My favorite thing about homeschooling is all the TIME I have with my five children. Homeschooling provides our children so much more TIME with me, and in return, I have so much more TIME to pour into them. I like to call it the gift of time.
The stories I am about to share are likely very similar to some of your own stories, stories that I believe, testify to the good fruit borne as a result of the gift of time that homeschooling allows by its very nature. These are some things that I have been learning over the past years, and as I learn, my children learn, too.
A big part of every day is doing chores around the house, and I like to spend my chore time praying out loud. At the same time that my kids are maybe leisurely eating breakfast, or doing independent schoolwork, or playing a quiet game at the table, they are able to overhear me pray and they in return learn they can pray in every circumstance.
My children are learning compassion as they observe me taking care of a teething baby or preparing a meal for a friend in need. They learn patience while they wait their turn for help with a math problem. They learn to rise above their circumstances and that we have a choice over our attitudes as they hear me sing and sing until their baby brother falls asleep.
My kids learn not to complain because they have to take a longer route when we found ourselves helping a lost blind lady home. They learn the value of sacrifice, because although now they might be late for their swimming lesson, this woman is safely home.
My children learn that everyone is different and that we are not to compare ourselves to others, as they hear me speak truth and identity over them. I can take the time to address stumbling blocks and encourage my kids when I see they are struggling, whether because one may read faster than another, or because they are unhappy with the picture they drew, or because they wish they were taller, etc. This TIME with them is irreplaceable!
My children learn that the God of Israel still heals, as they hear me pray over our plumber who told me his back hurts, and as they continue their schoolwork they overhear how his back was miraculously healed!
My kids learn the value of their creativity by spending many uninterrupted hours drawing and then writing stories about their artwork.
My children learn obedience by being instructed, corrected, disciplined, rewarded, and most of all loved, which all takes a lot of TIME.
My kids learn the value of reading and perseverance as we spend many hours together visiting the library with our homeschool group, and also as they listen to my husband and I read to them stories of many people who accomplished great things because they never gave up.
My children learn teamwork by cleaning the house together or even by spending hours inventing games together. For example, the other day the kids came up with the idea to include their one-year-old brother as the superhero baby in their game.
My eldest is learning time management by discovering that he learns best in the morning and he has also learned that it is best for him to get the hardest work done first – which in his case is Hebrew.
They learn history, thankfulness, kindness, people skills, endurance, responsibility and so much more all while spending TIME doing errands with me. They learn a lot about the city we live in by asking a lot of questions as we are out and about. These questions often lead to many great history-telling times. My children hear me thank the bus driver and encourage the gardener working in the park in the heat of the day. They hear me respond kindly to a stranger’s unsolicited comment on parenting, and may hear me say something like, “Thank you for your concern; do you want to try putting the hat on my baby?” or, “Thank you, yes I forgot that his sock fell off a while ago.” They get to help me carry groceries home up a hill on a hot day, and they get to watch over the baby in the waiting room as I finish an eye doctor appointment.
They learn flexibility, empathy and to have the right priorities by taking a day we would normally devote to homeschooling and use it to make cards and bake brownies for my brother when he broke his ankle.
They learn social skills, science, animal biology and how much fun education can be by visiting the science museum and learning about animals at the zoo with our homeschool group. We can take extra TIME as a family to watch the ants work on an anthill outside our home and then go inside to read about ants, write about ants, draw ants and watch documentaries about ants.
They learn a love for the Word of God as we spend TIME reading the Bible together. We have character-building moments that come from many spontaneous and natural discussions on matters of the heart that arise as we travel, as we eat, as they do their schoolwork on the table, etc.
My kids also see me in my weak moments – when I am tired, sad, overwhelmed, sick, in a bad mood, procrastinating… the list goes on. They learn repentance by hearing when I remember to apologize after I yell or complain or grumble. They learn independence when they have been instructed to get themselves lunch and play with the baby when I am lying in bed sick. They learn the value of community when a friend brings over a cooked meal or comes to pick them up for a play date with her kids. My kids learn forgiveness when they forgive me once again for raising my voice at them after I’ve repeated myself over and over again, or forgiving me for not keeping my word to them. They learn to choose joy as they hear me put on some uplifting music and declare the things I am thankful for when I’m having a difficult day. They learn the value of transparency when they overhear me call a good friend and ask her to please pray for me when things are tough. They learn that I also make mistakes, have bad habits and receive even their correction when they, in their very innocent, loving and child-like manner, point out my errors like spending too much time on my phone or like when they tell me that maybe it’s a good idea to go to another room to calm down and pray.
There is great value in this gift of time we have. All the time that you are pouring into your children, every good and messy moment, will produce good fruit in them. Kids can be compared to a garden, and every gardener knows there is much work in the intense seasons of tilling the ground, sowing the seeds, weeding, and watering – all hard work that parenting requires. I want to encourage you dear readers: let us not grow weary in the process of raising our kids well, and believe that the time you are investing in your children is not time wasted. Like a garden well tended, and with God’s help and grace, we will yield great fruit – YOUR KIDS!