In these days of everyone homeschooling, life has taken a drastic turn for many people. For me, I am in my 15th year of homeschooling, so I would like to offer some encouragement to those who are new to it. While I have seen many posts on social media contrasting homeschooling under normal conditions with the current e-learning situation in which many people now find themselves, there are some principles which relate to both scenarios.
As a Christ-follower, my example for life is found in Jesus. While we may not initially think about Jesus in connection with homeschooling, let’s take a second look. Jesus’ earthly ministry consisted largely of teaching. In fact, He was often referred to as “Teacher” or “Rabbi”. As we look to Jesus’ example of teaching, we observe some principles that we can apply to our own homeschooling. Jesus taught out of love for His students, He taught with patience, and He taught with a sensitivity toward how much His listeners could handle.
Jesus taught out of love.
God is love. Jesus, as the earthly manifestation of God in flesh, is also love. He ministered to people out of love for them. He healed people and taught them because of His heart of love for them. Similarly, we must teach our own children out of a heart of love. Presumably, we do love our children, but teaching can be trying and frustrating at times. We need to rely on the Lord to help us teach out of love in those challenging moments. Rather than respond in frustration or anger, we need to maintain an attitude of grace and love as we persevere with teaching our own children. I Peter 4:8 challenges us to, “Above all, keep on loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins”. Love will cover our shortcomings with teaching and communicate volumes to our children about how we value them.
Jesus taught with patience.
People can be frustrating. Our own children can be frustrating. Jesus constantly had to repeat Himself or offer additional explanations for things He had already told His disciples. Similarly, we may need to repeat instruction to our children multiple times as we homeschool. Sometimes it may feel like we are repeating the same instructions or explanations 50 times! In the midst of such situations, we have an opportunity to demonstrate patience toward our students. Our demeanor and attitude in frustrating times is an example to our children – whether good or bad. We can lose our temper and become agitated, or we can demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit by showing patience and gentleness. As we teach, we must remember that the character we display will teach as much to our children as the facts we communicate to them.
Jesus taught with sensitivity.
Jesus knows everything, yet He did not expect His followers to learn everything immediately. He was sensitive toward how much they could handle at a certain point in time. He laid a foundation incrementally for His listeners and did not overwhelm them with all the information at one time. Similarly, we need to offer information in manageable amounts to our children as we teach them. We cannot expect them to absorb huge amounts of information in small amounts of time. We also cannot expect them to know everything we know about a subject. There will come a point where are children will learn more than we know about certain topics, but in the meantime, we need to offer them appropriate amounts of information at a time. Consider the age, ability, and aptitude of each child individually. Challenge them to do all that they can, but also be mindful of limitations. Realize that some days there will be additional challenges such as illness or stress or tiredness. Be realistic about the situation and set your expectations accordingly.
While being thrown into schooling at home with e-learning is certainly not ideal, homeschooling, regardless of the circumstances, has many significant benefits. I have homeschooled two children who are now in college, one who is graduating from high school next month, and one who is in middle school. At this point in my homeschooling journey, I am grateful for all the time that I have had with my children because of homeschooling. I am convinced that the close relationship I have with each of my children is due in large part to homeschooling.
So, for however long your homeschooling journey lasts, I would encourage you to relish the time that you have with your children. Enjoy the opportunity to see them learn and grow. Pray for patience to teach with love and sensitivity toward your children. Relax. Keep a gentle and positive attitude as you teach. Children learn and absorb information throughout all of life, so look for teachable moments throughout each day. Set expectations and challenge them to strive for excellence, but also be realistic about how much they can handle in a given day. Trust the Lord to use this time together in ways beyond what you can imagine. God has given you this season of homeschooling for a reason, so seek to follow Jesus’ example as you navigate through it. Teach with genuine love, pray for patience, and seek to be sensitive to the needs of your students. And as you do, look for unexpected blessings that may surprise you.