Yesterday, one of my daughters showed me a blog with the news that Sono Sato Harris had just passed away from cancer late Sunday night. Some of you may not have heard of Sono if you aren’t home schooling or haven’t been doing it long, but she and her husband Gregg were pioneers in the modern home schooling movement. Gregg’s landmark book, The Christian Home School, published in the late 1980’s, was the first I ever read on that topic. In addition to home schooling her own seven children (some of whom – Josh, Alex, and Brett – are well known speakers and authors in their own right) and writing a book on P.E. for home school families, Sono often spoke at conferences along with Gregg. I was so privileged to hear them speak twice – once in Virginia in 1991 or 1992 before we had even officially started our home school years, and once here in Florida in 1996. After the latter conference, I wrote an article for our support group’s newsletter about a few things I had learned in her two sessions. As my small tribute to Sono Harris and her impact on the home school movement, I would like to share just a small piece of her legacy with you. It is just as applicable for me now with 10 children and a grandbaby as it was when I had five children ages 1 to 8. So journey back with me to 1996 for some timeless wisdom…
As we all review our accomplishments and refresh our vision for the next school year, let me share a few thoughts gleaned from listening to Sono Harris at a recent Home School Getaway conference.
In one of her sessions, Sono shared the blessings of being “a joyful mother of children, settled in her home” (Psalm 113:9) and emphasized three essential ingredients.
1. SUSTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE: Our work at home is not drudgery, but a blessed opportunity which has divine approval. All work done for God is holy work. It is a privilege to work for those you love and love your work. To renew our attitudes, we turn the day over to God (in prayer and Bible study), commune with him throughout the day, and keep our priorities straight.
2. INVEST THE TIME AND ENERGY FOR SUCCESS: In Titus 2:4-5, we are exhorted to be busy at home, loving our family, growing in godly character. We must be willing to lay aside “good” activities to reach these “BEST” priorities. Our homes should be places of security, routine, continuity and reasonable order. Our marriages should be thriving and our children should be well-trained in all areas of life. We may have to slice other stuff out of our schedules to attain this, because we can’t do everything at one time. The great preacher Spurgeon once stated that learning to say “NO” is more useful than learning Latin.
3. ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO BE THE GIFTS THAT GOD INTENDED: Motherhood is not just a matter of endless instructing and correction, but enjoying the company of our children, who are a blessing, a godly heritage and reward (Psalms 127 and 128). Become childlike. Share your favorite books and hobbies with your children. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life together. Create family memories. Be flexible enough to respond to your children and to opportunities. Joyfully embrace this time, because it goes fast!
In her second session, Sono talked about “Organization for Busy Home School Mothers.” She contrasted Mary and Martha (in Luke 10:38-42) and encouraged us to find the balance between productivity and relationships. Here are the important elements:
- Organize your home, schedule, and meals in a reasonably ordered way.
- Invest in the tools to equip yourself for success.
- Get your children involved in homemaking through training.
- Creatively meet needs of younger children, with the help of older siblings.
- Integrate academics into a total learning lifestyle.
- Set up specific regular plan to get it all done.
You can find Josh Harris's note about his mother's death here: Sono Harris is With Jesus.