|Our homeschooling has been largely Charlotte Mason based (albeit Karen Andreola style), so we have enjoyed a great deal of nature study, picture study, music, narrations, character training, and especially stacks of living books. Reading has been so important in our homeschool.
We taught our children to read early (using phonics) and have worked diligently to find a good variety of excellent, wholesome material for them to profit from. Some favorites we have shared together over the years include the various Five in a Row and Friends for Life picture books, books for young children by Jenny Bishop, Johannah Bluedorn, Jim and Elisabeth George, Gary and Jan Bower, the original Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter stories, the Little House series, the Fairchild Family books, Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, the Whatsoever Things novels, poets such as Longfellow, Frost, and Dickinson, Christian biographies, and a wide range of books on practical Christian living (When a Nation Forgets God, Live Not by Lies, Financial Freedom by Sammons, The Hidden Art of Homemaking . . . ).
But in all our years of home educating, we have always begun the day by opening up the standard for all other books—the Bible. I think the two most important keys to reading and learning to rightly divide the Word are these:
# 1: Be consistent even if you don’t always feel like it. And,
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” II Corinthians 4:6-7
I chose this passage to share because we need to be honest, vulnerable with one another. It’s not right to other mothers or fathers if we say, “If you just homeschool, everything will always be picture perfect. Everybody in your home will be sinless.” No, we are all earthen vessels. We all know some form of brokenness, hurt, trial, or trouble—including our children.
We live in a fallen world, but we must not let our “earthliness” keep us from having thriving families. Scripture says, “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) And the II Corinthians passage above reiterates, “the excellency of the power is of God.” He is the One who will keep us, sustain us, strengthen us, guide us. So in the end, He deserves the glory.
Spend time with your children. Read with them, play with them, eat with them, work with them, travel with them, worship with them. Make the most of the years you have been given to shape their lives. Childhood is fleeting. Don’t see how much of this experience you can outsource. See how much of it you can do together in God’s power.
Satan wants to divide your family, but God wants to knit your hearts together and make you and your children a strong force for truth and righteousness. Don’t let somebody else’s curriculum be your master. Don’t allow somebody else’s program to cause you to stumble under its weight. Don’t take your eyes of the most important goal (seeking first the Kingdom of God) and then become overwhelmed or give up in despair because you can’t keep up with what relatives, friends, neighbors, fans, critics, or the world at large expect of you. God gave you your children, and He will equip you to raise them.
One of my mother’s favorite passages in the Bible says this: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 If I heard it once growing up, I heard it a thousand times. And because of that faithful repetition—and because I could see my parents’ testimonies walked out in their daily lives—it became a part of who I am. As an adult I now share these same words and many other life-giving Scriptures with my children, and I pray they will pass them along to their own children someday, who will pass them on to their children, and so on, down the generations until the Lord returns.
Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.” It is enough, mothers and fathers, that you occupy with the first work and calling He has given you: marriage and child raising. As you concentrate on these, you will build strong homes. As you build strong homes, you will learn together how to encourage the brethren and reach out to the lost around you. Actually, that is more than enough. It is obedience, and it will be blessed.
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