Last night I went to hear Todd Wilson, founder of Family ManMinistries, speak. He, his wife and eight homeschooled children, travel together in an RV around the country and minister to other homeschool families.
Last night’s theme was the Homeschool Fog that so commonly keeps us from seeing the light of truth. This fog is made up of the lies that we fall prey to believing, lies that the enemy and the “experts” would have us believe. To combat these lies, Mr. Wilson reminded us of three TRUTHS that we must remember. What follows is from my notes, and subsequent thoughts, on his talk.
1. Parents are the best teachers.
Why is it that we feel perfectly comfortable teaching our children until age 4 or 5 and then suddenly we feel inept because they reach society’s set “school age”? From creation, parents have been the primary teachers of their children. Somewhere we began to believe that education required an expert. Todd reminded us that God chose us as the specific parents for our children. No one has a more vested interest in the success of our children than their parents. When we are in the fog, we mistakenly believe that we are not qualified to educate our own children.
2. Home is the best place for the child and life is the best classroom.
A classroom full of children cannot get individual attention no matter how skilled the teacher. We have the unique blessing of being in “school” 365 days a year. Learning does not just happen when we are around the table with the math book open. Learning happens constantly. As homeschool parents, we can embrace life as our classroom and find educational opportunities everywhere. Personally, this sometimes drives my children crazy, but I am instilling a love to learn attitude rather than a “check that off the list” mentality. Surrounded by the fog, we will often think that if we miss a day of book learning, no education has occurred.
3. EVERY child is a masterpiece.
God made each child a unique masterpiece. When public schooling became mainstream, there had to be a way to measure progress so tests, grades, standards, honors classes etc. were created. These are all arbitrary. In homeschool, all our students can be A+ students because in spite of our efforts, our children will become exactly what God created them to be. We cannot allow ourselves to believe the lie that there is a magic age for a child to begin reading or to start algebra. Floundering in the fog, we believe that we have failed if our child isn’t reading by age ten.
Mr. Wilson was a pastor for 10 years before beginning this ministry. Humorously, he told us that he never had a person come to him for prayer and guidance because they never learned the Pythagorean Theorem. This story was a wake-up call to remember what is truly important when educating our children. Two main points that he covered were: teach them to trust God and teach them to love their future spouse and children. This is best done by example.
Remember, in a homeschool, school is in session 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Our children are watching how we handle situations in which we must trust God. Are we stressing out about financial instability or praying through it? Are we griping about how bad the political climate has become or teaching them that throughout history God has been in control through similar eras?
How do we speak to our spouse? Do we love and respect as the Bible instructs? Our children are watching and will play this out in their future marriage. They will also mimic our parenting style. Do our children feel loved? Do they see you enjoying them? Do you smile at them? Ask your child, “do mommy and daddy enjoy having children”? Their response may surprise you.
Todd Wilson does an excellent job of ministering to families. He reminds us to keep God first and plant the light of truth in the sand for when the fog sets in. These truths and the Word of God will be a beacon when the enemy and the experts are spreading fog into our homeschool. We must remember that parents are the best teachers, home is the best place to be and that every child is a masterpiece created by God. By having “school” in session 365 days a year, our children can learn to trust God and learn how to love their future wives and children. Our job is to remember these truths and live these truths out as examples for our children to follow. Our children should be enjoyed while in our home. All too quickly they will be grown and gone. Don’t get lost in the fog.