Category Archives: Homeschooling

Helpful Homeschooling and Learning Links

This is our sixth year of educating our kids at home and while I would never consider myself an expert, I have come across a few websites that have helpful information and/or games.  I always appreciate it when others share what’s working for them…that’s probably the way I found most of these sites!  So to the homeschool mama or the mama who just wants to help her kids learn better, here we go!

1.  VARK    As part of their Fall assessments, the online school we are using this year asked the kids to complete a VARK questionnaire.  While I don’t know a lot about the founder of this system, the questionnaire portion of the website has been so helpful to us.  Our youngest school-aged daughter seemed so bored with her studies.  We discovered that she scored high in the kinesthetic area of this quiz.  Basically, she likes more hand-on learning experiences.  Incorporating more activities that involve puzzles, alphabet tiles, and math counters has helped get her more engaged in the learning process.

2.  Orisinal:  Morning Sunshine  Sometime, you just need something to occupy one of your kids for a few minutes while you work with another child.  Our kids can earn time to play on the computer and this is one of their favorite places to spend that time.  All the games are clean and the music is just lovely.  There are about 60 games to choose from…my favorites are the cats and the train:)

3.  Free Rice   Free Rice is a site with a LOT of great learning quizzes.  For ever correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme to help end hunger.  Our kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this site!!!  I challenged them to earn 10,000 grains of rice each and they are nearly halfway there:)  They especially love the foreign language quizzes.

4.  Math Blaster  Organized by both grade level and skill, Math Blaster has helped my kids hone their skills in an area that might have been tricky for them.  They also offer worksheets you can print for extra help.

5.  Home Spelling Words  I used this last year instead of ordering spelling workbooks.  It worked beautifully.  I also appreciated that I could customize the lists, incorporating words from the books they were currently reading.

6.  Homeschooling Methods  One of the biggest choices we faced when we began teaching our own children was concerning the method we would employ.  This site gives a decent overview of the variety of methods without trying to sell the reader on a particular path.  We chose a “classical” method, but have adapted to a much more fly by the seat of your pants “eclectic” method as we have come to understand our children as learners and ourselves as teachers.  At any rate, this is a nice, compact way to learn about a variety of homeschooling options.

7.  Just Good Reading  There are tons and tons of great books out there.  Tons.  This is a good little post about great classic children’s books.  I could compile my own, but why? 🙂   As a side note, I also really love a lot of things about Passionate Homemaking’s blog…great ideas about simplified homekeeping.

I’m sure there are more great sites out there…what are your favorites?  I’d love to hear about them!

 


What it’s really like to homeschool…

This is not a post about how to expertly homeschool your children nor a diatribe on the evils of public schooling.  Just some bits and pieces of wisdom I’ve gleaned over the past few years of teaching my kids at home.  If you’re looking for expertise…look somewhere else, because I’m still learning and figuring things out as we go!

We never set out to homeschool.  In fact, when our oldest two were 3 months and 21 months old respectively, and was I pacing the floors of our house with a very colicky baby, I would actually fantasize about putting the girls on a school bus and skipping all the way home. I think we just assumed that we would send our kids to public school.  We both come from a long line of public schooling and public school educators.  But, here we are…four kids later and choosing to educate our children at home.

Being the type A personality I am, I spent months researching methods, philosophies, and theories behind education.  I was sure that if we chose the *right* curriculum, our kids would learn all that they needed.  I figured there must be a formula or plan that would lead to success.  We settled on a philosophy and ordered a complete curriculum for our oldest daughter when she started kindergarten.  I felt confident that we were on the path to greatness.

I should have had “naive” tattooed across my forehead.  Three weeks into our first year, I was overwhelmed.  Our oldest daughter was bright…which was awesome.  But she was bored with the pre-planned lessons I was trying to teach her and she already knew well over half the material in her books.  Because she was bored, she was inattentive and surly.  I didn’t have anything else planned and didn’t know what to do.  To top it all off, our “educational philosophy” didn’t tell me what to do with an advanced, eager learner.

So, we ditched the expensive curriculum in favor of some cheap workbooks for first and second graders that I purchased at Staples.  She was happy and learning.  I felt like I was betraying Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise-Bauer…but the workbooks worked.

The next year, I had two little learners and was even more determined to teach them *correctly.*  I was sure it was my lack of skill and understanding that had caused me to fail in meeting my goals the previous year.  So, I spent even more time, energy and money preparing for the school year.  Again, a few weeks into the year, I found myself purchasing Tinkerbell workbooks and printing free curriculum off the Internet.

Clearly, I am a slow learner.  And that is valuable information, friends.

Fast-forward a couple of years and we are beginning our fifth year of homeschooling, with 4 little learners, shelves full of mix and match curriculum and a bin of the ever-trusty, el cheapo workbooks:)  I think every mama who sets out to educate her own children has an idea of what homeschooling will look like.  My “ideal” was a table filled with bright-eyed, clean-faced children, all learning Latin, playing violin, doing long-division…okay, maybe not that extreme.  But I did think that it would be a lot like, well, my own experiences at school.

Truth?  It’s nothing like my own experiences.  Truth?  It’s better.

After a lengthy learning curve, I have discovered that all the hyper-planning in the world won’t make my kids learn; nor will expensive curricula, critically acclaimed testing, or lofty ideals and philosophies.  My kids learn when someone who loves them invests in them, prays for them, encourages them, and introduces them to a love for learning.

Like I said…I learn at a snail’s pace.

I do think it’s valuable to have some handle on different teaching styles, philosophies and approaches.  This will help you discern how to approach learning with your child.  It will also help you choose curriculum.  My rule of thumb is to never use something I don’t feel comfortable working with.  A book or course of study may be expertly written and be popular with every other homeschooler in your area, but if you don’t feel comfortable teaching from it, you won’t teach well from it.

Far and away the most important part of educating our children (for me) has been a posture of prayer.  Leaning into the Lord for guidance, protection, wisdom.  At least once a day I wonder if we have made the right choice.  At least once a day I wonder if they are learning *everything* they are supposed to learn.  Maintaining a prayerful posture keeps me in communication with God and able to hear His gentle reassurance that He is with me, guiding me and helping me in my ministry to my kids.

Thinking back to my *ideal* for homeschooling, the only part of that picture that exists in reality is the table we use.  Some days we do school in pajamas.  There is usually peanut butter smeared on someone’s face or shirt.  The house gets messy, with projects and books and papers spread out over every available table.  We aren’t learning Latin.  There is no violin playing going on.  We check out 50 or more library books at a time. We count folding laundry, cutting coupons and making cookies as “home ec.”  We stop and pray when someone doesn’t understand a concept or is having a rough day.  We let other people interrupt our day and use it as an opportunity to let God teach us how to love others.  I actively invite God to mold me and shape me into a better wife, mother and teacher for my family.

We are slowly learning.  Learning to let God fashion us into the family He desires us to be.  Learning to live in reconciliation and peace.  Learning to see our children (and ourselves) as God sees us…beautiful, broken treasures.

So, what’s it really like to homeschool?  I don’t know…I’m still figuring that out!  And it’s different for every family.  But if you are called to it, you will be equipped for it.  If God leads you to it, He will provide wisdom.  And if you consecrate your efforts as unto the Lord, you will bless the Lord.

God, thank You for the privilege and opportunity to educate these kids for Your glory.  Help me to do it!  Give me wisdom, give me strength, give me JOY!  Help me to see them as you do…always.  Help me to see myself as you do…ALWAYS!  May this year bless You and glorify You and may it help us walk closer and more intimately with You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


What’s working…

In keeping with the wisdom that I need to nurture a more grateful heart-attitude, here are some things that are working for us this school year, courtesy of the Holy Spirit and specific giftings my husband and I have been amply supplied with:

Morning Routine:  The majority of our family members seem to operate more functionally on a predetermined schedule and routine.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just predictable.  With the exception of Thursday mornings (because bedtime is pushed 30 minutes later the night before to accommodate Bible club), we all get up at the same time, do the same chores, eat at the same time, and walk out the door fairly amiably every morning.  It’s taken a few weeks to work out the kinks, but the commencement of our day is orderly.

Check Your Boards!  After three days of haranguing the kids to comb hair, brush teeth, find their books, feed the dog, tie their shoes, and, and, and….I bought them each a small write on/wipe off dry erase board.  Every night for three solid weeks, I re-wrote exactly what they were supposed to accomplish in the morning.  The older ones had more chores, the younger ones began working on becoming more self-sufficient.  Worked like a charm.  I could calmly say, “Check your boards,” while sipping my tea and reading my Bible instead of participating in the aforementioned chaos.  They loved erasing their chores one at a time and quickly learned that they could squeeze in a few minutes of free time before school if they hustled through their lists.

Prep, Prep, Prep.  I do like to plan, though I tend to over plan and drive hubs a bit crazy:)  I’ve approached our homeschooling year (yes, we’ve got kids here, there and everywhere this year!) with a more relaxed attitude.  I think that comes from experience and a heavier reliance on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  Any-hoo, I planned out Ruthie’s first grade curriculum roughly for the first semester and then in detail for the first six weeks.  Now that we’re in week four, I will start working on the details of the next six weeks, adapting the overall plan to accommodate where she is ahead and struggling.  I’ve also gone back to monthly menu planning which takes a lot of the stress out of meal times.  I’m still praying about my approach to housekeeping duties…that one is proving to be pretty difficult to figure out, but I have faith God will guide those efforts as well.

Prayer Partner.  I’ve tended to shy away from formalized homeschooling groups and even groups that consist mainly of moms with young children.  For me personally (and please, if this works for you, don’t take offense), those type of groups tend to bring out the competitive nature in me as well as feelings of insecurities.  Lots of comparing and contrasting has never been a healthy environment for me.  But, the Lord has blessed me this year with another homeschool mom from our local church body who is teaching her kindergartener for the first time.  It’s been so encouraging to listen to her requests and know that we are praying for each other.  We’ve shared some ideas with each other, but I really feel like the Lord has protected us both by allowing us to simply share openly and without judgment our concerns and praises for our little learners.  This has been such a blessing to me!

Book Reading Time.  Though it isn’t a new concept in our home, we reinstated it after a summer hiatus from scheduled bedtime.  The girls all get ready for bed and for the next day–choose clothing to wear, pack lunches, pack bags, etc–brush teeth and then take their favorite chapter book or an enormous pile of books to curl up with in bed.  They have anywhere from 20-30 minutes of quiet reading before hubs and I go up to pray with them and tuck them in for the night.  This has proven to make our evenings so peaceful.  I think it’s a great habit to build into their lives as well!

So, that’s just a few of the things that are working well for us this year.  There are others, really too many to list here. 

God is good all the time….all the time God is good. 

Thanks, Lord, for wisdom and giftings and for this tremendous family you’ve allowed me to mother and partner.  Help me to be faithful.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Encouragement

I’ve struggled with homeschooling so much over the last few years…from not knowing where to begin to battling others’ comments to comparing and being compared to public school kids to wondering if what we were doing was working. I just have to share good news! Emma just returned from her visit to school and her future teacher shared with me that she was able to keep up with second and third grade students just fine! In fact, she wondered if second grade material would be challenging enough for her or if we might want to just skip ahead a grade or two! I told her Charlie and I would pray about that and talk with her over the summer, but I was sure we didn’t want her to “skip grades.” Maybe just work ahead…
But, it was encouraging to hear that after much struggle it hasn’t been in vain and contrary to popular opinion and the competitive spirit of other mothers, my child is doing above average. Not only that, we as her parents have been given great wisdom from the Lord concerning her education, learning style and spiritual gifts. I heard that gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit all year long and it sustained me. I’m just thankful for the audible…

Thank You, Lord for the encouragement today. Bless Emma and bless her teacher and classmates next year. And thank You for showing me how great You truly are and what You have been doing behind the scenes. Thank You for pulling it all together into one big picture for me today. I needed that and I know You know that, too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Some things that are going well…

I have a tendency to mentally dwell on those things that aren’t going well in my life. I guess you’d call it a penchant for the negative. It’s something that I want God to work on in my life and I’m praying about it in this season of motherhood and home school. Homeschooling has been a HUGE area of challenge for me. My thought life has centered on what I can’t seem to do and what doesn’t happen, rather than the things that are going well or things that I can do. So, in the spirit of trying to correct this deep-seeded fault I have, I’m going to list here in black and white some things that are going well with our home school right now:

First, we are “doing school” every day. Believe me, that has not always been the case! Just doing school each day–in some way, shape or form–has helped lift the conviction I was under!

I’m getting more organized with our school supplies and curriculum. This weekend, Charlie and I cleaned out the closet in our family room and I now have this beautifully organized and spacious closet filled with puzzles, books, papers, and school supplies right at my finger tips. It makes our school time much smoother when I don’t have to spend as much time searching for items we need to get started on a project or lesson.

The Folders. Each of the girls now has a color coded, three ring folder that holds their school work for the week. On Sunday afternoon/evening, I spend time preparing for the entire week. I copy anything that needs copying, print off extra math drills from the Internet etc. I also type out a list of lessons that must be completed by Friday afternoon for each girl and put it into the folder. If they finish the work early, they are done with school early in the week–great incentive for them and me! At the end of the week, I empty the folder, filing away anything that should be saved and recycling the rest.

The Great Toy Round-Up 2009! One of my biggest competitors for my girls’ attention was their TOYS! How can you make phonics games and math flash cards seem more fun than Polly Pockets or My Little Pony?!?! Hubs and I rounded up all the competing toys, sorted them into color-coded bins and put them away. All we left out were stuffed animals, mega blocks and their play kitchen dishes. These were toys we felt would not compete with school. The girls now know that they other toys can come out Friday night after Daddy gets home from work, but have to be packed away before bed Sunday evening. Happily, there have been no protests or complaints! PTL!!!

We’re eating better. Instead of just trying to get food on the table, I’ve tried to be MUCH more conscientious about providing healthy, hearty meals. Whole grain cereals, oatmeal, fruit for breakfast. Lots of fresh veggies and fruits at lunch time. Dinners that are about more than just eating, but also about sharing what God did in our day. This has really helped keep my kids more even keeled all day. They aren’t as crabby and cranky because of hunger:)

A regularly scheduled rest time each week. Sometime mid-week, I schedule a rest time for everyone. Me included. Surprisingly, this has become a household favorite. Everyone (even my three year old) loves to take a giant stack of books to bed with them and curl up for a good hour or so.

Capturing time…this is a biggie. I’ve really been asking the Lord to help me capture every moment that could be used for learning purposes. Setting the table–my oldest can work on division and fractions; my middle one works on adding and subtracting; my next youngest works on counting and matching. The two oldest help each other with reading and spelling as the younger one spells words aloud and the older one listens and tells her what the words are. Both of the older girls read books to Olivia and she is loving that time with her big sisters. Even when we’re at the grocery store or the bank, there are opportunities to connect them to the world around them and learn.

So, these are things that are going well. It’s tempting for me to write another post about things that aren’t going well, but I’m learning (slowly) that dwelling on the negative won’t glorify God. He is so gentle and patient and will lead me through any changes and corrections necessary.

Thanks, Lord, for showing me what You are doing in my life and that is good because You are doing it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Today is one of those days I’m so glad we’re homeschooling. We watched the inauguration at lunch time today and I was able to point out various monuments and leaders as they paraded in front of the screen. We’ve done a few precursory lessons on civics, especially during the weeks leading up to the election, but this was a chance for the girls to see civics in action. But, the best part for me was the opportunity to filter what they were seeing. We talked about the prayer that was offered up and how great it was that the pastor prayed in Jesus’ name. We talked about leaders and rulers and how God wants us to respect them and honor the position they hold. We talked about how blessed we are to live in a country where we are able to freely choose our leaders. We talked about the number of people at the mall in D.C. and how that was a great way to picture how many Israelites were wandering in the desert. We talked about whether Barack Obama believes in Jesus and how important it is to pray for our leaders–whether we agree with them or not…whether they believe in Jesus or not.

We talked about a lot of things.

And then we prayed together. And, when someone asks my daughters where they were when the first African-American president was sworn into office, they might remember sitting in our living room, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, talking with their mom about it all. And praying. They might remember that we prayed. And that’s why I love homeschooling today…


First Day of School-2008

As I’ve mentioned before, we home school. One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that you have the freedom to arrange your school calendar to fit your own family’s needs. This year, with a new baby coming in mid-September, we opted to begin our school year the first full week of August. This will (hopefully!) give us about six weeks to get our school year rolling and then enough cushion that we can still finish our curriculum by the end of May.

For us, the deciding factor in choosing to home school (other than pure obedience to God’s calling for our family) is the opportunity to pour the Word of God into their little hearts and heads. Children are sponges and they soak up whatever they are exposed to. We began to get excited thinking about all the ways we could share the love of Christ with them and encourage them in the Lord! One tool we are implementing this year is called “Memory Madness.” It’s really a program designed to be used in a church setting, but we have been able to tweak it to fit our family’s needs. The basic premise is that children are given a “mission” which consists of ten scripture verses, grouped topically. Each week, they are assigned a verse or verses for memory work. They are then quizzed over the verses until they are able to recite all ten verses from memory. Once they have completed their “mission,” they receive a prize of some sort. Our prizes will take the form of special activities, books, games, puzzles etc. A great side-benefit is that Charlie and I will be learning the scripture right along with the kids! Also, each scripture is a basic, fundamental truth or promise from the Word, so there are lots of opportunities for application as we learn.

________________

Growing up, my mom always took a picture of us on the front porch the first day of school. While our kids aren’t rushing off to catch the bus, I still like the idea of a “first-day-of-school” photo opportunity! Seems like just yesterday they were babies and school was a long way off…they are growing up so fast!


Grace For My Four Year Old

“It isn’t fair!” little Ruthie implored.
“What’s not fair?” I replied.
“Olivia gets to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I don’t want to eat Spanish rice!”
“Do you know why we are letting Olivia eat something different?”
“No.”
“We want Olivia to enjoy sitting at the table with us as a family. And, we want her to learn good table manners and learn to eat bigger amounts of food.”
“But it still isn’t fair! She’s getting what I want and it isn’t fair!” And with that, Ruthie’s eyes welled with tears and her lips began to quiver. In her little world, dinner had turned into a social injustice of sorts and she was getting the proverbial short end of the stick.

I could see things from her perspective. Here was her little, baby sister getting her way (again) and she was being forced to follow a different set of rules. A set of rules she didn’t particularly like or agree with. But, they are rules she understands and is capable of following. As I sat on the couch with my pouting 4-year-old, trying to explain why we extend grace in various forms to each child, I had that funny experience we all have as believing parents. I could already hear that little whisper in my heart, “Come away with Me so we can talk about this. I have some things to show you about My grace.”

After I settled Ruthie back at the table, I escaped to the desk and my Bible to listen more intently. I was drawn to the parable of the landowner and the vineyard (Matthew Chapter 20:1-16) who went looking for workers to work his land. He promised each of three groups of laborers a denarius for their work. The problem came when each group of workers was paid at the end of the day. Upon seeing their fellow workers–who had only worked an hour–receive a denarius, the first group of workers–who had worked all day–believed they would be paid more. But that was not the case. Each worker received equal pay. Equal pay for unequal work. Hmmm…my brain was letting that one sink in. Then these words caught my eye:

“Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:15

Oooohhhh. That’s such a great question! Am I envious of God’s generosity with others? Am I jealous of the particular grace He washes others in because He doesn’t bathe me in the same manner? I thought back to my conversation with Ruthie. I had explained to her that Olivia is only two and so we extend grace to her because she isn’t able to follow as many rules or understand all of our meal time rules yet. I shared with her that when she was two, we also excused her from eating everything the rest of us ate at meal time and focused on making sure she could enjoy meal time and develop manners for meals. She smiled at that and then asked, “But, why do I have to follow different rules?” I told her that she was older and smarter and able to understand more rules so Daddy and I hold her accountable to different rules. I could tell she wasn’t entirely thrilled with my answer or explanation, but she was no longer pouting. We prayed together and thanked God for the food He had provided and asked God to help Ruthie obey at the table. She hugged me and apologized and skipped back to the table.

Staring at the black and white of the Word, I started wondering if I’ve been pouting like my four-year-old. Do I run to God crying because I see Him being generous to someone else in an area I’d like to have more blessings in? I came up with a little list…well, at least the things I’m willing to admit:

Pregnancy. Some of my friends love being pregnant. They literally glow and are just happy being “with child.” They don’t swell or gain too much weight or get crabby or have backaches or sore feet or headaches. It’s an enjoyable experience for them.
Finances. God is completely faithful to meet each and every need we have and even some of our wants, but we live prayercheck to prayercheck. It’s hard to see others blessed with opportunities to purchase furniture, new cars, new clothes, and vacations.
Teaching Gifts. This is a struggle for me, especially as we home school. Some of the people I’m closest with (including my husband!) have amazing gifts of teaching and are able to really explain information to others. This is not one of my areas of strength.

There are other areas I struggle with, but these are ones I think God is pointing out right now. Just like Ruthie, instead of focusing on obeying the Lord and enjoying the tremendous grace He has poured out on me, I’m focusing on areas in which I think He has short-changed me. But He hasn’t short-changed me at all! Just the opposite:

But You, O Lord are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.
Psalm 86:15-16

God is loving and just and kind and merciful and truthful. In my own human-ness, I don’t see the big picture. I don’t see why He extends grace to others and not to me in particular areas. And I don’t need to.
What I do need to see is that He is my Father and that His love for me and ways for me are perfect. He offers grace to me in each breath He gifts to me.

Lord, God, give me the grace to live each moment of each day for You. Help me to walk in obedience to You. Give me strength and be gracious unto me. In Your Name, Amen.


Hilarious Homeschool Video!

I watched this video over at The Sparrow’s Nest and just had to post it here, too! Hilarious!


Homeschooling…

Yes, we are homeschooling. I wish I could muster up some excitement about this new adventure we’re on, but I’m not in that place, yet. I have faith God will get me there because He has called our family to do this, but it will be a process…

We attended a “home school meeting” a few nights ago and I walked away feeling uncomfortable. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem I was having. The people in attendance were normal, every day people, but something was bugging me. Charlie suggested we go for a walk so I could vent and clear my head. I confessed to him that I was having trouble fully committing to homeschooling. It wasn’t that I didn’t see God’s calling or understand how wonderful the opportunity could be. The real issue was that an impression had been made on my heart and mind about the kind of people who home school. (Now, hang in here with me! Please don’t be offended if you are a home schooler or were home schooled. I’m just telling you what my impression has been…not what God’s Truth is…we’ll get to that later.) We have had some limited access and exposure to home school families and, although they always share their love of the Lord and commitment to His Word, I’m always left feeling weird. I couldn’t put my finger on it until the other day. “Rebellion” was the word the Lord gave to me. Here’s what I mean…

When the Lord began to show us that He wants us to home school our daughters, He began by showing us in the Word all that we are responsible for as parents.
“Train a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Prov. 22:6
He then began to burden our hearts for our girls in a very new way. We began seeing so much ministerial potential in our daughters…potential spiritual gifts and opportunities to minister to others. We both were very excited about the chance to give our girls an environment in which they could openly and vigorously explore God’s calling and gifting in their lives. I was (and still am, truth be told) nervous about the practical application of actually teaching the girls, but it ultimately came down to the choice of obedience. Would we trust where God was leading and believe this was the very best plan for all of us, or would we turn away and choose a more comfortable but disobedient path? We chose to obey. The Lord never led us to think of public schools as evil or bad. He never allowed us to put our girls on an intellectual pedestal and exalt their intelligence. If anything, He made us so aware of our dependence on Him and His grace. We would need that grace to accomplish His will.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

The Lord has allowed us to see so much open rebellion in other Christian homeschooling families. What I mean by that is a subtle undertone of superiority…an “us” vs. “them,” if you will. So many times, when we hear other families talk about their decision to home school, their answers are openly hostile and demeaning of others. There is a sinful pride in their attitude. Of course, you must believe that the choice to home school is the very best choice for you and your children. But, it is not the very best choice for every family. In fact, many Christian families are called to attend public school to be salt and light to lost and dying families. Some homeschooling families also seem to worship their children’s intelligence. They give their child’s intellect the highest place of honor and respect, ultimately teaching their child that a gift given by God has become the object of adoration instead of the Gift-Giver. This is all rebellion. Subtle, but still rebellion.
“Against whom do you jest? Against whom do you open wide your mouth and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion, offspring of deceit?” Isaiah 57:4

It’s hard for me to write about this because I know it may offend others, even others I care for deeply. But, for me, the root issue is God’s character. He is love, so He is patient, kind, joyful, peaceful, good, faithful, gentle, and full of control. Anything He calls us to do, He wants done in a manner that reflects His character. If we are truly His disciples, then we walk after Him and His Word and His ways. We don’t demean or devalue others simply because they are led to make other choices. We don’t worship anything or anyone else, especially our own children. (Encourage and cheer-lead them, yes… worship them, no.) We aren’t prideful of our position, privileges, responsibilities, or opportunities.

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians Chapter 13 (emphasis mine)

I know there are families out there who are homeschooling the right way and with the right hearts, but there are families who are not and they are placing themselves in opposition with other parts of the Body of Christ. Jesus says that the world will know us by our love for one another…by the way we are patient and kind, joyful and peaceful, faithful and gentle, full of goodness and self-control.

I guess I’m posting this as a reminder to myself and my husband to keep our pride in check, to resist any rebellious thoughts or attitudes we might have. I want to remember what God is showing us now, as we begin this adventure with Him and with our children. I want to be accountable to Him and others for my choice to obey.

Thank You, Lord, for Your love which always brings me back to You. Thank You for Your character. Help me to teach my children Your ways, Your Word, YOU! I know it is only by Your grace that I will be able to accomplish Your will. Grant me Your grace unending…In Jesus’ Name, Amen.