When I was just diving into homeschooling for the first time, my good friend, Holly Lerner, gave me a simple two-page document, which became my early roadmap for success. Over the years, Holly served as a homeschooling and motherhood mentor to me, and her example has been a constant inspiration and encouragement.
I still have that original document from Holly. Simply titled: “How to Homeschool,” the guide that inspired me can now inspire thousands of new homeschooling moms.
I recently sat down with Kristi Clover to record an interview for the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast (this four-part interview will air 9/4, 9/6, 9/7, 9/8/2023), and as I was planning I realized that with so many new families beginning to homeschool it was time to go back to the basics and record a “How to Homeschool” guide. So, once again, I brought out Holly’s instructions, and these served as a guide to my interview with Kristi.
How to Homeschool, by Holly Lerner
Foundation for Parenting
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Why We Homeschool
- Train our children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), godly character
- Teach obedience (Colossians 3:20) “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
- Titus 2:3-5
- “teaching what is good
- “love [our] children” (delight in them)
- “workers at home”
- “that the word of God may not be dishonored”
How to Make Decisions
- Pray (Phil 4:6) “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- Focus on God: glory to God and serve God
- Always LOVE (1 Cor 13:1-3) If I have lots of great things, “but have not love, I gain nothing.”
- Remember the future: Learn these and teach by modeling godly character traits in our home
- Moral excellence
- Brotherly kindness
- 2 Peter 1:5-7 “… make every effort to supplement your faithwith virtue, and virtuewith knowledge,and knowledge with self-control, and self-controlwith steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,and godlinesswith brotherly affection, and brotherly affectionwith love.”
Priorities in Education & Training
- Have a mindset to guide our thinking in discouraging times (What Scripture do we need to dwell on when we are discouraged?)
- IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ACADEMICS!!! Academics are one aspect of one of four areas of the chart. Don’t let it take over everything else.
- Prioritize academic subjects (don’t try to do everything every day)
How to Approach Teaching Academics
- Academics are an opportunity to…
- Teach character
- Do it when they don’t like it
- Do it diligently
- Persevere when it’s hard
- Learn skills to equip children for future service to God
- Teach character
- Realize and Remember that…
- We are not imitating the school system or a school setting, so don’t compare to schools or grade level skills or government standards
- Children will learn quickly when they are ready, so don’t worry if you think they seem “behind” or if you are not accomplishing what you had hoped to accomplish
- Pick one thing to do well and consistently
- Aim for independence
- Choose something that you can do with all your children
- Choose 1 subject to focus on each year (so you can build slowly and get better at all of this!)
- Manage Age Ranges and Abilities
- List activities that the little ones (nonreaders) can do independently
- Limit individual instruction for the older ones to how long the youngest can be independent (or juggle with an older one working with a younger one so you can teach a 3rd one or more…)
- Set Goals for each year – as a family and for each child
- Use what you have!
- You don’t have to buy curriculum or find the “perfect” thing in order to be successful/productive/teaching well.
I pray that this simple outline serves you as well as it has served our family.
Homegrown Generation Family Expo – Online Homeschool Conference. Get instant access to all of the sessions from 2023 and 2020 (over 50 hours of content)!
The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast – Biblical homeschooling, parenting, and family discipleship encouragement and advice. Each show shares practical advice to help point our children to Christ, build a solid Biblical worldview, teach effectively, preserve our marriages, manage our homes, and approach child-rearing and discipline issues with a heart-centered focus that will result in confident, biblically-minded, wise, well-balanced adults.
The Homeschool Insights Podcast – Practical, Biblical, home education and parenting encouragement and resources in under ten minutes a day.