Over the last few days I’ve had some extra time and have been able to peruse through a few new homeschooling blogs that I’ve found and I keep coming across blog posts conveying the same exact idea. It’s as if God specifically picked them out for me and sent them my way. The topic I keep seeing discussed over and over is that Christ should be at the center of your homeschool. Of course, I nod to myself and agree wholeheartedly. After all, that’s the main reason we chose to homeschool. The one thing I wanted emphasized in my children’s lives would be purposely left out in the public school. Though it can be done and I know people who do it well, the task of building upon the “neutral” (There is really no such thing. If you remove God from the picture, you are against Him.) foundation of school and weeding out all of the teachings that directly contradict our beliefs seemed more daunting than homeschooling itself.
So, here we are a year and a half later. Am I succeeding at what we set out to do or am I letting the pressure to succeed academically steal the precious opportunities to lead my children to Jesus? The other night Elliot was reading in his bed for nearly an hour, as he typically does these days. I peeked into his room and my heart soared. I said to myself, “YES! We are succeeding! He loves reading!” A few moments later my heart dropped and I immediately realized my error. The reading is wonderful, of course, but am I pursuing teaching him God’s word as strongly as I am chasing after these academic achievements? I cannot honestly say that I do each day. Do I often rush through our morning Bible time because we need to get our school work done? Do I allow the kids to pray quick thoughtless prayers as we begin our day and not challenge them to speak to God from their hearts because we’ve got to finish a book for school? Do I criticize and complain at them instead of using conflict as an opportunity to teach them by example with God’s word? Guilty. I’m so thankful that God is showing me these things now during the early years. If I can’t keep my priorities straight while we’re doing first grade, how am I going to do it down the road when pressure to “keep up” is much higher. These are things I personally plan to work on, because in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter if my kids are reading three grade levels ahead. It will be of no value to them that they can name all the presidents in order or name the capitals of all fifty states. Being book-smart may benefit them to a degree until the end of this life, but it will have no eternal value.
In closing, I want to use my husband as a great example. He has an amazing ability to impart truth to our kids. I’m convinced he’d do a much better job at this if he were the one staying at home with the kids! He came home last night after a long day at work and was still able to begin a meaningful discussion with the kids at the dinner table. He talked with the kids about how they have the choice to either be a tool that God uses for His glory or to be an example of what God is not pleased with. He reminded them to ask themselves in certain situations if they were being a David or a Goliath. I found this simple question to be quite brilliant and will now be asking my kids on a daily basis during conflict if they are being a David or a Goliath. I pray that God can sharpen me in the way He has sharpened my husband so that together we can be effective teachers to these kids God has given us.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them upon 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:5-9