Family ministry is an important aspect of homeschool life. Rather than rely on church programs for opportunities to obey the Great Commission, families can embark on ministerial activities that involve every family member. In a very real sense, this becomes an extension of the homeschool.
When my son (now almost 30) was little, we used to visit nursing homes and spend time with the “old folks.” When his grandmother came to live with us, he was well-prepared to interact with her despite the fact that she was 77 years older than he. With my subsequent children, we maintained regular visits to nursing and retirement homes visiting with the residents and performing for them. When my own father (now 97) went into a nursing facility over eight years ago, the girls were more than ready and willing to give a command performance.
Early on, each of my children understood the reality and travesty of legalized abortion. My husband and I felt it imperative that they understood how violently God’s Word was being violated and we engaged them in activities geared toward eradicating the heinous procedure. They participated in a pro-life group we started called Kids for Life which produced a monthly newsletter that was sent around the country and placed in businesses. They took part in abortion protests and life chains and helped prepare mailings for various pro-life groups. We conducted garage sales to raise money for the local pregnancy centers and washed and ironed donated baby clothes. We even produced a pro-life music videothat we donated to pregnancy centers around the country. My son, at the age of ten, raised a considerable amount of money for a Walk for Life. He relentlessly approached family, friends, and neighbors to donate to the cause and sponsor him. He was quite zealous, and eventually was told to “cease and desist” when he wanted to cold-call the phone book for donors!
Now as a business owner, husband, and father of two, those priorities and causes that were a part of his childhood have remained into adulthood. Not only does he generously sponsor his younger sister in similar pro-life walks, he has sponsored entire fund-raising dinners to help the Community Pregnancy Centers that were so much a part of his growing up years – a testimony to cultivating the tender heart of a child.
To quote my good friend and songwriter Judy Rogers:
Teach me while my heart is tender
Tell me all that I should know
And even through the years I will remember
No matter where I go.*
(from the song: Why Can't I See God)
- 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].