As a homeschooling parent, I know growing your child’s love for Jesus and others is a priority. Like me, you probably chose to homeschool because you want your children to have a strong, spiritual foundation. We feel homeschooling will give us more of an opportunity to help our children to grow to love Jesus and others. Yet when it comes down to the day to day busyness of life (and reading, writing, and arithmetic), this often gets pushed to the side. Here’s how to make it a priority:
Make Time for Bible reading.
When we start getting behind in English or Math, reading the Bible is often the first thing we cut out. Yet knowing the Word of God will help our children throughout their lives. As children grow in their relationship with their Heavenly Father, God will be there to teach, lead and guide them.
If kids can read, I recommend the Discoverer’s Bible (https://www.sonlight.com/DB02), which is part of our Sonlight Curriculum. The Bible provides the full text (Genesis to Revelation) of the New International Reader’s Version®of the Bible. Edited for a third-grade reading level, the NIrV uses the NIV as its base, but breaks long sentences into shorter ones and substitutes simpler words where appropriate.
There are many Bible reading plans you can try, but the important thing is teaching children to read to understand … and not read to finish. Sometimes my children will read a whole chapter, during their Bible reading times. Other times, we will read one or two verses and take time to discuss them. What’s important is that God’s Word is read and God’s messages take root in children’s hearts.
And that’s why I appreciate the Sonlight Curriculum—the Bible Study is included in the lesson plan. Another wonderful book we loved, that is part of Sonlight, is Mary Jones and Her Bible (https://www.sonlight.com/HA08). This true story made us appreciate how much God’s Word should mean to us. It’s something we shouldn’t take for granted.
This is Alyssa reading from the Discoverer’s Bible in her “dramatic” voice!
Serve and Pray for Others
We can teach our kids important character traits, but we also must allow them to use those traits. Kids can learn about love, but better is allowing them to love others by holding a canned food drive. Kids can learn about being joyful, but better is them sharing their joy with an elderly family member or neighbor. When kids serve, it allows Jesus to work through them, and it’s a gift they carry into life.
We attend an inner-city church, and our kids have many opportunities to serve. One of their favorite things to do is to help babysit for the Teen Mom Support Group that I lead. My younger girls love to play with babies as the young moms receive help and instruction.
I also teach my children to pray for others—those who live close and those who live far.
One of our favorite Sonlight books was Window on the World (https://www.sonlight.com/CH04). This book is a wonderful introduction to ninety-two largely unevangelized countries and peoples of the world. From Afghanistan to the Zulus, and beyond. Each two-page spread includes a story, maps, interesting facts, full-color photos and illustrations, and suggested prayers. A treasure-trove for developing a godly heart for the world!
Grow in Gratitude
It’s easy to take all we have for granted. It’s easy to grumble when we don’t have what we want or when things haven’t gone as planned. Our family recently took on the challenge of trying to stop our grumbles and focusing on grumbling instead. You can read about it here: The Grumble Free Year
The desire for something “better” in our homeschooling day, makes us forget what we already have. Comparison with other homeschooling families always results in grumbling. Gratitude, on the other hand, reminds us of what God has done. It makes us understand that we have enough to share with others.
Do you find yourself grumbling? Take time in God’s presence to evaluate what is at the root of your grumbling and discontentment. Then, think about things you can change. Ask,
“How can I focus on the solution, not just the problem.”
Also, only God can change our hearts, and He can change our kids’ hearts too. Things change when we seek His help in our day.
Instead of simply trying to change our kids’ behavior, we can remind them that we love them, and God loves them … and they can turn to God in prayer when they need help. Then, intentionally notice and praise your kids when they are doing something well! Point out you can see how God is helping them.
Life never goes as we expect. Homeschool days never turn out as perfect as we’d planned, yet we can either grumble about those things, or we can shift our perspective. We can focus on the good blessings of having a home and a family—and a chance to grow to love Jesus and others better. It’s then we lift our eyes to God. When we remember all He’s done for us, our troubled hearts can become grateful hearts. The more we do this, the more we hard-wire our grateful response, even in the middle of our homeschooling day.
When I first started homeschooling, I believed my job was to get the schoolwork done. Yes, that is part of my job, but with each year that passes, I know that growing my children’s hearts for loving Jesus and others is truly the most important part. These are lessons this homeschooling mom is thankful for!