When I was a relatively new homeschool mom, I heard my friend Heidi St. John say something along these lines, “The things the kids remember about homeschooling have nothing to do with a textbook.” That simple statement got my attention, for I still struggled with the thought that I would only be successful as a homeschool mom if we got through everything in the textbook, sat at our neatly organized desks, and moved the schoolhouse to our house.
God had challenged my thinking.
Even though I started homeschooling for the right reasons, I always found it easy to get sidetracked. A wrong focus would derail even my best-planned days, and my frustration was mounting. I was wasting too much time focusing on lesser things in my homeschool, and I was struggling with attitudes—both my children’s and my own—because of the heavy burdens I placed on us that weren’t ours to bear.
I had some work and rethinking to do.
With a changed focus, I found a lot to celebrate in our homeschool. I began to marvel at how many times I walked away from a well-spent day excited about what the kids had learned and our fun, interactions with my children, and more. I discovered that I was focused more on learning with my children and engaging with them on a deeper, more relational level on those beautiful days. Of course, we generally did the textbook work on those amazing days, but I no longer regarded workbook page completion as my benchmark for a good day.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week as I’ve been working on a new Heart School book that lays out how Biblical home education and a Teach Them Diligently approach to homeschooling look in real life. Intentionally discipling our children while still excellently preparing them for what God has in store for them are two of the essential tenets of Heart Schooling, and accomplishing those is much more natural than you might think!
A notable benefit of Heart Schooling is that you are deeply engaged in building godly relationships with your children. Through those natural relationships, you get to be an example for your children of what a Christ-follower looks like. You can show them how to love people and model humility, service, and what a life that strives to do all to the glory of God looks like. A Heart School parent will aim to go to the heart of the matter, whether in discipline or instruction, and you’ll be given countless opportunities throughout the day to do just that.
As you’re preparing to go back to homeschool, don’t let your primary focus be on those textbooks. Order your home and homeschool with your children’s hearts in mind. Approach each day with the prayer that God will give you insight into how to parent each of your children well. Seek opportunities to strengthen your relationship with them and to help strengthen their relationship with Jesus. Work together to prepare them for whatever God has in store for them. Then be ready to stand in awe as you look back over the years you spent homeschooling them and see the great things God has done and the deep relationships He has formed within your family!
This journey is SO worth it, homeschool mama and daddy! Stay the course. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and always remember that a Biblical approach to home education has more to do with the heart of the matter than the textbook.
I invite you to listen to the podcast I recorded last week about simple tips for a successful homeschool year. Those are strategic and will give you a solid foundation for a peaceful, exciting, and enjoyable year of educating your kiddos at home.