One of the most important things to consider as you plan for a new school year is what really matters, and the need to keep school in its proper place. It’s SO easy to let the academics push the things of eternal value aside, and distract us from our priorities and goals.
When I was a new homeschooling mom I read this article in The Teaching Home magazine. It made a huge impact on me, and encouraged me to focus more on things of eternal value. It reinforced what I believed in my heart — that homeschooling is more about discipleship, than academics.
This article breaks it down, showing what really matters in our homeschools.
Keeping School In Its Proper Place
We should all attempt to approach the education of our children with an open mind. By that I mean, let’s let go of the preconceived ideas of what schooling should be. Pretend there are no such things as institutionalized education or typical courses of study. Start with a blank slate. Here are our children: now, as Godly parents, how and what are we to teach them?
I read once in a dictionary that the word “school” came from the Greek word “schole” meaning “spare time”. A group of young Greeks who would listen to teachers in their spare time were called a “schole”. This group was eager to learn about science and history.
A homeschooling parents, are we spending our precious time teaching and emphasizing those things which should be considered spare-time enrichment?
I have separated what I consider essential learning from spare-time activities. I divided learning into 3 categories.
1. ETERNAL VALUES.
This category should be of first importance to the Christian home. Included here are character development, attitudes, behavior, and personal spiritual growth. So the time we spend dealing effectively with such issues as lying, disobedience, or grumbling is time I consider well spent.
I also consider learning to read as a priority because of being able to read God’s Word. Reading the Bible and praying together with our children is a very important part of the day.
2. PRACTICAL LIVING SKILLS.
This section would cover daily chores, child care, and vocational skills. Along with these we need to teach basic math and writing skills. In our home, learning to do chores well and with a good attitude, comes before “schoolwork”.
SPARE TIME ACTIVITIES.
This is what we call “school”. School activities include lessons in science, history, or geography. Others are penmanship, art, music, phys. ed, and creative play.
If we have lots of time, there are friends, field trips, games, or good books. Of course, our goal is to become more efficient and cooperative so we have lots of spare time to enjoy together.
This breakdown helps me keep my day in focus. I can stop and ask myself “Is this worth our time? Are we using priority time on spare time fun? Am I pushing to fill in blanks and workbooks and failing to discipline for wrong attitudes?”
Our goal is to keep school in its’ proper place and not let it take priority over the more important lessons in life.
As Christian homeschoolers, we all say a Godly upbringing is the priority. But day to day, what do our kids see us fretting about? Are we sending them a mixed message?
I believe that if we are faithful in the first two categories, God will bless us with rich learning experiences and guard us from wasting our time on those activities that have less or no value.
I love the breakdown she gives of the 3 learning categories. What a great reminder to be faithful in teaching things of eternal value!
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