If you homeschool, I have a secret for you —- Homeschooling isn’t enough!
After 31 years of homeschooling, I still remember something I heard someone say in my 2nd year of teaching our kids. I was at a support group meeting, and this lady was attending for the first time. She was planning to take her kids out of public school and home school them. I told her that was great, and that there are many benefits to homeschooling.
She replied: “I know! I have several friends who have been homeschooling, and all of them have really good kids, so that’s why I’m doing it. I want my kids to turn out good!”
She wasn’t wrong for hoping this was the key. I know I did! However, homeschooling isn’t enough!
My Little Homeschooling Secret – It’s Not Enough
No, homeschooling doesn’t guarantee that your kids will “turn out good!” Many, many homeschooled kids DO turn out good and go on to follow and serve the Lord. However, it’s NOT simply because of homeschooling.
It’s easy to think that if we are following certain steps in our parenting, protecting our kids from the wrong influences, and seeing they are outwardly obedient, it guarantees they are going to stay true to the values we have taught them, and avoid significant struggles with sin. What we fail to remember is that they are individuals with free will. Yes, we should teach them and train them in the ways of God, and teach them our values. However, we need to let go of the idea that a certain “formula” guarantees good kids!
Often, we tend to judge our “success” on how our kids turn out. We worry more about having “failed” than we do about making sure we have done our part. I love how Reb Bradley says it in the book, Solving a Crisis in Christian Parenting:
One of the reasons parents home school is because they want to accomplish something good in their children. Success in homeschooling requires that academic, moral, and spiritual goals be set. It is only natural for parents to have high hopes and dreams for their children. However, when we begin to see our children as a reflection or validation of US, we become the center of our dreams, and the children become our source of significance. When that happens in our home it affects the way we relate with our children, and subtly breaks down relationship.
….from God’s standpoint, parents’ success is measured by their obedience–not by how their children ultimately choose to respond to their influence.”
Homeschooling isn’t enough, if we aren’t obedient in how we teach, train, and disciple our kids. I believe that by our influence we can greatly increase the chances that our kids will love and follow Christ.
There are two things we need to be purposeful about that will help us gain influence with our children.
1. We need to remember that how we live influences them more than the “formula” we follow.
When our kids see our love for God and His Word, they are much more likely to have a thirst for the things of God. They watch how we live, and the decisions we make show them what we really value.
2. We must remember that having their hearts increases the chances of our kids “turning out good.”
They are much, much more likely to “buy in” to what we believe and teach if we have their heart. By having their heart, we gain their trust. They realize that we are concerned about what is best for them, rather than feeling like we are just trying to control them. This in turn gives us influence with them. Solomon is a great example of this balanced parenting. When he encouraged his young adult children and gave them commandments, he realized that for them to honor those commands, he needed their heart. (Proverbs 23:26)
Winning the hearts of our children is one of the most important things we can do as parents!
The point of telling this secret is not to discourage you, but rather to remind you that even though homeschooling gives us more opportunities to influence our children, and protect them, it doesn’t guarantee the results. We need to focus instead on being obedient to God by faithfully teaching and training them in His ways while seeking to win their heart. Leave the results to God, while praying for Him to work in their hearts!
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Leah, glad you liked it! 🙂 I know what you mean too about the boastful feeling we can get as moms, as well as the worry about what others may think. I’m glad that we don’t have to focus on the behavior so much as on our faithfulness in training.
Rachel, I love the book Parenting is Heart Work! It is such a great reminder about focusing our the heart of our child, and also has practical tips.
Kathie, you are right all parenting is about heart work. Touching the hearts of children to see God and have a relationship with Him. One of my favorite books is Parenting is Heart Work because it reminds me that parenting is not just changing behavior but changing the heart that created the behavior. Thanks for sharing at Mom-to-Mom Mondays.
I love this. It totally makes sense. I know it’s hard not to feel a little boastful when my son is good and a little embarrassed of what strangers must think of me as a mom when he’s not. This is a great reminder that he’s his own person and that it’s not necessarily a reflection on me (usually ;))