“Christian Parenting is a journey. The destination is clear – raising godly children – but the roads to get there are not always clearly marked. We have God’s perfect road map, the Bible, but He has not taken a divine highlighter pen and marked the single route that leads to where we want to go. He expects us to study the course map and chart a wise course to the desired destination” – Clay Clarkson, “Heartfelt Discipline”, WaterBrook Press, 2003 (as quoted in “Educating the WholeHearted Child”, p269)
What better way to end this series than to write a little on how we keep the vision alive in our home according to our uniqueness as parents, and the order we create for our learning environment.
Together my husband and I are committed to homeschool, which is a blessing in itself, and we also have a fantastic support network of like-minded relationships and families who we can share the triumphs and trials with.
Without weighing in on the varying theology of husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers, I’d like to simply offer to you here the strengths that my husband and I both bring to our homeschool, and subsequently to our home.
The Ministry of Fatherhood
Here is a little of the ministry that my husband brings to our family:
- A heart after God
- Generous with his time and abilities
- Leads with his heart
- Affirming of our children’s uniqueness
- A gentle and kind heart
- A humble and faithful servant
- An adventurous and fun-filled spirit
- A safe place for me to fall
- A listening ear and a guiding voice
- A peacemaker
The Ministry of Motherhood
Here is the ministry that I bring to our family:
- A heart after God
- A desire to build a home ‘with heart’
- A ‘big picture’ perspective
- A determined purpose
- Creating a safe, nurturing and loving environment for our family
- An unbridled ‘fierce’ love for my husband and children
- A desire to know God’s design for us
- A passion for the story of God told through the generations
- A compassion for the lowly of spirit
Keeping It Real
I do clearly want to add, we have our hearts set on the vision the Lord has given us for parenting and for our home. But don’t let me paint a picture of perfection with these words above! Every day we make mistakes. We are in need of God’s grace and mercy, just as our children are. The important thing is to be real and transparent with our children, ask forgiveness from them and from the Lord, and stay committed to working out our relationships with each other.
Keeping It All together
I have kept order in my home with different degrees of success throughout the time I’ve been a mother. The times where things have been going well, have been where I have a plan and my children know the plan and what is expected too. I’ve tried homeschool structures and approaches with greater freedom, and those at the other end of the scale. I’ve come to realise that for our family, we need some shape and order, where it doesn’t restrict learning and life, but where the flow of life within our walls is steady and somewhat predictable.
It doesn’t mean that we have to set a rigid timetable, or that we miss learning opportunities because we’re sticking hard and fast to a schedule. But we’ve more or less found the right balance of flexibility that keeps an atmosphere of peace and we continue to move forward in our learning goals.
Quick Tips On Keeping Order
Here are my top 5 tips for keeping order in the home, which I’m planning to focus on this year:
- Plan meals ahead of time, and if you do schoolwork at the meal table, clear everything away for when it’s time to eat.
- Keep the mornings free of answering the phone, e-mails and texts, and dedicate that time to learning.
- Write up a timetable with blocks of time, and communicate to your children what is happening each day.
- Listen to your ‘warning bells’ and that of your children’s, and determine if and when you need to adjust your load to keep peace and stability in your schooling.
- Cultivate relationships between siblings if you have more than one child, and set time aside each day for different pairs to spend time one-on-one. Let love be at the foundation of their relationships and not just ‘agreement’. You will be setting them up for life.
There are all manner of reasons why families homeschool, and all manner of different kinds of families. I enjoy the colourful homeschool community in our city, and learn so much from these ladies. Having a support network for your family, and also for you as the homeschooling Mum, is so essential to longevity and refuelling our tanks.
Your support network might be made up of homeschooling families, church or other communities of believers, extended family, and like-minded friends that love you and back your decision to homeschool. Form authentic relationships with others, and sow into one another’s lives.
Finally my friends…
I hope there’s been something in this series that has sparked vision and inspiration in your heart towards your ‘wholehearted’ homeschool this year and beyond.
I encourage you to get “Educating the WholeHearted Child” into your hands, and jump into the river of wisdom and insight from two of the most loved and respected veteran homeschoolers, teachers, and parents you’ll discover anywhere. I’m truly indebted to this couple and hope one day I will get to meet them.
There is no set prescription for success in homeschooling – there is the truth that the Lord is with you, and will honour your faithfulness to dedicate yourself to raising your children to love and serve.
I pray you will catch a vision for wholehearted learning, and find the path that suits your precious family.
- Purchase “Educating the WholeHearted Child” from Amazon
- Purchase “Educating the WholeHearted Child” from Book Depository
- Visit WholeHeart Ministries (the website of Clay and Sally Clarkson)
NB. These essentials are not laid out in this manner in Clay and Sally’s most excellent book, ‘Educating the WholeHearted Child’ nor are they a summary of the books content. But rather this is what I’ve understood from reading their approach, and have used their words of wisdom and insight to develop our family’s own ‘wholehearted’ approach to our homeschooling.
You might also be interested in the other posts in this series:
- Day 1: The Essentials Of Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool
- Day 2: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Home
- Day 3: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Learning
- Day 4: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Methods
- Day 5: Our ‘WholeHearted’ Homeschool: Living