8 Habits of Highly Effective Homeschoolers
When I first started homeschooling the thought of teaching my kids at home for years overwhelmed me. And yet, when I saw the results of homeschooling in the lives of friends’ families, I couldn’t help but be impressed. I saw bright, well-adjusted, God-fearing teenagers who respected their parents and had many leadership qualities. Still, I wondered, how can we ever get there? Over the years I’ve realized I just need to take homeschooling day by day, and not worry too much about the future. If I take little steps on the path God has laid for me, He will bring success. The little steps can often be very difficult, however. Here are a few habits I believe will help homeschoolers succeed in their endeavors:
1. Commit Our Work Unto the Lord — We need to commit our work unto the Lord each day. If we want God to move in the lives of our children, we need to make spending time with our Lord a priority. It is tempting in the busyness of a homeschool day to skip devotions, feeling that our day is already too busy. But in reality, it is because our day is too busy that we must make time for our Lord and King. Proverbs 16:3 ” Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
2. Develop Consistency — Getting ourselves and our children into a regular routine is necessary. Kids learn best and are more cooperative when they can expect to do the same kinds of work around the same time each day or each week. It also becomes easier to foster independent learning as they get older if our children know what is expected of them each day. Beyond that, teaching and modeling consistency when our children are young will help our children become consistent, dependable adults when they’re grown. Proverbs 10: 5 “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
3. Practice Discipline — When you look back to your own schooling as a young person or child, which teachers do you remember as being the worst? For me it was the ones who had no control over their classrooms. Where chaos reigns, very little learning can take place. We need to consistently address and provide consequences for disrespect and bad behavior, while rewarding and praising the good. If we do so, over time we will have a peaceful home (most of the time!) and a great educational environment. Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.”
4. Persevere — When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. Anyone who tells you homeschooling is easy is either lying, joking, or delusioned! Homeschooling can be very difficult, but if we don’t quit — if we keep going — we will slowly see wonderful results. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
5. Find a Support Team — Finding other homeschoolers who you can talk to, pray for, and ask to pray for you — who can give you advice and listen to your joys and sorrows — is so important! I always thank God for the wonderful women he has surrounded me with. They have been such a blessing to me over the years. If you don’t know any homeschoolers near you, consider joining a homeschool group, or even finding an online support network. Ecclesiastes 4:10 “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
6. Seek Out Enrichment Activities — Get your children involved in projects. Join sports teams, drama or singing groups. Take field trips. All of these “extra” activities are also important to the development of your child’s mind and social skills. Plus they’re a lot of fun! Ecclesiastes 2:24 “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God”
7. Pursue Excellence — As our children grow we will begin to discover some of their special talents, strengths, and gifts. If we teach them to pursue excellence, and capitalize on their strengths (while still working on their weaknesses) we may help set the stage for later fantastic opportunities for jobs, scholarships, and unique positions. Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”
8. Love — Of course, if we practice all of these habits, if our children can read well over grade level and do trigonometry at the age of 10, if they are master violinists, or champion athletes, and we have failed to just love them, to enjoy spending time with them, to play games with them, to rejoice in their joys and feel their sorrows and pain, if at the end of the year we cannot talk to them or really listen to their hopes, wants, and needs, we have failed as parents and educators. Our prayer should always be that we can love our children in what we say and what we do. 1 Corinthians 13:2 “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
The homeschooling task can seem quite daunting! Child of God, keep in mind that God loves you and won’t give you more than you can handle. He also tells us not to worry about the future. He will be carrying you through each day, week, and year. May the Lord continue to surround you with His grace, developing habits that please Him as you homeschool your children.
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Copyright April 2, 2012 by Gwen Fredette
All Scripture taken from NIV (New International Version)