by Deborah Wuehler, Senior Editor, The Old Schoolhouse
Though I have already graduated many children, I often feel I could have done a better job in one way or another. I could have taught them more or influenced them in a better manner. Some days I ask myself, “What did I do of any value?” or “What did I miss in their instruction?” Then there are those days when I am planning courses for my high schooler (who is resisting the idea of some of them), and in my discouragement, I get a phone call from a grown child thanking me for instructing them at home and influencing them to seek the Lord. Am I the only one who rides this roller coaster of emotions? Which was it that had the most impact: my instruction or my influence?
Instruction or influence, which is “best practice” in home education? Instruction provides knowledge, but influence produces the desire to do something with that knowledge. Instruction is given; influence is received. As teachers, we give instruction. As parents, we influence. And as teacher-parents, we provide both instruction and influence. And we want our children to be both instructed and influenced primarily by us.
What does God desire in the way of instruction? He is looking for parents who are willing to lay down their own desires and plans in order to ensure that the next generation is one that is sanctified unto the Lord; holy and blameless—a generation that is instructed in the way of righteousness. In doing so, we may be the parents of children who grow up like Daniel, Joseph, or Esther: full of wisdom and discernment; character and strength; conviction and humility; children of prayer and children of power. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? It will come by the kind of instruction we provide for the children He has given us.
Created to Teach
As parents, we have been created to be teachers. God taught Adam and Eve, and they taught their children His ways, and so it went for generation after generation of parents teaching their own children the ways of God (Psalm 78). We are to instruct our children in the fear of the Lord. That is where all knowledge begins, and that is what adorns our children in beauty, and gives them the upper hand in education.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck” (Proverbs 1:7–9, ESV).
Our children will also have more understanding than the worldly culture around them, because we have instructed them in God’s Word as priority. As Psalm 119:99 (KJV) states, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: For thy testimonies are my meditation.”
We are all either influencers or being influenced by someone or something. I have always had to guard myself with what I allow to influence me. Why? Because I am influencing others. I noticed in the beginning with my firstborn son, and then with every child after him, that they watched me and followed me. They became like me. We must think about who it is we have to be as influencers and instructors in order to raise such children, who follow us where we lead and will go where we are going. We must know the way.
When I was a new mom, I would hear my own mom’s voice coming from me as I repeated her phrases. I would often marvel that I would still model her behavior. It is what we do. It is what children are created to do: to model. That’s why Luke 6:40 says a student will be like his teacher. So what is the teacher like? What kind of influence will we have? What voice will we leave in our children’s minds and souls?
The Influence of Home Education
The influence of home education has not only seen national increase but worldwide attention. Dr. Brian Ray states in his Research Facts on Homeschooling:
Homeschooling—that is, parent-led home-based education; home education—is an age-old traditional educational practice that a decade ago appeared to be cutting-edge and “alternative” but is now bordering on “mainstream” in the United States. It may be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States. Home-based education has also been growing around the world in many other nations (e.g., Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom).1
Though we have seen this incredible influence growing worldwide, maybe we should step back and ask why, on a more personal level. Because that is where it all started, in my home and yours and a myriad of others. We are the influencers in home education. Parental behavior and good instruction influence child development, character development, and Godly training.
Parents of Influence
Parents are the most important influencers on the planet, for the good of the planet. Our collective influence has produced the fruit of a society of good solid families with well educated children empowered with good character. This inspiration has given others the confidence to take on their own influence of home education. A society is shaped by its educational worldview.
Children are created to model others. When we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it will be seen by them. And, you will be their best teacher if you model Christ. God’s divine influence on your own heart, and its reflection in your life, is called grace. When children see the grace of God manifested in you and toward them, they will want to model that. We provide the best instruction and influence that the Word of God affords.
Just as home educators model Christ to their children, Christ Himself influenced and instructed. Because of His influence, His disciples desired to hear His words, took them to heart, and implemented His instruction. He instructed and influenced a few men that God hand-picked who would spread His Gospel worldwide. God has given us little disciples to instruct and influence that they may one day spread His Gospel, too. Our work towards this will never be in vain. God blesses those who honor Him with their whole life and create a lifestyle of education as a Gospel pursuit.
Persevere in this calling, parents! You are adorning your children to be beautiful representations of your Master Teacher, God Himself, as you instruct and influence them at Home. Where They Belong.
Deborah Wuehler is Senior Editor for TOS, wife to Richard, and has eight children and one grandchild. She writes for The Homeschool Minute (www.TheHomeschoolMinute.com).
She is author of Homeschool Moms Teach the Psalms Bible plan on Bible.com. You can contact Deborah at dwuehler@TheOldSchoolhouse.com.
1. National Home Education Research Institute, Research Facts on Homeschooling, accessed 22 Jul. 2022, https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2022 digital issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.