The New Year holiday is often a time of reflection. What went well last year? What changes are needed this coming year? What New Year’s resolutions are in order?
Homeschooling is no different. We start thinking about how we’re doing – and what we’re doing.
My mind wanders back to a beautiful passage of Scripture that used to be highly quoted at homeschool conferences, in homeschool magazines, and by homeschool speakers. Reduced down to simplicity, it says that our life’s goal in everything we do is to love our Lord.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (verse 5)
And here’s the beautiful part for parents:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
As Christian homeschooling families, we have the privilege of showing our children what this life is really all about! Not only are we choosing an academic alternative, but we are facing a discipleship/relationship opportunity!
The Christian commission is to
…make disciples…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you… Matthew 28:19-20
CHEWV shares that mission:
…to promote homeschooling as a valuable means to strengthen families, as well as an environment that facilitates discipleship of children in the Christian faith. (from CHEWV’s mission statement)
Most of us began homeschooling as an alternative to “school.”
We were concerned with how to teach the school subjects from September to June. And certainly that, in and of itself, is a worthy endeavor that invites academic success through individualized tutoring. Our children, indeed, thrived academically.
Yet after our first few years being with our children full-time, we began to realize that our children don’t just learn between the “school hours” of 9 and 3. They learn 24-7. After we close the textbooks, they continue to learn by what they’re doing every waking hour. We started thinking about their toys, their social situations, our family life, and even our family routines.
And that realization was life-changing.
Our hearts were softened even more toward our children, and homeschooling became more exciting than ever.
He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents… Malachi 4:6
The house stopped being a place to sleep and get ready for the next outing, but rather it became a place of relationship: discipleship. A disciple is a follower of God. We began to see it! Science is about what God made and how it works. History is about what God has done so far, and men’s responses to it. English prepares us to communicate about Him and His Word. In essence: “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Gradually, it all became about Him.
This was the excitement that drove the early homeschooling movement and continues to inspire Christian families today.
In the busyness of the daily grind, we may be absorbed by the teaching of algebra or adverbs. That daily perseverance is what causes homeschoolers to excel academically! But over the years, our goal is to prepare our students to make a difference in the world – for God’s glory. The new year is a good time to be reminded of our best mission – that higher goal.
We have a few short years to teach our children about God and to prepare them to be the best orators, teachers, pharmacists, accountants, lawyers and engineers for His service. This is the time that parents and children can learn at His feet, together.
May 2019 be the year when you learn to smile through the short-term hassles because you have the long-term mission in mind!