Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Marriage

Things don’t always go as we want them to. Bad things happen and always will. Companies close. People move. What we once held dear can be taken away from us. It is how we react to those things that gives us great insight into where our heart is and how we find our identity, for as one of the characters in the new movie Overcomer notes, ” Your identity is tied to whatever you give your heart to.” He goes on to note that, “Something or someone will have first place in your heart. When you find your identity in the One Who created you, it will change your whole perspective.”

I’ll let that last statement sink in a bit.

In a world that seems to have lost its mind and all sense of reason regarding the concept of identity, Overcomer gives hope! There is a solid foundation in which we can find our selves, our worth, and our future. We cannot allow our past to define us or hold us back, for we are offered forgiveness freely from the only One Who is able to change us from the inside out.

Your family really does need to see Overcomer movie, which opens in theaters today! There are great messages there for one and all.

  • Your children need to see it, for there are lessons presented to them as they watch young Hannah Scott learn who she truly is by digging into God’s Word. We are excited to be able to offer you a great resource to help you talk to your kiddos about this issue. Click here to download it now.
  • Mom and Dad, you need to see it. I actually texted David as I watched it, since he wasn’t with me at the time, to ask if they had been living with us. This movie explores some of the stress points you may have experienced as you seek to serve God together. There is some great insight for all families offered there.
  • Your unsaved friends need to see it! Invite them to join you. It’s a very good story, and they will absolutely hear the gospel presented clearly and with great relevance during this movie.
  • Your discouraged Christian friends needs to see it. Their hearts will be encouraged as they begin to look beyond today to see what God is doing– and to remember what He has already done.

So, what are you waiting for? Download your discussion guide, purchase your tickets, and take your family to the movies this weekend. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on it!

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It is SO easy to get overwhelmed!

It’s funny. People often comment that I seem to have it all together. I actually just got a text about 10 minutes ago from a mama noting that she doesn’t know how I handle four children when one has her stretched thin. My answer to her, and to anyone who makes a comment like that, is that I have an amazing helper in my husband (and of course, that God is gracious beyond words to us!)

Let me explain what I mean by that comment about David. Those who know us well would probably all say that I am the organized one in our marriage, and in a way they are right. I set up things differently than David does, and I tend to notice details that he would generally miss in his “big picture world.” But so often, I get so bogged down in those little details that I miss the big picture all together.

God put us together to complete one another. We noted early on in our relationship that we were each other’s “other half,” (Even the inside of his wedding ring notes that fact. :) ) but the deeper into our marriage we get, the more clear that fact becomes.

I could write books on how we complete one another in God’s great plan, but this week, I wanted to share something David put together that is honestly an offshoot of a lot of conversations he has had with me through the years.

When I get overwhelmed…
When I get discouraged…
When I lose my way in all the various things vying for my attention…

He is the one person who can ground me. He reminds me of what is really important… and often, he always reminds me that ‘you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” :) (He’s full of wisdom like that…)

Not too long ago– maybe about this time last year when I was swimming in Christmas prep and Teach Them Diligently prep and homeschooling and parenting and basketball season and church responsibilities, and… David and I started working through some principles that we prayed would help us be better equipped and able to do what God has called us to do.

Unbeknownst to me, David felt led to compile the general ideas in some of those conversations into an assessment and an email series. I read it earlier this week, and it. is. incredible! As one who has benefited from his wisdom and insight for years, I really encourage you to check this out, for he shares with you many of the things he has shared with me through the years when I get the most undone. He will walk you through some foundational principles for being more productive, keeping your eye on the main things in your life, guarding your health, etc. It’s insanely practical, and I know it will be incredible helpful.

How I hope you will take a couple of minutes tonight to check out the productivity assessment and start that “conversation” with David. At this time of year, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and even lose sight of WHO we are really celebrating right now in the midst of the busyness. I sincerely believe this will be a huge help to you, and I pray God uses it greatly.

Click Here To Learn more About The Productivity Assessment and Start That Conversation

Joining You Int’s funny. People often comment that I seem to have it all together. I actually just got a text about 10 minutes ago from a mama noting that she doesn’t know how I handle four children when one has her stretched thin. My answer to her, and to anyone who makes a comment like that, is that I have an amazing helper in my husband (and of course, that God is gracious beyond words to us!)

Let me explain what I mean by that comment about David. Those who know us well would probably all say that I am the organized one in our marriage, and in a way they are right. I set up things differently than David does, and I tend to notice details that he would generally miss in his “big picture world.” But so often, I get so bogged down in those little details that I miss the big picture all together.

God put us together to complete one another. We noted early on in our relationship that we were each other’s “other half,” (Even the inside of his wedding ring notes that fact. :) ) but the deeper into our marriage we get, the more clear that fact becomes.

I could write books on how we complete one another in God’s great plan, but this week, I wanted to share something David put together that is honestly an offshoot of a lot of conversations he has had with me through the years.

When I get overwhelmed…
When I get discouraged…
When I lose my way in all the various things vying for my attention…

He is the one person who can ground me. He reminds me of what is really important… and often, he always reminds me that ‘you eat an elephant one bite at a time.” :) (He’s full of wisdom like that…)

Not too long ago– maybe about this time last year when I was swimming in Christmas prep and Teach Them Diligently prep and homeschooling and parenting and basketball season and church responsibilities, and… David and I started working through some principles that we prayed would help us be better equipped and able to do what God has called us to do.

Unbeknownst to me, David felt led to compile the general ideas in some of those conversations into an assessment and an email series. I read it earlier this week, and it. is. incredible! As one who has benefited from his wisdom and insight for years, I really encourage you to check this out, for he shares with you many of the things he has shared with me through the years when I get the most undone. He will walk you through some foundational principles for being more productive, keeping your eye on the main things in your life, guarding your health, etc. It’s insanely practical, and I know it will be incredible helpful.

How I hope you will take a couple of minutes tonight to check out the productivity assessment and start that “conversation” with David. At this time of year, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and even lose sight of WHO we are really celebrating right now in the midst of the busyness. I sincerely believe this will be a huge help to you, and I pray God uses it greatly.

Click Here To Learn more About The Productivity Assessment and Start That Conversation

Joining You In This Journey!

Leslie Nunnery

PS–I am really excited about a series of videos that is starting tomorrow on Teach Them Diligently 365 as we look at this Christmas season through fresh eyes. Tomorrow is the first video in that series, and we will look at the historical context of Christ’s birth. You can check that out– tomorrow– on that website. ( I would LOVE to have you join our community over there anyway!) 

PPS– I would love to hear from you about a way that YOUR spouse is a great completer for you. Sometimes, I think it’s easy to forget how perfect God’s plan for us really is, and how clearly we can see that in our marriages if we aren’t too distracted to look for it. Take a few minutes this evening to think about those things your spouse really helps you through. Thank him or her… then you can send me an  email to tell me about it. I’d love to rejoice with you as I read your testimonies of God’s grace in this way! :)

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New Curriculum – Same Teacher?

During the 2018 Teach Them Diligently conventions across the southeast, I was given the privilege to speak to men about homeschooling. Yet during this time, I was curious about what other dads were thinking and struggling within the homeschool life. Well, they wrote down some questions and I told them I would answer them. They cover all kinds of subjects and areas, so get ready for “Answers from the Husband of a Homeschooling Mom”

Today the question comes from Keith! This can be a tricky and potentially dangerous answer, but let’s go for it.

“How do I handle disagreements with the wife on the curriculum?  For example, the current curriculum isn’t working, but it’s what my wife is comfortable or familiar with.  But it doesn’t match my daughter’s learning style.”

Keith, buckle in brother because this is going to be a wild ride for you.  

Pray

When there is any time that we as men think that we are right and the wife is wrong, we should take our thoughts to God and pray.  We may be right, they may be right, or we both may be totally wrong. So Keith, step one is to pray. Pray for God to reveal the right direction to both of you.

Talk to Your Wife

Keith, one of the smartest things I did was take my wife off on a curriculum planning day.  We took our ideas, papers, books out to a state park along with a lunch and we talked. She presented ideas on how the day should go, I countered with my thoughts.  Curriculums were tossed about on which one may and may not work. Which ones were more affordable and which ones were just so in-depth that it would cause confusion.  There were no kids there to watch, listen out for, or to attend to. It was a time where the two of us got together and LISTENED to each other.  This gives you both a chance to voice your opinion on how to make your homeschooling work.

Trial Run

Here is where your words turn to actions.  If you believe that there needs to be a different curriculum, purchase it and YOU take over that subject.  Some companies will allow you to purchase a one month trial or have a mid-year (start-over) discount. You may be right that your wife is comfortable with what she is doing.  She may have a great understanding of what is expected and what to expect from your daughter. You taking that subject over and demonstrating how to do it and showing it in action may alleviate some stress from your wife in possibly swapping over to a different curriculum.  However, it may also let you see that the problem may not be the wife or the curriculum. There is the chance that your daughter just does not care at this time to learn anything about that subject. Not bashing your daughter, just speaking fact. There are times in kids life when they just refuse to cooperate with anyone on some items.  

Evaluate

When the trial period is over, sit down and have a discussion with your wife.  Explain what worked for you and what did not. Ask her what her thoughts were on the way it was done.  See if her opinion of the curriculum has changed or has remained the same. Just be prepared that you Keith, may now be the teacher for this subject!  If that is the case, hold that head up high and be the teacher! Take that subject and stress off of your wife. More men should get involved with their family in homeschooling so they are more aware of issues just like this.  This may require for you to adjust your schedule with work. Currently, with one of my boys, I am doing something similar trying to help with focus in the mornings. Just be prepared to be the man but not the dictator.

 

Men, if you are going through something similar, let’s hear about it.  It is nice to know that you are not alone on the battlefield of homeschooling!

 

Till next time…

I’m just a Husband of a Homeschooling Mom,

Steve Blackston

I would love to see you and your family at Teach Them Diligently 2019. If you register this month, during No Shave November and use discount code NOSHAVE10, you’ll get a great deal. Find the event closest to you by clicking here.

Be sure to check out all the articles in our #NOSHAVENOVEMBER Series for Dads by clicking here.

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When we were younger Leslie and I helped out in a youth group at our church. Honestly, there was no better training for being a parent than working within this youth group.

The youth group consisted of roughly 60 young people from middle school to high school. As young parents who had babies at this time, we were able to see this varied collection of teens from different homes influenced by different cultures, parenting styles and education choices.

The one consistency in this group, just as can be found in any group, was imperfection. Dealing with people is often messy!

Once I was sitting in the back of the sanctuary with a young man from the youth group when his father walked up to him and started yelling. His father was upset because his son had worn athletic shoes with his nice slacks to church. Apparently, before they left home his dad had already told him to wear something nicer, and the young man had defied his dad. Whether you think this is a crazy request from the father or not, is not the point. This young man was in the open and apparently there was more going on between them than just a disagreement over shoes. This young man already had a problem with bitterness toward his father, and his father was just exasperating the bitterness through his reaction to his son’s defiance.

We’ll get to that most important word shortly, but first…

Provoking our Children to Wrath

InEphesians 5, scripture makes a big deal about provoking your children to anger or wrath. Think about this…of all the things Paul could have referenced under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he points to provoking your children to wrath.  I think that tells us a lot about not only the potential power anger has over our children, but also the tendencies of fathers and their children.

Paul knew that anger in the home has the potential to allow bitterness to enter the hearts of mothers, fathers, and children. There is nothing more powerful in ripping a family apart or even separating a person from God the Father than anger and bitterness. The Holy Spirit directed Paul to write this verse in Ephesians because He understood the tendency in our sin to sway into anger.

And, I am not talking about short-term anger like being upset when children spill drinks on nice furniture, or even when they miss a curfew or fail a test.

I am talking about the kind of anger that develops into rage or violence or grudges or bitterness.

This is the kind of anger that people hold onto. 

Quick story, Once my oldest was arguing a little with his mother over something he had done. When I heard him argue I became very upset. I don’t even remember what I said or he said; but I remember he was defending himself, and I perceived it as being disrespectful to his mother.

I walked into the room and told him what I thought of what he had done to draw the scolding from his mother, and I also told him to stop defending himself.  I did this with a raised voice.  At that point, he stopped talking, stuck his jaw out, dropped his head, and sat on his bed.  Then, as he was looking down, I told him how I felt about his attitude and how he should never do it again. The next thing I know tears started to show.

After I saw the tears, I backed off and walked out of the room.

I left him in his room for a little while so we both could cool down. Shortly thereafter, I came back into his room and apologized. I didn’t justify it or tell him what he did wrong at this point at all.  I just fell on the sword. I told him that I was very sorry for raising my voice in a way that tore him down.  I made sure to ask him to forgive me, which is very important.

The reason I did this was because I knew that it was the way forward. God talks about forgiveness not just because it releases the wrong-doer but also because it releases the one that is wronged. Sometimes saying sorry is the best way forward.

In parenting you are going to mess up. You are not going to handle every punishment and circumstances with perfect consistency, justice, the right measure of grace, and wisdom. But, to allow any level of anger or bitterness to rise up and develop into a breach in the relationship with your children will make it impossible to reach them…to disciple…to mentor…and to direct them. If your children are holding onto anger or bitterness, it does not matter if you feel like you are right, you need to resolve that. Sometimes the only way forward is to humble yourself and say sorry for your reactions.

That is why SORRY is one of the most important words in discipling your children. You will make mistakes, guaranteed! Don’t think it undermines any level of your authority by saying sorry.

Let me help you a little more on this! What I apologized for with my son was losing my temper and yelling in anger at him in such a way that it diminished him. What the father in the case with his son’s shoes could have done is say sorry to his son for yelling at him in front of everyone and embarrassing him.

Think about Ephesians 5 again…what is going to provoke your children to wrath? Make a list…what is it that could be a source of anger for your son or daughter?

  • injustice or unjustified response
  • inconsistency in applying rules
  • choosing something over them
  • embarrassing them and diminishing them
  • withholding love from them
  • misdirected anger landing on them

Keep going! Think about the root causes of any anger that might be in your children. Dig deep!!

These are the kinds of things you should apologize for.

Okay! Now replace the phrase in Ephesian 5 with one of the phrases above.

Fathers…do not withhold love from your children
Fathers…do not embarrass your children or diminish them
Fathers…do not allow the stresses of life to be misdirected into anger on your children

Do those things make sense? I think that is a good test of something you may want to apologize and clear up with your children.

Now, try that experiment on these statements…

Fathers…do not defend your wife when she is being disrespected by your children
Fathers…do not withhold the car when your child failed a test
Fathers…allow your sons to have girls over to the house without adult supervision

Those don’t make sense do they in the context of Ephesians 5?…Therefore, don’t apologize for those things.

For being focused on a single word, this is a long article. Therefore, I think it is time to move on.

We at Teach Them Diligently see our mission as encouraging you to seize the role God has for you and help you precede with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done Biblically will strengthen your family in Christ. Through our media and our events, we endeavor to give you resources to encourage and help you on your way. One such resource I would highly recommend is Leslie’s book on discipleship parenting: Teach Them Diligently, Raising Children of Promise. In it, she walks through what the Bible says about parenting… and there’s a LOT of instruction and insight straight from God’s Word in there. Won’t you pick up a copy today? I truly believe it will be a great help to you and your family.

I also sincerely encourage you to join us next Spring for one of our events. You will not find another conference that focuses so intently on helping you strengthen your relationship with your children and with your God through Biblical homeschooling. You really do need this!

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Sincerely,

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P.S. If you are reading this and have already registered, invite a friend or family member.  The truth is that if they are not homeschoolers or even considering homeschooling, they could still benefit largely from the vision of these events. Need more info about the referral program. Click Here

P.P.S: There is a whole series of posts specific to homeschool dads. I would encourage you to check them out. Click here.

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A delicate dance is required when balancing homeschool and marriage. It’s one of the more challenging demands for homeschool moms. Whether you are new to the journey or have been homeschooling for decades, the tension is always there.

I began my homeschooling 22 years ago with the goal to raise Godly children who would help change the world for Jesus. I soon realized I had to concentrate on my marriage with the same laser-like focus I had for homeschooling.

I was knee deep in science experiments, diapers, and books. I was up late into the night pouring over school schedules and to-do lists. I realized I never really knew my children until I started homeschooling them.

It was a wonderful and complicated mix of exhaustion and discovery. I began to have a nagging feeling important things were getting lost along the way. 

Who was this man who shared my bed? I adored him but had no energy or time for him anymore. I found myself wondering, “Should we continue to sacrifice everything for the higher goal of producing Godly children. Or, was the cost too great?”

Homeschooling can become a forest in which we cannot see the trees. We get bogged down with short range goals of checking off chores, math, and reading. We forget our long range goal is to propel children out of the nest as productive influencers in our changing world.

One day our homeschooling journey will be over. We must continue to invest in the relationship that will outlast our homeschool days.

Godly families are a product of Godly marriages. The best thing we can do for our children is to love and honor their fathers. In the frenzy of our homeschool ‘daze’, we can model the kind of love (1 Corinthians 13 love) that outlasts all life can throw at mom and dad.

How do we practice balancing homeschooling and marriage?

  1. Save time for romance. We all know that’s a tricky proposition. If we prioritize and practice, a routine will emerge. If we knew important guests were coming over, we would set aside time. Maybe a school project would wait till later. Our husband is that important guest! If I’m too tired at the end of the day for romance or investing time into my husband, I need to let something go. It has to be a part of the overall long range plan for success.
  1. Schedule date nights in ink. Will every Wednesday be our time together? We don’t have to be dress up, go out, and spend a lot of money. We can make a Starbucks run, read a devotional in the car overlooking a beautiful sunset, or go for a trail walk. Don’t forget to hold hands! Take a blanket outside and star gaze after the children have gone to bed. If the kids are aware that mom and dad’s special relationship is important, they fuss less about not being included.
  1. Sex is like glue in a marriage. Regular time together keeps our hearts soft towards one another. If you are too tired after the kiddos are in bed, give them a movie and snack. Tell them you and daddy are visiting with each other and should not be bothered.
  1. Swap babysitting with other couples for time alone once a month. You get free babysitting, and the kids get to enjoy another family.
  1. Get dressed and put on makeup. We can get into a rut with our appearance when we don’t have to go out and meet other people on a daily basis. We need to remember that men are visual! Our husbands may be working with other women who spend time and money on clothing, perfume and hair cuts to look nice.
  1. Find time for daily exercise. Take a twenty minute walk or do a twenty minute DVD workout 2-3 times a week. Let the whole family join in the fun! Toddles love this too. My daughter loved to bring her dolly to e-size. Join a gym and let the kids play in the nursery for 30 minutes. It’s good for both physical and mental health.
  1. Involve the kids in making special food for Daddy. Verbalizing that we make his favorites because we want to honor him is a good example. It’s true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Little things let him know you still have time to think about him.
  1. Men thrive on acceptance and praise. Find the things he is doing right and verbalize them in front of the children. Daddy is a good provider, or I love how Daddy fixes the house.
  1. Learn to enjoy an activity that your husband likes. Pray and ask God to show you what he might enjoy. Men thrive on shoulder to shoulder activities. When we sow into what makes them feel happy, it will come back around to us in more ways than one!
  1. Flirt text or send sweet pictures, emails or phone messages during the day. A kiss or two in front of the children is so very healthy. Kids feel safe when they see their parents bond through affection. My siblings and I saw our parents bicker. It could be scary. When we saw mom dress up, and dad fuss over and kiss her, our hearts soared as we realized relationships can withstand some stress.

It’s hard to remember that we are still wives when we are knee deep in Math or Science experiments. Balancing homeschooling and marriage really is a delicate dance. Setting aside regular time for your marriage now will bless your family for years to come!

This post originally published on the TTD Homeschool Launch Website.

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Couple holding hands

One of the most heartbreaking things that David and I have been faced with since starting Teach Them Diligently is the realization of just how intense the attacks on God’s families really are. We have talked with countless individuals and couples through the last several years who have recounted to us the struggles they have had in their marriages, and far too many have crumbled under the pressure.

Why is this? Why would Satan have such a strong strategy in play for breaking apart the marriages of Christian homeschool families? Why would so many couples be facing such intense pressures and having such a hard time fighting for what was once the most beautiful relationship in their life?

Satan wants what is not his!

Since the beginning of recorded history, Satan has exalted himself and desired that which was God’s. He fell, along with a large number of other angels, because he wanted the glory and adoration that was due to God alone. Since that time, we have learned that he comes to steal and destroy and that he is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  If you and your family have determined like  Joshua  that “we will serve the Lord,” you have dedicated yourself to Him… and Satan is jealous.

The enemy knows that the strongest human relationship and God’s building block of culture is the family, and he has been relentless in his pursuit to tear it down. He has devalued culture’s view of it; he has distracted us from working on it; he has made us so busy doing “good things” that sometimes we find ourselves neglecting the best; and sometimes he has thrown temptations at us at just the right time to completely destroy the trust we had built.

How greatly we have underestimated our enemy!

Our Marriage Prayer

Many years ago, when we had but 3 tiny little children, I composed a prayer for David and I. Since that day, we have had it prominently  on display in our bathroom to remind us to always lay our marriage on the altar and lift this precious relationship before God’s throne every single day.

This simple prayer I composed is based on my study of I Peter 4, and I pray it is as helpful of a reminder for you and your spouse as it has been for David and me.

May we be clear-minded and self-controlled so that we can pray. —How important it is to exercise self-control in our marriages! When we allow our emotions to run wild and overtake our judgment, it really does become hard to even talk to God about what is going on in our lives. We first need to pray for clear-thinking and self-control, so we can pray effectively for our marriage.

Above all, may we love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.— Oh, how we need to allow love to cover a multitude of sins within our families. How easy it is to hold grudges, remember offenses, be easily offended, and lash out at the one we hold most dear. Love deeply, friends! Your spouse is a most precious gift on this earth!

May we offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. — Have you ever found that you are more accommodating of others than you are of your spouse? Should that be the case? Of course not! I want to make David feel wanted and welcome at all times. I want our home to be his favorite place to be. I want to show him even more hospitality than I show anyone else… and I want to do it without grumbling or making note of all that I’m doing. (Sometimes drawing attention to all we’re doing is a big temptation, isn’t it?)

May we use whatever gift we have received to serve each other.– God has gifted each of us in very special and unique ways. Do you utilize those gifts to serve your spouse– or are you only looking at opportunities to serve others? God really got my attention with this one. The gifts God gave me should most definitely be utilized in the service of my spouse and children. They should never just get what’s left-over of me. I wonder if many times this isn’t a big tool Satan uses in his quest to destroy our families. We are too spent to serve at home, so our spouses are truly only getting the brittle pieces of us that remain after we have given all we have to others.

When we speak, may we do it as one speaking the very words of God.– Oh, how our speech must be representative of the way God would have us communicate. Does your spouse get the very best of your speech? Are you as careful in the way you craft your words when you are talking to him or her as you are when speaking with others? If not, why? Why are we so careless in the way we speak to our spouses? Why do we expect them not to bristle at things we would never say to anyone else?  (Or at least we would never say it the same way!)

When we serve, may we do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised!— May our marriages be strong and healthy, pointing a lost world to the God Who created family in the first place. May we recognize that it is only by His grace and in His strength that we can live peacefully and lovingly within our marriages. May we be willing to serve Him and serve our families in all things.

Get your own copy of the Marriage Prayer I created years ago.

You can download a free printable PDF of Our Marriage Prayer  by clicking here.

I would also love for you to download my ebook about praying for your children. It’s merely a compilation of verses that I use to pray for my kiddos, but it offers a lot of great prompts for you as you seek God’s face for those most important to you.

This month, we have been talking about our marriages in Teach Them Diligently 365, and on Friday, we’ll  be looking even more closely at this prayer and how to protect our marriages. I would love for you to join us there. Learn more about TTD365 and how you can get involved here. 

Finally, I sincerely invite you to join us onsite for Teach Them Diligently in 2018. A large focus of the events is on strengthening our marriages, and many have even noted that it’s like a “homeschool marriage retreat.” :) There is no investment too large to make in your family, and I believe with all my heart that attending a TTD will be a great blessing and benefit to you. If you have any questions about the event, or if you just want me to pray with you about your marriage, family, or anything else you have going on, please never hesitate to send me an email. I would love to get to know you!

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By Israel Wayne

Has your decision to homeschool your children ever left you feeling tired, overwhelmed or stressed out? As a student who was homeschooled (my family began homeschooling in 1978), I have learned a few things and over the years about how to avoid burnout in your homeschool.

One of the most common reasons for weariness and frustration among homeschooling parents is the weight of self-inflicted deadlines and standards. It is good, of course, to have goals in mind, but we must always ask ourselves: “Am I seeking to do the Lord’s will, or am I merely pursuing my own agenda?”

As Christian families, we need to view homeschooling not as a glorious end, in and of itself, but rather as a means to an end. The main goal is to raise children who love the Lord, and are committed to following Christ. It is not to produce robots that can recite random facts and data at the drop of a hat.

What a child knows is really insignificant compared to what he or she believes. We must move beyond facts to convictions. It is vital that our children know:

  1. What they believe.
  2. Why their beliefs are true.
  3. How to articulate their beliefs.
  4. How to live their beliefs consistently.

Getting the right answers on a test is meaningless unless a child knows how to apply those truths to everyday life. Non-applicable knowledge is worthless. As parents, we want our children to excel academically, and homeschoolers usually do. Our main motivation for homeschooling, however, should not be academic prowess. Instead, we should “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (including academic) things will be added to us.” (Matt. 6:33)

We should always stay focused on our long-term goals, but we must consistently follow the leading of the Spirit. Why are we homeschooling? Our main objective should be to fulfill our God-given obligation to “train up our children in the way they should go.” (Prov. 22:6) Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6 and 11 and many other passages stress the importance of teaching God’s laws to our children.

What is the purpose of an education? God’s primary reasons for commanding you to teach your own children are to:
1) Enable God to purify you (the parent), as you allow the fire and pressure of the homeschool setting to make you into pure gold.
2) To help your children know and love Him, and become prepared to serve Him.

God desires for us to have close family relationships, and He uses the process of family discipleship to develop Godly character in both the children and the parents. God has established and designed parents to be the primary influences in shaping their children’s values. Parents can’t expect to receive a Godly harvest unless they labor during the planting.

We must learn to view home education as a lifestyle decision, and not merely an academic alternative. Use every available moment to teach eternal principles. Developing a Biblical worldview in children is not something that happens by accident. It is taught by formal instruction and caught by the Godly example of the parents.

By keeping in mind that we are homeschooling because we want to raise children who love Jesus, we won’t be so frustrated if our child doesn’t understand Phonics or Chemistry. I’ve seen some mothers become so frustrated by their inability to communicate math facts that they scream at their children and throw books! In trying to teach academics, are we achieving our ultimate goal of developing Godly character? Nothing is so important that it overrides our relationships with God and each other.

It is also easy to get caught up in the busyness of activities, running our children here and there, and over-committing ourselves into panic. Are all the programs we are involved in bringing us closer to God and each other, or are they mostly wearing us out? We may need to recalibrate our compass. What does God expect of us?

“He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you. To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ec. 12:13)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

If we focus on teaching eternal principles, and developing Christ-like character in our children, we will have academic success as a natural result of our obedience to God. We should not merely teach our children what to believe, but show them why our beliefs are true. They should be able to determine, from the principles in Scripture, what is good and what is evil. They should recognize absolute truths and be able to reason from a Biblical worldview.

By keeping obedience to God as our primary reason for homeschooling, we will have the flexibility to change our educational approaches, relax in the face of deadlines, and put family relationships above SAT scores. We can have a joyful, peaceful, loving family and still achieve an academic standard superior to the world; but we must keep Christ as the focus and avoid humanistic expectations.

 

Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker. He and his wife Brook are the parents of nine children and the directors of Family Renewal, LLC. www.FamilyRenewal.org. Join Israel at all six Teach Them Diligently events in 2018.

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That's Why I'm Here- Proper Response To Our Busy Days and A Strategy For Serving Like Christ
Yesterday was a bad day for me. I was stressed. I was irritable. I felt like Chicken Little shouting “the sky is falling!” everywhere I went. Many things that absolutely shouldn’t have affected me at all made me very angry. I allowed myself to react completely out of control. It was awful.
Last night at prayer meeting, the Lord reminded me of a study I did some time ago. This passage was only mentioned in passing by one of the members of our church, but the Lord used it to really get my attention. The  account on my heart is found in Mark chapter 1 which relays the events of one of the busiest recorded days in Jesus’ life.  Jesus had cast out demons, taught, healed the sick, and traveled from place to place. Early the next morning, He arose and went out into a secluded place to pray.  It wasn’t long before the disciples came seeking him– “Master, everyone is looking for you!”  In my head, I can hear the panic that I often experience when I feel out of control. –>Jesus was an amazing teacher! Jesus could heal! Jesus could cast out demons! But they couldn’t– and there were people there waiting!  WHERE WAS JESUS WHEN WE NEED HIM??? Jesus’ response, though,– after that incredibly busy day when He had poured Himself out over and over on behalf of the people– was not “Give me a break! I served them ALL DAY yesterday! Do they have any idea what all I do for them?”  Instead, His words pierced my soul right in my chair, and I hope they changed the course of my life forever.  He said simply,
“”Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
That was WHY He was here– to meet needs, to heal, to teach, to lead people to His Father. THAT WAS WHY! Everything He did or said fell within that mission! It determined even His reactions.

Can you relate?

What does your busiest day look like?  Teaching, dishes, laundry, meals, plans, service, errands, lessons, ballgames, Church Activities… What is your reaction when the people God has called you to serve want just one more thing? How do you react when you’re just wanting to get something done, but your six-year old needs direction for what to do next?  Mine? Not like Jesus’ reaction most of the time.
Yesterday, I failed to be Christlike again. People I love asked me for help (can you imagine?) and I had a terrible attitude about it.  I could feel the frustration and the anxiety welling up within me as I overreacted to just about everything.  But, “that’s why I’m here!”  I am here to shepherd that little one who keeps patiently asking me time after time what to do next, and who just wants to be near me. I’m here to shepherd the hearts of those older ones, too, who seem to magically disappear so as to NOT be told what to do next. (Do yours ever do that, or is it exclusive to our family?)

Some of the things that make up our busiest days are part of God’s call on our lives– but, as God keeps pointing out to me, much of this busy-ness we put on ourselves, don’t we?

Some of the things that make up our busiest days are part of God's call on our lives-- but, as God keeps pointing out to me, much of this busy-ness we put on ourselves, don't we? Jesus tells us in Matthew “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (11:28-30)  God’s yoke is easy? His burden is light? Hmmm… if that’s the case, then why do so many of us feel so downtrodden? Why are we so frustrated?  That certainly begs the question of how much do we put on ourselves that aren’t ours to bear, either because we are always seeing needs and wanting to meet them or for other reasons such as discontent where we are or pride for wanting more? It is great to want to serve, and God has certainly called each of us TO serve, but Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Yet we tend to put difficult yokes and heavy burdens on ourselves– then blame the Lord when we cannot keep up!  A pastor friend of mine wrote a Facebook status once that absolutely rocked my world!  He said, “God has called us to be SOMEWHERE… God has not called us to be EVERYWHERE!” But dear friends, do you ever– like me– sacrifice the SOMEWHERE on the altar of the EVERYWHERE?  Raise your virtual hand if you do!

If we had a clearer sense of Why We are Here, perhaps that would allow us to make wiser decisions about the yokes and burdens we take on, don’t you think? Let’s take a look at this together.

As I was thinking about this sacrifice of the somewhere that I tend to make, the Lord brought to my mind homemade bread. (Bear with me here, there is a point to this!)  To make really good bread, the dough has to be kneaded just the right amount, right? The kneading process warms and stretches all those gluten strands, making springy and elastic dough.  If the dough isn’t kneaded enough, it doesn’t spring up enough; it looks flat and has a dense Breadtexture; it tends to tear when you try to cut it.  Over-kneaded dough is no better.  One bread-making site reads,  “Loaves made with over kneaded dough often end up with a rock hard crust and a dense, dry interior…”  Now, keeping with our “bread” analogy, I doubt many reading this are under-kneaded– I doubt too many of us have too little to do and just sit around idly, BUT Are you over-kneaded??  Does the way you are managing your life and your family leave you with “a rock hard crust and a dense, dry interior?” I have wasted far too many days that way! That is NOT the impression I want to give my children of what serving Christ does to a person!!  That is a product of my trying to be EVERYWHERE and sacrificing the SOMEWHERE!  But why? Why do I do that?

Could it be that I feel like the SOMEWHERE in which I live is not important–like it is not making a big enough difference in the world?

Never Lose Sight of the kingdom significant

So, Why am I here? Where has God called me, and what has He called me to do?  We have to figure those things out, so we can then weigh every opportunity, every need, every turn in light of that.  We’re going to look very briefly at some roles I am called to play as are most of you– there is not nearly enough space to fully develop these thoughts or to jump in and look at what scripture has to say about each role, but I urge you to think through your own list and take time to really evaluate those roles for yourself!  We all need to weigh the Somewhere tasks versus the Everywhere opportunities.

First of all, I am a child of the King.

I have a video of my older daughter, who received Christ as her Savior when she was 4. I asked her what she had done, and she told me she was now a princess– she was a child of the King! I have never forgotten her sweet little voice saying those words, and I am so thankful that even as a 4 year old, she knew she was a child of the King! Everything I do and say should be to do the work of my Father. If any of you reading this don’t know that you, too, are a child of the King of Kings, I would love to talk to you about that!  Becoming a princess like my 4 year old did, will forever change the course of your life as you discover there is One Who is much more worthy to live for than yourself.

In addition to being a child of the King, I am called to be David’s wife.

I was called to be David’s wife well before I was called to be the mom of the four amazing children God has given us.  Even at the various stages of our life when the children demand a LOT of attention, I am still called to be his wife– oh how many marriages are destroyed when we forget that! Don’t allow yourself to sacrifice the somewhere of your marriage on the altar of the everywhere your children want to be, go, experience, do, etc.  That makes for a tired, stressed and broken wife at the end of the day. I want to be a delight to him. I want to be a helper to him. I don’t want to affect him with my “rock hard crust” that I get from taking on too much.  I have found that my attitude about my work, about the children, and about everything else directly affects my husband. It took me years to see that because he loves me so much, he wants to make everything right for me. When I am out of kilter, he goes into overdrive to make things right– no matter what. So, my attitude about what God has called me to do– and my reaction to the “just one mores” can affect the rest of my household very quickly when I become like a dripping faucet around my husband.  Again, that is NOT the picture I want to present of what serving God looks like or of what a Christian Marriage should look like.  Ladies, I encourage you to remember your marriages!! Flirt with your husbands, spend time with them. Remember, it’s because of your love for him that you became a Mommy in the first place!! I need to be willing to set aside my own pride, exhaustion, and well, even my own will sometimes, to serve him– for as his wife “that’s why I’m here!”

I am also called to be mom to my four Children.

That means that in varying ways throughout their lives, I am privileged to take care of them, to disciple them, to Teach Them Diligently and point their hearts toward their Creator, Savior and King.  That takes a lot of time and preparation, but OH the payoff!!  At whatever stage of life you are in, whether you have babies and you are so sleep deprived that you can hardly form two sentences that seem coherent or whether you have young children that are so active that you feel like you can hardly keep up with them. Some of us have teens that we’re now wanting to hold onto tightly or older ones that have already left our nests. Through each phase, we must seek the way to shepherd and disciple our children in that stage and be willing to spend the time– in that SOMEWHERE to which we are called– to work on it. I have a great relationship with my 15 year old son, but that was born out of hours upon hours spent together when he was younger- reading, talking, laughing, singing, playing together. Those younger days when your activities seem so mundane are critical for building a foundation for the teen years. Never ever lose sight that you are doing Kingdom significant work each and every day in your home. We cannot let Satan tear apart our families and make our homes a battleground because as moms we sacrifice the precious SOMEWHERE on the altar of the EVERYWHERE!!

Finally, I am called to serve others.

This looks different for everyone and varies greatly with what stage of life you are currently in. God has been preparing each of us for the exact mission He has for us right now! You, busy mom, who sometimes feels like you are totally “on the shelf” so to speak, since your life is almost constantly within the four walls of your home– You are uniquely equipped to reach the people God brings across your path. These people may or may not be within the reach of your pastor or any other person. God has planted individuals who need you to serve them in different ways– all around you– in your neighborhood, at your grocery store, at your co-op.  Can you see them?  I am so concerned, friends,  that I become so busy with the EVERYWHERE that I miss the people God has put all around my SOMEWHERE.  My heart is crying out, Father, forgive me!
My call, my somewhere– looks very different than yours.  God has equipped me and prepared me for my call. He has promised never to give me a burden that I am unable to bear– and He makes that same promise to you. How often, though, does our discontent, our pride of wanting to do more, cause us to look beyond what God has given us to do and to heap upon ourselves burdens that are too heavy and difficult for us?  How often do we look at the seemingly common-ness of our daily lives and desire– even seek out– more to do, be, etc.?
 
Let us remember that there are no common tasks to God!! God has KING-SIZED plans for us Mommies!!  Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for the difference we can make in the lives of our children is earth-changing! Oh, may we not sacrifice this beautiful SOMEWHERE on the altar of EVERYWHERE! May we always remember That’s Why We’re Here!
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About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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