Homeschooling And Biblical Discipleship
by Vicki Stormoen
As we head into our second month of the school year, I hope you are feeling some measure of confidence in your schedule and rhythm for your homeschool day. There are likely some things that are working well and perhaps some things that need further tweaking. That is perfectly normal. The beauty of homeschooling is in its flexibility. Embrace that and make changes and adjustments as needed. In the midst of the academics, clubs, classes, field trips, and life, I would encourage you to remember the most important aspect of your homeschooling routine that can often get lost in shuffle: the biblical discipleship aspect of homeschooling.
One of the greatest advantages to homeschooling is the ability to teach your child according to your biblical worldview without the constant attack of that worldview from others all day. You are in a unique position to incorporate the Bible into every curriculum, every class, every activity, and every conversation on a daily basis. There are several ways to go about this including adding a Bible class/curriculum portion to your school day, using distinctively Christian curriculum that will proactively incorporate biblical truths into the subject, and engaging in biblical discussions with your children throughout the day as the opportunities arise.
There are many great Bible curricula to choose from. There are traditional publishers like Abeka and BJU, Christian Liberty, Alpha and Omega, etc. There are also some great options from Apologia, Veritas, Answers in Genesis, and Memoria Press. However, you certainly do not need to use a packaged curriculum to teach Bible. Simply studying God’s word together is a great way to add Bible to your school day. There are a plethora of resources to use for this such as inductive studies, the Bible Project, family worship guides, and devotional guides from publishers that line up with your family’s theological convictions. Be sure to add memorization to whatever direction you go with this. Kids have an amazing ability to memorize. Take advantage of that fact and use this season of their lives to fill their minds with God’s word. Truly, there is nothing of more importance that will be more relevant for all their lives than that. Make sure they leave your home with a solid, biblical foundation and a sharpened “sword of the spirit” at their fingertips from having hidden so much of the Word of God in their hearts (Ephesians 6).
In addition to incorporating Bible as a separate subject in your education plan, privately homeschooling allows you the freedom and privilege of selecting your own curricula. The wide world of curricula options can be overwhelming. You will need to find ways to narrow your options to make your decisions less daunting. One easy way to begin to narrow those options, is to limit your choices to Christian curricula. If biblical discipleship (the process of teaching others to follow Christ and live as He did) is one of your goals in this homeschooling journey, why not make sure everything they learn is coming from a biblical perspective? This is an easy way to encourage and reinforce things you are teaching them outside of the curricula. As the kids grow and you begin outsourcing some of their subjects (if you choose to go that route), you lose this ability to select the curricula. While you have that authority, use it wisely and select curricula that is imparting a worldview and perspective you want your kids to adopt. Whoever, or whatever, is teaching your children has a significant effect according to Luke 6:40: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Curricula stands as a “teacher” in the sense that it is through the specific curriculum a student is being taught. Curricula is written by people. People have worldviews. People have a predisposition or bias. Make sure the people behind your curricula have the same biblical discipleship goals you do.
Outside of the subjects and curricula we select for our kids, there are other times and opportunities to impart a Biblical way of thinking. Through homeschooling, you are in a position that enables you to be involved and present in the lives of your children in a way that you would not otherwise have. As the one physically at home with your kids, you will be the one to notice and help with sibling disagreements, selfish behaviors, disrespectfulness, indolence, complaining, and all the other character and life skills that we all wrestle with due to our sin nature. Rather than those moments happening outside of your sphere of influence, they are happening in a setting that enables you, in real time, to discuss a biblical response to each. Character training apart from the biblical understanding of why certain behaviors are wrong and need to be approached differently results in works righteousness that has no redeeming value. Teaching our children about sin and how to biblically respond to it is crucial in biblical discipleship. This is the difference between raising moralistic Pharisees and raising kids with a genuine understanding of their sin and their need for a Savior and their call to a life of holiness because of the work of that Savior. As the one engaging in these regular discussions with real-life application at home, it is your teaching that will most come through.
Biblical discipleship is not another task to add to your todo list; it is not an isolated moment; it is a way of life. This is why homeschooling and biblical discipleship complement each other so beautifully. It is a Deuteronomy 6:4-9 way of living. Whatever reasons God used to bring you to this homeschool journey, you can be assured He orchestrated it for a purpose. Seize this moment! Give your kids a biblical foundation through the studying of God’s word, through the use of biblically grounded curriculum, and through capitalizing on the everyday life moments that provide unexpected opportunities to give the gospel to your children day after day. This is more important than math. This is more important than crossing off the next lesson plan. Make this your priority while you still can. If all we can say at the end of this journey is that we produced educated kids who have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ, what have we really accomplished? May we all be able to echo John’s comments in 3 John 1:4 when this is all said and done: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”