As homeschooling parents we can either make the most of our homeschooling opportunities to disciple our children or we miss it in the pursuit of being an educator. In today’s podcast I’m sharing 3 things that will help you be a discipleship homeschool.
I have always felt that our homeschooling is really an extension of our parenting. I didn’t put on my teacher’s hat at 8.30 when the bell went. Peter wasn’t the principal. We were mum and dad raising our children 24/7. And I think that attitude is really important when we look at the idea of discipleship homeschooling.
Discipleship is the process of passing on character, knowledge, skills from one person to another. We usually use the word in the context of our Christian growth so it includes helping others to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Discipleship homeschooling – or discipleship in our homeschool – puts the heart issues ahead of the academic issues. Heart issues are the things that our children believe, value and feel – the things that drive their choices.
When we have a discipleship mindset we will make time for Bible study, we make time for heart adjustments (or attitude adjustments), we make time for hearts to change and for forgiveness and restoration to take place in relationships, we make time to process the hard stuff of life in the presence of God. Because as we do – our children are learning to follow Jesus. Which is what discipleship is all about.
It’s not about tacking on Bible study and Creation Science to our curriculum list – discipleship has to be at a heart level – and that includes understanding and knoweldge, but a big part of it is how God’s word changes our life – and we need time to process that. I’m reminded of:
2Tim. 3:16 – 17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
We probably automatically think that we need time to teach our kids about Jesus and God’s word – but to be a discipleship homeschool we need time to process the reproof, and the correction as well as the instruction. Our children need time to learn and ponder and process all that it means to live life as a Christ follower. Not just head knowledge – but they need to be able to live it out. And yet so often all the things we have to do with our homeschooling cuts away at that time. Unless you have a discipleship mindset.
3 Ways we prioritise the Heart (or discipleship) in our Homeschool
- Our timetable
- Our interruptions
- Our curriculum
Managing our time is one of the first things that a new homeschooling family will work on. It is often the first thing I help a new homeschool family within a coaching session because so often the mum has copied school and has created this schedule that jams every subject into every day – rotating every 20 minutes. It is just crazy – it’s exhausting.
For our timetable to be discipleship based we have to have margin. We have to have wriggle room in our plans because life happens, heart stuff happens and we need time to deal with it. We have to acknowledge the different stages that each of our children are at, and what their needs are, and make time for that – even the kids who aren’t homeschooling per se. Our time is one of the resources God gives us to use for His glory – we need to check that we are using it wisely. That we are using the opportunities we have as a homeschool family to disciple our children.
Interruptions happen. In fact interruptions are usually the very opportunity for discipleship. But when we have our eyes on getting through our routine or lesson plans we won’t be gracious when our children need something other than the lesson we had planned.
So we need to see interruptions as discipleship moments. To be honest, it is an opportunity for us (the parents) to respond in a God-honouring, Christ-like way first up – and then to help our child do what they need to do in whatever situation has come up!
Though I said discipleship homeschooling is not about tacking on Bible study and Creation Science to all the other studies we need to cover – we do need to cover Bible study and Creation science. But just having them on our curriculum list doesn’t make us a discipleship homeschool.
We need to give time to study the things that will build up our child’s heart – what they believe, value and how the process what they feel. Bible study, world view studies and character studies are all heart based studies that will take time away from other studies. That is the reality – we can’t do it all we only have a set amount of time – so what will you prioritise? We have to ask ourselves – What will we focus on, and what (curriculum, resources, lessons) will we let go of, or only briefly touch on.
Working Definition of Discipleship Homeschool
Early in our homeschooling journey, I wrote what I called a “Working Definition of a Discipleship Homeschool”. These are the thoughts that I wanted to guide all our homeschooling choices. Let me just share it as I wrote it many years ago:
- As I grow in my relationship with God, I want to involve my children in that, and call them onto a greater personal relationship with God themselves
- As I study God’s word, and learn more about Him, I want to teach my children to do the same, so that they can follow the example of the Bereans and test all that they hear against the Word of God
- As I pursue the purpose God has for my life, I want to show the children that they have God-given gifts and talents and passions that God has built into them. As I further develop my gifts and talents I want to further the gifts and talents that we see in each of our children
- As God uses our family, I want to equip our children with the heart and skills to be used by God. I want them to be ready in every aspect of their life: their spiritual maturity, their character, and their ability to communicate, think and create.
- I want the vision that Peter and I have written for our family to be stamped on our children’s hearts, so that when the time comes for their own individual families to begin their own identities, a little of our identity will be interwoven into the next generation.
- As I learn to be diligent and consistent with my duties and responsibilities, on the practical side of family life, I want my children to learn not only the character issues, but also the practical skills to be able to help the family, help other families and eventually be responsible for their own self and family.
You will notice that I didn’t include reading, writing, mathematics, general knoweldge – and yet the things I wrote as discipleship issues happen because of those academic skills – and the academic skills will grow and flourish when our hearts are in the right place and we have inner purpose, and discipline. So discipleship needs the academic, but isn’t defined by the academic.
In those early years I often had a quick look at this working definition to see if we were on track. Was I prioritising the things I wrote – or was I being distracted by the traditional understanding of education? I wanted this working definition to be what I considered success in our homeschool.
Heart-focused Action Step
How do you define success as a homeschooler? What will be a successful homeschool experience for your family? I think this is a really important question because how we understand success will be the voices in our head as we go through our homeschooling days. How we define success will shape the goals we set and the priorities we make and in the long run how we judge ourselves.
God’s ways are not man’s ways. And I’m not saying God has a way to homeschool – but when we spend time to help our children understand who God is, and what He requires of them, and then help them towards responding to Him – that is not normal schooling. That is discipleship.
Proverbs 21:21 AMP. He who pursues righteousness (close and right fellowship with God) and love, finds life, prosperity and honour.
So I’d like to leave you with this challenge – How do you define success when it comes to your homeschool? But more importantly – How would God define success? That is what we need to get a hold of and then align our thinking and our choices with – and then, when we judge ourselves we need to remember that man’s ways are not our baseline. We answer to God – and what He values, we value! And it is the things that God values that needs to define our homeschool.
Intentional Heart Conversations Touches what your Child Believes and Values: Conversations are one of the biggest opportunities parents have to touch their child’s heart.
What do your Children Believe about Themselves: Our children need to listen to truth not lies of the world as they learn to understand and accept who they are.
What does your Child Believe? Everyday choices are impacted by what a child believes in his heart.
What you Believe about Education will Shape your Homeschool: We need to give ourselves time to understand what we believe and to make sure our choices and decisions line up and are true to what we believe is important.
Hi there! I'm Belinda and I'm glad you are here!
I am a family life coach and help parents to raise their kids with faith, values and life skills in a way that is intentional, relational and heart-focused. Read more on the About page
You can email me here.
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