home schooling paths
E-journal March 9, 2010

What Really Matters

by Ellyn Davis

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There are two things that I have always counseled home schooling parents to do.

First, I have encouraged them to look at their children differently—not as containers to be filled with information, but as unique individuals in which God has placed certain abilities, interests and desires. So my motto has always been “Feed the interest, invest in the desire, train the ability.” This has sometimes taken our home schooling in weird directions, but it’s a recipe for producing healthy minds, hearts, and spirits. 

My husband and I have called this approach “Identity Directed Home Schooling,” but it is really little more than discovering who your child is and then nourishing that and creating a context for it to develop to its fullest.

To better explain this concept, I’ve often used the analogy of plants (in fact, the Bible uses the analogy of “tender plants” to describe children). I love gardenias. But I can’t grow gardenias where we live because the winters are too harsh and the soil doesn’t have the right pH. So I would be foolish to expect gardenias to flourish in my yard. It would be contrary to the way God made them. In the same way, I would be foolish if I tried to “grow” my children in a context that fails to nurture who they really are.

Plus, to try and force them to “grow” in an environment that kills their spirits and souls is a guaranteed recipe for damaged children and damaged parent-child relationships. And one of the main reasons I home schooled my children is that I wanted to have a deep, meaningful relationship with them and really know them for who they are.

The second piece of advice I’ve always given home schooling parents is borrowed from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is “Begin with the end in mind.” If you don’t have a vision of where you want to wind up when your child is 18 years old, your home schooling years can be a long, rambling road, fraught with frustration and missed opportunities. And, even worse, because you don’t have a clear “destination” you’re traveling towards, you will tend to drift from one way of doing things to another, always looking for the latest techniques, teaching materials, or doctrines and forever wondering what you might have left out.

I’m not saying that home schooling parents should map out every facet of each child’s life, but what I am saying is it’s better to have some sort of vision that will be recognizable enough that you will know when you’ve achieved it.

There’s a difference between being in a sailboat headed for a certain destination, and being in a sailboat adrift. Because in sailing you often have to tack back and forth at angles away from your final destination in order to eventually reach it, you will sometimes look like you are going in the wrong direction. 

But if you are adrift, you are at the mercy of every current or gust of wind, and you’re actually going in no direction, even though you’re moving.

Robert Fritz and Your Life as Art 

This brings me to a discussion of Robert Fritz and Your Life as Art.

I’ve shared before about how influential Robert Fritz has been in my life. I first became familiar with his work in 2001 when a cousin recommended I read The Path of Least Resistance. That book revolutionized my thinking and I went on to read Your Life as Art. The next year I traveled to Vermont to attend several of Robert's workshops, eventually becoming certified to teach his “Creating Your Life” course.

Although I never actually “taught” the course to my children, they learned the course principles in the process of everyday living because I was applying them to my own life.

Recently Robert has offered the course on-line at a greatly reduced price. (I won’t tell you how much it cost me to fly to Vermont and spend 5 days taking it in person!) So I asked James and Blake if they would be interested in taking it with me. We’ve been meeting once a week to go over the course materials together and I’ve watched the boys’ thinking become revolutionized just as mine was when I first read The Path of Least Resistance.

I’d like for you to have the opportunity to take the course yourself and be transformed just as we are being. I’ll tell you more about it at the end of this newsletter.

So why do I think you should be exposed to Robert Fritz’ work? Although he is a Christian, his work is not overtly Christian, so I don’t recommend him because of any spiritual message.

The most important reason you should know about Robert Fritz is because of his insights on organizing your life around your interests and passions--kind of an "Identity Directed" approach to your own life..

What I have discovered as I talk to home schooling parents about “Identity Directed Education,” is that most parents have never had their interests and passions “identified,” so they have a hard time knowing how to identify them in their children.

Robert's work is about recognizing what really matters to you, and then creating your life based on that. So in a way, he teaches you to give yourself what you’re trying to give your children—the nourishment and equipping of your deepest desires and highest aspirations so that you live a life centered around those instead of centered around whatever comes your way or around what you’ve been taught your life should be about.

When I first was introduced to Robert’s work in The Path of Least Resistance, I was stunned to think of my life as a creation in which I participated, just like an artist creates a work of art. In this book, Robert wrote,

“It is not common for people to think of their own lives as creations. You are not encouraged to have with your own life the kind of relationship a creator has with his or her vision. But your life can be a creation. What a difference that is from reacting or responding to circumstances.
You can conceive of the life you want to bring into being as an artist conceives of a painting, take strategic actions to build such a life as the artist takes all the necessary actions to create the painting, and inhabit the life you want to create as the artist may hang the painting on a wall to experience it.”

What an amazing concept! I can approach my own life (and eventually the lives of my children) as a work of art that I co-create with God. This thought opened up to me a whole new understanding of God, the creator. Why did God create me? Because He loved me enough to bring me into existence. Love is at the heart of everything God does because His nature is love, so true creation is always a matter of bringing things into being because you love them enough to want them to exist.

Robert further says, “The reason you create a result that you care about is that you love it enough to see it exist. This type of love is not simply responsive love. In responsive love the situation comes first, and the love second. Creators love their creations before the creation exists.”

If I choose to be a creator, then my mission is to give birth to those things I think matter. My life is about creating outcomes that I love enough to work on behalf of, sustain, and nurture. And I want to organize my life around the things that matter most to me, rather than around the things I have been told to organize my life around, or instead of organizing my life around circumstances or problems.

Edith Schaeffer partially addresses this idea of creating art out of everyday life in her wonderful book The Hidden Art of Homemaking, but Robert Fritz takes the concept even further and talks about making the whole of your life a work of art.

So, although Robert’s books never mention God or Jesus, the insights he shares about life led me to a deeper revelation of the love of God and the freedom He has given me to live my life as an expression of the things that I truly love.

I look at Robert’s books as tools. Perhaps “recipes” is a better word. Just like when I use a cookbook I don’t care whether Jesus is mentioned or not, all I care about is whether the recipe works, tastes good, and feeds as many people as it says it will. I don’t try to make things that are meant to be tools into any more than that. Robert’s books and insights gave me powerful tools to start thinking of my life like an artist thinks of a painting. And they gave me the “recipe” for organizing my life around who God created me to be.

Then I could look at “Identity Directed Home Schooling” as a form of creating. I was not only creating an environment that helped bring into expression my children’s abilities, interests, and desires, but I could structure our day-to-day lives around my vision of where they would be when they were adults.

Just like a good artist (if he really is a good artist and not a copier of other people’s work) already has painted the picture in his mind before he ever makes the first brushstroke, I can have a “vision” for my own life and for each of my children as works of art.

It has been said that Michelangelo was asked how he could create such beautiful sculptures. His reply was, “I see the angel in the block of marble and simply let it out.” He chipped away all that was not part of what he saw in the marble and brought out all that was. It is the same with our own lives and with the lives of our children. We chip away all that is “not us” and help bring into expression all that is.

I once had a friend ask me, “Who do you think it is that God loves? You or ‘not you?’” We spend so much of our lives being “not me” without even realizing we’re doing it. 

Remember, you are a creator, whether you acknowledge it or not. You create your relationships, your attitudes, your surroundings, your career, and yes, music and paintings and inventions and sculptures and books. So why not create the life that really matters to you?



Creating Your Life on-line course at 1/3 off. This is an online, video-based self-study course in which Robert Fritz is your teacher and you learn to create your own life just as an artist paints a painting, a composer composes a symphony, or a poet writes a poem. In this course, Robert further develops the special insights that he introduced in his best selling book The Path of Least Resistance. The course has five lessons that will take you from 5 to 10 weeks to complete and includes a copy of Robert’s book Your Life as Art as well as the course materials and use of tools on the website. This course online is normally $299 and if you took it in person in Vermont it would be at least twice that. But with this special invitation code you can enroll for $199. I highly recommend that you take this course as a family—husband, wife, and high school age children. To enroll in the course, go to www.wisepond.com and enter this invitation code: AFF1455.

The Path of Least Resistance and Your Life as Art by Robert Fritz. Robert's work is about recognizing what really matters to you, and then creating your life based on that just like an artist creates a painting or a symphony. He teaches you to nourish and equip your deepest desires and highest aspirations so that you live a life centered around those. You are a creator, whether you acknowledge it or not. You create your relationships, your attitudes, your surroundings, your career, and yes, music and paintings and inventions and sculptures and books. So why not create the life you really care about? These books are about looking at your own life as a work of art that you create based on what really matters to you.

Organic Play Dough at great savings!

Our friend Susan is a home schooling Mom and she is very concerned about her children's health. Her son, Liam is allergic to almost every chemical known to man, so Susan has to be very, very careful what she allows him to play with. When he gets together with other children and they play with Play Doh, Liam can't play. The dyes and chemicals in the dough can not only make him very sick, they might kill him.

To read the story of how Susan solved Liam's problem and how you can benefit from what she did, GO HERE>>

Home School and Home Business

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A friend in my internet marketing group discovered this technique for paying down your mortgage incredibly quickly without making an extra payment or refinancing. Using her method, people are cutting a 30 year mortgage down to eight or nine years. It’s true; without extra payments or refinancing – you could save tens of thousands of dollars - even hundreds of thousands - on what you pay for your home. And the best part is that the book comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don't save more on your mortgage than the book costs in the first 18 months of using the techniques, you'll get your money back.
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With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more HERE>>

Turning Hearts: Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

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Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

Building the Home School of Your Dreams is a 6 CD set taken from the From Home School To Home Business Seminar and features sessions by Chris Davis and Mary Hood. Find out more HERE>>

From Home School to Home Business
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If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who attended told us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD Set) We've had requests for just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar, so have developed a set of the business CDs from that set. It contains 8 CDs and includes sessions on The Entrepreneurial Mind, Multiple Streams of Home Income, Discovering Your Ideal Life and Ideal Business (2 CDs) , Developing a Business Plan (2 CDs), and The Importance of Business Relationships. Plus, there is a very important and insightful interview on Redeeming the Marketplace. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

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What is a Family? What is a Family and Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer. These two books are on my "must read" list because they present such an inspiring vision of what family is and can become. Sometimes life seems overwhelming simply because we've lost touch with the importance of what we are doing. Homeschooling our kids is no small feat. It is a choice that can have eternal implications. In these two books, Edith Schaeffer paints a picture of what we are really creating when we take the time and care to create a home.

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