Recently I had the privilege of speaking to a homeschool support group in San Jose, CA, with the purpose of encouraging them in their pursuit to provide a godly education for their children. I shared 10 points that I believe are helpful in achieving that end.
1. Teach your children the Word of God, rather than try to convert them. By presenting the biblical standard that their entire duty is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13), you will be tutoring them to Christ. The law of God will never save them, but it must govern their lives.
2. Character development is much more important the academic achievement. There is a tendency to become stressed over academics to the point that homeschooling moms often overlook defiance and rebellion in order to "get the work done."
3. Relate all subjects in your curriculum to Scripture. If you cannot find a link, maybe it is not worth studying. Examine the presuppositions of the materials you are using and see if they conform to a biblical world and life view.
4. The homeschool mom must make time for her own study, exercise, health, and recreation. Don't your students deserve a well-balanced, motivated teacher?
5. Look at your children as individuals. What worked for one, won't necessarily work for the others. Identify what you think each student's strengths and weaknesses are, and approach their education to encourage the former and improve the latter.
6. Put your children to work. Academics are only a small fraction of life and education. There is no reason why children as young as eight cannot be handling their own laundry and significant chores around the home. Mom should be the overseer, not the slave! In preparation for adulthood, being able to care for yourself and others is vital.
7. Volunteer as a family in areas that the Bible calls us to minister using your family's unique gifts. Visit retirement communities (a great place perform all the recital pieces they've prepared), help other families with needs during illness or crisis, or take on projects needing to be done at church and do them as a family.
8. Choose adults who are willing to serve as informal mentors for your children to support you in your child-rearing and educational efforts. Select people you trust and share your goals and purposes. Often these mentors can assist in helping resolve family problems when they arise because they have already been involved.
9. Watch out for activities that encourage "group think" or draw your children's loyalties and priorities away from the family. God ordained the family as the basic institution of society and all activities should be done in a context which acknowledges, respects, and supports that fact.
10. Acquaint your children with the spiritual warfare that exists. Let them know that God's enemies are also their enemies who will oppose their loyalty to Jesus Christ. Instill in them the vision that they are preparing to be useful members of the Kingdom of God and should not take their privileged learning situation for granted.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].