Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crumpled Homeschoolers

Can I just say (and I guess I can since this is my blog) that just because a family homeschools, doesn't mean we should walk around like we just got out of bed. 

My family has lived and homeschooled in 3 different states and in each one we've been involved in homeschool groups with families who consistently arrived late with tousled, uncombed hair and crumpled clothing. The mother sports an unkempt appearance and foggy look in her eyes and her children usually wear a harried, stressed look. 

I am very sympathetic to the many things in a woman's busy home life that can deter her best attempts at ordering her home and children, but it's important to make a good appearance in public.  It is worth all a mom's effort to help her kids look their best when out in public. 

Teaching our children routine and order will help them to be prepared and equipped for adulthood and greater responsibilities. 

When a mother doesn't teach her children to take pride in their appearance, what effect it will that have on their future? 

There's no excuse for taking the privilege of homeschooling so for granted. We should always strive to make our appearance in public representative of all that we stand for in Christ Jesus. And teaching our children to take care of their appearance is an important part of homeschooling. 

The fact that we, as homeschooling families, don't send our kids off to school each morning, should not give us license to "let ourselves (or our children) go".  Neatness is a virtue that  carries far reaching rewards for ourselves and our children.

A 9 year old girl with stringy, bed-head hair and mismatched, wrinkled clothing will find it a very difficult and foreign discipline to keep herself well groomed when she reaches adulthood ; much to the detriment and displeasure of her future husband.

In 1 Peter 3, Paul gives instruction for a woman's appearance.  But I really believe that he is instructing that her heart should not be set on this alone. He doesn't say that she should wholly neglect her personal appearance (and by extension her children), for she has no more right to be offensive to her husband by neglecting her personal appearance, than to have a finical attention to it. 

In the Bible there are many Scriptures and stories showing the importance of order, neatness and cleanliness which includes our external appearance according to our circumstances in life.  It is as pertinent to the fastidiousness of the character as it is to the internal virtue of the soul.

We can also see cleanliness and order upheld and displayed in God's world, and by contrast, uncleanness and disorder with it's accompanying disease, chaos and odor, is condemned and punished.

If we teach our children the Bible and the three R's but fail to teach them how to iron a shirt, comb their hair and properly care for their hygienic needs, then we have failed them.

We need to revel in the freedom and richness of time  that many only dream of having.  We can take 15 minutes each morning to teach our children the rewards and joys of cleanliness, neatness and structure. 

It's a good idea to give each child their own grooming supplies to keep in a personal basket or container marked with their name.  Depending on their ages these supplies would include combs, brushes, nail trimmers, deodorant and cologne.  As they get older you might add facial cleansers and toners, nail polish, shaving supplies and lathers, tweezers, etc. 

They will feel a personal joy in using them when they have ownership of their own kits.  Teach them to take the time each morning for personal grooming.  My children know that at a minimum, they are to brush their teeth, wash their faces, comb their hair and wear clean clothes (preferably color coordinating) each morning. 

I would like to see all homeschoolers everywhere take pride and care in their appearance, especially when out in public, because whether we know it or not, we are shining ambassadors to the lost for what we are standing for.  This has nothing to do with finances.  It's not the fanciness of the clothes we wear but the cleanliness.  We can all afford to wash and iron our clothing and clean and groom our bodies.

Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.  - Benjamin Disraeli

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