Throughout all of my reading, research, and experience as a homeschooling mother, I’ve learned that the best way to teach is to come alongside your children.
Do you want them to develop a love of reading? Don’t give them a stack of books and a command to read, read WITH them!
Cuddle up on the couch with blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals to read together. I’ll read a paragraph, then point to my sons and have them each read a few sentences. This improves confidence and fluency, not to mentions fills everyone’s cuddle tanks! Each summer we sign up for the community library’s reading program (together). We listen to audiobooks (together), log our collective hours, collect our reading prizes (together) and celebrate each five hour milestone (together)!
Notice a trend?!
Do you want them to love nature and become passionate explorers? Make discoveries WITH them and explore nature with them!
This is another beautiful aspect of togetherness which will lead to budding independent exploration as the boys grow. Together, we take nature walks, hike trails, splash in puddles, and write in our nature journals. This outdoor together time sets the stage for semi-independent exploration. We are now to the point where my oldest is allowed to walk to the pond by himself — with me watching from the front porch. I can trust that he will be safe and follow our family rules because it’s a walk we’ve taken together countless times. (He’s also an ESTJ, so that helps!) After allowing him a bit of solo birdwatching time, I traipse down the path with little brother (an ISFP who enjoys having Mommy nearby for his explorations). Then I make things really exciting and announce that it’s Brother Time! I remind them to stay together on the bench to watch birds and turtles, then I quickly walk back home to pack snacks and umbrellas. I consider myself more of a hummingbird parent than a helicopter mom. A little space and perceived independence goes a long way in building confidence and nature skills!
Do you want them to love the Lord your God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength? Don’t just park them in Sunday School every week and assume the lovely volunteers will take care of that…bring them alongside you in your faith walk!
Read the Bible at bedtime, have morning devotionals, pray aloud (often, for anything and everything), worship together through music, recite liturgies, pass out cold water to the homeless when it’s 106 degrees in July, adopt a grandmother at the local nursing home and love her well until Jesus calls her home — all of that and more will show them what it’s like to worship with their whole life. Ask God for opportunities; I promise you he will provide and stretch you beyond your comfort zone!
I follow the mindset of missional motherhood; my home is my mission-field and my children are little disciples, eager to soak up and share the love of Jesus. They are God’s first and foremost, on loan to me for a short blink of an eye.
What will I do with that time?
Will I give them a stack of workbooks with a list of lessons and send them on their way with a deadline in mind?
Or, will I come alongside them in the spirit of discipleship and act as a godly mentor?
May I never grow weary of walking this journey alongside my children. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us, wherever he may send us. May he guide us through the wilderness and protect us through the storms. May he bring us home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown us; may he bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors.