Teaching our kids at home is so much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is a discipling process where we point our kids to God, and focus on their hearts. True education seeks to train not just the mind, but also the heart and soul. (This is what we call character training.) One of our greatest homeschooling goals should be to build Godly character in our kids.
The most important part of instruction is not academics, but the development of Godly character. Character is the foundation on which all other learning is built. If our kids have great intellectual knowledge but little Godly character, their lives won’t have much positive impact on the world in which they live.
The most important task of the educator is to prepare his students for life. And the best way to prepare a student for life is to teach, model, and promote the development of Godly character. If a child is taught nothing else save character alone, he will be better prepared for life than those who are taught pure academics but no character. –Author unknown
The Bible makes it clear what our priorities should be as we teach our kids. In II Peter 1:5 it tells us to add to our faith, virtue (or character), and to character, knowledge.
God says our first priority should be pointing our kids to Him and His Word to build their faith. Next we should add character training, and then LAST are the academics.
I believe the reason many homeschooling moms get discouraged or even burned out, is because they have gotten these priorities out of order. Just think about it – if your kids haven’t learned basic character traits like obedience or attentiveness, you are going to have a hard time teaching them anything. You will be frustrated and soon discouraged.
Keep in mind these three ways that your kids learn character:
1. Through Example
Your kids are watching you all the time, and no matter what you may teach them, you need to remember that more is caught than taught.
If you want your kids to be kind or honest, let them see you being kind and honest. They will then learn what is right and expected.
2. Through training and correction
When your kids show wrong behavior or attitudes, don’t get frustrated and look at it as an interruption to your day. Look at it as an OPPORTUNITY to train and correct the heart with Scripture.
It’s more important to use those opportunities to point your kids to God’s Word, than it is to get every subject for the day completed.
3. Through positive, constructive teaching
It’s easy to assume that your kids will have good character simply because you homeschool them. However, homeschooling is not enough. You have to purposefully teach and train them in Godly character. You need to intentionally focus on the heart issues.
Have a time each morning when you sit down with the kids and teach a character lesson — teach what the trait means, show them Bible verses that relate, and then give practical ways they can apply it to their lives.
(To help you get started, click here to get a download with 4 weeks of free character lessons that your kids will enjoy.)
You can also take advantage of opportunities that come up daily in your homeschool. For example, if one of the younger kids needs a drink, teach the older ones to be kind and get them a drink. If there is squabbling going on, take time to teach them how to be a peacemaker.
The important thing to remember is that building Godly character in your kids should be an important part of all you do in your homeschool. Ask God to help you be intentional about pointing your kids to Him as you train them in Godly character.
Starting on September 1, I will be hosting a month long blog party at The Character Corner on Building Godly Character In Your Kids. There will be daily posts on the how and why of character training, tips for different ages and stages, as well as practical tips for teaching the top 10 character traits. To join the party and get all the posts, sign up: 30 Days of Building Godly Character. I hope you will join us and be encouraged!