Our homeschool has evolved over the years. I think in the beginning, the Bible was weaved into our daily schedule. Yet over the years, instead of weaving it in and out, it has become the firm foundation we need it to be in order to succeed.
I have often said that I don’t care if my children know all the math and science in the world, if they don’t know God, then I haven’t done my job. What good is it to acquire knowledge without first having godly wisdom?
Call me an underachiever, but what does it matter to be successful in the world’s eyes, but not God’s? Who defines success? I may be an underachiever by the world’s standards, but I am not looking for worldly achievement, but to make disciples- and that my friends is eternal gain.
I started this journey as a call from God. It was not something I wanted to do, and definitely not something I thought I could do. But I did it for Him, and it is all about Him. Yes, our homeschool revolves around Him.
He is the firm foundation. He is weaved throughout all of our lessons and He has built this homeschool. Without Him, I stand alone, and I will fail. He started this journey, He will walk us through it, and He will see it end.
So really, the Bible is a central part of our homeschool- everything we learn is from Him. It isn’t something we add into our studies, but something that we revolve everything around. He created History, Science, and Math. I love seeing His hand in everything. So while we have to be intentional about pointing to Him in each subject, most times, He is revealed to us already- we just need to open our eyes and see.
A Bible-based homeschool is really just what we have naturally progressed to over the years. I couldn’t imagine teaching any other way. He is the foundation of our life, and that most certainly applies to our homeschool. This life He has given us is His and we will walk with Him wherever He takes us.
This year we begin our 15th year of homeschooling. Having successfully graduated one that is off at college, and still homeschooling three more, I can clearly look back now at the things I wished I had known sooner! But my mistakes can hopefully be someone’s help!
So, here are my biggest tips to homeschooling! (for more homeschooling encouragement, click here)
Homeschool is not school at home.
Early on I tried to recreate the schoolroom in my house. It took a few years until I realized, homeschooling is completely different than just doing school at home. It is a lifestyle and a way of life. It provides the freedom to learn without being confined to four walls. You do not need a classroom in your home to teach. In fact, the best learning took place in our yard, on the couch, and at the kitchen table.
Real-life is really the teacher.
Most of the best lessons we learned over the years were never in a plan book or a textbook. They took place in real life. After all, we are preparing our children for life, not a test.
It’s okay to not finish a book.
Learning doesn’t take place when we cram. That may store knowledge into our minds, but true learning takes place when it is paced according to the learner’s needs. Don’t stress about finishing every book. I learned that schools rarely gets through a whole text in a year. And if you don’t finish during the school year, but you really want or need to, you have time. Finish it over the summer or even next school year. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are on your own schedule.
Stick with what works.
Let’s face it. These days there is so much available to homeschoolers and most if it is really good! We have endless options. But if you find something you like, stick with it. Don’t let the new and latest curriculum tempt you from what is already tried and true. Otherwise, we play the game of curriculum swap every year and we never really get into a good routine. So stick with what works, even when your friend says, “Oh, I saw this new math book…” 😉
Keep it simple.
My mantra. In all things. Simple is best and when you weed out all of the distractions, it is truly beneficial for everyone. Homeschooling does NOT have to be complicated. In fact, it is glorious when it isn’t! Too often we left the distractions drown us. Be free of all the extras. Keep God at the center. Love on your family. Enjoy learning together. Build your family. Not just a transcript.
One of the greatest blessings that have been a result of homeschooling is our family and the relationships we have built. We are a close-knit family. And I believe because we invested our time and energy into that, it has paid off. Was it always easy? NO. But nothing worth doing ever is. When attitudes were poor, instead of pushing books more, those were the times we focused on character and discipleship. Because when the relationship between you and your child is solid, it makes academic issues easier to conquer- together.
Never, by any means, compare.
The comparison trap will steal all the joy from your homeschool. Your homeschool is not supposed to look like anyone else’s. God created YOUR family for a unique purpose and He will accomplish those purposes uniquely to your family. When you look at what everyone else is doing, it is coveting someone else’s life. Keep your eyes on God. Don’t think the grass is greener elsewhere. Tend to your own. And remember, you answer to God alone. We work for an audience of one.
As we approach the end of this journey for our oldest child, I have learned that homeschooling is more than books. Homeschooling is more than tests. Our kids are more than a curriculum.
From the early years on, I pored over curriculum catalogs, dreamed big dreams of what our days would look like, spent hours researching the best methods, and ultimately life proved much different than those early dreams.
Homeschooling is a way of life, and education is not limited to the quantification of a test grade. My kids have learned far beyond walls of a classroom.
That time we bought a house, sold our house, and then it all fell through? They learned about some real life there- mortgages, inspections, attorney reviews. All things I never knew about until I was an adult!
Those times learning how to raise animals here on our little hobby farm- building coops and barn stalls, planting and harvesting a garden, milking goats? Not just skills that involved science and math, but skills you can’t just learn about in a book. Caring for living creatures, showing compassion, responsibility, and dedication.
The times that we walked through deep sorrow and grief as tragedy struck in lives close to us? Difficult times, but life lessons for sure. Attending funerals, handling grief, being there for friends, and dealing with emotions as they drove us to our Savior’s arms. Lessons that can never be taught in a book.
The joys, the excitement, the highs…all experiences that must be lived. Not taught in a book.
Relationships that have been built. Bonds that have formed. Our family is a so tight-knit and close, all because we have lived each day together.
So while I remember those early years of thinking I need that perfect curriculum, that perfect set up, that perfect room, that perfect method. I see that the only perfect was really the life God was creating for us to live…and the learning as we went. Experience has after all been, the best teacher.
I just returned from speaking at the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Arkansas this weekend and it was a blessed time! I cherish these trips and the opportunities to speak to so many families that are investing in their families by homeschooling their children.
As I spoke to families of all walks on their journey, one thing became so clear. Everyone wants to do the best job they can. Everyone wants that perfect curriculum or setup. Everyone wants to succeed. And that is a good thing!
And as I walked the vendor halls with so many amazing resources and so many different choices, I was however struck how we need to be so very careful to not measure our success in those externals. It is all about the eternals.
I truly believe the most important book you can teach in your homeschool is the Bible. Without it, everything else is for naught. You children’s core should be shaped by God’s truths.
So while curriculum and resources and all that stuff are important, do not let it take place of the truly important.
The Bible teaches your children who God is, who they are in Christ, godly wisdom, moral laws, and more. It will shape them with God as their center. It is without a doubt, the most important book in your homeschool.
I have seen the Bible and God transform my life. I know without a doubt that my life is built upon the truths found in that book…which is more than a book…it is living Truth.
I must pass that down to the next generation. They must be equipped in this world that is so upside down, with the absolute truths of God’s Word. There really is no better way to equip them for life, than to follow God.
Once they are following Him and His truths, they will be ready for all that comes their way in life.
Academics are important, but life isn’t live based on them alone. And I believe when we are following God, they will naturally fall into place because we will want to do well, work hard, and be a good steward of our learning.
God alone is what we live for. And when we forget that and start to live for the temporary things of this world, we will struggle to keep our focus.
So remember, above anything you can do, teach your child who God is, and teach from His Word. You can’t go wrong.
My new e-course is NOW available! Join many others who have signed up to make the Bible the foundation of their homeschool!