Monday, April 4, 2011

Prayer and homeschooling

While I originally intended for this blog to be mostly about the plight of orphans and people with special needs, I do have other aspects of my life that I'll share to give all (15!!) of my faithful followers a wider perspective on the Smith household.  Yes, we do try to pray for orphans every day, and specifically Isaiah and Vilis by name.  Part of how we do this relates to our school time. 

Four days a week, my kids and I do school at home (the other weekday, we attend an academic group, Classical Conversations). And in the past few months, I have made a special effort to have each day start with some form of Bible reading and/or verse study, plus prayer.

Though I had prayed a lot before starting homeschooling, and though I pray now while engaged in it, I didn't always start our homeschool day with prayer with my children If going to God is the most important thing I should do, and which I want to teach my children, how did I think they were going to learn this if I didn't model the right way? 

Conviction.  We needed to pray each day at the start of school. 

At first it seemed awkward.  "OK, kids, we're going to pray."  They are used to us praying at dinner and before bed, and when someone is sick, but before school?  It was a new thing.  But then I started adding Bible reading, and sometimes including the Bible memory verse from either Classical Conversations or AWANA, the program we do at a local church on Wednesday nights.   It seemed natural to add prayer at the end of the reading and study time.  And it honors God and blesses us to have our focus first on Him.

I'm heartened by how my girls are responding.  They will sometimes pray out loud with me, and other times keep silent.  Sometimes they will remind me to pray for Isaiah and Vilis, and other times will add their own prayers, such as for Japan, or their brother, or others. 

Now for those who are wondering, How does this happen?  How do you homeschool kids of different ages, including a toddler with Down syndrome?  Well, I will discuss some of those details and organizational tips in the future.  Truthfully, there are some days when it is amazing, when everyone appears to listen and Henry hasn't yelled or filled his diaper during the few minutes focused on the Lord.  Other days, the cliche of herding cats come to mind (like the day I left my Bible on the floor during prayer time, and the next thing I heard was Henry ripping out pages!!!).  

Keeping one eye open during prayer time is sometimes my only option, while other times, I feel God's Spirit of peace as we focus first on what really matters in life! 

I encourage you, no matter where you are in life, whether you are married or single, whether you have children at home or not, whether you homeschool or do private/public school --- pray.  Pray with your spouse.  Pray with your kids.  Pray with God -- talk to God and give God your day. This is a lesson which I am learning now, and it is bearing much fruit. 

Blessings to you all!


  1. BEAUTIFUL! I love this. Sonya taught me years ago to pray with my eyes open (as the mother of 6, she knew!). God knows what we're dealing with as moms.

    I'm so glad you are seeing the fruit so quickly. Sometimes it takes a while, but it is heartening when the fruit comes quickly to encourage us.

    Thank YOU for always encouraging me!

  2. p.s. My word verification word was "verses"!! Can't leave out the importance of those verses with the prayers. And, I notice you have 16 followers now, so YAY!

  3. Proud to be one of your 15! I feel extremely blessed to be a prayer warrior with you for ALL of the children your blog includes.

  4. This was wonderful, Gwen. Thanks for sharing your heart not only for orphans but for your own precious kids.

  5. Hi Gwen! I was blog hopping today and came across the blog of a woman who has 4 children, 2 of whom have Down syndrome. (One by birth and one by adoption). Anyway, her blog was interesting, and she is currently working on a book. She is giving up blogging for lent, so don't expect any updates this week, but thought you may be interested anyway.

  6. I came across your blog through google...I was wanting a comparison of classical conversations and awana...and if you had to choose one of them which one you would choose and why?...It is cool though bc you are clearly involved with Reece's Rainbow...I check it out and pray for those kiddos all the time...I am a prayer warrior too...what a small world :) Anyways...I would love it if you would email me your thoughts on both programs!
    My email is