by guest author Patricia Dotten
[Welcome to part two of this series on help for teaching resistant learners. If you missed last week’s post, you can find part 1 here.]
4. Remember, homeschooling is really just doing LIFE with our children
Play together and snuggle up with your littles, read a book out loud, go on field trips, plant a garden, do laundry and dishes and cook together. Take your kids to the grocery store and have them do the math, start a speech and debate club, join a robotics team, train together for a 5K. Learn a language with your teenager, build legos, remodel your home together and learn construction skills, take a college class together. Serve a neighbor or take a meal to an elderly friend, sing songs and go on long nature walks…and all the while talk to your children using each life experience as a chance to discover and learn together.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6–7 (NIV)
5. Turn obstacles into opportunities
We must stop seeing our children’s rebellious attitudes as interruptions and obstacles to our goal of accomplishing school. Our primary goal is not academics. That is the world’s way of thinking. Our primary goal is discipleship. And when discipleship is our primary goal, then we will welcome these interruptions. We will treat them as opportunities to point our children to Jesus. We will embrace these moments to work alongside the Holy Spirit in the lives of our children to help them see the sin in their hearts and to understand the Gospel.
In my own life, I know I have grown the most when God has brought me through difficult circumstances and revealed to me the sinful attitudes of my heart. Do I think that my own children will be discipled apart from this same process?
Instead of being angry and frustrated, we can ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and even joy in shepherding our children through yet another challenge. If my child was already a mature person and a seasoned Christian, I would be out of a job!
6. Ask God to reveal to you your idols
We must continually bring our hearts and minds back to what God’s goals are for our homeschool. Otherwise, by default, we will fall back into our own fleshly idols — dangling the dazzling carrots of success, achievement, status, or acceptance in front of our children. Too often, we start breathing the air around us and believe the lie that academics and achievement will somehow make our children happy and successful in life. Academics have never saved anyone. Only Jesus saves.
We must regularly examine our hearts for idols. We are all idol factories. We are continually tempted to worship created things rather than the Creator. Our children can smell our idols a mile away. Christian counselor, Dan Allender, said, “One of the biggest sources of conflict between you and your kids is when they refuse to bow down to your idols.”
7. Focus on getting and keeping your children’s hearts
To do this, our own hearts need to be continually soaking in the word of God. If we are not overflowing with the Word and the Holy Spirit, we will not have much to give our children. Take the time to fill up. I know time is short, especially when you have a lot of littles in the home. Pray as you walk around, put Scripture verses on your walls, read the Bible to your children as they snuggle with you.
To keep our children’s hearts, we must listen to them. We must listen to what they are feeling and thinking and struggling with. And then we can trust that the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom to help our kids through the struggle.
We must be humble. If we act like we have it all together and it’s just our children struggling with bad attitudes, we will lose our children’s hearts. We must be quick to ask forgiveness, quick to admit our own sin and struggles, and allow our children to see us running to Jesus for forgiveness and wisdom and help.
8. Pour into your children
Deposit money in the bank of your children’s hearts every day. That way, when you have to make a withdrawal (through discipline or correction), there are sufficient funds there so that your relationship with them is not depleted.
How do you put money in the bank? Encourage, encourage, encourage! Find all the things they are doing right and shower them with praise. Make your home a fun place to be! Have fun!! Laugh! Let the joy of Jesus reign in your home.
When we’re in right relationship with God, when our children have good relationships with us, when our family culture is fun and joyful and refreshing, and we create imaginative learning environments in our homes, then it is more likely that our children will be open and ready to learn and receive from us. And then our resistant little learners may actually begin to love school!
Suggested Resources from the author:
- When Kids Won’t Bow to Your Idols
- Pointing Your Kids to Gospel Stories — Revive Our Hearts Podcast Part 1
- Pointing Your Kids to Gospel Stories — Revive Our Hearts Podcast Part 2
- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
- Age of Opportunity Paul David Tripp (A must read for parents of teenagers!)
- Parenting book or video series Paul David Tripp
- How to Keep Your Child’s Heart by Terrie Maxwell
- Any books by Ruth Beechick (Wonderful ideas for how to teach young children that will foster a love of learning.)
- Creative Family Times by Allen & Connie Hadidian (Great ideas for toddlers.)
- Five in a Row (Fun, hands-on literature based curriculum for young children)