As homeschooling parents, we tend to begin homeschooling with lots of excitement mixed with a little fear. We want to do our best, and succeed in teaching and training our kids to the best of our ability. We don’t want to fail! Did you know that successful homeschooling begins with character training?
I believe the reason many homeschooling moms end up frustrated and burned out is that they haven’t laid the foundation of character. As a result, they face struggles daily as they try to teach academics.
The world tells us that knowledge is the all important thing, and as homeschooling parents it is so easy to fall into the trap of letting academics distract us from what is most important.
However, we must remember that home education is more than book learning. It is a discipling process, leading our children to Jesus, and then equipping them to serve Him and lead a Godly life, and preparing them to fulfill His purpose & plan for them.
True education seeks to train not just the mind but also the heart and soul. This is what we call character training. The most important area of instruction is not academics, but the development of godly character. It is the precious foundation-stone on which all other learning is built. If a person has great intellectual knowledge but little godly character, his life will not have much positive impact upon the world in which he lives.
*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. Character training is the most important & most laudable activity for a teacher to be engaged in. If a student is taught nothing else save character alone, he will be better prepared for life than those who are taught pure academics but no character. – (Ray Ballman – The How & Why of Homeschooling)
Are you wondering where to start with character training? I’d suggest you begin with obedience. Any attempts to teach skills and content without first addressing obedience will meet with frustration. You can’t teach your kids to read or do anything else if they won’t obey you, so this is TOP priority.
Your child must learn to obey, first and foremost, or you can never serve as his teacher. Teaching him to obey, to do his work and stick with it, to follow instructions, not to interrupt, and much more requires your diligent supervision and follow-through. That is the work of parenting, really.
Unless your children learn to listen to your directions and follow them, it doesn’t matter how fabulous your resources are. The first and foremost subject to teach is good behavior born of self-discipline, or character!
Another important character trait to focus on for better academic success is attentiveness. If you don’t have your child’s attention, it doesn’t matter how great your curriculum is. They have to be listening and paying attention to learn.
If they are distracted, you might as well just realize it’s time to stop teaching the lesson, and work on teaching them to be attentive.
The Bible makes it clear that we need to focus on using God’s Word to build our kids’ faith, and train them in Godly characer in II Peter 1:5:
….Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
This is a clear and simple list of what your priorities should be if you want your child to be prepared for life and be successful:
- Build their faith by pointing them to God and His Word daily
- Build their character by teaching daily character lessons
- Teach them knowledge by academic training
You will find that if you keep these priorities in place, putting God’s Word and Godly character first in your day, God will bless the remaining time. Your academic teaching will be more productive, as you have started your day by building on the right foundation, and you will be successful in your homeschooling.
To help you get started in character training, I’d love to give you 4 weeks of FREE character lessons! CLICK HERE to sign up, and you will get an email with your free lessons.
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Kathie is wife to Alan, mother of eight children, and homeschooling mom of 31 years. Her and her husband have been married for 37 years, and their kids are grown up, with the youngest being 18. They also have 10 precious grandkids. Though her homeschooling days are behind her now that all eight of the kids have graduated, she stays busy speaking at conferences and sharing encouragement and resources at TheCharacterCorner.com.
Forest Rose says
I love this Kathie! It is so true! When we are steadily working on character training schooling seem to be way easier. But when I let things slide (even for a minute) it all comes crashing down.
Kathie King Morrissey says
Glad you liked it! And yes, character training really does make the homeschooling easier. (most of the time!) 🙂
Anita Chamblee says
Ray Ballman’s book was one of the first we read on homeschooling back in the early 80s. I was just writing down notes to share with a group of homeschooling moms in a few weeks and training in Godly character is my most important topic! I asked a group of women what they wanted to hear and one commented about having difficulty teaching reading. Of the nine topics on my list of possibilities NONE are on academics. When you teach first things first, the rest falls in line!
Kathie King Morrissey says
Anita, I LOVE his book! So full of good information and reminders of what our homeshool priorities should be!
Ana Willis @ TheyCallMeBlessed.org says
Kathie, all I can say is amen, amen, amen 100x!
After almost 4 years homeschooling we started with character training and oh, my, it was night and day! We focused last year on obedience, attention and perfect execution. My kids became new kids and now our homeschool flows so much better.
I totally advice new homeschool moms to spend this summer teaching character before homeschool starts. 🙂
Love this post!
Kathie King Morrissey says
Thanks Ana! Isn’t it amazing what a difference the character training can make?! And especially obedience (which includes execution) and attentiveness. Great idea to focus on character during the summer to prepare for a better school year.