Posts Tagged ‘School’

Homeschooling–what could be more challenging, more enjoyable, or more intimidating to a parent? It is a road of tremendous blessing but also of great sanctification for a family. In reflecting on 30 years of teaching my children I have seen many successes and failures, joys and sorrows, satisfactions and regrets. As I consider how to encourage the next generation of homeschoolers, there are two primary areas that come to mind that I feel are essential to your homeschooling success.

Refine Your Vision:

Why are you educating your children? What is your goal? What are you hoping to accomplish and instill in them?  Are we trying to turn out the most academically impressive young adults, or are we looking for children that are wise in the the things of God? I would submit to you that homeschooling is nothing less than the Christian discipleship of your children. It is your response to the command given to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord so that the future generation will declare His praises. It is essential to be continually evaluating to be sure that we stay on the right track. In a culture that exalts the wisdom of man, it is easy to stray off course and miss the training of our children in Godliness. Of course we all want our children to succeed academically, but that does not go far enough. God calls us to disciple our children in the fear of the Lord, for that is where true wisdom is found. We can instill much academic knowledge and miss the fear of God, with the results being disastrous for the next generation. No amount of academic achievement will comfort a parent if their child does not walk in the fear of the Lord.

Keeping your vision in view is what will sustain you on those wonderful days when children are sick, dishes are undone, the housework has fallen by the wayside, math has been bypassed, the mama is frazzled and your life seems like the aftermath of a hurricane. Those are the times you must be able to see that in all the chaos the most needful lessons were still taught, i.e., how to respond to every situation biblically with love, patience and grace, how to lean on the everlasting arms for strength, how to be an example to our children of peace in the chaos, and when we fail at that, we have the opportunity to display a heart of humble repentance before them. It is easy to become discouraged after days like this, but if you are instilling those spiritual lessons in your children, then that was a very profitable homeschool day! The math will come in time, but the character of the child is where the vision must be.

Keep Focused:

The second priority I want to emphasize is keeping focused. That is making sure we are aiming at the target we had in mind. Once you have your vision clearly before you it is a constant battle to refine and refocus your efforts to achieve it. It is so easy to get side tracked, and if we don’t check our trajectory we may well miss the mark we were hoping to hit. There are so many paths and detours along the way, so many different curricula, co-ops, conferences, and activities that it can be hard to discern where to spend your time, money and energy. We must be careful not to let the fun, the interesting or the latest homeschool craze pull us off track. We may often have to refuse things that may be good in order to reach for the best. Keep in mind how you will define whether you have been a successful homeschool parent or not. Will your success be defined by test scores or by whether your children are conformed to the image of Christ? Do you desire most for them to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ?

These words are not meant to negate the importance of striving for academic mastery, but we must keep first things first and the other things will follow. As your children grow in Godliness they will also grow in the pursuit of doing all for His glory, leading to applying themselves to do their best in every area of life. This is certainly the best road to their academic success as well as success in all other areas.

Final Thoughts:

Always remember where true wisdom is found. “In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Philippians 3:8).

Homeschooling is definitely not an easy road, but the rewards are innumerable. Keep in mind the admonition of Paul to the Galatians, “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). Homeschooling can be a difficult and daunting task, but keep the words of the Psalmist before you continually, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). Your children’s relationship with their Lord is worth every sacrifice! Do not grow weary in doing good.  Rest in God, teach the best, and continually reevaluate your trajectory and refine or pull back to improve your aim so you may hit the target. Always remember that you “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 3:14.)

Sincerely,

Desiree Sheats

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks we will be trading in swimsuits for school clothes and beach time for books.  Summer seems to go by quicker now than it ever has before.  For some parents the return to school cannot come soon enough, but for others it brings anxiety.  This is the first (official) year that my wife and I will start schooling, and I must admit that it is a little scary to think about my children’s education.  I want them to get the best education that they can get while being in an environment that fosters godliness.  For our family, we have chosen to homeschool.  I know that this is not the best choice for everyone; but no matter your schooling choice, we can all use some encouragement as the new school year starts back.  Over the next several weeks I am going to be publishing a series of blogs aimed to do just that . . . encourage the parent on the upcoming school year.

I have asked three guests to write on their preferred schooling option (Public School, Homesschool, Private Christian School) and give we parents some hopeful words on the upcoming school year.  Each one has sent their children through all 12/13 years of schooling with great success.  Among those now adult children are doctors, teachers, nurses, authors, computer-techs, farmers, actuaries, musicians, and a whole host of other things.  More importantly than their vocational success is that almost across the board, they all have grown to be godly men and women.  This is ultimately what we as Christian parents are striving for.  A good job is great, but a godly heart is what we all desire.  They get there not just through reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also by knowing and serving God.  That may seem daunting, but I believe we can be encouraged by those who have walked through it before and have come out on the other side.

For your benefit, here is a quick bio on the guest writers so that you can have a little info on the people who are writing.

Dale Slater (Public School):

Mrs. Dale Slater taught in the public school system for more than 30 years.  She and her husband were blessed to have 3 children who all went though this school system.  Dale was the single most influential teachers for me during my schooling years.  While she taught me much about math, she taught me much more about the Lord.  She was a daily godly example to her students and anyone that was around her.  Both she and her husband did not just teach their children at school, but more importantly, at home.  There is no one else I can think of who would be better able to encourage families who have chosen this option to school their children.

Desiree Sheats (Homeschool):

Desiree is one of the godliest and humble women I have ever known.  She and her husband were blessed with 12 children of their own plus one that they adopted.  She has just recently graduated, after 30 years of homeschooling, her last of 13 children.  When my wife and I need direction or affirmation on our choice of education for our children, this is who we run to.  The Lord has given her a heart for the homeschool community and the wisdom to encourage many generations to come.  While never formally obtaining more than a high-school diploma herself, with the Lord’s guidance she and her husband educated their children in not just math, science, and English, but also in the things of God, which has had the most lasting impact on her children.

William “Bill” Butt (Christian School):

Dr. Butt saw fit to send all 3 of his children through 12 impressionable years of Christian education.  Not only did he send his children through a top-notch Christian school but he also taught at this school part-time in subjects such as systematic theology and apologetics in order to prepare the future generation to be able to defend their faith.  Dr. Butt is a doctor of medicine, but his heart is geared toward teaching the things of God.  This is most evident for anyone that has ever been around him for very long.  All of his children were the benefactors of such a school system, and I believe his words will be an encouragement to families who have chosen this avenue of education for their children.

No matter what educational choice you make for your children, we all need encouragement to press on.  I hope this series of blogs will help you to do just that.  It is not meant to be a debate on which system is better, but rather to encourage you as a parent where you are.  If you are still struggling through this decision for your children, let me suggest this little book called Perspectives on Your Child’s Education” which gives a very well balanced view on the four potential types of education choices that parents face.

I pray as school starts back soon, you will find comfort in these words and any anxiety that you may have will be placed at the foot of the cross.  We are all commanded to educate our children, whether we delegate that responsibility or not.  So in doing so, pray for them, play with them, and participate in that education process for the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell