Recently, as we were waiting for our daughters at dance class, another mom asked if my children had started school yet. I explained that we had begun our school year, but we homeschool. In response, she said, “I thought about homeschooling, but in the end, I decided that my relationship with my children would be better if I weren’t their teacher, too.”
A few years ago, a friend of mine who was considering homeschooling her child shared with me her worry that her son wouldn’t listen to her if she tried to teach him, and therefore, not get his school work done.
I cannot judge either one of these concerns. I understand them well, because I’ve had them myself. As I’ve prayed through them, though, God has shown me His heart about these things.
Relationships require interaction and time spent together to grow in intimacy, not time apart. The reason that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” isn’t because you love someone more when you are apart; it is because the less you are together, the less opportunity there is for conflict to develop. God’s Word shows us that He is very relational. He is our Abba Father. Jesus is His son. The church is called His bride. How can we model for our children an intimate relationship with God unless we have one with them?
Also, it is very important that we all learn obedience to God. How do we prepare our children for that responsibility if we haven’t taught them to obey us first? Personally, I’ve been very frustrated by a stubborn disobedience that has arisen in my 6-year-old lately. I warn her that there will be consequences if she doesn’t make the right choice in a given situation. Yet, she continues to push the limits until I end up having to take a privilege away. Then, the tears flow, as though she didn’t already know that was going to happen.
I don’t want to chasten my children or remove blessings from them. However, this helps me to realize how God feels about me. He wants my obedience and for me to listen to His leading, so he can bless me also. That just confirms to me that I need to stick with it. My daughter will find it much easier to follow God in the long run if she gets her heart right in this area now. It also helps me to keep my eyes on Him in my own walk. If it hurts me this much to punish my child, I can imagine how much more my Father in heaven is grieved by me at times.
If I weren’t home with my children all day, I’d have a lot less time to help them build their characters and encourage their spiritual growth, but it would still be my responsibility, even if someone else was teaching them to read and write. So, I embrace the challenge, trusting that God will work in their hearts to bring them closer to Him.
“Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” – Jeremiah 24:7
Note: This post was written for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschooling with Heart Blog and the intended audience is parents who feel that they have been called to homeschool.