What is Heart Schooling?
The homeschooling movement is growing like CRAZY right now— and honestly it has been for several years.
And…there are probably as many reasons for that as there are families joining the ranks.
In 2016, the National Home Education Research Institute published that their research indicated that there were around 2.3 million homeschoolers in the US at that time, and that the homeschool population had been growing at a rate of 2%-8% every year since their previous study in 2012. If that rate of growth just stayed steady with no increases, that would indicate that there are at least 3 million homeschooled students today.
That’s a lot of kids!
Of course, not all homeschools look the same, produce the same results, have the same starting point, or bring the same peace and joy to families. In fact, I talk to a lot of homeschool parents who feel completely overwhelmed and are teetering on being completely burned out.
**So, in this lesson, we’re going to look at what homeschooling really is in light of our big mission. **
I promise that a better understanding of all that homeschooling entails will enlarge your vision of it and make you way more likely to stay on mission on those rough days that will come your way.
I noted in the introduction that we’ll be discussing some principles that you can anchor to no matter how the current of culture is flowing or what storms come your way. The more anchored you are in your convictions and understanding of God’s plan for your family, the more content and effective you’ll be— and your children will be by extension.
So the first thing we’ll need to do is to get an understanding how Heartschooling differs from merely schooling at home.
If you’ve already started homeschooling, and you’re wondering why you would continue, I encourage you to really pay attention to this lesson, for I pray it’ll be life-giving to you as you see the activities of Home education within the bigger picture of your family and your mission. If you haven’t started yet, SWEET!! Maybe this insight will keep you from some of the frustrations that come as you try to find your way in the early days of your journey.
Ya’ know, how we define things, especially the things we are pursuing,— and making choices and changes for— is really, really important to our success… and through the years, people’s ideas of how homeschooling is defined has definitely changed a lot— and those ideas are generally centered around the activities of education, right— what people can see or imagine they would see if they were there.
**We’ll drop an anchor right there—> Homeschooling is NOT just an academic pursuit.**
To kick off this discussion, I want to make it very clear that homeschooling is not merely an academic pursuit— far from it! And, when we just approach homeschooling as an academic pursuit for our children, we miss out on the relational and character benefits that can be derived from it. So let’s do a bit of comparison to help us better understand where we’re headed.
Homeschooling as just an academic pursuit looks for check boxes, and success is generally measured in grades and physical achievements. Homeschooling for the heart, on the other hand, focuses on principles and unmovable ANCHORS, so that our definition of success is not limited to those things that we can check boxes for.
Most families for whom homeschooling is merely an academic pursuit, honestly have a hard time justifying it long term— and that probably explains why there are about 20% of homeschool families who quit each year. If your child isn’t exceptionally gifted or in need of special academic attention, you probably can find another way of educating them that would give them a great academic foundation. So no wonder people give up and try new things.
Heartschoolers, on the other hand, realize that by **combining character instruction and godly parenting with academic instruction, they are giving their children a great education, AND, they are also giving them so much more— and saving them from heartaches and scars that they could pick up along the way in another educational setting.**
For a lot of homeschooling families, comparison is a deadly trap. When you’re measuring your achievements based on a test or a grade, or how you think everyone expects your homeschool to look, you’ll find countless ways to become discouraged.
**Heartschooling doesn’t focus on what other people think but on a higher call, so it gives you an anchor that is found in Christ alone**. When your focus is on Him and His ways instead of your perception of other’s expectations, you’ll find that peace will follow.
Hebrews 6 talks about the certainty of God’s promises— the author reminds us that it’s impossible for Him to lie. Then in verse 19, we’re reminded that because of that— **because it is impossible for God to lie**— “we have sure and steadfast anchor of the soul— a hope!”
That hope, that **anchor, isn’t found in your efforts or your worth… as a Christian homeschooling parent, seeking to shepherd the heart of your children and prepare them to change the world one day for the Kingdom of God, your HOPE…your confident expectation… is in God alone.**
Through the years, we’ve come to define homeschooling as **“Parents seizing control of decisions related to the education of their children as part of their ultimate goal of raising their children to love God, love people, and to be well-prepared to take advantage of every opportunity God gives them in the days ahead.”**
How does that definition change the conversation regarding home education?
Honestly, it changes EVERYTHING— ELEVATES everything, makes homeschooling a MUCH BIGGER DEAL than it would have been if it was simply the exercise of doing school at home…
As the parent, you ALONE have the call on your life to teach your child diligently, therefore you should be actively involved and in control of all the decisions surrounding their education.
Here’s why that’s so important….
• YOU get to decide the curriculum and the worldview they are presented with…
• YOU get to decide if your children would benefit from doing classes together which affords incredible opportunities for building memories and gaining a deeper understanding of topics that are important to you…
• YOU get to decide when and where schooling happens…
• YOU get to control how they’re being educated on social issues and cultural issues…
• YOU even get to decide when they need a break, when they need to move a little slower, or when it’s time to take an accelerated course.
**If you don’t seize control of those things, you release the incredible privilege you have been given as a parent to someone else whose worldview and agenda may not line up with yours at all. **For far too long, families have not even considered that they COULD have control of their children’s education, let alone understood how to SEIZE that control.
That’s all changing now, though, and it’s super exciting! **Just think how the church, our culture, and the world at large can be transformed as more parents take seriously their call to Teach Them Diligently and seize control of their children’s education. **
Once we realize that homeschooling is not merely an academic pursuit, we can open our minds to consider all that our family stands to gain from it.
When David and I were first discussing starting homeschooling, we started talking about the families we knew and looked up to… the ones we’d want our children hanging out with… the ones that we could see were truly passing on their faith and building character in their children— and we discovered that almost every single one of them was homeschooling!
God used that realization to reinforce what He was already laying on our hearts— that our time with our children was very short and if we intended to pass on our faith and that which was important to us, we needed to make every sacrifice and make every decision in light of the mission God had given us as parents.
When we looked at those other families, we didn’t consider whether their children were on track to become Rhodes Scholars, NO! We looked for servant’s hearts, sincerity, their relationship with their parents and siblings, and a tenderness for the things of the Lord. **Those were things that stood out to us as being that which was worth striving for, because those are the things that are eternal. **
No one had to tell us what was important for us as parents— the Holy Spirit directed our hearts… and later as we continued studying God’s Word, we saw that God Himself has given us all that we need to know about what our priorities and practices should be as parents.
Deuteronomy 6 is a great place to start looking for those instructions for parents. This chapter is about Legacy (and victory?)
In his farewell speech, where he was giving final instructions to the Children of Israel before they went into the Promised Land, Moses addressed PARENTS first of all!! (I find that in itself to be incredibly fascinating and exciting!)
He tells the parents, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall TEACH THEM DILIGENTLY to your children, and shall TALK OF THEM when you SIT in your house, and when you WALK by the way, and when you LIE DOWN, and WHEN YOU RISE. “
Under the direction of God Himself, _since we know that all scripture is given by inspiration of God…_ Moses gave the Hebrews a recipe for successfully conquering and abiding in the Promised Land—
1. Parents… Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind… then, as an overflow of that…
2. Parents… teach your children diligently all the words of the Lord.. while you walk, while you talk, when you sit down, when you lie down, when you rise up… Keep God’s Word ever before yourself and your children, because it is from God’s Word that all wisdom springs.
I won’t wade too much into that here BUT, it is really important to note that ALL parents are given the directive of Teaching Their Children Diligently the works and ways of the Lord. All of us! _
Later in Deuteronomy 6, Moses talks about the value of conversation and questions and time spent together— “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son…”
The ultimate goal of any Christian family MUST be to teach their children diligently in the works and ways of the Lord, modeling for them what it looks like to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind— and constantly, through every situation and opportunity afforded us, point them to Jesus and His great love for them.
If we gain their minds through superior academics, personalized education, and passion-driven pursuits (all of which are amazing hallmarks of home education no matter what your motivation is for homeschooling!)… But if we gain their minds, and lose their hearts, we have FAILED.
So, **Biblical Home Education MUST be first and foremost focused on the heart of our mission as parents, using every opportunity, every conversation, every academic exercise as another chance to help them see their great and good, Loving Heavenly Father in a practical, tangible way that will make their faith strong and personal. **
And that is an **ANCHOR** that will hold you fast on those days when the waves of distraction come or when the current of culture tries to carry you off in another direction, telling you that you aren’t qualified for this… or that you were made for more than this… and that you should be making a name for yourself… or whatever they come up with next. **Hold fast to your mission and anchor your days in the Hope that’s available from the God Who called you to this journey in the first place.**
Through the rest of this course, we’ll evaluate every element of homeschooling in light of that definition and goal of homeschooling— and I pray that your eyes will be opened to a better way- and a broader horizon than you would have ever imagined .
For today, though, I encourage you to read through Deuteronomy 6 and see how God tells His people to raise their children. I wrote the Teach Them Diligently parenting book based largely off this passage, in hopes that it would be a great help to parents trying to understand what Biblical parenting looks like.
Check out the last section of Hebrews 6, and bask in the certainty we have when we find our anchor in Christ. Spend some time asking God to make your thoughts in line with His thoughts for your family, then maybe you’ll want to start noting some of the anchors He brings to mind that will be important for your family to cling to in the days ahead. I’d love to hear about them !!
Next time, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the calling you’ve received— and to separate that from anything smaller that God may have used to get your attention. We’ll discover that if your anchor is too light, it won’t hold fast you when the waters get rough. I’ll see you there!
What is Heart Schooling?
Getting a better understanding of all that homeschooling entails will enlarge your vision of it and make you way more likely to stay on mission on those rough days that will come your way.