The beginning of a new school year is a good time to review what our purposes for homeschooling are. Families homeschool for multiple reasons, but for Christian homeschool parents, our primary goal should be to disciple our children into becoming ardent lovers of God. Yes, we want them to excel academically, so that they can function well in society when they are adults, but if we raise them to be successful in material ways, and yet their hearts are not intimately attached to the Lord, we will have failed in what matters most.
Raising our children to be Christ-lovers would be a daunting task, if we had to do it in our own strength. However, we do not. We have the Holy Spirit always at our elbow, eager to help us. We must draw on Him to give us the wisdom, and to open our eyes to moments throughout the day to draw our children’s attention to the Lord.
Training them up in the ways of the Lord goes far beyond making a Bible class part of our daily studies (although that can be a valuable tool). It is important to get to their hearts, not just their heads, with the message of Jesus, and then continually point them toward fastening their attention on Him. If we depend merely on a curriculum to do the work for us, we may end up with children who know all the Bible stories and all the doctrine, but do not know the Lord Himself.
Leading our children into a lifelong passion for Jesus begins with dedicating them to the Lord and interceding for their salvation. We tenderize their hearts to Him by presenting the simple Gospel message and talking about all His loving-kindness toward them. Eventually, and hopefully at a very early age, we lead them in a prayer of repentance and dedication of their hearts to Jesus. They are now what we often refer to as being “born again” (a term taken from the story of Jesus’ dialog with Nicodemus, in John 3).
My article, Teaching Babies to Love God, will help you to get started in cultivating a love for Jesus in your children, if you are unsure where to begin.
So that’s a start, but how do we keep them in the Kingdom? How do we make sure the flame continues to burn in their hearts, and how do we get it to burn brighter and hotter? I believe a key component is teaching our children to know the Lord’s voice personally. Ongoing relationship with Him depends much on two-sided communication with Him as both Lord and Friend. Today’s post is an introduction to an upcoming series on teaching children a lifestyle of being led by the Holy Spirit through hearing His voice and responding to Him.
Unfortunately, many modern-day Christians do not expect to hear God speak to them on a regular basis, and, in fact, have no idea how to hear God if they wanted to. I have noticed this especially in younger adults. Somewhere along the way, the art of hearing God ceased to be passed from one generation to the next. We can reverse that trend by beginning at an early age with our children, and I’m going to give you some practical how-to help for making it happen.
Perhaps you don’t really have a good grasp on hearing God yourself, so you might wonder, “How will I teach my children what I do not know?” It’s OK. You and your children can learn together. I hope you will find the adventure exciting!
While you are waiting for the series to get up and running, I have written a couple of short and inexpensive books which will be a big help to you in getting started. We have them in both print and e-book editions. (The e-book versions are a great choice if your budget is tight.):