There are many things pulling on the homeschool mom’s mind. From what methods to use, what curriculum to buy, how to balance it all with all the kids and how to be a one-teacher classroom. And though I understand the temptations my biggest homeschool encouragement is to stay heart focused.
What if Mums were to pause and think about what they really wanted to achieve in their child’s life by the time they leave homeschool?
Most people who answer this question answer with things like:
- I want my child to be a follower of Christ
- To be responsible and be able to work
- I want them to stand strong for what they believe
- My desire is for them to be a good friend, be loyal, patient, kind
- To handle money wisely
- I want them to care for people and the environment
- For them to be good friends with their siblings
Though each of the above is a practical life skill, it is driven or motivated by a heart focus.
As homeschool moms we start to plan lessons, write up routines and spend money on resources to give our children knowledge.
We give very little thought to the heart beliefs and values that will motivate our children to truly learn the skills that will help them be the people we want them to be by the time they leave school.
5 KEYS TO BEING HEART FOCUSED IN YOUR HOMESCHOOL
What is the “heart”?
When the Bible talks about the heart it is talking about the core of us that processes our beliefs and values and determines our will.
There is a Bible verse which I am sure you are very familiar with: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23 (NIV)
Everything we do comes out of what is in our heart, which makes putting stuff into the heart pretty important.
As a parent, we are to ‘put into’ our kids’ hearts beliefs and virtues that will enable them to make wise choices in their life, now and for their adult life ahead.
The caution is that teaching our child’s heart is not like teaching knowledge. It isn’t about giving a lesson on kindness and then moving onto math.
No, heart lessons need time to be rooted in the heart.
Because what is in the heart isn’t just a belief – it is a belief that is lived out. The beliefs and values held in the heart dictate the choices we make.
So it takes time to get heart lessons from the head to hands to heart. It isn’t something we can rush.
Arranging our Homeschool to be Heart Focused
As soon as we take on homeschooling our parenting focus gets clouded by math, science, learning to read, and keeping up with everyone else.
When we focus on those things we struggle to find the time to teach our kids about God, and how to live a life of good character.
A lot of the choices we make actually come from our heart.
Read More: Preparing your Heart for a Heart-Focused Homeschool” a free resource to help you keep your own heart-healthy as you homeschool.
Though academic studies do have to happen they can be a distraction from the heart lessons, our ultimate goal for our kids.
Making the time to be heart focused in our family and homeschool starts with being comfortable with having different priorities than others.
If we are going to take time to pursue God and relationships then there is going to be less time to pursue chemistry, geography, and literature.
I know that sounds scary.
But if you look back at your list of what you want for your children by the time they reach 18 then you will see that you have to make time for those things to be taught and practiced and established in your child’s life.
We can’t have it all. We have to choose our priorities and pursue them with conviction.
How to be Heart Focused in your Homeschool
1–Put Relationships First
In our family relationships first means that anything to do with our relationship with God and our relationship with each other takes priority over everything else.
It means that when there is a glitch in our relationship we will put aside our activities (whether it is Math or English or a family picnic) and get things right.
Sometimes that takes a decent amount of time. There is no expectation on how quickly we need to get our heart or relationships right – the important thing is that we get there.
2–Intentionally Teach Character
Through our homeschooling years, we took one character trait each month and discussed what this would look like in our life.
We then gave ourselves some challenges during the month so that we had the opportunity to choose to put that character trait into practice.
Though we had these intentional lesson times I also found everyday life applications. I gave each member of our family unplanned challenges to practice how to live a life of character.
3–Give Priority Time to Bible Study as a Family
In a sense, this comes under “Relationships First” as studying the Bible is about getting to know God. But I list it on its own because it made up a big part of our homeschool day.
We would do a Bible study (interactive and age-appropriate) first up most mornings. I tried not to restrict this time by looking at the clock.
I wanted our children to delight in God’s word and not see it as a school subject to tick off their day’s list.
4–Take any opportunity to teach a life skill
One of the mantras that undergirded our homeschool was: Life is our homeschool. This meant when something needed doing we did it.
We made time for the practical things of life. Whether that was in the home or in the community.
As our children engaged with people and circumstances they learned to live out relationships first, reflect and represent God in all their choices, and always live out their values (character).
Of course, this was a learning process – but one we valued, so we made time for it.
5–Teach the values behind the choices
As our children have grown older I’ve been very aware that our children are good at remembering but not so good at interpreting.
That is, they will remember what we did but not so much why we did it.
This is why it is so important that we tell our children the value or virtue behind the choices we are making as a person, or as a parent.
They need to know what makes this activity the right choice.
- What makes helping this person the right thing to do?
- Why is picking up the toys the right thing to do?
- Help them understand why banking our money the right thing to do.
As we answer this question we are teaching them values and virtues behind the actions – the true definition of a heart focused lesson.
Homeschool Encouragement: Stay Heart Focused
Does this ring true to you? If so can I encourage you to pick one of two steps to start with?
1– Write up a list of what you would like your child to be like by the time they are 18.
2– Look at your daily life (routine) and see where you need to tweak things so you have time for heart-focused time with your kids.
Which step towards a heart focused homeschool will you take today?
Belinda blogs at Live life with your Kids – where she encourages families to be intentional and relational as they build a strong family. Belinda is married to Peter, lives in Australia and homeschooled their 4 kids – Joshua, Jessica, Nomi and Daniel. The youngest has just graduated but Belinda continues to encourage the hearts of mums and dads with writing, speaking at conferences and coaching one on one. Other than that Belinda is learning to balance her time between redecorating (after homeschooling for 20 years), scrapbooking and sewing, connecting with women in her home town. But of course, it doesn’t matter how old your kids are – they always come first.
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Don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series!