Originally published Friday, 21 September 2018.
I found myself heavily contemplating less formal curriculum questions as I spent the last month of summer preparing for the start of our fourth year of home education with our four children. Many questions I had centered around the core concept of “Who are we in this home?” Also, “Who and what do we serve in this home? What characteristics do we need to learn about and strive towards this year?”
While I’ve piled high a collection of teaching tools for Math, Language Arts, Science, and Spanish, I’ve also piled along with the teaching tools for manners, etiquette, and most importantly, Godly characteristic traits. I’ve watched my children, particularly my two oldest, grow in their knowledge and understanding this past year of homeschool. I’ve watched them start to master different primary concepts, and I remember each time that I realized they had learned something new.
I cherish the memories of when my oldest started reading with fluidity, and when my middle son started using addition on his own accord. I couldn’t believe that they had learned it. I did not doubt their intelligence, but I felt I lacked as a sufficient teacher. Surely I didn’t do much in helping them actually learn something … did I?!
While I often feel they learned despite me, I know that it was my instruction and, more importantly, my example which taught my children these life skills. This realization was both awesome and terrifying as I then questioned, “What else are they learning from me just from my example?!”
With this realization, I knew I needed to place higher importance this school year on life skills of manners, etiquette, and Godly characteristic traits – just as much for myself as for them. If they are learning from what I am modeling, I’d better be something I’d want them to model after!
I started by asking my husband and myself what those things we hoped to teach and model to our children were; we had to determine the core values and traits for the six of us dwelling in our home. We needed to determine what it looked like to have a Christ-centered home, to have a home which served the Lord.
For our family, we’ve landed on these characteristics, based on several verses, to point our children to Jesus in our goal of living in a Christ-centered home:
Love: Firstly and most importantly, our family must be rooted in love. Love Jesus, love each other, and love others.
- 1 Peter 4:8-9 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
- 1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
- Ephesians 4:2 “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Kindness & Grace: Our family ought to speak, behave and think kindly and have grace with each other.
- Ephesians 1:7 “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”
- Ephesians 4:32 “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
- Titus 3:4 “But – When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
Honest & Faithful: Our family ought to be honest at all times and faithful with all things.
- Proverbs 28:6 “Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.”
- Proverbs 28:23 “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”
- Luke 16:10,12 “If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in the large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. . . And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?”
Servant-hearted: Our family ought to be servant-hearted toward family, friends, and strangers.
- Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Galatians 5:13 “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”
- Philippians 2:3-5 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”
Obedient: Our family ought to be obedient quickly, without delay, to parents, and to the Lord.
- Proverbs 19:20 “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.”
- Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for it is the right thing to do.”
- Jeremiah 42:6 “Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.”
Forgiveness: Our family ought to seek and extend forgiveness to all.
- Ephesians 4:32 “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
- Matthew 6:14-15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
There are many Godly characteristics worth highlighting, but for our family and our home, these are the ones we have determined to focus on. I’ve printed and laminated a sheet of these characteristics and verses and now have it hanging on our command center in the heart of our homeschool room. I am starting this new school year eager to dive into these traits further, practice them more, and although sometimes painful, be held accountable to my own characteristics which I seek to model for the little disciples who dwell in our home.
Kayla Anderson is married (for better or for worse) to the one who she knows without a doubt that God created her to be companions with. Together they have four young children, Ezekiel, Asher, Ellery, and Alder, and run a hand-crafted soap shop. She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and is in a season of learning how to gracefully be the central point and glue of their family. Thank the Lord that she has Him to look to for wisdom, guidance, and strength! She loves reading in the quiet, early morning hours, decorating their sweet little home, writing has been part of her soul since she learned how to write letters, and her love of coffee runs deeper than her coffee pot. You can find more from Kayla on her blog or Instagram.