA from Hillsdale College in English, and her MA in imaginative literature, we’re going to have to talk about that one, Missy, from Harrison Middleton University. Missy is the co-author of Teaching the Classics: A Socratic Method for Literary Education and Wild Bells: A Literary Advent. Her newest book, a memoir entitled My Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling Journey, reflects her 25 years in the trenches of homeschooling. She and her husband Adam live on a mountaintop in northeast Washington where she collects children’s books and reads and reads and reads.
Missy, welcome to the podcast.
Missy: Thank you so much for having me.
Pam: It is so nice to have you on. You and I have actually spoken before.
Missy: Yes, I remember.
Pam: Yes, for a different podcast, and I know a lot of people are really familiar with your husband because you let him do the public speaking at the homeschool conventions.
Missy: Yes lets, that’s funny. Yes, he has definitely been the public face in our little home business for years. I have been so grateful to him for his willingness to do that.
Pam: Okay, so one of the things we didn’t mention in your introduction, which we probably should have, was you have a podcast of your own.
Missy: We do, yes. Our little company, Center For Lit, started a podcast called BiblioFiles with an F. It’s actually a play on words. We do know how to spell bibliophile. We just discuss all things literary, and we have a really good time doing it. It’s my husband and my oldest son, and my daughter-in-law, his wife, and then my daughter Megan and myself, and we just bat around the great ideas and the great conversation, and we have a great time.
Pam: You’ve really made podcasting a family affair?
Missy: We have, yes.
Pam: Awesome. Awesome. Yes, so that’s a fun one to listen to if you’re looking for something to add to your podcast queue, and you like books. It’s a really good one to add. Go check that one out.
Missy: Thank you.
Pam: Well, Missy tell us a little bit about you and your family?
Missy: Well, I am, as you said in your introduction, your gracious introduction, I am a mother of six. My oldest is a boy, and he just turned 28 this year, which is hard for me to really soak in and digest, that my baby is 28 years old, but he is. He and his wife, Emily, work for our company, and have since they graduated from college. Both of them earned a BA in English Literature from Hillsdale College where they met.
My second, my daughter, Megan, also works with us. She teaches all of our elementary classes online, and also some of our junior high classes, and she serves as registrar for our little homeschooling academy or literary academy. She’s 26.
I have a second son, who is my third child, and he has been working for the Detroit News for the past year as a journalist, and he’s also married. He married another Hillsdale girl. All my kids have gone to Hillsdale College. He too was an English Lit grad, so is she.
My fourth is Molly Kate, and she just married Henry Listenberger. That was just a couple of weeks ago, and they have moved to Austin, Texas, where he teaches at a little classical Christian school.
My youngest two are still unmarried, and they’re both students at Hillsdale College. One will be a junior, Calvin, and the youngest, Charlie, has just completed his freshman year at Hillsdale, and he’ll go back in the fall as a sophomore.
Pam: Okay, so I have to know, is everybody getting an English degree?
Missy: No, not everybody.
Pam: Okay.
Missy: So far, everyone has gotten an English degree, but my fifth child, Calvin, I think is going to break the mold. He’s very interested in the French language. I think he will get either a double major in French in business or a business major and a French minor. The youngest is still undecided. He’s a liberal arts mind, so he’s thinking history or literature. He’s also very interested in Greek, so maybe a language.
Pam: Oh, wow. Fascinating. Okay, so I was just sure for a second there that it was going to be all literature majors all the way through.
Missy: Well, so far it has been. We’ll see.
Pam: How did you guys get started at homeschooling?
Missy: Oh, that’s a funny story. I am the daughter of two public school educators. My mom taught high school literature and grammar for 34 years, I think it was, and my dad taught history and did some administrating in the public school sector when I was a young child. When I met my husband in college, and he said he wanted to homeschool, I said, “Homeschooling? What about socialization?”
Pam: Of course you did.
Missy: Some of you probably said the same thing. My take was that public school was good enough for me, it’s good enough for my kids, yada yada yada. We fought. I think it was completely unresolved until my oldest son, Ian, was a toddler, and I came to bed one night with a magazine tucked under my arm that basically presented all the different approaches to homeschooling. My husband said, “What’s this homeschooling business? I thought that public school was good enough for your kids. It’s good for you. It’s good enough for them.” I said, “What are you talking about? Of course, we’re homeschooling.”
As I thought back about what happened there, because after that initial argument that we had before we were married, we never discussed homeschooling again. I think in retrospect, what happened is the truth is, an idea is different than a person. The idea that I had in my mind of what would be good enough for my kids was very different than the reality of holding my firstborn in my arms looking down at him and realizing that I was responsible for this child in all the ways, including his education. There is just no way in the world I was going to put him on a bus to go spend the best hours of every day with somebody else learning from them what’s most important in the world. That’s why we home schooled.
Pam: It’s really different. My plans were changed as well, not so much homeschooling, but even just– I wasn’t even going to be a stay-at-home mom when I was pregnant with my oldest, and then once I held her in my arms, there was no going back. I knew I had to stay home with her. I know exactly where you’re coming from with that. The idea that you have in your head changes when you meet the child and you know the child and you come to the point where you’ve got to either put them in daycare or send them off to school and it’s like, “No, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this. This is not what I want. I want to spend time with them.”
Missy: The more you delve into the philosophy of education, my understanding of education really didn’t jive with what the public school ideology is, what their philosophy and their pedagogical techniques and all those things. It just wasn’t going to work for us.
Pam: Let’s talk about that, because you great segue into my next question. Having graduated six homeschool students, what do you feel like education is now?
Missy: It’s interesting, education comes from a couple of Latin words. One, educare, which is Latin for train. The other one is educere, meaning to lead out. Those of you who are Latin probably see educere to guide in there as well. As you look at those etymological roots of the word education, that idea of leading someone out begs the question, out of what? What are we leading children out of? What are we ourselves being led out of when we are educated?
As I ponder that, I’ve come to believe that really what we’re being led out of is the confines of our own minds and selves, because when we’re born, the whole world revolves around us. A swaddling infant, we think we are the center of the universe. As we grow, we learn that we’re not the center of the universe, that we aren’t little gods to be served, but that we’re very loved, that we are very significant. The fact that we’re not the center of the universe makes that significance all the more weighty, I believe.
Education should first and foremost help us along in gaining that kind of perspective about who we are and who we’re not. Though an education can’t actually save you, a Christian education should inform us along the way and help us come to a knowledge of the fact that we’re not little gods running around, but there is a God, and if we can come to that point ourselves, if we can bring our children to that point, then they’re poised and ready to receive the Lord when He comes knocking on the door of their heart. Education has a lot to do with perspective and with self-knowledge. As we see more and more what manner of creature we are, we come to know for sure that we’re not little gods and goddesses.
That there’s got to be a God out there somewhere, and we are not He. All of the different subjects work in concert in order to acquaint us with that creator, God, who wants us to know Him.
Pam: We’re just going to stop right there for just a second. What you’re saying is, all of the subjects, even things like math and grammar, are preparing us and helping us to see God and the world He’s created. Can you unpack that a little bit?
Missy: I really do believe that the subject matter of every single discipline presents an opportunity for us to come up against the fact that there are realities in the world that preexist us, and that we rub up against all day long every day. Every single one of those realities, not only testifies to the nature of the Creator who made them, but also it’s other than us, and we have to deal with those things. Think about science, the law of gravity, we can defy the law of gravity, but we do it at our own peril because it’s a law, it’s present in the universe. We bend to it or it bends us.
The same thing with mathematical ideas, oh, I used to beat my head against a wall with mathematics when I was a child. I was definitely a right brainchild. These left-brain concepts, they made me really come up against myself and know my limitations, but also the subject math presents a very orderly universe. Why is the universe orderly? It begs the question. All goes to different subjects, present us with opportunities, and present us with questions that must be answered that I think segue into a knowledge of the God who created all things and who created us and would be known.
Pam: Education is teaching us about the creator, and also teaching us about our place in His world.
Missy: Exactly, yes.
Pam: Oh, I really like that. I like that a lot. I’m going to have to chew on that one for a while, but that’s a really cool way to think about it.
Missy: It’s very different than the way that I was brought up to think in a public school environment where education was about mastery, and the more we knew, the more significant we could make ourselves in this world, and that really life was about mastering the known world, becoming gods on this earth.
I think pedagogically speaking, that made education the actual stuff of education, the getting of education, a lot about information transfer and the filling up of a cup as opposed to an encounter with the universal questions that all men in all times have to wrestle with in order to come to grips with who they are and who they’re not and what their place is in this world, what their relationship is to other men and to other creatures and to God who created it all.
Pam: Here’s my next question for you, having been brought up by public school teachers, and you’ve admitted a couple of times now that you’ve come to a separate idea of education than what you had as a child. This was immediate, right? You just looked at that little five-year-old and flipped the switch and it was all perfect.
Missy: Wouldn’t if that were so. I have to say, when I got started, my husband and I both were ideologues. We graduated from Hillsdale College, got a very conservative liberal arts education, really valued the life of the mind and liberty, but principled, we were principled, and we decided we were going to homeschool our kids, we were doing this thing, but when I went about the project of homeschooling, I can see in retrospect that I took that acquaintance with education, that idea of education that I had as a child.
Even though I wouldn’t have necessarily agreed with everything that I was taught, the frog in the soup illustration, I guess, actually applies here, that you don’t know how much you’ve just soaked in and absorbed the culture that you were brought up in until you’re removed from it and you lose the smell and you’re stewing in a different stew for a while. When I first started educating my son, I think I really took a lot of the philosophy of education that I got when I was young in the public school system, and just planted it right there in my homeschool economy. It took a lot of years before I came to understand education as I do today.
Pam: I was wondering, because not only did I go to public school, I was a public school teacher, and I find that’s one of the biggest hindrances to developing a new philosophy of education, and seeing education differently was all of this baggage that I carry from not only my own education but also teachers’ college and teaching and things like that.
Missy: Sure. Absolutely. From the idea that it takes a professional to teach a child to read or to educate a child, who do you think you are that you can educate your child? It takes a whole slew of teachers to educate a child in the public school system. You have to overcome that kind of mentality. For me, because I’ve always been a real type A performer type, that meant I was going to do it all, and I was going to do it well. I was going to master every subject right alongside my children, and we were going to do it.
Pam: I completely understand. Let’s talk about homeschooling itself. As you’re beginning to homeschool all of your six children, and as you are learning this new philosophy of education, and I know that this takes years to develop, because mine is still in the process of developing this, changing from that public school mindset and what I learned education was. It’s a wrestling with constantly all the time these big ideas and coming to new conclusions. When you were in the thick of it, let’s think about the day-to-day of homeschooling itself and the act of homeschooling – Did you ever become disillusioned with that and think, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this anymore?”
Missy: I didn’t in the younger years. Like I said, I was ideologically motivated. I was a Christian, and I believed then, as I still do believe now, but for different reasons, and I think I mean something different when I say this now than I would have meant when I was young, but I really do believe that home education is a living sacrifice that we give to our children and to the Lord, and that it really does cost us a lot, but that the result is that we’re raising up a generation that doesn’t bow their knee to Baal, that really honors God in all things.
We’re doing a really wonderful thing. I want to encourage everybody who’s been called by God to do this thing. It’s not for everybody. Not everybody feels equipped, not everybody is able to homeschool their children. Some people have other things that they’re being called to do that really do preclude the option, but for those of us who are called, it’s a really beautiful calling. I want to laud you for taking this opportunity, for taking the charge, and I want to acknowledge the fact that that’s really costing you something in the day-to-day. That really motivated me.
Here’s the problem, though. The problem was, for me, that when I was young, I thought that because homeschooling was very noble, that it was a noble thing that I was involved in, that that meant that I was very noble.
Boy oh boy, there’s a big difference between those two ideas. I, over time, realized that though homeschooling is noble, I myself am a sinner, and that over time, I came to see that I was actually the fly in the noble homeschooling ointment that I was applying. The homeschooling process really does give mom a chance at her own education, a second chance at her own education. We say that all the time. Homeschooling gives mom a second chance at her own education. Isn’t that great? What we mean, of course, is, “I’m going to get that second chance to learn my states and capitals, because I never really did master those the first time around.” The silly people that we are, we’re right, we do get a second chance at our own education as parents when we’re homeschooling our children, we just don’t know what that means.
Because if education is about coming up against ourselves and really figuring out who we are and who we’re not, it’s a violent encounter. It can be a very violent encounter where the Lord and his severe mercy rips the scales off your eyes, then shows you that you are just not God, you are just not as in control as you think you are, that you’re not who you think you are, you’re not as good as you think you are. As a matter of fact, you’re very flawed. Even the best intentions of your heart are deceitful and desperately wicked. Who could know it? Who could know it? I didn’t know it when I was young, but as I homeschooled my kids over the course of about 25 years, I came to know it. That all came to a head when my oldest received a scholarship. He did very well on his SAT tests. He was a straight-A student, he was extremely articulate, and we’d always been really close. Then when it came time for him to go off to college, he went right off the deep end, not because he wasn’t equipped or because he wasn’t prepared, but because he got the wind-up.
What I mean to say about that is that he started to smell a rat when he looked at the homeschooling process. That is to say, I think he began to realize that somewhere along the way, him doing well meant I was doing well. That he began to feel responsible along the way for my success. That’s because I, like many people, I think, maybe like all people, confuse my identity with my activities. It’s common.
Aristotle, I think it was, said that we are what we do. It’s kind of a trope now, people say, “Oh, yes, we are what we do. We are what we do.” People look to their careers to figure out who they are, and a lot of their self-concept comes from their success or their failure. Sometimes there’s that. The truth of the matter is that that does not jive with what the scriptures say, because the scriptures say that we receive our name, that we are given a name by proclamation, and that name is actually Beloved. We receive it through Christ, we receive His name, which is the better name, Beloved.
That’s a really different concept, and because ideas have consequences, it really doesn’t matter which way you see this thing, because the consequences of the idea that, “I am what I am I do” in this performer here, meant that I just kept doing, and doing, and doing, and doing, and I never stopped doing, and nothing I did was ever enough, and I was pushing and pushing.
When you put that together in a homeschool environment with your children, because mom and child and the nature of the homeschooling project, the relationships are so bounded together with the work, it’s almost impossible– From the beginning when a child is announced, the baby’s coming, they’re actually a part of your body, they’re an extension of you.
When they’re born, you begin this process of realizing that though you carried them, they’re not you. They’re a unique individual before God, and the separation begins, and it takes, I think, a lifetime to accomplish it, at least for the mom. That idea that they’re an extension of you, when you put that together with the concept of identity, figuring out who you are, wanting to be success, wanting to do well, wanting to be good, all of these things that are so natural to the human condition.
Well, in the homeschooling day-to-day, what that means is you project onto your child success or failure. Johnny gets an A, you get an A, Johnny gets an F, you get an F. They’re smoking all their tests, they’re getting straight As in their lit category, but boy, that math, they’re flunking it, they’re flagging it. “I am F in math. I’ve got to do better. I’ve got to teach better. I’ve got to help them in this math.”
It’s a difficult thing to see when that’s going down, the inordinate pressure that that weights the homeschool relationship with, because it’s appropriate when you’re mom and teacher to push your child to do well, to encourage them to be diligent, to want them to get an A on their test, to want to equip them with knowledge so that they can go out into the world knowing how things work, knowing their ABCs, being able to read well, being able to figure, having the tools to get around in this world that we live in.
It’s easy to wink at that darker underbelly that is the identity quest that can be so easily, I think, infected by this false idea of where identity comes from. Then, what happens? Well, for me, what happened is I pressured my kids. I was a performer, and performancism was a part of our daily homeschool routine.
I still can hardly talk about it without crying in regard to the pressure I put on my children. My idea that I was what I do caused me to communicate to them that they were what they did, and there’s nothing good that comes out of that, except this, that God allowed sin to enter this world, and He uses it. He makes the wrath of man to praise him, the Psalmist says.
That was certainly my own experience, that in spite of me, and my sin, and my husband and his sin in regard to these things with our children, and in spite of my children’s response– My son’s response was rebellion, to say, “I smell a rat, I’m out,” and to just not attend his classes, not do his homework, just basically be hard and angry. The Lord let all that go down, He let all that go down, but the results of it was that everybody saw their own sin in the end. Adam and I saw our sin. We realized, “Oh my goodness, we’ve taken this very good thing is that it’s homeschooling,” and we have looked to it to give us a name. That is, we’ve made an idol out of it. We’ve made secondary things into the primary thing, and that’s idolatry, folks. Even if it’s this good thing called homeschooling, if we make it primary, but we’re creating an idol. We repented. We repented to our son. The result of that was that he was capable and free to look at his own sin in the matter and realize that the failure he was experiencing in his own life wasn’t anybody’s fault, but his own. That he had his own sin to look at. That’s really his story. I’m sure he will talk about it in his own time. He’s a really good man and knows the grace that saved him.
The result of this in our life together was that we have a deep, rich, loving relationship that’s based on a foundation of forgiveness and reconciliation and grace. Because the playing field was very leveled between us when we both saw our need for the grace and mercy of God, both personally and relationally with one another. We became dependent on the Lord who loves and saves, and who knew we needed Him before we knew it ourselves. That rewrote my understanding of identity, and anchored me in terms of my self concept as the one that Jesus loves. The one that Jesus saved, and that Jesus continues to save on a daily basis. Every time I forget who I am and go running after “other gods” activities.
Pam: Whether the world decides you’re successful at homeschooling or not.
Missy: That’s right.
Pam: Your identity is still the same.
Missy: My identity is the same. My goal in homeschooling became suddenly not to be the world’s greatest homeschooler, but just to be a faithful witness to the grace and mercy of God, and to do the dry as dust work of educating that he put before me every day, and always looking for opportunities to point at him and make much of him. Instead of this idea of making much of myself, making much of my children, puffing us all up with an inflated view of ourselves. Education is not about the self in that regard.
Pam: You know Charlotte Mason’s idea of you’ve got to be humble before you can be educated.
Missy: I think I would say that humility comes as we encounter an education, true education breeds humility.
Pam: One of the things that strikes me about this whole story is the fact that you have this child, and you talk about this. Actually I was just reading this chapter in My Divine Comedy while I was eating my lunch a little earlier. You talk about him going off to college and really not doing well there. A lot of parents would have just taken this knee jerk response and blamed the child. You knew what he was capable of, and put all the blame on him and he put all the blame on him and driven that relationship even further apart, but you had the insight to see what your role was in this situation as well. It sounds like that he also– You said at the end, he didn’t just say, “My parents screwed up, they made all of this happen”, but he took responsibility for his own actions. I think that’s a testament to you guys as a family that you were able to see that and act upon it in the right ways.
Missy: I don’t know. What I see it as a testament of is the severe and loving mercy of God functioning in our lives and prompting us. Because as I was preparing him for college and it was getting closer and closer and we sent off all of the information, he was going to go to our Alma Mater, and he was going to sit in the classroom with my professors, because many of the same professors that I loved and had been corresponding with in Christmas cards since we graduated all those years ago, they were going to be his teachers. What was I looking for? If I’m honest, I was looking for an A. I wanted an A on my homeschool project, and isn’t that so ugly? Also isn’t that so relatable?
Here you’ve been laboring in obscurity with your children at your kitchen table all these years. No one knows, and now they’re going out. They’re going to go out there in that world, and they’re going to either be successes or failures, and you want them to be a success because what is that going to do? That’s going to shine back on you and say, “Good job, mom, good job. You did it.” Good job, you did it. Okay, but really? Is that how we should be thinking about this? Is that what we’re doing this for? I hope not.
Basically I felt in my heart I knew that that rat that he had smelled was real rank. The Lord forced me to it. He forced me to it with such kindness. When God is the one convicting us of our sins, it’s singular. It’s not like somebody else pointing the finger at us and say, “You did this wrong.” God, when he shines the light into our hearts and exposes our sin, right along with it, there comes mercy and love and acceptance and grace and a covering to right the wrong that we’ve done. As soon as we look at it and say, “You’re right, I agree. That was wrong. I was wrong. I did it all wrong.” There’s no despair in that, because the Lord is good. He makes beautiful things out of the twisted sticks that we are.
Pam: Let’s talk about the mom who’s listening to this right now and she’s feeling convicted. She’s like, “Oh, wow. This lady has me pegged, this is exactly me,” and maybe starting to feel a little bit of despair, maybe even a little bit of shame or a little bit of worry. What would you say to encourage that mom? These moms who find themselves– Somebody who finds themselves hyper focused on the results as opposed to relationships and this right ordering of education towards God?
Missy: The first thing that I would say to you is that you, by proclamation, are the beloved of God. He calls you beloved. That you who are in Christ bear his name. You are inheritors of the kingdom of God. He knows you. He knows everything about you. He saw you before the foundations of the world and knew everything that you would do good, bad, and ugly, and he made you anyway. He made you anyway. He died for you before you knew that that kind of sacrifice was ever going to be necessary so that when you looked up today, feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and knowing that, “Yes, this is me. I’ve done this thing.” I too am an idolater. When you looked up, you would see him smiling at you, not frowning. There’s no frowny face on God when he looks at you. He delights in you. You’re the Apple of His eye. You’re His daughter. He loves you.
I think that is the beginning of knowing. Let me say that again. I think that knowing that, that really owning our identity in Christ is the beginning of being able to extend that to our children. Here this segues into this idea of the educator, as the guide. The guide, because a guide is someone who’s been somewhere before. Usually when we talk about this in terms of education, what we think that means is that we have to stay a few pages ahead our kids in their history book, so that we can take them where they’re supposed to go, but if we think of education more organically, not just in an individual subject, but in terms of coming to know who we are and who we’re not, coming to know the source of all knowledge. Coming into a knowledge of your uniqueness, you created uniqueness and the calling on your life, that’s an identity question.
Mom, you need to come into your identity and know who you are in Christ before you can extend that to your children and guide them into a knowledge of their belovedness. I would say that first and second, when you know your belovedness in Christ, all of the good things that He filled your life with, all of the activities that He’s filled your life with, like being a mom and being a wife and being a homeschooler and all these things, they become activities again. The freighted-ness of those activities cannot be underestimated when you are trying to get your identity from them because they simply can’t deliver. The thing about a false god is not that it’s a god and it competes with God, like there are two, there’s only one God. The reason God doesn’t want us to commit idolatry is because all those false gods, they’re just activities. They can’t give us any of those things that we’re going to them for, only He can. We wants us to turn to Him so that He can give us those very good things. When we get primary things primarily, and we worship God and know God and receive our identities from God, then we’re ready to address the activities of things he’s placed beneath us, right? To take dominion over and to enjoy, to just function on our gifts, to be diligent in the things that he’s put beneath us. To walk in those good works He’s given us to do, because they’re not gods. They can’t name us, so we don’t have to fear failing.
Let’s say we home-school, and we’re teaching our history class, or we’re teaching our literature class, or our math classes, we don’t really know what we’re talking about. The truth is, we’ve never been that great at math before, but our kids here and he’s alongside us then we’re learning together and, boy, if you’re getting your identity from that, as a mom, what a setup, right? What a setup. If you know, this is not our identity, this is just an activity. Let’s learn it together, and if we can’t figure this out, we’re going to go find someone who can. There’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in that at all.
Maybe we’re never going to be math minds. Maybe we’re never going to master math. Maybe math, in the end, is going to get us, and we’re going to get along, we’re going to be able to balance our checkbook and stuff like that, but we’re not going to be math geniuses, you and I. Instead, what math is going to show us is that the world is bigger than we are, and we’re very small creatures in it, and that we don’t know everything. We’re never going to know everything. That’s a good lesson. That’s a really good lesson. We can take that lesson and we can succeed without being puffed up because we’ve just had this great time, we’ve had this fabulous discussion, we talked about all these wonderful things. Isn’t it wonderful that we are created in the image of God and that we can think great thoughts alongside of him? Isn’t that amazing?
You see, when we’re not looking to these things, to the whole stuff of homeschooling, or the stuff of our careers, to get our identity, suddenly we’re free to enjoy them as activities, blessed activities that allow us to better come to know God in His world.
Pam: Wow. That’s it for the homeschool mom, but it also completely changes our relationship with our child, certainly from our side, but then also their identity is it wrapped up in the math either.
Missy: Yes, absolutely.
Pam: It changes the way we interact with them, but it also can change the way they interact with us and with the subject, and there’s so much freedom to be found there.
Missy: Yes, I think there is. When I came to realize this, it really did change the atmosphere, the environment in our home school with the younger ones. They grew up with a freedom where education was concerned that the older ones had to come to on their own later, and maybe are still coming.
Pam: Well, Missy, I just want to thank you so much for coming on today and talking with us about what I think is going to be a topic that really sets a lot of homeschool moms free. I’m so glad we’re doing it at the beginning of the school year, where they can begin thinking about these ideas and leaning into God’s grace and knowing who they are as beloved of God. Tell everybody where they can find your book.
Missy: You can find my book at our website, www.centerforlit, all one word, C-E-N-T-E-R-F-O-R-L-I-T.com.
Pam: Thank you so much.
Missy: Well, thank you so much for having me today. It was a pleasure to talk with you.
Pam: There you have it. Now if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Missy and I chatted about today, including where to get the transcript for this episode of the podcast, you can find it on the show notes at pambarnhill.com/ymb80. Also over there is a little bit of instruction on how you can leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast on iTunes. The ratings and reviews that you leave on iTunes help us get word out about the podcast to new listeners, and we really appreciate it when you take the time to do that. Thank you so very much.
I’ll be back again in two weeks. In two weeks, I’ll be interviewing my very good friend, Colleen Kessler. I realized this past summer that we had never talked about morning baskets with gifted kids or twice exceptional kids. Colleen is going to be on with some really great insights about how Morning Time can help give to kids. What are the benefits of doing this, what are some ways that they benefit that neurotypical kids might not. Then also the sticky situations that come up. The difference is when you’re dealing with a gifted or twice exceptional kid in your morning basket, and as always, Colleen has some wonderful, wonderful insights. We’ll be back again with that in a couple of weeks. Until then, keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your home-school day.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

My Divine Comedy: A Mother's Homeschooling JourneyPinMy Divine Comedy: A Mother’s Homeschooling JourneyTeaching the Classics: Complete K-12 Reading & Literature Curriculum {DVDs & Workbook)PinTeaching the Classics: Complete K-12 Reading & Literature Curriculum {DVDs & Workbook)Wild Bells: A Literary AdventPinWild Bells: A Literary AdventBiblioFilesPinBiblioFiles


Key Ideas about Beloved

Education is an exercise of humility by which the one being educated comes to learn that there is a God and we are not He. In education, we get to discover Him and everything we learn puts us in touch with our own limitations as creatures of a mighty and loving God.

As mother educators, it is easy for us to allow our identity to become wrapped up in our children’s successes and failures. But our identity is found in Christ alone and in Him, we discover that our name is Beloved.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • [3:00] meet Missy Andrews
  • [7:55] how she became a homeschooler
  • [11:00] Missy’s view on education
  • [13:40] every subject reveals our Creator
  • [19:45] confusing our identity as homeschool moms
  • [36:35] receiving our identity from Christ