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How Yoda Helps Me.... With Homeschooling - John Clark

How Yoda Helps Me… With Homeschooling


After countless viewings of Star Wars movies with his kids, John Clark is pleased to report that he has picked up a few homeschool pointers from Yoda.

My children have seen the Star Wars movies more times than I care to admit.

And though they are greater experts on the franchise than myself, they might be proud that I have picked up a few homeschooling thoughts and pointers from Yoda.

Here they are:

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

The Empire Strikes Back

Sometimes, I say “I’ll try,” and what I really mean is, “I won’t try.”
“I’ll try to teach my kids spelling.”
“I’ll try to limit myself to four lattes.”
“I’ll try to make it to the gym today.”

In the homeschooling process, if you begin with a sheepish, “I’ll try,” my guess is that you will quickly be saying: “I tried.”

Instead, begin with “Do.”

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is. Uncluttered.”

Attack of the Clones

After two decades of homeschooling, my children have taught me the greatest truths of theology, philosophy, and the physical sciences only confirm the greatest truths of childhood: God exists,

God loves me, God wants me to be happy, stars are amazing, drawing pictures is an excellent way to spend my time, and the best conversations and the best giggling take place at the kids table. Truly wonderful, indeed.

And all this has me wondering: Who’s teaching whom?

“Much to learn, you still have.”

Attack of the Clones

Yoda’s sage advice applies not only to students, but also their parents. And as homeschooling parents quickly realize, learning and teaching are not separate activities.

The call to teach is the call to learn, and I’ve learned a lot since this all began. And I’ll learn more tomorrow.

“That is why you fail.”

The Empire Strikes Back

Yoda provided this advice to Luke Skywalker when Luke expressed his disbelief in the Force.

In the homeschooling life, we worry if we can communicate the Faith to our children, we worry if we can teach them properly, and we worry that we’re not good enough to teach them. In all this, what are we really worried about? We’re worried that God won’t help us enough, which is why we fail.

An economist might observe that worry costs nothing, while a theologian might note that worry can cost everything.

Worry might express not only a lack of faith, but also a lack of realism. How much more does God have to do for us before we believe in Him?

Start every morning with a simple prayer like this:

“Dear Jesus, though I am the weakest of souls, I trust in You.
Though I am unworthy of you, I believe that you love me.
Though I have loved you weakly and lukewarmly my whole life, I deeply desire to love you more every day—that I may love you every moment of eternity.
Please hold me close to your Sacred Heart and never let me go.
Please help me with homeschooling today so that all of us may grow closer to you as a family.”

“Clear your mind must be, if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.”

– Attack of the Clones

In Ephesians 6:12, we read: “For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.”

In the homeschool world, the foes we face are not Spelling Workbooks or Math Tables, or the memorization of history facts. These are “phantom menaces.”

The real villain is the devil.

There’s no nice way to say it—and any attempt to do so is terribly unfair—but the devil wants you and your children to go to Hell.

As my belated friend, Father Constantine Belisarius, was fond of saying: “The devil is not a gentleman.”

But the real villain is no match for your true friend. Because your friend is God. Sanctifying grace makes us friends with God. Remember that, and help your children remember that fact every day.

“No. There is another.”

The Empire Strikes Back

This was Yoda’s response when Ben Kenobi expressed that Luke Skywalker was the “last hope.”

Some have said that we live in a “post-Christian world.” That’s bleak. But when people suggest to you that Christianity’s time has come and gone, remind them there are reasons for hope in thousands and thousands of homeschool homes and across the country. There’s no such thing as a “last hope.” But there is such thing as “next hopes.” They are your children.

And make no mistake: You are raising Jedi.

A friend was telling me recently that she was at a party and someone asked her what kind of job she had. My friend answered that she homeschooled her children, to which the woman haughtily responded: “Well, I work.”

My homeschooling friends, when someone asks you what you do all day, tell them the truth. Tell them: “I train Jedi.”

It makes you wonder: What does everyone else do all day?

Yoda Graphic Copyright © Disney

About John Clark

John Clark is a homeschooling father, a speechwriter, an online course developer for Seton Home Study School, and a weekly blogger for The National Catholic Register. His latest book is “How to be a Superman Dad in a Kryptonite World, Even When You Can’t Afford a Decent Cape.”
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