By Contributing Writer, Terry Covey
There are countless methods, styles, and curricula for successfully teaching our children at home. And I could share some of those differing views, along with the benefits of various approaches, but just as I am prone to do, you might begin to question your own program or feel compelled to try a new one before you’re ready.
So…..I decided to choose the reverse angle. Rather than share the “how-to’s” on home education, I’ll share some “how not to’s” that I’ve discovered over the years. Use them to re-evaluate what you’re doing before you change course.
What Not To Do In Your Home School
- Don’t treat your children like students (remember, you’re their momma!) but do teach them how to love being a student in God’s classroom. Teach them to love learning all they can about God’s creation and His world.
- Don’t turn your home into a school; just learn at home. Your children don’t have to have their own desk and be seated properly, with all the subjects and classes strictly laid out in perfect order. If that’s your style, great. But feel free to order your day by what works for you. Be creative, and enjoy learning with your kids!
- Don’t make your school day so relaxed and flexible that you never really get to the good stuff. Find a balance between structure and freedom that allows plenty of time to learn, along with generous amounts of time to experience and grow in your children’s bents.
- Don’t teach your children that straight A’s are the goal. Teach your children to see their individual talents as gifts from God, using them wisely and creatively. Make trusting in Jesus and knowing Him as Lord the goal.
- Don’t try too hard - you’ll make everyone, especially yourself, miserable. Take a step back and relax a bit. Look for the joy in it all.
- Learn from your mistakes and move on. Learn to laugh at failures. You’ll never be perfect, so teach your children how to enjoy the ride. Now that’s one I need to memorize!
- Don’t believe the lie that just because you use this curriculum, or teach that subject, or have a perfectly ordered day, you’ll turn out the perfect child. Nothing but God can do that! Pray, ponder your ways, and ask God to show you what each child needs to conform to God’s will (no, not your will!).
- Don’t pattern your ideas of education and success after the world. Seek Scripture to find what God sees as important in the development of a person. Let each child develop and grow in their individual bent, their personal talents and interests. You will be amazed at how quickly they succeed in activities that are geared towards those bents.
- Don’t believe that the only avenue to success is through one mode of education, namely a college degree. Believe it or not, none of our children has gone to college, and yet, our adult children are highly educated and qualified in the particular field they are working in, and they make good incomes. Of course, if their field of interest requires a college education (law, medicine, etc.) then we are certainly not opposed to it. But there are many careers where experience and education can still be gained in a manner similar to apprenticeship.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8