God doesn’t want us to strive for cookie-cutter children, rather He would have us prepare our children for an individual, definable life purpose. We try to recognise and identify each children’s natural (God-given) strengths, weaknesses, abilities, talents, interests and passions. From there, we can lean on God for direction in devising a flexible plan for developing our children as whole individuals with a purpose, for His service.
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. 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.
So began a new chapter in my homeschooling journey: that of putting God first…depending solely upon Him. I wanted Him to show me what to teach and when to each child. I was literally asking ‘What would Jesus do? What would Jesus learn? How would Jesus teach?’
I was revising my educational philosophy, my dreams, goals and ideals for the children. But deep in my heart I knew that something was missing. Oh, we did Bible study and had memory verses and all those ‘right’ things, yet something was missing. I knew that I was doing what God wanted- after all, I was doing this for Him, for His glory! Right?
When John and I were first married we hadn’t heard of home education. We knew that we wanted to have a good, solid relationship with our children and raise them in God’s ways but school was just ‘what you did’. We had goals for our family and our children. We wanted to raise godly adults using a healthy process. We wanted to develop in them a love of learning that would continue throughout their whole life. Our hearts were turned toward our children and we wanted their hearts to be turned toward us and God. The godly training of our children was a priority. We recognized that the family unit is God’s design. We wanted a close relationship with our children…we wanted to capture their heart but we didn’t know about homeschooling…
When I see the way that God parents me I am more able to parent my children in love, in grace…with discipline as it should be – loving discipline. Discipline that restores, not tears down or breaks hearts. Every action the Father does toward me is one of restoration, although I don’t always see that at the time. But it is. That is His nature and I trust Him.