The very first lesson of homeschooling is obedience.
Here’s the second homeschool lesson: Teach your children who they are.
Why is “who am I?” such an important lesson to learn? Because it colors your perception of everything else in life!
If we teach our children that they are mammals—a part of the animal kingdom—then by observation and interaction with animals, they can easily conclude that they do not have much control over their behavior, urges, and capacity to delay gratification.
If we teach our children from their infancy that God is their Heavenly Father, and that making choices using their free will is the thing that sets them apart from the other creatures on this earth, then every choice can be calculated for good.
In a 2003 nationwide poll* researcher Geogre Barna found some thought-provoking results. He discovered that if children are taught who they are and their relationship to Jesus between the years of 5 and 13, they have a 32% chance of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. If they are not taught until the ages of 14-18, just a tiny 4% of adolescents will accept Him. Those who have not become a Christian by the age of 19 years, only have a 6% chance of ever doing so during their lifetime. There is no time to lose in teaching our children who they really are!
How do we teach our children of their divine heritage?
When my babies were tiny, I would hold them up before the large picture of Christ that hangs in my living room as the centerpiece of our home. I would point to it and say, “Jesus”. I wanted them to recognize Him. Some of my babies’ first word was “Jesus”. It truly is the most important word in our lives.
“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”—Psalm 34:11. Homeschooling gives us the perfect opportunity to weave testimony into every subject. The first book I teach my children to read from reinforces the scripture stories that they have been hearing since before they could sit up. Scripture verses becomes their first memorization lessons. I played songs that taught the simple truths from the Bible, like “Hide ‘Em in Your Heart”. (Psalm 119:11)
Every day I would remind them of who they are; that God is their Father, and Jesus Christ is their Savior, and that their duty is to act as God’s hands on this earth. Our children are “mission-drenched”—they have a purpose for being here and the best thing we can do for them is to teach them who they really are!
As my children grew, I made sure that the incoming influences supported faith. I screened what came home from the library, what came in through the television and computer. I wanted stories that portrayed human beings at their most noble, and Christlike. I wanted uplifting, inspiring influences to keep their tender hearts sensitive to God. I worked to get the best, nutrition-packed food to feed their bodies, and likewise, I wanted faith to feed their souls. I only wanted those things that were lovely and of good report, and praiseworthy, to fill their minds.
Mom, our work is crucial! We can’t wait until we are ready or less busy or more organized. It must be done when they are young. We must teach our children who they are, and how to please that God that gave them life.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” —Deuteronomy 6:6-7
*John W. Kennedy, “The 4-14 Window”, Christianity Today, July 2004, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/july/37.53.html.
“A Biblical Worldview Has a Radical Effect on a Person’s Life”, December 1, 2003, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/131-a-biblical-worldview-has-a-radical-effect-on-a-persons-life