Monday, June 10, 2013

Homeschooling Children for Ministry - Part One

Preparation for Ministry

Our family defines ministry as being the channel through which God meets the needs of others by His grace. When I homeschool my children, my purpose is to prepare them for ministry. The best way that I have found to do this for our family is by using Classical Christian Education. Classical Academic Press summarizes classical education as "a traditional approach to education that employs the historic curriculum and pedagogy of the seven liberal arts in order to cultivate students characterized by wisdom, virtue, and eloquence." (Emphasis mine)  These are my main goals for my children: to possess godly wisdom, to have excellent character, and to be able to effectively communicate Biblical truth. In essence, to be prepared for whatever ministry God may call them to in their future.

Not Just the Curriculum

After nine years of homeschooling, I have observed moms who successfully use a variety of curricula and educational philosophies, and their children have turned out well. I have also seen moms who have used classical education materials without good results. What makes the difference?  My conclusion is the effort and involvement put forth by the mom combined with children who are cooperative and willing to learn. Both of these aspects require a constant dependence on and submission to the Lord, and cannot be achieved outside of His divine help and guidance. Homeschooling is a continual process, and as you grow and gain wisdom through the Scriptures, your school methods will develop proportionately.

Labor of Love

Homeschooling is work. I am not referring to work such as writing lesson plans or grading papers. In order to truly inspire a child to love learning, effort is required. I am burdened for my children to have a high level of academics, yet I am even more passionate about their having godly character and a love for ministry. How is this accomplished? It is achieved by using a quality curriculum that includes great literature and by modeling Biblical character in addition to studying Scripture.  The teacher must interact as a participator and not just an instructor. Children's interest in a topic will rarely exceed that of their teacher's, so the bar must be set high by personal involvement from the homeschool parent. If I do not have that wide-eyed wonder of learning, how can I expect it from my children?  This type of homeschooling requires more energy and labor from the parent, but children who are inspired will delight in learning and will seek to please the Lord.

Results of Sacrifice

One of the toughest parts of educating children for ministry is the sacrifice involved.  My children have yet to participate on a soccer team or play little league. We plan to start extracurricular sports this year, but in the early years it was an extra that we chose to do without because it did not fit well into our homeschool and ministry schedule. At times I have given up personal hobbies for a season. I am an artist, and although I have not permanently given up drawing and painting, some of my artistic pursuits have had to be put on hold. I have said "no" to many things in my personal life in order to provide the best homeschool for my children. It has required constant denial of the flesh. The result, however, is having children who have a greater appreciation for those activities once they can participate in them, and who also have learned a balance in ministering to other people.

Next Time

In upcoming posts, I will transparently share with you more of my journey of preparing my children for ministry. I have homeschooled as a busy pastor's wife, during two years of deputation on the road, through the loss of a loved one to cancer, and during my first year on a foreign mission field.  I will write about the process of getting started with homeschooling, the main ingredient to a successful homeschool, and tips for homeschooling on the road.  I will also include a generous list of books that have helped me. Homeschooling my children to prepare them for ministry is the highest purpose to which God has called me, and I hope that what I share can be useful for your homeschool as well.


Written by Kristine Lien,
missionary wife and homeschooling mom serving the Lord in Indonesia.

By the way, it's also Kristine's birthday today (June 10),
so I know it would make her day if you would leave a comment wishing her a happy birthday!

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five



Jen said...

This is great. I'm looking forward to reading more. Thanks, Kristine!

Sarah LeClercq said...

Thank-you so much for sharing!! I really needed this! I am homeschooling 3 of my 4 children on the mission field and this was a great help! I can not wait to read what "helps" you will have in the future!

Rachel said...

Thank you! This was both a challenge and an encouragement to me. I agree...homeschooling is hard work. I too have the same desires and goals for my children. I appreciate the thoughts you shared and I look forward to hearing more from you on this subject.


Carole said...

Good Stuff! I look forward to reading more! This has probably been my toughest year of homeschooling... my fourth child started kindergarten and my fifth is a very active toddler!

Joy said...

Excellent, challenging thoughts. I look forward to the rest!