by Katie Julius
Homeschooling our children gives us many unique opportunities that we would otherwise miss while our children are away at school. From building relationships to vacationing in the “off-season” to learning in unconventional ways to encouraging their walk with God and Christian character, homeschool parents have an influence over and impact upon their children that is unparalleled.
I recently read Israel Wayne’s book, Education: Does God Have an Opinion? Throughout the book, he reminds the reader that, biblically, the purpose of education is discipleship and to know God and develop their relationship with Him. This is not something that can be pursued in a traditional classroom. God has called us, as parents, to educate our children and it is important that we not ignore that call and seize the opportunities that homeschooling can offer our families.
Homeschool families spend a lot of time together. Sometimes as moms we may feel overwhelmed and need a break. While we certainly need time to recharge our batteries to be able to pour into our families, we have the opportunity to be present for the “aha” moments in our kids’ lives. We get to see them read their first words. We get to see it “click” when they finally make that connection in science. We get to walk them through the struggle they are having with friends and feelings of being left-out or not belonging. Our children can develop deeper relationships with us and we become their biggest cheerleaders and confidants through sharing these experiences with us. Seize the opportunity to spend more time with and develop a deeper relationship with your children.
A big perk of private home education is the flexibility it offers. We’ve shared about these several times before, but are coming back around to it again because it’s an opportunity to make your children’s education fit your lifestyle and educational philosophy. Family vacations can be scheduled during the “off-season” which can result in smaller crowds and cheaper prices. Trips can be educational and planned to coincide with the subjects you are studying in your lessons. If there is a family emergency or situation that requires you take time away from school, you can without worrying about making up missed work. Seize the opportunity to fit your school days into your family’s schedule.
One reason that many choose to educate at home is because they can customize the curriculum to fit their child. It can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find the best fit for both you and your kids, but we have the freedom to explore that with our kids. We also have the opportunity to use different methods and experiences for learning that would not work in a large classroom setting. Hands-on experiential learning is a great way for many kids, especially younger students, to learn. But it’s extremely difficult to provide that in an effective way in a classroom environment. As homeschoolers, we can use things like field trips, nature exploration, internships, apprenticeships, and more to give our kids a rich and varied education that prepares them for adulthood. Seize the opportunity to provide unique learning experiences to your children.
Incorporating God and the study of his Word as an integral part of every subject is vital to a private Christian home educator. The second half of Wayne’s book provides plenty of guidance for what this would look like in each subject (yes, even math points to our Creator!) and why it is so important to include it. Our focus in our children’s formative years should be on teaching them to love God and how to follow Him. Seize the opportunity to weave your faith into each area of life, including your school.
We pray that no matter where you are in your homeschool journey that you will seize the opportunities that God presents to you as you lead and teach your children.