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When I announced recently on facebook (don’t forget to “friend me” for the latest updates and links!) that I did my yearly book order for an average of $200 per child, it caused quite a stir. I received numerous messages, emails, and requests to share my secret to saving money on home education. I am happy to do so. I have said before, and I will say so until I am blue in the face …
it does not need to cost money to train your children.
What you need to understand, my friend, is not a money-saving strategy or a new curriculum method or teaching plan. I began saving both time and financial resources, while seeing both academic and spiritual results, when I began endeavoring to
teach in the manner God intended from the beginning.
For me, this was a radical change in mental attitude and practical application of home education. Though a homeschool graduate, I was the product of “school at home” gradually morphing to “self-study from curriculum in a box.” This was what I was used to, so this was the method of education (expensive and very time-consuming) that I naturally began inflicting upon my first child. It did not take long for both the active boy to rebel against such methods and the finances to run out. I needed something better.
My wise husband continued to insist “children have learned for centuries without that particular curriculum; why are you so stuck on one way of doing things?” As time went on, I began to study different homeschool philosophies and methods and realize none of them accurately reflected what God taught in the Bible concerning the heart of the child and the role of the parent. This searching was a several-year process and would take a long time to discuss.
At long-last, I came to the conclusion that all man-made methods fell short in some area or other. So finally I turned where I should have at the beginning ~ the Word of God. I recognized that God instituted the family from the first to train the child in faith toward God (Gen 1:28; 6:8-9; 18:19 50:23-24). I saw throughout the Old Testament God’s continuing command for parents to teach their children daily and constantly (Deut. 6; Prov. 1-4). It is God’s law, God’s wisdom, and God’s doings that are to be the main themes of such teachings.
I noticed that the curriculum of the best-educated in the Bible was nowhere mentioned. Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel and his three friends, Luke the Physician, Paul the Missionary ~ they were all used in leadership and humility, in the arts and sciences, in the Word and to change the world. Yet their greatest education was in God Himself. That was what set them apart from their peers, each of them, from the beginning of their ministry.
So, I did not go into my garage and then to each of my bookshelves and throw out boxes of books. But I don’t crave the latest homeschool curriculum “must-have DVD 18 volume set with workbooks and tests” either. Money can’t buy what I need to teach most.
Training my children biblically involves teaching them of God “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” It involves training them to “hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” so they will also learn to recognize the stiller, smaller voice of their Unseen Father. And it involves training them to “inherit the promise” by “honoring their parents” so they will one day bow the knee to their Creator Lord of All.
Next time … what books did I order, anyway?