Pregnancy with my 5th child has not been easy. With each pregnancy I have experienced hypervaris gravidum, or non-stop nausea and vomiting, inability to eat or even drink water, dehydration, and constant bedrest. It always eases up around 12-14 weeks, and I’ve learned to anticipate it. But it doesn’t get any easier. With a husband who works long hours and four other kids at home all day, it’s a bit of a circus. As you might imagine, many behavior-training opportunities have presented themselves. So we have some new issues to deal with and some old ones that need re-training. Like character and potty training.
On top of these temporary stresses, my 2-year-old has heard about the ‘terrible-twos’ somewhere and decided to try it out. He’s one of the reasons I’m constantly occupied. AND he is my first child to start potty training before I got out the potty chair! One day, after watching his big brother (4), he announced, “I wanna tee-tee in the potty!” How could I say no to that? He wants to use the big potty, just like brother, so it requires a complete removal of his clothes, close supervision, much applause, a wipe-down of the potty and the floor, handwashing, and getting dressed again. He’s doing great, but I wasn’t quite ready!
At this point, we haven’t resumed our homeschool schedule. The character and potty training are kind of top priorities right now. After all, how do you homeschool with 4 children when attitudes constantly flare up and disobedience rears its ugly head? Answer: you don’t.
This is a very important concept for homeschooling mothers to remember: character training is the most important training you can give your children. It is more important that math or science or language or history. In fact, without character training, all of the other things are nearly impossible to accomplish.
“At this point you are probably saying, ‘Do you realize how time consuming these exercises are? If I did this every time my kids mouth off, I could be tied up for hours every week!’ You’re right. At first you have to invest more time, effort, and thought into training your children than you are currently investing. But remember, bringing your children up ‘in the discipline and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4) is one of the most monumental, sacred responsibilities God has given you. You are charged by your Heavenly Father to employ all the biblical resources He has provided to reproduce the character of His Son, Jesus Christ, in your children by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Remember as well, that the time you invest initially will end up saving you time in the long run because your children will be less and less in need of correction as they grow.” (Lou Priolo, The Heart of Anger)
As I continually stress, homeschooling our children is not merely moving their school lessons to a new location (our home); it is full-time parenting, training, and discipling our children. Teaching them academics is one of the many details involved in that (along with feeding, clothing, and protection).
For some encouragement and refresher courses on this matter I’ve gone back to some old and trusted sources as well as some new ones:
- Raising Godly Tomatoes has very down-to-earth advice for training the younger set. I’m currently ‘tomato-staking’ a couple of mine.
- Raising Maidens of Virtue is a great book for Moms and girls.
- Raising Real Men is practical and encouraging for parents of boys of all ages.
- For Instruction in Righteousness is a great tool for everyday situations. It is organized by behavior/character issue with scriptural references for all of them. It is a GOLDMINE.
- Character Sketches is a series my Mom used in our homeschool when I was young. It looks at character issues through the eyes of the Bible and in nature.
- Beautiful Girlhood is a wonderful mom-and-daughter read-aloud for girls from about 10 years old and up. It’s old-fashioned and addresses character in a way that is not seen much today.
- The Heart of Anger instructs parents on how to teach their children biblical obedience and communication to avoid raising the fool of Proverbs.
I don’t read all of these every day, but I turn to them a little at a time for encouragement. A peaceful home is our goal.
Moms, your full-time job may be in overtime right now. Just remember what James Dobson once said: “Raising children is the most important job in the universe.” And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
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Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She is a homemaker at heart, and 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 Board of Directors. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.