Employers send their employees to workshops and professionals have to maintain their licenses with continuing education. We, who pour out our lives, need to be filled back up with times of refreshing and equipping. Our spirits need to be refreshed with joy and truth! Our minds and hearts need to be equipped with knowledge, wisdom and understanding to teach the next generation!
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We need to be plugged into our Source of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ. Meeting with Him daily is worth whatever effort and sacrifice you have to make. He is our Equipper! He trains us to love and teach our children.
Jesus is our model, traveling with his disciples, who constantly asked questions and then just didnt get it. Patiently, Jesus repeated lessons over and over again, using stories and visual illustrations (vines, sheep, and children) to make the lesson clear. Jesus asked lots of questions, causing people to stop and think! Above all, love and compassion flowed from Jesus to his disciples. He was their Father, Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd all in one!
There are additional ways to be equipped (see below!) to educate our children. (Dont think you can substitute any of these for a personal relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!)
God has planted you in a local church whether or not you are attending on a regular basis! His plan is to knit you together with other believers and equip you for your work of ministry (using your spiritual gifts)! You use your spiritual gifts with the lost, with all believers, in your local church and with your family. Your pastor hears from God and preaches each Sunday. That message is important for you to hear and apply in your daily life, including your homeschooling! If you are not plugged into a local church, you not only missing out on church family relationships, but you are not receiving spiritual nourishment and pastoral care. I encourage you to plug into a local church that teaches the Word of God and values Biblically modeled relationships. Lives are changed in the context of relationships, especially those with godly believers!
The Word of God equips us to live in obedience to the will of God! The Bible is full of truth and wisdom that we can apply in our daily lives as we educate our children. We can dig into the Scriptures on our own, hunting for treasure, those Biblical principles that will transform our hearts, minds and lives.
We can also dig into the Word of God with other believers who respect the authority of Scripture! As we teach and admonish one another, we grow in grace and godliness together.
Consider plugging into a small group Bible study at your church with other families who love Jesus too!
Other homeschooling families have blazed a trail ahead! Learn from their failures and successes! Enjoy their families through the pages of the books they write. Learn from families that have good fruit! There are so many wonderful books out there!
God has called older woman to teach good things to younger women such as loving our husbands and children; managing our homes; living in purity and self-control; to honor their husbands; and to extend kindness to those around us. Older women are called to train younger women through modeling, instruction and encouragement. We should always be receiving and passing on. There are always older women who can pass on wisdom to you, even if they are not chronologically older than you are! You are also filled with wisdom that you can pass on. (Yes, you really are!!!) You may not be great at organization yet, but you can bake delicious desserts. You may still be struggling to teach your little one to read, but you have a wonderful marriage. Pass on your skills and wisdom to others with a glad heart!
Titus 2 ministry and mentoring can take place in a formal discipleship relationship, small group Bible study, ladies ministry at church, relationships with other homeschool moms, or dear friendships. Dont limit God. Know that He wants you to experience this blessing; to both give and receive! Let Him provide in His way , but also seek out opportunities.
As a pastors wife, I mentor a small group of women in my church. My oldest daughter is in that group too! These women and my daughters receive Titus 2:3-5 ministry from me. I impart to them on a personal level all the God has imparted to me. What a joy!
Sometimes its good to get away for an afternoon, full day or weekend. We can focus on the Lord and be refreshed by His Spirit! You can plan your own personal retreat! I have headed off to a park for an afternoon or a hotel for several days to enjoy the Lord and QUIET! You could also go on a retreat with one or more people: family, friends, or other believers. Our church took a retreat every fall and an advance every spring for years. During the retreat, we simply had a worship service everyday and relaxed the rest of the time, enjoying the time to build deeper relationships. During the advance we enjoyed serious study in the Word of God, thus advancing in our relationship with the Lord.
The Florida Homeschool Convention put on each year by FPEA is a blast! There are thousands of people who take over a hotel and conference center! Children and strollers are everywhere! The curriculum hall is amazing. Both our older daughters participated in the FPEA graduation at the convention, so we have happy memories tied in with this Memorial Day extravaganza.
Even if you dont like crowds, attend at least one homeschool convention. There are workshops on every aspect of homeschooling you can think of! You can see and examine curriculum in person (and meet many of the authors who are homeschoolers too!).
Magazines and newsletters are away to stay current on whats happening in the world of homeschooling. There are always articles to encourage, inspire and equip you in your role of primary educator of the most important children in the world! I subscribed to The Teaching Home as soon as I began homeschooling back in 1991. What a blessing the articles were to me as I plunged into the exciting world of homeschooling! Over the years I have enjoyed Practical Homeschooling, The Old Schoolhouse, Homeschool Digest, and Practical Homeschooling. Our entire family also loves World Magazine and appreciates a Christian perspective on current events.
Support groups are formed to support families that homeschool. They may offer field trips, science fairs, spelling bees, enrichment classes, testing, and park days. More than anything, they provide an opportunity to build relationships with other homeschooling families who have chosen the same path that you are on. Sometimes support groups have workshops or meetings designed to equip moms. Or these groups may simply offer you the opportunity to get to know other moms that can help you, answer your questions, and give you suggestions.
Coops, short for cooperative are groups of homeschooling families that study one or more subjects together. They usually meet once a week or twice a month. They can be as small as two families or as large as 100s of families. The larger they get, the more important administration and communication become. Our church has a small coop that has met together for several years. We enjoy the size because it keeps things intimate and allows us to keep our standards of conduct high! We have studied Mexico, Florida, Geography, Music, Spanish, and Oceanography in our coop. (Learn more about what weve done to get ideas for your own coop below!) There is a large coop in our area called Time Travelers where world history is studied with a unit study format. Every mom has classes that she is assigned to teach. I constantly hear great reports about how smoothy this coop runs and how much the children enjoy it!
What a joy it is to build friendships with other homeschooling families. Aside from the fun and fellowship, these families can equip one another. We always learn from those we spend time with. If we walk with the wise, we grow wise! (Proverbs 13:20)
Lives are changed in the context of relationships! Living life up close and personal in close friendships can lead to arguments, miscommunication and sharpening. But that is our privilege as believers in Jesus, to sharpen one another just as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). The price is well worth the rewards of laughter, memories, help of all kinds, and the camaraderie of serving Jesus Christ together.
As you plan your schedule for the upcoming year, make room for times of equipping and refreshing. Dont give and give and give without refueling! Dont try to take this journey aloneGod is thereand so is His Wordand so are His people!
© 2008 adapted from Joyful and Successful Homeschooling by Meredith Curtis.
All rights reserved. Used with permission.