While reading a past edition of the Tuttle Tribe blog from Micah and Amy Tuttle, missionaries in Peru, a quote from John Wesley smacked me in the face. God has been teaching me a lot lately about my view and use of time. Although Wesley’s words don’t mention homeschooling, isn’t the priority of a Biblical Home Education spending our time teaching what God says in His word is essential?
As Christian homeschooling parents committed to raising Godly generations by training and instruction about the Lord and His ways (Eph. 6:4), aren’t we obligated to consider whether we use our time with our children biblically?
This quote hit me hard because, at the time I saw it, I’d just read a study guide written by Rev. Andy Boyer examining how we utilize our time, talents, and treasure to impact God’s kingdom. This study guide prompted my further exploration of this idea in this post about our biblical priorities as home educators.
Looking back through the lens of Haggai gives us a glimpse of Old Testament history and exhorts us to consider how we use the time we have to home educate our children.
Scripture: Haggai 1:1-15.
About 538 B.C., King Cyrus of Babylon desired the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. After two years, the temple foundation had been rebuilt, but due to the opposition of neighboring peoples (fearful of their possible eventual domination by the Jews and their renowned God), the work had stalled and eventually halted altogether.
As a result of God’s house lying unfinished almost 20 years later, the prophet Haggai and his contemporary, Zechariah, began preaching about the Jewish nation’s priorities and use of its time.
Haggai’s Word from the LORD
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say,’ the time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”
Through Haggai, God then addresses the Jews directly, asking in verse 3,
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
It’s obvious that God wasn’t pleased that His people left His house, the temple of Jerusalem, unfinished, and were instead absorbed with their own personal priorities.
How we Spend our Time Indicates What is Most Important to us
How much are we like the Jews in this passage? Don’t we do the same thing as the Jews did when we don’t take the time to have our own daily Bible study time and consistent devotions with our children?
When we don’t teach history, science, math, and all the rest, as part of our Sovereign God’s creative, redemptive plan?
- But we just don’t have time for devotions.
- I don’t know how to make them interesting and don’t have time to figure it out.
- Isn’t that something my husband should be doing?
There are only so many hours in the day and if we choose to devote our time to one area, it has to be taken away from somewhere else, right?
Not necessarily! When we consistently started with devotions and hymn study, we were more focused on our lessons afterward.
What do we tend to focus on instead?
Now I know firsthand the pressure you put on yourself as a homeschool mom. Sometimes it feels as though you have a mountain on your back, right?
Please hear my heart here: Like everything else in life, including marriage and parenthood, as we homeschool we are not.ever.shouldering it all on our own. That thought is straight from the pit.
Given that truth, I encourage you to evaluate what you’re spending your time on in place of teaching about God and His word.
I would venture to say that the way we are tempted to spend our home education time often reflects the following priorities:
- But this curriculum is so popular, it must be good. Even though it has much more than we could ever finish, it’s important we try our best and work on the weekends if we have to.
- We have to squeeze in those AP classes – How else will she be able to compete and get into a decent college?
- Sports –Too bad we are traveling all over the place, but being on an elite sports teams is important to his/her development and looks good on the homeschool record. Besides, maybe s/he will be able to get a scholarship into college someday.
- The high school transcript – She has to be part of this debate club/extracurricular program/ leadership camp/…It will look so good on her high school transcript. If we don’t do that, I don’t think she’ll be able to compete with the public school kids.
Hear me: none of these things in themselves are bad. But are we neglecting something more important to make these things happen?
It’s so easy to get caught up in this thinking! It’s everywhere, including in our churches!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t take that kind of pressure!
God’s View of “our” Priorities
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:5-6
In this passage God states that the Jews were working hard, but that they were not really getting anywhere – because their priorities were not in order according to what He had asked of them. They were self-centered priorities, rather than God-centered ones.
God warned the people in verse 5 to “give careful thought to [their] ways.” He wanted them to evaluate how they were spending their time and what consequences they were experiencing as a result.
God often repeats an idea in a passage of Scripture so we know it is important. He told the Jews to “give careful thought to [their] ways” a total of four more times in this book!
As home educating parents, we should follow this same advice. We should carefully consider what our priorities are and what they should be, and make adjustments accordingly.
Christian Homeschooling Parents’ Priorities
God tells us in Deuteronomy 6 that we are to teach about His precepts throughout our days. And not only that, but also at night, when we are at home, and when we go out.
In other words…all the time! Everything we teach and learn should be in the context of God’s plan.
It follows that our homeschooling curricula must support what we are commanded to teach our children.
It’s admirable to have high academic standards. It’s good, but not best, if that is all we focus on.
Alternatively, If we obey this command to teach His precepts throughout our days, in spite of our worries about not getting to everything, we can trust in what He says: that there will be a greater reward than we can anticipate. He is big enough to take care of our children. He is a God who rewards obedience.
Seek first the kingdom of heaven…
Journaling Questions: How do you struggle with this in your home? How do you teach your children about God and His ways currently? How can you make sure that everything you teach supports your Biblical worldview?