First take a big breath, close your eyes and ears to what the world (and other homeschooling moms or dads) say is important for your child’s education. Now turn to God’s Word and grab hold of His standard.
While I’m absolutely convinced that God will give us everything we need to raise and educate our children for His glory, I’m also relatively sure that He may not give us the strength, endurance or finances to keep up with the homeschooling family down the road.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Keeping in mind that our standard is the Word of God, I think that there are a some practical things that we can do to prepare our children for educational success, especially when you are less capable of spending time teaching and overseeing.
Educate your children year round. – The idea that our children should be learning from August to May and then get a break is (sorry for my bluntness) silly. Learning shouldn’t be relegated to a season.
Humans are always learning, we may not always be learning things that are beneficial, but we are always learning.
As parents we should emphasize beneficial learning all day, every day. Our children’s education may look different during different seasons, but isn’t that the way that God designed all of life? He teaches us different lessons at different times of our lives.
Help your children become avid self-teachers. – For fun our children cook, sew, draw, write poetry, study nature, plant seeds, make bows and arrows, hunt, build forts and read books about history, science and theology, etc. I often think that our children learn much more in their free time than they do during ‘school time’.
The first key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to eliminate the drivel from their lives. Our children rarely (less than once a week) watch a DVD or play a video game. We don’t own many ‘fluffy’ books and have gotten rid of most of our ‘fluffy’ toys and games. We encourage productive activities and tend to limit activities that are merely entertainment.
A second key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to give them interesting opportunities to learn. Our children have access to sewing machines, fabric, knitting supplies, cookbooks and food, art supplies, musical instruments, wood carving supplies and wood working equipment, etc.
They have (independently) designed and made dolls and doll clothing, skirts and purses, truffles, soap, chap stick, body lotion, boats, life-sized rafts (that actually carry people across the pond), chairs, trash cans, etc.
They have planned and planted gardens and, with help from some friends, made beautiful bows (with arrows) and fun replicas of rifles.
Another thing to consider is introductory classes. I took about 8 weeks of art classes and have been able to continue learning on my own and have been able to teach our children.
A third key to raising children who are avid self-teachers is to ensure that they have adequate free time. If your kids are busy with planned activities, homework and classes from morning till night they won’t have time to learn how to learn independently.
Children who are taught or take a class for everything are more likely to wait for someone to teach them and less likely to discover how do it on their own.
If your children aren’t frequently learning on their own, if they say they are bored or if they are coming to you to ask what they should do next, then perhaps it’s time to encourage them to become more adept at learning and entertaining themselves.
As I began to recover from morning sickness this pregnancy I was amazed at all the children had learned and accomplished while I had been extremely ill.
Stick with the basics. – During the first trimester of each pregnancy I focus on my beginning readers and I try to spend at least some time every day reading aloud to everyone. If nothing else gets done, that’s fine.
Teach your children diligence. – Our children have several subjects that they do every Monday through Friday, whether or not we’re ‘doing school’, whether or not mom or dad tell them to and whether or not we check their work. They reliably (for the most part) do these things on their own (Bible reading, Greek, math and one hour of productive reading).
Dads are teachers too. – During the beginning of this current pregnancy Mark took over all of the children’s ‘schooling’. He told them what he wanted them to accomplish during the day and then checked up on them at night. He’s always been involved in teaching the kids, but for 3 1/2 months it was all him.
If we try to live up to the world’s standards we will surely fail, but if we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and strive to do that which He has given us to do we will, through His power, succeed.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8
You may also be interested in:
- Our Summer Schedule (2011)
- Teaching children dilligence
- 6 Homeschool distinctives as we try to conform to God’s standards
- Finding time for Play
What tips do you have for homeschooling during illness?
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.