Homeschooling will look different from family to family, depending on aptitudes and personalities, number and spacing of children, teaching and learning styles, work and family responsibilities, and a whole host of other considerations. But there are a few general principles we should all adhere to if we want our children to thrive under our instructions. I call these the ABCs of Homeschooling Success, and that’s our topic for this week’s podcast.
- “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18
- “He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6
- “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” – Psalm 20:7
- “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 11:19
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” – Philippians 4:6
- “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
- “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
- “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97
- “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” – Psalm 1:1-3
- “But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” – Isaiah 28:13
ABCs of Homeschooling Success
A is for ATTITUDE
Attitude will make or break your homeschool. Maintaining the proper attitude is vitally important, so cultivate an attitude of Humility, Understanding, Gratitude, and Endurance. It will make a HUGE difference!
HumilityProverbs 16:18 warns us, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” There is no room for pride in your homeschooling endeavor. Pride is enormously offensive to God.
James 4:6 reminds us, “He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” As a 30+ year homeschooling veteran, let me assure those of you who are just starting out, you are going to need all the grace you can get. So put to death your pride from the outset.
UnderstandingUnderstand the limits of homeschooling: Homeschooling is a tool. It’s not a guarantee. If you view homeschooling as a recipe — “If I mix together family devotions and read alouds, field trips and Christian co-ops, craft projects and homeschool sports, etc, then I can expect such-and-such an outcome.” — then you are putting your faith in homeschooling.
And if you put your faith in anything other than God, you are bound to be disappointed. We need to declare with the Psalmist, “Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of our God…” (Psalm 20:7) We need to put our trust always and only, wholly and solely, in God.
Can God use homeschooling to develop in our children a heart for His Word and a love for learning? Absolutely! But He is the Prime Mover.
I homeschool my kids as a way to be obedient to God’s command to “teach them as we sit in our house, as we walk in the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up.” (Deuteronomy 11:19) But I look to Him to change their hearts and draw each one to Himself, because He alone can do either.
GratitudeIt is a privilege to train up and teach your children. A privilege parents in other parts of the world are denied. Never forget that.
“Rejoce always, and in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
That’s our job: to rejoice and be grateful, on good days and bad, when our kids are gathered round us, hanging on every word of a math or history lesson, and when we find ourselves questioning whether they will ever learn to read or spell.
EnduranceHomeschooling is a big undertaking. It’s not for the faint hearted. But those whom God calls, He also equips. And He will supply your every need when it comes to teaching your children, as well.
“They that wait upon on the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount upon wings as eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will run and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
So work hard, draw on His strength, and entrust Him with the results.
B is for BOOKS
Give your children a love for reading, beginning with THE BOOK: the Bible, God’s Word. May we proclaim with the Psalmist, “Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)
May the words of Psalm 1:1-3 be true of us: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in that law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he does will prosper.”
Isn’t that what we all want for ourselves and our children? To be blessed by God in this way? It all starts with making His Word foundational to everything else we do — reading it, memorizing it, meditating upon it, hiding its truth in our heart, and examining everything else we encounter in the light of Biblical truth.
So start with THE BOOK, and from there expand to other worthwhile and well-written books. From the time they are babies, read to your children daily. And keep on reading. Kids never get too old to be read to.
Let them see YOU reading. Set the example. Discuss the books you read. Listen to audiobooks together as you fold clothes or travel in the car.
Read fiction! There are lots of great lessons to be learned by reading fiction. Even Jesus used storytelling in the form of parables to capture the hearts and imaginations of His listeners and drive home deep spiritual truths.
C is for CONSISTENCY
My mother always told me the hardest part of parenting is consistency, and it’s one of the hardest parts of homeschooling, as well. But we need to keep plugging away at it, day after day, week after week, month after month.
As Isaiah 28:13 tells us, “precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”That’s a great description of homeschooling — as is the injunction to teach when you get up, lie down, sit at home, or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 11:19)!
For me, this consistency was most easily obtained by schooling year-round. When my kids were little, we did “lessons” four days a week all year long, and used Fridays for field trips and play dates at the park, etc. Later we went to 5-day school weeks, but took a break in the summer from everything except math and reading, which gives kids time to pursue other areas of interest/ work on craft projects/ read for fun/ etc.
I’d encourage you not to try to duplicate classroom instruction. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Kids don’t have to sit at a desk eight hours a day. So don’t try to make them sit at your kitchen table that long!
Some book work is necessary, but we’ve tried to never let desk work comprise the majority of our homeschool day. We’ve also done weekly co-ops and field trips and art projects and life skills and sports, etc.
But whether you attend co-ops or do all the teaching yourself, whether you use a boxed curriculum or online classes or video lessons or a hodge podge of all your favorites from a plethora of suppliers, consistency is still key.
So if you long to be successful in your homeschooling endeavors, just remember your ABCs — Attitude. Books. Consistency. Cultivate an attitude of humility, understanding, gratitude, and endurance. Instill in your children a love for books, beginning with the Bible. And keep consistently plugging away at lessons, looking to God for the strength and grace you need that He has promised to supply.
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