Homeschooling for Discipleship
There were many things that initially drew me into homeschooling — I loved the idea of allowing my children more time to play, to develop at their own pace and on their own schedule, spending more time with them, choosing the content of their curriculum and exposing to them to what I saw fit when I saw fit.
As each year passes, my conviction and motivation to homeschool increases, but not necessarily because of all those original ideas. Sure, I love that my kids have more than double the free time and family time than that of their public schooled peers. I’m thankful for the control I have over the content of their education, as well as the relaxed, on our own terms lifestyle homeschooling affords. But those are no longer the reasons I homeschool.
What keeps me motivated and convicted to homeschool? What is my over-arching vision and perspective?
Discipleship is the lens through which I have come to view everything, from academics to extra-curricular activities. It is the the how and why of our daily lives.
I’m sure you are already familiar with the term discipleship, but I’d like to just give a brief, to the point definition anyway — discipleship is the process through which disciples or Christ followers are made. Discipleship includes planting the seeds of faith through the gospel, and instruction on how to follow and obey the Lord.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
When I say that I view homeschooling through the lens of discipleship, what do I mean? I mean that I see homeschooling, and all that it entails, as the setting in which the discipleship of my children occurs.
Discipleship extends to all areas of life. It is not limited to the structured, pre-planned Bible reading and studying times we have with our children.
Discipleship in academics.
Discipleship in life skills.
Discipleship in habits.
Discipleship in relationships.
Discipleship in matters of faith.
Discipleship and faith are not merely a subject to fit in our schedule, a curriculum we choose or a specific compartment of our lives. It isn’t a box that we can check off.
The work of discipleship isn’t complete with a confession of salvation either, we must be teaching our children “to observe all that He has commanded”.
How does homeschooling facilitate discipleship?
The biggest factor by far is time. Parents are instructed in Deuteronomy 6:7 to teach their children God’s word “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”. Its an all day affair.
The values we wish to teach our children, the knowledge, wisdom, and skills we wish to pass on to them, are not going to be easily passed in the busyness that is modern family life.
Homeschooling gives us the greatest asset (and gift!) of all — time. Through homeschooling, I have 7 + more hours a day to instruct my children than if they went to traditional school. That is time to build the relationship necessary for discipleship to occur. Time to teach. Time to demonstrate godly habits. Time to fail, forgive, and try again.
Another important factor is that I get to be the primary influence in the lives of my children. I am their primary teacher. I also have a whole lot more control over which other adults have influence in the lives of my children.
What does discipleship look like in our homeschool?
When I teach my children to work hard at cleaning the bathroom or in completing a math assignment, that’s discipleship.
When we enjoy praying and singing God’s praise together throughout the day, that’s discipleship.
When they learn to serve each other, share, and demonstrate love in action, that’s discipleship.
While they learn to care for the needs of family members, take care of the home, and interact with neighbours and strangers, that’s discipleship.
When I need to ask for their forgiveness, acknowledge my failures and confess my struggles, that’s discipleship.
Do I want my kids to be successful? Do I want my kids to excel academically? Do I want them to be prepared for a future career? Sure. But of far greater importance to me is the persons they are growing to be, the relationships they will have with the Lord and the role they will play in His kingdom.
Read more posts about what homeschooling means to other homeschooling families over at the iHomeschool Network’s Beyond Academics: What Homeschooling Means to Us link up.
This post is linked-up at Trivium Tuesdays.