Our choices, our decisions, our convictions, our priorities and our goals were just that. They were ours! I quickly learned, however, that there is as much peer pressure within homeschooling as there is in any other area of life and that I had to guard against being unduly influenced by what others were choosing. So, although I may differ with another home educator on what is the best curriculum, the best approach, or the proper priorities, I must keep in mind what we have talked through, studied and decided is the direction for our family and for our children.
John and I had already talked about the goals that we had for our boys…those non-negotiables that absolutely had to be focused on in order for us to have been obedient to God’s priorities as parents. The funny thing was…..high SAT/ACT scores did not appear on that list. Being awarded MVP on the local sports team did not appear on the list. Being the star in the local theater production was not on the list and neither was being an accomplished musician or artist. And, heaven forbid! Even getting straight A’s did not appear on that list.
What did appear on the list were items that centered on the heart of our children. God laid on our heart the priority of our boys’ heart being turned toward knowing God and becoming like Him. God wouldn’t let us rest in the idea that it was enough to address the mental and physical needs of our children. We felt that God had called us to train their hearts.
Now, that’s not always the popular thing to do. Even in home education circles, we may all SAY that training their hearts is important, but living it out, walking that talk is an entirely different matter. It is easy for us to get sidetracked with the latest trend. To be distracted by what is IN and what is OUT as far as curriculum, methodology and philosophy go. It’s easy to get pulled from side to side by peer pressure, societal pressure, activities and trends. It’s easy to get sidetracked from what is most important…..from what really IS the heart of the matter.
It’s been nineteen years since we sat down to write out what we felt God had laid on our hearts for our children. These were items we felt were the “heart of the matter”…..the items that we felt lined up with God’s priorities. We certainly failed many times, but just having them written down helped us stay focused on what is most important.
Here are the things that appeared on that list that were common for all four of our boys.
1. To raise men after God’s own heart
2. To raise men who would seek to know God and become like Him.
3. To raise lifelong learners.
4. To raise and help to develop each young man based on the unique and individual qualities that God had given them for a unique and specific God-given purpose.
5. To raise up educated, discerning, culturally literate servant leaders of God’s kingdom.
These are what God laid on our heart…they are personal for our family. These are priorities based on principles we learned during our journey and through our study of Scripture. Notice my emphasis. This is a list for our family…not necessarily for yours. This is your journey!