Practicing the Art of Homeschooling

Homeschooling is really an art. It relies so much more on atmosphere and aesthetics than it does on science and academics.

The more effort spent on relationships — with God and one another — the more profitable are our homeschooling efforts. When we focus more on what God would have us do for each child, and less on what some particular method, curriculum, or guru might recommend, we see good fruit.

Conversing is teaching. One family decided they would homeschool in the fall. The mother remarked that they enjoyed their next auto trip more than ever. They had not officially started to homeschool yet, but their mind-set was new. On this trip they talked with the children instead of just telling them to be quiet and sit down. You naturally talk with your children as you shop together, make popcorn together, say goodnight at bedtime, and so forth. Good teachers would love to provide such an environment for each child, but that is impossible in a classroom. Remember that you have better. Avoid importing the school system into your home.

A Biblical Home Education, Ruth Beechick

Some homeschool moms bristle when they hear others suggest not bringing school home. Such suggestions do not have to mean throwing out the textbooks! At issue is the heart, not the externals such as methods, books used, or grades.

I like how Dr. Mary Hood describes it:

It is really just a mindset. It’s the idea that you are a family, not a school. You’re a mom, not a teacher. You don’t have a classroom. You have individual relationships with your children. Your husband isn’t a principal, because there isn’t really a school. He is the head of your household, a dad, and your number one supporter. God didn’t create schools. He created families, because that was his plan for the training and nurture of children.

Dr. Mary Hood, author of The Relaxed Home School

So how do you practice the art of homeschooling?

Here are a few thoughts that hopefully will inspire you:

  • Keep focused. Let the focus be on your family and your relationships rather than the method, the schedule, or the books.
  • Stay calm. Keep your pace. There is nothing that says your child is to have accomplished anything particular at each stage other than what he is ready for.
  • Stay in the Spirit. It is amazing how much easier our days are when we simply rely on Him. Then we find a flow and the work is much easier. For without him we can do nothing, and even our best efforts fall short.
  • Be alert. Use every moment. Each day offers new opportunities for teaching. The key is to be ready for those moments.
  • Provide the atmosphere. Keep the environment learning-friendly.
  • Inspire creativity. Give your children time and resources to practice their talents and develop their gifts.
  • Have fun. Enjoy this time with your children. Let the “to-do” list take a back seat. Let life interrupt the regularly scheduled routine on occasion.
  • Remember to love. Love covers a host of problems, and is the glue that keeps the family together. Invest in your children.