"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut. 6:7)
A few months ago we made the decision to homeschool Lily when she starts Kindergarten next year. It was a decision that weighed heavy on my heart until I finally gave in and told God I was up for the challenge. And since I'm a type-A personality (God made me that way quite possibly for a time like this) I've already begun planning and preparing. The first step in the process was to ensure I had a good handle on our household chores so that I can be sure to keep up with the added work load of homeschooling. I created a Family Chore Chart that lists chores for each day so that by the end of the week every thing gets done: laundry, kitchen, floors, bathrooms, bedding & towels, dusting, sorting, groceries, and picking up. Of course there are always extra projects and we just squeeze those in when needed.
I've also sorted out all of the kids toys and put most of them away (I stole this idea from Michelle Duggar, the mother of 18 and counting). The idea behind this is to help children focus on just one or two toys at a time, and then they learn to clean up before getting out other toys. This has already helped me out tremendously since there aren't tons of toys scattered across the house all day long creating more work for me. I've sorted toys and put them in labeled totes: trains, cars, Barbies, blocks, crayons, play food & kitchen stuff, etc. And then the totes are kept in a location out of reach from the kids. If they want to play with them they simply ask me and I will get them out for them after they clean up their prior mess. Although, they have instant access to their few favorites in the toy boxes (Lily's dinosaurs and Schaeffer's cars). I've already noticed that Lily will stay focused longer on a set of toys when other things are out of view and not creating a distraction for her. She has a tendency to bounce around between toys and never complete a thought or series of events, and she even gets overwhelmed by the clutter (this is typical of children with sensory processing disorder). So this type of organization is important to help her learn focus and concentration.
One of my favorite recent projects, BJ helped me turn a coat closet into a supply closet where I can organize and stack all of our coloring books, paper, craft supplies, games, puzzles, etc. I love this closet! It's like my sanctuary. When we want to do a fun crafty project I just reach for the labeled boxes, get out the supplies and then return them once we are done. This closet has simplified my life so much!
Meantime, I've been praying over my homeschool goals. I had read that it's wise to create some goals so that everything you do can be filtered through them. And since I just began researching curriculum options I now see why having written goals is important ~ there are a million options and it can get overwhelming fast! Having my goals helps me see if the curriculum and the tons of ideas out there are going to stack up against my goals. All my goals come from a Biblical worldview, which is very important to me. So I included the verses that support them. I hope to memorize these scriptures over time and teach them to my kids.
My homeschool goals are to lead my children to:
1. Have a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
· I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
· For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
· For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
2. Love the Lord their God with all their hearts, soul, minds, and strength.
· And he [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
· But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul. (Joshua 22:5)
3. Love others.
· You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
· Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)
4. Enthusiastically embrace the Truth; love righteousness and hate evil.
· I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:19)
· Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
5. Be wise in the LORD and to be trained in the Truth of God’s Word as it relates to every academic discipline.
· The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)
· Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
· And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
6. Connect the Bible to real world so that they have a proper foundation for understanding this world in which we live, and therefore, making them able to answer many challenges they will face in our culture.
· For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
· So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16)
7. Persevere and find joy in learning and growing into the people God desires us to be.
· For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15)
· Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
· Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
There's so much more to do, but I'm grateful that I have a full year to research, plan, and pray. I'm really excited about all the ideas and boundless opportunities in educating my children.