A Gospel-driven, Cross-centric, Discipleship approach simply means that we’re teaching each child what he needs to know, with a view to his/her God given strengths, weaknesses, interest, passions, and talents… their natural bents. Rather than just getting an education we can receive a balanced education through our lifestyle. We are free to seek God for each child’s purpose. This is how we can disciple our children…and prepare them for an individual, definable life purpose.
Recognising God’s Call
The first thing we had to do was recognise God’s call. This was pretty easy…to recognise that God has put me, the parent, as the responsible authority in the lives of our children. I often remind myself that when God calls, He also enables!
Ah, I read it, thought it and said it so often that it went without saying but in reality it was at times, the most neglected facet of my homeschool and personal life. I had to acknowledge my weaknesses in order to lean on His strength. This is a walk of faith. But as I have looked to God, more and more He has taken care of all our homeschool needs. In other words, the less I have planned and struggled, the more He has been in control and provided for us.
Rest in Him, Listen to Him and Rely on Him
Listening is so important. I need to listen more to God. Once I’ve asked for His help and direction, I need to stop and listen so that I can hear.
Recognize and Identify
I watch and observe. I have sensed the prompting of the Holy Spirit (and gained help and direction) just by watching and observing the children. Recognising the individual make-up of each child and who he/she was created to be is an ongoing process. In fact, I’ve become a student…not only of the word but a student of my children!
It’s important to spend time identifying the following in each child:
- Strengths and natural ability and aptitude, also called talents
- Interests; what sparks their curiosity or desire to know more
- Their passions (things they would do if left to their own devices)
Once these things have been identified, I’ve prayed and asked God to help me as I’ve devised a plan to develop their strengths and to build up their weaknesses.
Part of a Biblical or Discipleship based education is based around the child’s identity. Identity Directed education is not child-led. It does not mean that the whim and fancy of each child is indulged. It doesn’t mean only doing what the child is good at and ignoring everything else. While we are free to explore a child’s delights and passions and interests, that isn’t all of it. I’d like to share an analogy with you. It’s my own analogy and so it will show how I think and process information.
An athlete must train the whole body. It would be detrimental to their being to only train the areas of the body that they use most in their sport. A softball pitcher must have strong core muscles, upper body and leg muscles but they risk severe injury if these are the only areas they develop. They must also develop agility and speed, combined with power and explosiveness. They are required to use the muscle which allows them to pitch underarm yet if they don’t develop the muscles that allow them to throw over arm, they risk injury. Athletes use their whole body in a natural way and they never isolate a single muscle group or joint in the competition. In training yes, in order to develop the area but, only with an aim of building a strong whole body, fit for competition. Training with balance in strengths and weaknesses is the key! Just as an athlete has a training routine, so must the education of a child have structure and routine. These things are [natural, God ordained] biblical principles just as day turns to night and autumn comes after summer.
An individual’s strengths and weaknesses and interests are part of their God given make up! By identifying and encouraging their natural bents we will be launching them toward their purpose.