Every day my to-do list is long and detailed. I’m raising five children. I’m still homeschooling four of those children. We raise chickens and fresh eggs and vegetables. We have acreage to care for. There’s laundry and housework, and these people want to eat three times a day!
I have a part-time job. I teach at our homeschool co-op. My kids have activities to attend. I help my husband with various tasks, and try to spend time with all of my family members…time that isn’t just “busyness.”
Homeschooling itself requires a lot of thought and planning, a lot of prayer and preparation. I want the kids to have a complete education. They need to know how to read, and read well. They need great math skills for real life. I want them to be able to spell and write. And of course, I want them to understand history and science.
The kids also need healthy food, fresh air, and exercise. They need character training; that’s a daily, hourly job. They need to learn how to do basic chores, and do them well.
I want them to have a few good friends, and learn a few good skills. They have talents that I want to help them perfect.
All of these things make great people, but without the Most Important Thing, it’s all for nothing. Without a relationship with God, a knowledge of the Bible, they are just a few more humans moving through this life with no purpose and no eternal vision.
I’m reminding myself, here.
The best math curriculum, the greatest history books, the coolest activities are only of small importance in the grand view of eternity. If my kids can dance perfectly or throw a ball the farthest or do the highest math computations, it will only take them so far in this world. (Maybe it will take them very far in this world, but in the end, what does that amount to?)
It’s so easy to get caught up in scope and sequence lists, test scores, grade levels, and transcripts. It’s easy to let the fear of falling behind take over our homeschool schedule. I know. It happens to me. I’m sure it happens to you.
Education is important. It’s very important, for a multitude of reasons. But it is still not the most important thing. Home education is a complete package. And if we have complete control of our schedule and curriculum, we have the ability to put the most important thing FIRST.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 4
In the end, every human will stand before God and answer for their time spent on this earth. They will not be asked what their GPA was, or how much history they knew, or how many degrees they had, or how much money they made. They will be asked if they believed that Jesus is Lord, and if they loved Him, and shared the gospel with others. They will be asked if they fed the poor, cared for the sick, visited the prisoners, and provided for widows and orphans.
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
So every morning, when I’m planning our day, and working diligently to further my children’s education, I must constantly remember that the Most Important Thing is their relationship with God.
Have I taken the time every day to point them to God? Have I instructed them in the Bible? Have I helped to form their character from the scriptures? Have I encouraged them to pray? Have I encouraged them to see their future through God’s eyes?
Because if I raise super-math-stars or talented musicians or wealthy businessmen, and have not pointed them to the one true God, I have failed as a mom. If my kids are successful in the world’s eyes, but I have not taught them that the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all, I have failed as a mom.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
If my kids are well spoken, excellent writers, kind and polite, but I have not taught them to speak with love, I have failed as a mom.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned but have not love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
This world is temporary. Eternity is forever. I want my children to be WORLD CHANGERS. And they can do that with most any talent or skill: math or reading or writing or music or speaking or cooking or sports skills. But they can’t really change the world without God. And that’s the only kind of change I want to see them make.
Whatever their interests, talents, gifts, and life choices, I want my children to look at each one in light of eternity. How will it glorify God? How can they change the world? Will they be able to look back at an old age and feel confident that they did not waste their time here? These are the questions I routinely ask myself, and I want my children to ask them, too.
So daily conversations, prayer time together, character training, Bible reading, discipleship, and example should be my constant goal before all other forms of education. This is my note to myself, and to anyone else who needs a gentle reminder. : )
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. She also teaches ESL online from home. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.