If you’ve read my blog for a minute you’ve heard me talking about bringing your kids’ homeschool education to life or providing lifegiving homeschooling to your kids. Do you wonder what exactly I’m talking about when I say this? There are two parts to it. Let me explain.
First of all, you may have noticed if you’ve grabbed any of the printables on my website that I often mention Christian homeschooling. So that gives you a clue to who I am: an unapologetic, Jesus lovin’, Bible-believin’, daughter of the King. Does that describe you, too?
In fact, the most important thing I want to share with you about homeschooling is not shoveling the names of the U.S. presidents or the dates of the World Wars into your kids’ heads.
And it’s definitely not about having sparkling clean kitchen counters all the time or rooms that never grow dust bunnies.
Instead, it’s about loving your kids well. About Introducing them to Christ, teaching them to have a Biblical worldview, discipling them, and training them to have good habits. This is the foundation of Christian parenting and of homeschooling.
So this is the first part of what I mean when I talk about “bringing your kids’ homeschooling to life.”
True life, everlasting life. The kind of life that’s only found in Christ.
The Second Part of Lifegiving Homeschooling
The second part of bringing your kids’ homeschooling to life is making your homeschooling they-can’t-wait-to-get-started-in-the morning– interesting. I suggest using a curriculum based on great children’s literature instead of one that uses dry textbooks. I loved teaching with great books and a Charlotte Mason-inspired approach. This grabbed our kids’ interest, helped train their character, and kept homeschooling fascinating and fresh.
What I’m talking about is (often) light-years away from what we had in public school.
You remember. The teacher spoon feeds her baby birds snippets of information from a ho-hum textbook. While her kids passively sit there, nodding their heads occasionally, looking out the window as often as possible, and wondering when it will be over.
No, that’s not what I’m talking about at all.
Disclaimer: If a traditional textbook education is working for you and your family, keep at it. If it ain’t broke… But if you had a dream that homeschooling would be more like a shared adventure with everyone working at it together and enjoying the process (for the most part–everyone has something they aren’t crazy about). Then I’m talking to YOU.
How is Lifegiving Homeschooling different?
With lifegiving homeschooling, your kids will actively participate in their learning instead of having it done to them. You’ll read amazing books together. They’ll read, write, discuss, and research. They’ll be so interested in what they’re learning about that it will spill over onto the dinner table as they try to stump each other by playing 20 questions about Ancient Egypt or World War I.
Or you’ll see evidence of it when you catch your kids acting out a scene from Johnny Tremain. Or pretending they’re floating down the Amazon in the bathtub.
But how do you make it happen?
1. Lifegiving homeschooling starts with a Biblical Worldview
So how do you have lifegiving homeschooling? It begins with developing a Christ-centered mentoring and discipleship relationship with your kids. This relationship is the bedrock to successful Christian parenting and homeschooling.
The Bible instructs us to train children in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6) We are to love them, nurture them, teach them, shape their character, and discipline them. But we are all sinners in need of grace. Being humble with your children and being on the same ‘team’ works better than vacillating between the strict authoritarian and the permissive apathetic.
Does that mean being the perfect parent? That’s a trick question. There’s no such thing. (As you already know if you’ve been a parent for more than half a minute!) Parenting is hard, relentless work. And your kids are going to disappoint you. And you’ll disappoint yourself.
In fact, if you put constant pressure on yourself to be the “perfect” mom, homeschool or otherwise, you are eventually going to break or give up! How do I know? Because I tend to be a perfectionist in that area, too.
But that’s okay because there is GRACE for that. God doesn’t require that you are perfect or love you any less when you’re not. Fortunately, each day is new and clean and you can begin again.
Pro-tip for the perfectionist mom
Are you exhausted and overwhelmed more than you aren’t? Is your joy long gone? And although you REALLY want to make homeschooling work, your kids are out of control? Then slow down and reprioritize. Take a hard look at yourself and your family’s outside activities.
As difficult as this time is, especially if you have littles… this is just a season, and it will pass. So just like you want your kids to be, YOU need to be fully engaged.
One of the best insights God ever gave me was when I realized that when I lost my temper and was angry with my kids, it was because I had lost control. They were running the show because I hadn’t dealt with something. I had ignored misbehavior for too long because I was too tired or too busy.
What to do instead
Lifegiving homeschooling means being as consistent in your parenting as you can. Give instruction and stick to what you said. Train your kids in these three habits. Talk about sin, the cross, grace, and forgiveness. Daily. Yours and theirs. (How can we not forgive others when we’ve been forgiven so much?)
It means being a saved but imperfect role model, apologizing when you are in the wrong. For example, when you snapped at the one who is slow. It means apologizing when you caused your high schooler to get behind in his work by not grading an essay or a math test on time. Or when your 10-year-old had to wait much longer than you’d said for an English lesson because you were on the phone trying to get someone to come out and fix the washer.
I apologized A LOT. And still do.
But you know what? Making yourself vulnerable to your kids in that way helps build a connection. And calmly extending undeserved grace to them, ultimately, helps you win your children’s hearts. And that’s what we want!
2. Lifegiving homeschooling uses a curriculum that supports your Biblical worldview.
Now it’s time to take a look at what you are using to homeschool your kids. Does your curriculum teach evolution or Creationism? Does it support the Biblical flood? Do your history and science teaching reflect the Bible’s account? Does the literature you choose for your kids to read support these values? This is partially where that consistency I mentioned earlier comes in.
Train up a Child Publishing strives to help you homeschool Biblically. From beginning each year learning how God created the world to showing how His plan is unfolding during Modern times, our curriculum underscores the truth of the Biblical account.
It’s a scary world out there and getting scarier all the time. But gratefully, we know that God is Sovereign. We must help our kids build a strong Biblical foundation so that they know that God is in control, no matter what happens. You want them to learn from your teaching and example that He is worthy and they can cling to Him when things get rough.
3. Lifegiving homeschooling is engaging. You teach like your kids’ brains are built to learn.
We have such a gift in all the brain and learning research done over the last 20-30 years. So why don’t we use it more often to engage our kids and make our homeschooling more effective? I know, you’re already up to your eyeballs, and who has time to learn one more thing? But think about it — wouldn’t it save you time if your kids learned more quickly and easily?
If your curriculum uses brain-based teaching methods, your children won’t balk so much at doing their work. It’ll be easier. If your reading and activities inspire them, they’re more likely to get their homeschool work done without a constantly grumpy mom. (And couldn’t you use a little less get-your-work-done drama in your household?!)
Homeschooling with the brain in mind.
It’s an incredible blessing that we CAN homeschool in such a way that it aligns with how kids’ brains actually learn.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a Ph.D. or share your home with Airbnb vacationers to afford a homeschool curriculum that helps you teach like this!
In fact, here are just a few things you can do that will bring life to your kids’ homeschooling education:
- Believe in your kids’ abilities and give them a vision for their success. Be enthusiastic about their wins and empathetic with their disappointments. For help, read Brain-based Teaching and How to teach your children to Believe in Themselves.
- Children who move their bodies focus better. They also remember what they’ve learned longer than kids who sit all day. Read these eight ways to incorporate more movement into your homeschooling: Move More, Learn More.
- Did you know that children (and adults) learn by connecting new information to something they already know? Use this secret weapon of priming your kids’ brains before beginning a new activity:
- LIfegiving homeschooling integrates subjects. After all, that’s how we learn. Think about when you were all about learning to take better photos of your kids, for example. Didn’t you read about how to take better photos, talk about taking better photos with your friends, research it online, write about it, and inhale articles whenever you could? And didn’t you read about cameras, lighting, creative photo backgrounds, and photo editing? You weren’t just interested in how to hold the camera and line up the kids. You learned about several related topics, too. They helped you understand the main one better. This is integrating subjects. This is how you learn best, and this is how your kids learn best.
So if you want your kids to experience lifegiving homeschooling, start with developing a Christ-centered, mentoring relationship with your kids. Use curriculum and books that support your Biblical worldview, and learn to teach in ways that support how your kids’ brains work. You can do this!
Praying with you,