When we started homeschooling back in 1995, it was NOT something many people did, it was, in fact, a bit socially unacceptable. People looked at you weird when you said you homeschooling. People didn’t understand why you would even WANT to homeschool!
There weren’t a lot of options out there for curriculum. There weren’t a lot of co-ops to get involved in. There wasn’t a lot of guidance as to how to do this crazy thing of educating our children at home!
It was a little scary! We needed to depend on the Lord!
We were like fish out of water.
So, we prayed, A LOT! We prayed for wisdom, for guidance on small and big issues that came up. We prayed for our children, that they would grow to be godly men and women. We prayed for ourselves, for the strength to persevere in the hard times.
And God was there with us! He met our needs and gave us the answers and the guidance as we sought Him. We learned a big lesson those first years:
WHEN GOD CALLS YOU TO HOMESCHOOLING, HE WILL GUIDE YOU AS TO HOW TO DO IT!!
You are NOT alone on this journey! And you don’t need to figure it all out on your own. God wants to help you. He wants you to seek Him. It doesn’t matter how small the issue.
I remember many times struggling to figure out how to help one child or another understand a difficult math concept. (Math was NOT my thing!) Sometimes I’d remember to pray right away, and sometimes it took both of us getting frustrated before I’d remember. I found that praying with that child about the struggle was also helpful because it taught them dependence on God too.
And God did help!
Sometimes He gave me a new idea for how to explain something, or a new resource, or sometimes He seemed to open their mind to understand. But He IS faithful to hear our prayers, even for something we might think is too small to bother Him with.
The other big issue as we started homeschooling was feeling inadequate.
“Who do I think I am trying to teach my children everything they need to know to graduate from high school?”
“I’m can’t do this! It’s too hard!”
I’m guessing you’ve had some of these thoughts. Most of us do. I’ve even seen parents who have a teaching degree balk at teaching their own children because they don’t feel adequate!
It IS a big job, and a challenging one, but the good news is, we don’t have to do it on our own, God doesn’t want us to. It’s a faith building experience to homeschool your children.
In our weaknesses, He is strong. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in Corinthians, when he talks about how he had a thorn in the flesh that made him weak (or inadequate). But God showed him that His grace was sufficient:
II Corinthians 12:9-10: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
As we depend on the Lord for educating our children, our lives are a testimony to our children and to others of God’s love and faithfulness as we depend on Him. It also builds our own faith as we see God provide and guide us.
After we’ve been homeschooling for awhile, we become more confident, and that feeling of inadequacy fades a bit. As with anything, experience helps. That’s a good thing. But we need to be careful that we’re not so self-confident that we forget to turn to God for help and guidance on a daily basis.
The key is to learn to abide in Christ as you homeschool.
John 15:1, 4-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser… 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
To abide is to be held, kept, and to dwell with. I love this word picture of a vine and a branch. If the branch is not connected to the vine, it withers and dies. We are like that branch, we need to be connected to Christ to be fruitful in this ministry of teaching our children.
How do we flesh this out?
- Spend personal time with the LORD every day. Apply the teachings of the Bible to your life.
God has given us His Word to communicate with us, to show us His way. What a treasure it is, and yet so often, it gets overlooked. Treasure God’s Word! Spend time reading it. Ask Him to help you understand it. There are Bible apps online that offer devotionals and plans for reading the scriptures. The website: www.blueletterbible.org has lots of tools to help you understand the Bible. Or you can begin reading a specific book of the Bible and ask yourself as you read: “What do I learn about God in this chapter?” “What do I learn about man?” “How can I apply what I’ve learned to my own life?”.
Set aside a specific time each day to be with the Lord.
Yes, I know your day is super full already! But it’s worth it to make this a priority. Find something that you can skip (dare I say, social media! Ugh, that’s such a distraction for me at times), and replace that with spending time with the Lord.
If you only have a few minutes, then just write out a verse and read it over and over as you go through your day, meditating on it and asking God what he wants to teach you.
- Pray as you go through the day. Pray for wisdom in homeschooling and parenting.
Keep an ongoing dialogue with the Lord throughout the day, talking to Him as you would a friend. Okay, you don’t have to say it out loud if you feel like people will think you’re crazy! The Lord hears our thoughts. Just talk to Him as you would your best friend. Ask for guidance and wisdom about anything you’re struggling with, big or small.
- Read the Bible and pray with your children every day.
Take time at the beginning of each day to read some scripture with your children, talk about it and then pray for God’s help as you begin your day. Teach them to pray for others. Teach them to ask questions about God’s Word to help them understand it.
- Memorize scripture with your children – hide God’s Word in your heart.
Psalm 119: 9-11:
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
You can use the Desiring God “Fighter Verse” program or the AWANA program if you can find one in your area. Memorizing scripture is such a great way to help both you and your children grow in your faith.
I pray that God will help you to seek Him with all your heart, to depend on Him and to abide in Him as you teach your children… it’s truly the best way to home educate!