Some time ago, I began discussing a list called Greatest Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make (by Cindy Downes, atheist turned Christian, homeschooling mom) in this blog. I have found it helpful to review this document time and again in our homeschool journey. You can check out previous posts on our experience with the first 10 items of that list here. Now, skipping the next 2, I’m moving on to the 13th only because it is appropriate at this time…
Mistake #13: They neglect their children’s spiritual training. The great commission (Matt. 28:19-20) applies to your own children, too! Pearl S. Buck, a famous author, was homeschooled by Christian parents who were missionaries to China. While they were ministering salvation to the people of China, they neglected to minister to their own child. In the morning, Pearl studied her lessons assigned by her mother from a secular curriculum. In the afternoon, they gave her more studies under the tutelage of a local Chinese man, Mr. Kung. Pearl says in her book, My Several Worlds, “I became mentally bifocal, and so I learned early to understand that there is no such condition in human affairs as absolute truth. There is only truth as people see it…” (p. 41) The damage done meant she “never belonged entirely to one side of any question.” She called her parent’s faith “their religion” not hers. By neglecting to continually put the truth of God’s Word in front of her and allowing her to be taught by a person of another faith, Pearl’s parents will eventually have to stand before the Lord and be held accountable. Our children are body, soul and spirit and all three parts need feeding on a regular basis. One or two hours at church every week will not do it. God gave us a model for a well-rounded education as shown in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom, stature, in favor with God, and in favor with man.” Our goal should be for our children to increase in all four areas just as Jesus did. (end of quote)
Although I handle our children’s education personally, I still have to be vigilant that our academic pursuits is balanced with spiritual growth. It is to our advantage that most of the programs we utilise point us to the author of our faith. We study history in the context of the Bible’s story of redemption. The Creator is the focus of our investigation of nature, space, and physical laws. The appreciation of art, music, languages, and literature is experienced with the knowledge that He created all these expressions for a purpose. God permeates our education process.
Beyond this though, my husband and I openly share with our children what our relationship with Christ is like at any point in our lives (ups and downs). They are involved in the process of our growing as disciples of Jesus. As much as possible, we would like them to experience that what we teach them about God is actually what they witness us live out. For us, how we impact their spiritual life definitely rounds out their education process.
Recently, I have seen how our prayers for our children to know the Lord and want to follow Him are being answered. One of our older daughters is enrolled online for a composition class. They were given several topics for their first writing assignment, and she chose to describe something that blessed her during her summer break. I was very encouraged by the draft essay that she showed me. I could just keep sharing our hopes for our children’s spiritual walk but it is much better to hear from them first hand what the Lord is doing in their life. Here are some of my 15-year old’s thoughts:
Finding a community group this summer has profoundly blessed my Christian walk here in the Philippines. My family usually spent holidays at the beach or abroad. This summer, however, our road trip carried us to the homes of other Christian families. We prayed, studied the Bible, and enjoyed fellowship with one another. I had never truly experienced such active involvement among Christians outside of the home. Back in Canada, where I grew up, my parents had thrived within a well-knit community. But during those meetings, I had only frolicked around with the other children, unable to understand or appreciate God’s work. After three and a half years living in the tropics, I found a community that influenced my walk with Christ, guiding me, renewing my faith, and kindling a desire to serve and glorify the Lord.
My eagerness to run the narrow road surged to high peaks when I saw the great love of these men and women. Every other Saturday, I watched families prepare meals for each other, opening their homes freely despite the stress of having to pack food, clean up, and drive long distances. Out of love for God and the great desire to know Him, they found time to spend with the Creator of time. These men and women put aside the distractions of earth and devoted themselves to study of His Word. Here I learned more about God and the life of a Christian. Learning from discussions and life applications of other believers did not simply add knowledge to my mind. I saw the fervor with which this community studied the Bible, and I heard the earnest compassion in each prayer. How could one explain such devotion without admitting that these Christians served the true, living God? Seeing all this filled me with a determination to live for the same God with all my heart and soul.
God used this community to guide my spiritual life. Discussions on the Bible convicted me several times. One morning my father asked if I could prepare some worship songs for the following meeting. We had only just formed our group, and playing the guitar before people outside of the family intimidated me. As a result, I failed to prepare any music. Surprisingly enough, the facilitator talked about the body of Christ that day. Using the illustration of a bicycle, he described how each part ‘uplifted’ the entire vehicle. Wheels moved it forward, breaks checked the wheels, and so on. How could I uplift the community? With shame I realized that I could share my music with this body of Christ. Meetings onward began with worship, led my clumsy fingers and terrible rhythm. Nevertheless, serving God with these eager believers gladdened my soul, and with joyful voices we praised the Lord.
Lastly, witnessing the Lord at work in this community gave me the faith I needed to persevere through this difficult race. One Saturday, as our group prepared to assemble at a friend’s home, a fierce storm developed and threatened to prevent our meeting. Thunder rumbled and the wind screamed, but our little van sloshed steadily along the flooded roads. After praying to the Lord for safety, peace and faith overwhelmed my heart. God gave us the strength to push on, teaching me that if I put my faith in Him, the Lord would never abandon me. Not a single family did the great downpour hinder that afternoon, and when evening came, God guided us safely to our homes. Through these meetings, God displayed to me His own faithfulness and power. Tribulation lay ahead of every Christian’s path, but we needed only faith in the Lord to finish well.
Thus, this community of believers has blessed my walk with Christ. Through these Christian men and women, God touched my life. I could feel His Holy Spirit amongst our community, working in all of us. These meetings have convicted me, encouraged me, and gladdened my heart. Entering each house prepared, I left renewed, eager to continue my walk with Christ. This community group has occupied a great part of my summer, and I would not have it any other way.