Reading, writing, and math, right? Uh, no.
Reading, writing, and math are vital skills. We want our kids to be literate, to be able to express important thoughts, and to be able to keep track of their finances. When it comes to prioritizing my homeschool day, however, those subjects sometimes get shoved to the side so that the boys and I can work on three subjects that trump all academic subjects.
The Top Three Most Important Subjects For Your Homeschool
I’m not sure I’ve ever really addressed why we homeschool here on Thinking Kids. I suppose there are lots of reasons not to choose other schooling options, and I suppose that’s how families sometimes end up homeschooling. However, we chose to homeschool for one primary reason: discipleship. We wanted the time and space to disciple our children for Christ. I often wish we’d chosen homeschooling for our older kids, and I sometimes wish we’d chosen homeschooling for our younger kids sooner (we started in 1st and 2nd grade), but I’m ultimately grateful for the time we’ve had to intentionally disciple our youngest two boys (who are now in middle school)…..
Check out the top three most important subjects for your homeschool:
We live in a Scripturally-illiterate culture, even among those in the church. Ed and I want our kids to know Scripture. We want them to understand what it actually says, and we want them to read through the Bible several times before ever leaving home. As Christians, we know the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. I can’t think of anything more important to teach my kids than God’s revealed will, and His plan for salvation. Can you?
I know, I know. Relationship isn’t really a “subject”, right? Hear me out.
Your children need to know you love and value them. The fact that they feel loved allows them to hear you when you pour into their lives. If our kids leave home with only memories of battles over math and clean rooms, I think we’ve failed. In fact, I truly regret not spending more time making sure my older kids truly felt loved.
I’m not saying we should toss aside standards and expectations in order to coddle our kids. Part of the parent-child relationship includes respect, submission, and authority. What I teach my kids about authority in my home becomes the standard in their adult lives. What I teach the boys about authority (because, like it or not, I am an authority in their lives) becomes the standard for how they view professors, police, employers, and even God.
Homeschooling gives you ample opportunity to love your kids and to build your relationship with them. Relationship building in your homeschool can look like a heart-felt hug, a serious conversation in the middle of history “class”, playing a game, going to the park at lunch, or just taking time to express honest appreciation for a sincere effort.
Your child’s character will be either a hindrance or an asset in their adult lives. For Ed and I, teaching character is more important than any subject our kids study in school. We talk to our children so often about character that they’re probably sick of hearing about it. We use Scripture, media, and Christian biographies to examine the character of others and to look at how that character affects others.
Children whose hearts are not regenerate–who are not saved to new life in Jesus Christ–are, of course, going to have deeper struggles with their character. We human beings have deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) and until God replaces a heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), there is little reason for a sinner to even desire change. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach our kids about work ethic, and about the fruit of the Spirit.
Subjects Worth Teaching
I’m not perfect at teaching Scripture, working on relationship, or talking about and displaying godly character. I am being progressively sanctified, and I have a long way to go. When push comes to shove, though, I feel strongly that Scripture, relationship, and character are the top three most important subjects I can teach my kids, and I think they’re the top three most important subjects for your homeschool as well.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.