I am an extremely blessed young woman. I was homeschooled from infancy and taught in the ways of the Lord. Around the time I graduated, my parents asked me to write an article giving my thoughts on the homeschool experience to parents who may be just beginning this journey or considering doing so. I would like to share ten emphases of our family’s home discipleship that have done much to positively shape me into who I am today.
1. Daily Family Devotions
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10)
The first part of our homeschool day is spent in reading the Scriptures together, memorizing passages from them, reviewing passages we have already learned, and praying for family members, local friends, and people across the world.
Our relationship with God is the most important thing in life. We learn to know Him by studying and meditating on His Word, and we commune with Him in prayer. My parents have emphasized that our time in the Scriptures—and the application of them throughout the day—“is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life” (see Deuteronomy 32:46-47).
2. Justice and Mercy
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)
God is just. He punishes sin because He is holy and cannot abide iniquity and because He wants His rebellious creation to repent and turn back to Him.
God is also merciful. He sent Christ to die so that our sins could be forgiven if we would accept Him as Lord and “the propitiation for our sins” (I John 2:2).
God longs to become the Heavenly Father of all the people He made in His image. One way the Heavenly Father tries to show us what He is like is by giving us earthly fathers and mothers, whom He instructs to train their children in His way.
Without just admonition, a child will truly be spoiled. He will think selfishly and believe that he should be allowed to do as he pleases, and this is especially dangerous as he passes into his teenage years and adulthood. Eli’s house was judged forever because “his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (I Samuel 3:13b).
But without merciful nurturing, a child will become discouraged and lose hope. There must be a balance in the home.
3. Kindness and Unity
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
The first commandment is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and might. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This must begin at home with learning to love Dad, Mom, brothers, and sisters as oneself; to give deference to them; and to treat them—one’s immediate family members—as one would like them to treat him. God created families to work together for the advancement of His kingdom. Being human, children are naturally prone to selfishness, anger, strife, mockery, and unkindness toward others. It is the duty of their parents to work to train them out of these evil and dangerous paths and into the good and wholesome paths of unselfishness, self-control, peace, gentleness, and kindness.
When a family is working together to serve the Lord, He will bless in wonderful ways. No family will ever be perfect, but God knows the hearts. If He sees a father and mother who love Him and are trying to please Him in the way they train their children, He is willing to work with them and help them lead their family in His path.
Kindness and consideration between brothers and sisters is a good testimony, a blessing in the home, and a foundation for relationships throughout the rest of the children’s lives. Sibling rivalry can turn into bitterness, feuding, and even inheritance squabbles later on, while good relationships can be an invaluable blessing and resource now and for decades and generations to come. This part of home discipleship is far too important to neglect (John 13:34-35).
4. Comprehensive Scriptural Worldview
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
At the table or in the living room, as a family or one-on-one, Dad and Mom are constantly teaching us how to have a Biblical worldview—how to apply the Word of God to every area of life. From Genesis to Revelation, the Scripture is completely true and must be the foundation on which we build our lives. Almost anything can provide an opportunity for teaching through a family discussion: a church service, a recorded sermon, a book or article, a news story or tidbit, news from a friend, a telephone call, or a Bible passage.
The culture around us is full of evil. There is a definite need for Christian parents who are willing to take the time and effort to bring up their children in the Deuteronomy 6 discipleship model, walking with them and talking with them about how to apply the Word to everything.
5. Family Time and Family Projects
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Of all the blessings and resources God gives us, time is unquestionably one of the most valuable. God has endowed each of us with a limited amount of it, generally about seventy or eighty years (Psalm 90:10). Our parents have taught us that after an hour, a day, or a year is gone, it is truly gone. It cannot be regained or called back and used more conscientiously. Therefore, it is extremely important that we invest all our time in a way that pleases the One who entrusted it to us.
Dad and Mom are investing their lives in us, their children. While many set their hearts on their careers, favorite sports, or material success, my parents have chosen to pour their time, effort, and energy into the eternally valuable work of training their children to be ambassadors and warriors for the cause of Christ.
So they spend their time with us. God blesses each member of a family with special interests and talents, but this is not just for the benefit of the individual. It is for the glory of God and the benefit of His Kingdom…and, specifically, the family in the Kingdom into which this child has been placed. The omniscient, omnipotent God puts families together in such a way that they can work together—each contributing in his or her unique way—to accomplish His plans for the household.
We love to work on projects together. At Roots by the River, Dad and Mom try to especially choose products to develop that we can all work on together. The goal of our business is not making large sums of money. It is discipleship, working as a family to produce materials that will glorify God and edify the body of Christ.
Our parents have also taught us the importance of time with our grandparents, whom we are thankful to have living nearby. Eating with them, visiting them, serving them, asking for their stories, listening to their wisdom—these are pleasures for me.
Continue with Ten Emphases of Our Family’s Homeschool, Part 2
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