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Keeping Focus
August 1, 2009
A Charge to Keep

Homeschooling Dad Mike Southerland offers the idea of giving our teens a “charge” when they reach the age of accountability that defines what it means to move toward maturity. He went so far as to create a document for his eldest daughter entitled “Guidelines for a Southerland Lady” that described what that particular family considers important for a young woman of God. (The full article, “Rites of Passages” can be found in the archives of the OCHEC Informer, Summer 2008 issue.)

A couple of days later I came across an article by Andrew Pudewa (founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing) that dealt with how to motivate children to learn. He explained four forms of relevancy that have varying degrees of effectiveness.

Within the same week, I happened upon another piece that referred to a book by Thomas L. Friedman (The World is Flat). Friedman presents a principle for success in our highly competitive, global economy: CQ + PQ > IQ. The formula in words reads: Curiosity Quotient plus Passion Quotient is greater than Intelligence Quotient. The idea is that a person's curiosity and passion about a subject – or the need to learn something – can go a long way in overcoming any lack of natural abilities or knowledge.

That same week I had several consultations where I suggested to the parents that they share the insights they had gleaned from our sessions with their children so that they, too, could understand the vision and plan of action for their homeschooling.

There was a definite trend here. It didn't take me long to realize that God was trying to point something out to me. It “occurred” to me that one way to build a sense of relevancy is to share our passion for homeschooling with our children. Do our children really know WHY we are homeschooling? Do they know what the Bible tells parents about raising children in the admonition of the Lord?

While the idea of the “charge” was meant for older children on the way to becoming young adults, my experiences in a variety of children's ministries has taught me that even young children can understand some pretty advanced concepts as long as they are presented in words they know. I believe that our vision and motivation for homeschooling can fall into that same category.

As you prepare for the beginning of another academic year, think about what you can share with your children that will build a vision for homeschooling in them. Perhaps it's the story of a seed that must be saturated with water to become soft enough to be able to sprout into a seedling, that in turn must be watered , exposed to the sun's nurturing rays, and given the right environment in order to grow. Perhaps it's the story of Esther who was born for such a time as this. Or the story of David who was anointed king long before he ever stepped into the role.

In our own homeschooling, I found it helpful to set aside a weekend when I would shut myself in the den, along with my homeschooling catalogs, idea book, and Bible, and spend quality time with the Father seeking His heart for the coming school year. Mind you, this wasn't because of some noble attribute that I possess. It was because I always seemed to have this nagging feeling that I was in way over my head. How could I possibly plan everything my children would need to know? Of course now, looking back, I realize this was God reminding me that it was by His grace and enabling that we were doing this in the first place.

Faithfully God would give me a theme and corresponding scripture verse for each year. And inevitably the scripture was something we would need in the circumstances that arose during the year. I was always amazed, although I suppose I shouldn't have been. That's the way He works things together.

Do you have a vision for your homeschooling? Are you passionate about it? How can you pass that vision along to your children? Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no vision, the people perish. Another version says that where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.

What we are doing in our homeschooling is vitally important, not only for our children and family, but for our community and nation at large. Ephesians 5:15-17 says we are to walk circumspectly and redeem the time by understanding what the will of the Lord is. I think, based on other scriptures, that we could safely add to this that we need to share this understanding with our children so they can have the same sense of urgency and relevancy.

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