31 Oct The Heart of Homeschooling – Sheryl Daughety
In an earlier article I admitted that homeschooling has definitely been one of the most difficult challenges in my life. I could give you an endless list of the reasons why it is so tough but it would mostly come down to relationships and selfishness. The amazing thing about all this is that there are more good days than bad and that good things still come out of the bad days.
One of the challenges of homeschooling is that I am with my kids almost constantly but this is also one of the biggest blessings (doesn’t God love to work that way?). This keeps me from being able to put on a game face for them when they are around. They are around too much for me to pretend that I can always give them my best or that things are always good and happy. What I have come to realize is that this is a positive thing. Not only do I get to help them navigate their own challenges but they get to see my ups and downs, failures and disappointments, good days and bad days. I have learned to apologize when I am wrong and be vulnerable in places I would rather not. This is real life and it is a gift to have the opportunity to help them learn how to live it honestly and well.
Another benefit of homeschooling for us is being able to help our kids see the evidence of God in everything we learn. This goes well beyond Bible study because this carries over into everything we read, hear and talk about. In Deuteronomy 6:5-9 it is says that you should love God with all your heart, soul and strength. It then tells us that we should teach our children this not only every once in awhile, but during every point of the day. This doesn’t mean that we should beat our kids over the head with the Bible but that we can take every opportunity to teach them about God’s love and help them see it everywhere they look. Each of these small things add up to how they view the world around them and what their purpose in it will be. We don’t have all these answers but if we constantly point them towards God, they will find the answers in Him. This is essentially discipleship which isn’t just teaching, but rather living real life with those we teach.
I think the greatest benefit of homeschooling has been that we get many chances throughout our day to love our kids. We know some intricacies not only about how they learn, but what is in their hearts. I don’t fool myself into thinking that we know their every thought or desire but I do believe that they do not question how much we love them. I pray that as they grow and think of all the things they wish we had done differently as parents, that they will not have to wonder how important they were to us. I don’t think it is good to lead a child-centered life, but I do think that your priorities are evident through your actions. I hope that all this time and love spent on them regularly will help them grow into adults who can be sure of their worth. I pray that they will be able to find a small bit of their Saviour’s love for them through the love that we show. I know every parent wants their child to feel loved and that homeschooling isn’t required as a way to accomplish that, but I am so thankful that God provided us a special way.
I don’t believe that I am the only person who needs to educate or influence our children. I do however believe that my husband and I can more heavily influence our children than anyone else. I also believe that we should. And for us, homeschooling has provided a practical way to do this. I believe God gives us all endless opportunities to do what he calls us to do in the lives and hearts of our children. We don’t have to get it right every time, we just have to pray that no matter how mundane or crazy these ways may seem, that we will have the wisdom and patience to do them.