Why did you start homeschooling? For us, it was a desire to be the main influence in our children’s lives. We reasoned that if we were to influence them we needed to spend time with them, in fact we needed to spend more time than anyone else. We believe strongly that the people you hang around with will affect your life.
During the ten years since we began homeschooling we have learnt a lot about what it means to have our children home. We have tried doing school in the traditional sense and I found the biggest problem with that was that I became task orientated – I needed to teach this lesson, and read this book, and do this activity. Though you may achieve a lot when you are task orientated at what cost? The cost for us was relationship. When I become relationship focused I create the atmosphere and give myself the time necessary to reach my children’s hearts – to influence them.
The model of learning that is based on relationships is called discipleship. Discipleship is where the teacher models their life, their beliefs, habits and skills to their disciples. In the family this is when the parents model these things to their children. To disciple our children means to invite them into your life, to let them participate in your life and for them to learn how to do the same as you do.
I have divided our life and its many facets into five overall areas:
I believe that whether you are homeschooling or not, child or adult, we interact with these five areas of life on an everyday level. It is therefore, these five areas that we address when we train our children (and yes it is a prioritized list).
When I plan our lessons for the year I consider every aspect of each child’s life and development – their spiritual, their moral, their emotional, physical and mental, along with the practical skills of life. I believe that this list for each of my children, which is written from my mother heart, is more important than any scope and sequence written by an educator. The main difference between my list and an educators list will be the priority order, relationships and the skills necessary to develop and maintain relationships always come first for me.
God gives us the command – love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself. This command makes clear that the priority for us, as followers of Christ, is relationships – both with God and man. This is the basis for discipleship in our home.
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