My oldest child is in grade 10 this year. I am often finding myself calculating just how little time I have left with her. I don’t know what God has in store for her when she graduates. He might give her a heart for the mission field. Or He might call her to post-secondary education. Maybe she will work for a year or two before He calls her to something else. Perhaps He will have her meet a Godly young man in the next few years and they’ll get married. I don’t know. But when I think of the 2 1/2 years I have left with her, I begin to see the things that truly matter in my homeschool life. For my last contributor post on A Little R & R, I thought I’d share a number of these ideas with you, to encourage you, to remind you – of what is really important as a homeschool mom – or even just a Christian mom. Here are my Top 16 Tips From A Home School Teacher and Mom.
Bible and Character Come First
Our kids can have top grades, they can be absolute geniuses. They can be incredible athletes and gifted musicians. However, if they do not love God as Jesus commanded in Luke 10, then none of that even matters. It is all just filthy rags to God if He isn’t using those things for His glory. If there is just one thing I would want you to take away from this post, it would be this one point. Love for God and His word come first. Every time.
Your Marriage Must Be A Priority
Marriage is hard. It is easy for little annoyances to grow into huge issues. Marriage takes work, commitment, and a humble attitude. Seek out older couples who have a strong marriage and listen to their wisdom. Don’t wait for trouble to come knocking. Safeguard your marriage now. I have several helpful posts on marriage on my blog.
Include Your Husband
If your husband is like mine, teaching is not his forte. He would rather gouge his eyes out than teach our kids any school subject. But this doesn’t mean that I cannot include him. I am choosy with what I ask him to ‘teach’. For example, he likes money. So, I encouraged him to oversee the kids reading good, character-building books and writing a summary in order for them to earn money. He is also ‘principal’ of our homeschool. When there is a more serious behavioral problem, he steps in and addresses it. Discover ways to include your husband in your homeschool that works for him…and then free him to do these tasks as he sees fit (aka – don’t micro-manage).
Model What You Preach
Kids learn best by modeling. If you want your kids to love God with all of their hearts, minds, soul and strength, then you ought to be loving God that way as well. If you want your children to be compassionate, be compassionate yourself. Modeling a strong, godly marriage will show your children what that is supposed to look like. Displaying Godly womanhood and manhood will be the best teacher of how to behave as a Godly person. Model what you want them to learn.
Here is a great homeschooling resource that I love!
Maintain A Long Term Focus
It is easy to get caught up in the here and now. Remember that you are training Christian adults. You are preparing them to do God’s work, to listen to His calling on their lives.
Make One Change A Week
Change is hard. Especially if you need to change a lot! It can be overwhelming. Instead, prayerfully choose one manageable change per week. If you have mastered that change by the end of the week, make a new change. If you haven’t, then either re-evaluate that change and make some tweaks, or continue on for another week.
Our lives are busy. We have this event to plan, this function to attend. Weekly lessons, cooking, shopping…lessons to plan. There is just so much to do. However, this isn’t likely to change unless you decide to go ‘off the grid’. As parents, we need to be available to our kids. they aren’t going to choose the best timing for when they need to talk. But we need to ensure that we are available to listen and offer advice when they need it. If we don’t make ourselves available to them, the world will.
When my kids were young, I would take a few minutes before going anywhere to explain my expectations for behavior. If I knew they were going to receive a gift, I would tell them how I expected them to react, even if they got socks or something they already had – or something they didn’t like. When we went to the grocery store, I explained how I expected them to behave while shopping.
Trips to the park or play dates could end in one of 2 ways- with a fight or joyfully. I prepared them for leaving by discussing my expectations with them before we arrived at our destination. When they complied, I thanked them for their awesome behavior and obedience and told them that when they obey it makes me happy to take them places andI’d joyfully take them again.
Once in a while, my children would observe or be the recipient of ill-behaved children and we would have to debrief afterward. Like when the kid threw sand in my daughter’s face and mom didn’t do much about it. I would use these instances as teaching moments for my expected good behavior. Explaining expectations helps children know exactly what is expected of them.
Model Godly Character
Model the type of Godly behavior you expect to see in your children. If you aren’t exhibiting Godly behavior yourself, don’t demand it from your kids. When you treat your kids with respect, they will learn to respect others. If kindness is on your tongue (Proverbs 31:26), kindness will be on theirs. Are you giving grace? Is your home peaceful? Model what you want from your children.
Have A Ministry
God gives us a passion for ministry of some kind. This can be with young moms, children, the homeless, youth…the list is endless. What is it that God wants you to do? How does He want you to minister to someone? Discover what that is and involve the kids somehow. This is a great character building opportunity…for everyone:0
There is just some behavior that is completely unacceptable – no matter what. Defiance is one of those and my kids know this – and now that they are older, they see the reasons why by observing parents who do turn a blind eye to defiance and the consequences of ignoring it. They regularly express their thankfulness of knowing behavioral boundaries.
Training The Heart
Winning and Keeping Your Child’s Heart
Our kids need to know that we are on their side, we are for them. Listen to them – look beyond the behavior and what they are saying to find the underlying issue. Fight for their hearts.
What is your child passionate about? Discover that God-given passion and use it to your advantage! Our kids don’t have to be the best at everything. God puts passions in our hearts for a reason – to fulfill His plan!
Differentiate Between Childishness and Foolishness
Are kids are children and they are going to do dumb things. It’s normal. And it is important for us to understand the difference between childish behavior, like spilled juice or dropping the carton of eggs (or leaving the freezer door open…a tough lesson for me to learn) and defiance, rudeness, and disobedience.
Be Quick To Apologize and Forgive
Yes, apologize to your children if you have sinned against them. And forgive them when they have sinned against you. Offer tons of grace. Endless grace. To them and to yourself.
Which of these tips are you going to commit to developing right now? Instead of trying to improve in several of these areas (that’s what I’d try to do!), pick just one thing to work on. If you are doing well in these areas, ask God where He wants to work in yourlife. There is always one area to grow more in!
For more parenting topics, I have several parenting posts on my blog for further reading.
- I am a Princess of the Most High King, a daughter to my Heavenly Father. I love talking about Him and to Him! I am a wife to my tall, dark and handsome guy. We have been married since 1998 - that feels like eons ago;) We have 3 fantastic kids, who I have homeschooled since the beginning of their education. I am a homeschool support teacher with a little DL school in BC, Canada. I have been supporting and encouraging homeschool moms since 2004.
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