Summer is almost over and homeschooling parents everywhere are gathering curriculum for the coming year. Catalogs are filled with items that promise to bring success to your homeschool, things you don't dare skip...but don't let the advertisements fool you, here are the only things you really DON'T want to do without...
1. A Heart of Prayer
Not just prayer, but a vibrant, consistent relationship with the Lord! He promises to give us wisdom, supply all our needs, and teach us His ways, but in order to do that, we have to follow the principles set forth in His Word and abide in Him.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." James 1:5-6
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
2. A Heart of Obedience
God wants to establish His order in our homes—parents in obedience to Him, and children in obedience to the parents and to God. Homeschooling without divine order in the home can lead to chaos. Disobedient children, disobedient parents—what a mess!
- Take time to train and teach your children consistently to obey without whining and constant reminders.
- Submit yourselves each day to God and determine to respond to situations as HE would have you respond instead of yielding to the flesh.
- Be that godly example for your children; sometimes the attitudes that distress us so in our children are merely reflections of our own sins.
- Allow God to search your hearts and His peace will reign in your home. What a difference it will make—you'll ALL enjoy being together so much more!
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:7-8
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." Colossians 3:20-21
3. Commitment and Perseverance
Homeschoolers should count the cost; homeschooling takes time and patience. Every single day isn't going to produce those golden educational triumphs you read about in homeschool articles. Steady progress in learning is encouraging but there are ebbs and flows to academic development just like in physical development. Children grow and learn at different paces —don't be discouraged when some things take longer to grasp than you'd expected.
- Maintain a balanced perspective by looking at what you're accomplishing over the period of a week or month instead of each day.
- Pace yourself so neither you nor your children burn out.
- Prayerfully determine both long-term and short-term goals.
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9
4. A Joyful Heart
To be joyful is a decision we must make each day. Our joy can't be based merely upon our outward circumstances but it should be based upon Whom we know: Jesus Christ—Who has all our circumstances under control! Paul knew what it was like to be joyful in the face of adversity. [See "None of These Things Move Me"] We can have joy at ALL times simply because we know and trust Jesus.
Mothers especially have the opportunity to set the tone and atmosphere for the home—wouldn't you rather live in a joyful home than a discouraging, depressing home? If we allow the enemy to rob us of our joy, we allow him to rob of us our strength. We grow weary, depressed and the children suffer, too. Teaching becomes a chore instead of a privilege and learning becomes dull and dreary for all. If you fall into this snare, confess your sin to the Lord, get into His Word, start praising Him and allow Him to refresh you by His Holy Spirit!
"The joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10
"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee." Psalm 5:11
5. A Heart of Faith
Oh how we need faith! Faith in the LORD—that He will bless the homeschooling and discipling of our children. He has plans for each one—He knows their needs and future and promises to give us wisdom to equip them if we will trust Him! Our own strength and wisdom will always fall short but God's strength and wisdom will never fail. Tap into His promises today—ask Him and have faith that He will provide!
Someone once described faith as simply believing God will do what He said He would do in His Word. No situation is too minor for Him to care about—whether you need wisdom in selecting the proper curriculum for your child or in creating a workable schedule for your day, or even in learning how to teach your child a new concept. Look to God to provide these answers and direct your steps. You'll be amazed at how He answers once you begin expecting Him to actually respond to your prayers!
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:24
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised..." Hebrews 10:23
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6
None of these "essentials" for this school year can be found apart from Jesus Christ. He has already purchased all of this for you through His shed blood on the cross. If you have been taking Him for granted or leaving Him out of your "back to school" plans, won't you take time to seek His face today? He promises to meet with you, if you will but seek Him with your whole heart. Take time to discover His plans for your family and put them into practice this year—the benefits reaped will be of eternal value!
"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart." Psalm 119:2
"Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:12-13
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." Ephesians 3:20
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to: Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.