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Discipleship: The Heart of Our Homeschool
When we began homeschooling, we started out of obedience to the call we felt God place on our hearts. We didn’t even understand what homeschooling was or what it was supposed to look like or why God wanted us to do it. For a while, homeschooling looked like public school at home. My husband and I had grown up in public schools. I was a classroom teacher when we met. We have a dozen or so relatives who are employees in public school systems. We didn’t know anything else.
Then we began to realize that we didn’t have to have public school at home to be successful in homeschooling our children. For one thing, there was no need for all the transition time that is built into a school day. With only two students and a teacher, it really wasn’t difficult to move from one activity to the next. Then I figured out that I could teach the way I had always wanted to teach—by allowing my students input into our classroom and by pursuing some subjects with more gusto than others, when the mood struck us. I also discovered we could take more field trips and have more hands-on learning experiences. I could discuss my faith more freely. We could use Bible-based curriculum and pray together in our “classroom.”
It was a wonderful new experience. God began to show us, a little at a time, why He had us homeschool. Several of the reasons had to do with my younger daughter’s special needs. But God gradually revealed His deeper purpose: discipleship.
Our desire to spend time in the Word and prayer each day with our children, to answer their questions about life, to use curriculum that focuses them on God’s Word and His principles . . . it’s all about discipleship.
A few years ago, when I was ready to quit homeschooling and put my kids on the big yellow bus because I didn’t think I could make it through another day, God brought to my mind these verses:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NIV)
This is the heart of discipleship—sharing life with one another and infusing every moment with the wonder of God’s presence in our lives. This is the heart of our homeschool.
When I realized that academics are not the primary focus of our homeschool, it was freeing. We focus a lot on academics because we want our children to have a solid foundation so they can do whatever God calls them to do, but discipleship and having right relationships with God and each other are more important.
When we focus on discipleship, the rest falls into place. When our relationships with God and each other are good, we can more easily focus on academics and household chores and really enjoy the time we have together.
As I focus on discipleship in my family, I find myself involved in discipleship in other areas of my life too. I look for women who are older than I am to mentor me as I approach new seasons with my children. I search out younger women to share some of the wisdom I’ve gained as a wife and mother.
Discipleship is the heart of our homeschool, and the more we practice it at home, the more it spills over into helping others and in a willingness to be helped. It’s God’s plan, and it’s good.
What does discipleship look like in your family?
Read this post and others on the importance of discipleship—and link up your own—at the Teach Them Diligently blog!
I’m planning to attend Teach Them Diligently Convention in 2014! Find a location near you and save the date!
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