If you have been homeschooling for any length of time, you will eventually question your pursuit of this education-at-home idea. Difficult seasons, difficult children, difficult life circumstances—all can cause you to pause and wonder if you can keep going. Especially in the winters of our lives, we need a reason, a passion, to keep pursuing our best goals. It is exactly during times like these that we need to know the passion behind the pursuit.
Pursuing an excellent education is a worthwhile idea, but the passion behind that would be to know that our Creator approves of this plan because that is how He set things up in the beginning. He created parents to be the primary teachers of their children. Knowledge that God designed this should give us the passion for this pursuit. And the knowledge that the One who called you will equip you and give you not only the passion for home education but the ability to pursue it in a real-life way is so reassuring.
This verse in Philippians speaks to both passion (to will) and pursuit (to do) and that both are worked in us and through us by God Himself:
“For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”Philippians 2:13
I have seen this scenario play out in my children’s education in practical ways. I have found that their passion leads to progress in academic pursuits.
Children have overcome reading struggles as we have given them books that please them, interest them, and hold their attention, things they are passionate about. We find books, magazines, or activities that go along with that. Their passion for the subject produces the progress in their reading skills. When they struggle through reading something they love, that passion for the subject fuels their progress.
A few of my children were good writers from day one. Some had meltdowns at the mention of getting something from their brains onto paper. For some, typing on the computer was less stressful. I have them write about the books they love, the places and people who are interesting, science facts they think are amazing, and the events in history that stand out to them. For my 12-year-old son, who is too active to sit still very long, I have him read small sections of good educational books in science and history and write down what interested him that day. Little by little, every day, we watch progress happen in both reading and writing.
The younger children always narrated to me about the books or things in nature or documentaries they loved, and I wrote or typed it for them as they spoke. I asked good questions to get them to keep talking. When they saw the finished product of their own thoughts on paper, they were proud of their progress. As they grew, they eventually became confident enough to do their own writing. Then, writing for contests became a pursuit. They put all their effort into contests where prizes fueled the passion.
Science becomes exciting when it comes out of the book and becomes hands-on experiments and projects. You will see which of your children are your STEM children as they don’t complain about the little bit of writing needed for the lab reports. When they pick up the science and nature magazines on their own, and when nature walks are begged for, capturing and drawing insects is exciting, and when pressing flowers becomes a joyful pursuit, you know you are creating passion that lasts.
Sometimes we have to do things we have no passion for in life because they are good or necessary. Math can be one of those things that prepare children for this real life application of perseverance. Creating more passion for this sometimes tear-inducing subject could include technology time on math apps one day a week instead of workbooks; STEM activities; and real life math applications in the kitchen and in the store; or keeping a ledger or spreadsheet of income or expenses as they start little jobs. You may be surprised to find a child grow in passion in this area. I have had some kids grow in passion for math after they saw progress or points above their peers on a yearly standardized test and realized they were actually good at math.
Electives are often what the pursuit for career choices are fueled by. It is all those extras we pursued in art that caused a couple of my children to become artists or pursue an art education in college. It is the music lessons we made sure all of our children had access to in the early years that created the passion for a music pursuit in the higher years and beyond. It was the pursuit of outdoor science activities and animal studies that created the passion for one to become a zoologist and one an entomologist. It was feeding the passion for sign language that created the desire and outcome of a certified Deaf interpreter. Even standing and giving babies in the womb a voice, created the passion for one to be a fulltime pro-life missionary. It is not always the academics that lead to careers, but everything else we do around the academics.
This has got to be the most important food to fuel the children’s spiritual life passion. Don’t starve them here! Give them daily Bible reading, and weekly Scriptures for copy-work and memorization. Break down words and meanings. Use Bible in art: calligraphy, painting, wood burning. Listen to Scriptures in song for the little ones (Steve Green’s Hide ’Em in Your Heart is one of our favorites) and for the older ones keep a playlist of Scriptural or worship music. As parents, the Bible tells us that our first priority is passing on a passion for God, His Word, and His Ways. Create memorable days with your children so you see their eyes light up with joy when you talk about the Scriptures. (See A Homeschool Winter Retreat Day below for creating something memorable!)
Feed their passions and let them pursue their interests, and watch them grow. But, how about your own homeschooling? Need some renewed passion? Take a “Teacher Instruction” day and give the kids a day off while you read a good book (or a homeschool magazine!) on why you are homeschooling, how to teach a certain subject, use that new curriculum, start that new planner, or get their schoolwork organized.
If you need passion to continue this homeschool pursuit, ask God to show you His passion for His children and where He wants to take them. Make a daily habit of being in the presence of God through His Word and constant prayer. You will find daily passion and refreshing there as you pursue a Godly education at Home. Where They Belong.
A Homeschool Winter Retreat Day
This is a special memorable day to put the regular schoolwork aside and host a mini-retreat with your children.
- Create a comfortable place for all to gather.
- Pick a new book to read aloud or new audio book to start. Choose a book with good Biblical principles (possibilities: The Terrestria Chronicles by Ed Dunlop, Kingdom Series or Knights of Arrethtrae by Chuck Black, Focus on the Family Radio Theater audio books, Pilgrim’s Progress or Hinds Feet on High Places audio books, or Lamplighter books or audio).
- Continue for up to an hour or however long your children can handle.
- Allow the children to draw, color, or build with blocks quietly as they listen.
- (Extra idea: pre-make little goodie bags of toys, pencils, coloring books, snacks, etc., for them to enjoy while listening.)
- Offer special treats and warm drinks or create a special snack station for the day.
- Plan a simple craft for each age group, or have several to choose from. Check Pinterest for ideas.
- Listen to quiet instrumental or classical music while crafting.
Second Reading Time
- If the children want to keep going for another hour, continue reading the book or audio book.
- Children can put together a new puzzle while listening or may pick another quiet activity.
Scripture and Prayer Time
- Choose a simple theme Scripture for beautiful copy-work to put on parchment paper. Or use regular paper that you make into a scroll and tie with a ribbon.
- Talk about the Scripture and ask each child what it means.
- Everyone takes a few minutes as a group to pray, or each can take 15 minutes of alone time to pray.
Snacks and Games
- Come back together for another special drink or snack.
- Play a group game, card game, or board game. Or have several going for different ages.
At the end of the retreat time, everyone helps clean up, then chooses one simple household chore (pre-written and placed in a jar for selection) to complete. Free time for the remainder of the day!
Copyright 2020, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Winter 2020 – 2021 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.
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