Do You Really Have What It Takes to Homeschool Your Children?

Well, I have bad news and good news. First, the bad new: No, you don’t really have what it takes to homsechool your kids. If you have not figured this out yet, it is the first important step to being able to successfully do so.

Now, the good news: By God’s grace you have everything you need to homeschool your children!

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times,
you may abound in every good work."

(2 Cor 9:8)

I think we all already know that teaching our children at home is a “good work.” But how often do you find yourself with nothing left, out of energy, creativity, and patience? That doesn’t sound very abundant and sufficient. Is this because God is not giving you the grace to accomplish this good work? Of course not.

We receive God’s grace by faith. It is up to us to depend on him. We are not just imparting knowledge to our children, we are preparing them to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives (See Make Knowledge Easy for Your Children). Therefore, we can be sure God will empower us to accomplish this task!

Here are three ways you can depend on God’s grace for your homeschool: prayer, Scripture, and God’s Spirit.

Prayer     Are you praying truth from God’s Word by faith for your children every day? Are you asking for God’s wisdom, strength,  and anointing for your time with the children each day? Are you diligently seeking him for what he wants you to teach them?

Scripture   Is God’s Word a central part of your homeschool? Are you reading, explaining, and memorizing God’s Word with your children? Are you discussing real life issues with reference to God’s Word? Are you helping your children build a biblical worldview?

God's Spirit     Are you the only teacher in your homeschool? I don’t mean that your spouse or others in your family or community help teach. I mean, is the Teacher present? Do you expect him to be? Are you depending on him to show up and help educate and train your children for life?

Can you envision your home a place of energy, joy, peace, and spiritual fruit? This is God’s will for your family! By faith take hold of his awesome, abundant, powerful grace!

Make Knowledge Easy for Your Children

What if I told you I discovered a Bible verse that revealed the secret to making it easy for your children to acquire knowledge? Well . . . I did. Ready? Here it is:

"A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding."

(Proverbs 14:6 ESV)

Did you read that? “Knowledge is easy”! How? First, we have to understand the difference between knowledge and understanding. It is the difference between facts and wisdom. It is the difference between knowing historical data and understanding what history can teach us about the world. It is the difference between knowing how to do something and knowing the right thing to do.

We live in a culture that has elevated knowledge above skill and wisdom. Our schools teach for knowledge—worksheets, testing. They do not emphasize skill or morality. For me, even gaining knowledge took second place to a much more important goal: passing classes and graduating!

Many of us who are teaching our children at home are products of this educational system. Many of us have made the mistake of taking public school objectives and strategies home with us. So, how can we correct this perspective and the resulting strategies? Let me give you a couple ways:

1. Aim for more than knowledge.

Knowledge is important. But it is not the most important. Very rarely do we acquire knowledge for its own sake, just to know it. We acquire knowledge to accomplish a more practical goal. We have projects, hobbies, goals, jobs, repairs, and chores that require knowledge.

Of course, this is the answer to every child’s favorite question, “Why?” It seems that no matter what instructions or corrections I give my children, they always ask the same question: “Why?” I think “Because I said so” is an appropriate answer. However, it can’t be the only answer. At some point our children will have to understand the why of what they are learning. The goal of learning is related to understanding. When we know why we are learning something then we understand it and it is much easier to learn.

So, how do we identify the why of what we are teaching? If we are aiming for more than knowledge, then what are we aiming for? Here is the simplest, and most important place to start:

2. Prepare your children to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives.

This must be the ultimate goal of all education because it is the ultimate goal of life. And what is God’s purpose for your children’s lives? Generally speaking, we all have the same purpose: to love God (Mark 12:30), love people (Mark 12:31), and make disciples (Matt 28:18-20).

Paul specifically contrasts knowledge and love in 1 Cor 8 and 13:

"This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
If anyone imagines that he knows something,
he does not yet know as he ought to know.
But if anyone loves God, he is known by God."

(1 Corinthians 8:1-3 ESV)

"And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
. . .  but have not love, I am nothing."

(1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV)

Knowledge is a means to an end. The end is love. EVERYTHING we do (and everything we teach) ought to have this purpose.

You want to make knowledge easy (or at least easier) for your children? Then put it in a meaningful context. Place it in submission to our ultimate purpose in life. The real challenge of teaching our children should not be wrestling with them over math or history. The real challenge should be imparting to them wisdom, a biblical worldview, a love for God, and a commitment to his purpose for their lives. 

Should I Let My Children Listen to Secular Music?

A couple of years ago Spotify entered my children’s lives. Until then they basically only had access to my own music collection. Spotify opened the door to ANY kind of music, no filters. As they followed their friend’s playlists and explored on their own, they have listened to plenty of music that I believe is not contributing positively to their spiritual health.

So, what should I do? A quick and common answer is, “Don’t let them listen to non-Christian music.” Let me explain why I don’t think this is the best answer.

Our goal as parents is to help our children live a life of faith in Christ. Faith is a personal choice that must be made by each individual. We cannot make it for them. I believe my children will encounter worldly music, as well as many other worldly realities, no matter how hard I try to keep them from it. So a much more realistic and helpful strategy is to teach my children how to make wise choices.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
— Hebrews 5:14 ESV

If I shield my children from all evil, how will they be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil?”

Faith requires freedom. But the goal is faith, not freedom. Our culture defines freedom as the ability to do whatever one wants. It is true that freedom includes our ability to choose between right and wrong. However, the freedom to make this choice does not legitimize the wrong choice. True freedom, the freedom Jesus Christ gives us, is the freedom to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. I have seen plenty of Christians escape legalism only to fall into immorality. Parents cannot teach and give their children freedom without teaching them how to make right choices.

So, I did not shut down Spotify. Instead, I sat down with my three teenagers and had a talk. First we read Col 2:8 and 2 Cor 10:3-5. I explained that the location of the spiritual battle is primarily in the mind and the essence of the battle is in ideas. We are in danger of captivity and deception from the philosophy of the world, arguments and ideas that are contrary to God. We commonly misunderstand the spiritual battle to be one of power. The spiritual battle is primarily a battle of truth. Satan’s strategy is to deceive us. Once we have the truth, by faith we have all the power we need!

I then asked my children to consider how much more powerful words and ideas are when they are set to music! I encouraged them to fast temporarily from any music that wasn’t explicitly God honoring, in order to raise their awareness and observe how this choice affects them. I taught them that it is their responsibility to ruthlessly analyze the presuppositions, claims, and imperatives they hear in any music they listen to. To do this, it is usually necessary to read the lyrics. If they have done this and still want to listen to a song that does not explicitly honor the Lord, then I have asked them to submit that song to me for evaluation and discussion. This will provide many opportunities to teach them biblical, critical thinking. These are opportunities to train their powers of discernment.

At some point, they will demonstrate their ability to do this on their own. This is the goal! We do not want to release individuals who are trained by rules and seclusion. Neither do we want to release adults who have freedom but no discernment. We want to release them with passionate, wise hearts for Christ.  While I do have some carefully selected non-Christian music in my personal library, I believe that as our love for the Lord grows, our hunger for music that draws us to him will also grow.

How to Have an Intimate Relationship with God

When you said, ‘Seek my face.”
My heart said to you, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
— Psalm 27:8

Would you say that you have an intimate relationship with God? It is amazing to consider that this  is what God wants with us!

Please listen to this recording of a message about how to have intimacy with God from Psalm 27:4, 8-9, given at Highland Christian Fellowship on Dec 20, 2015.

God call us to have intimate fellowship with him.

1. We can enjoy intimacy with God through singular focus.

2. We can enjoy intimacy with God by having a  pure of heart.

A Scripture Memory Review System

The challenge of memorizing Scripture is not just memorizing it the first time, but remembering it after that. I have spent much time memorizing large portions of Scripture that I did not review and therefore could not remember months later. To remedy this, I use a Scripture Memory Review System.

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
— Psalm 119:11

Memorizing Scripture is challenging. It is often challenging because, as a culture, we are not in the habit of memorizing. However, the more you do it (and the earlier you teach your children to learn it), the more accustomed our minds will become to it. Don’t quit because it is hard at first; keep training your memory muscle and it will become stronger.

Memorizing Scripture and using a review system also takes time. Is it worth it?

  • How important is it to understand who God is and his will for our lives (Eph 5:15-17)?
  • How important is it to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2; Psalm 19:7-14)?
  • How can we live out our freedom in Christ from sin (Psalm 119:9-11; Matt 4:1-11; John 8:31-32)?
  • How can we have victory in the spiritual battle and escape from deception (Eph 6:10-17; Col 3:16; Titus 1:9)?
  • How can we be equipped for every good work (1 Tim 3:16-17)?
  • How can we be sure to grow, bear spiritual fruit, and enjoy success in all we do (Psalm 1:1-3)?

Here is David’s conclusion about the words of the Lord,

“More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; In keeping them there is great reward!”
Psalm 19:10-11

I have written out in detail how I memorize Scripture and the system and charts I use for reviewing what I've memorized, if you would like to use it.

What If Noah Only Built Half an Ark?

This is an interesting warning from Paul to Timothy:

"Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Tim 4:16)

Most of us are pretty confident that we know how to be saved. Let us be watchful and make sure that we have a biblical understanding of how God offers us salvation from judgment.

Genesis 6:8-7:5 conveys the story of how Noah and his family were saved from the judgment of the flood. Today God offers salvation from judgment through Jesus Christ! How does God offer salvation from judgment? In this passage there are four descriptions of the coming of salvation from judgment.

  1. Salvation from judgment comes by grace.
  2. Salvation from judgment comes to the righteous.
  3. Salvation from judgment comes through God's design.
  4. Salvation from judgment comes through covenant.

Before I began this teaching, I showed a brief video of Ken Ham discussing Noah and the ark. You can view it here.