I only have to learn some lessons once, but this is one that I have to remind myself and use to help evaluate our schedule constantly.
Relationships are more important than academics!
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Some of you are shouting Amen, and others wonder if my children can read or if I threw out the textbooks. Hear me out; I am not saying that academics aren’t important or that we shouldn’t be teaching our children a wide variety of subjects. However, I do strive to put relationships first in our home.
When I think about relationships in this context, I think first of our relationship with God and second of our relationships with the family (marriage, parent/child, and sibling).
Our relationships with others outside of our homes are also meaningful.
Relationship with God
Mark 8:36 says, “For how is a man benefited if he should gain the whole world and he should lose his soul?”
I do not believe that our relationship with God excludes academics; on the contrary, I think that he gave us minds to learn and grow. However, I think that my children’s relationship with God is ultimately far more important than their academics. That means that I try to prioritize our time in the Word, our time worshipping, and our time in discipleship.
It also means that if I see issues with a child’s relationship with God or struggling with sin, I do not mind putting the academics to the side while we deal with that. I try to keep eternity in mind when setting our priorities.
I need you to know that I am preaching to myself as much as I am sharing with you on this one. When you are in the same house, doing school, meals, and all of life together, it can create close relationships. However, it can also create friction.
It is vital to take the time to work on the relationships within your home. First, as a homeschool mom, it can be really easy for me to get wrapped up in homeschooling, house cleaning, and feeding the children who eat like hobbits.
None of those are bad things, but if you are not careful, they can cause you to neglect your marriage. Sometimes you need to put away the lesson planner, turn off the computer, and focus on your spouse.
This might also look like stopping school in the middle of the day to take your husband something he forgot or help him with a project. Your children will benefit from seeing you prioritize your spouse.
This might just be at my house, but I think my children are far harder on each other than they are on people outside of our home. We struggle with raised voices, tense words, and unkind actions in our sibling relationships. While I do not think this is uncommon, I also believe it is essential that we take the time to address those issues.
For our family, that has meant stopping schoolwork to have family discussions or to help two children work through their issues. It has also meant adding in sibling Bible study to help them understand how God wants them to treat one another.
Other times, it means encouraging them to stop what they are doing to help out a sibling or to go and support them at an event.
Last but not least are the parent/child relationships. Putting relationships first in this category means spending time together that does not revolve around school, and it might mean taking a day to hang out and have fun or taking the time to listen when they are having a tough day.
For us, it also meant getting an online program with tutoring for upper math. I love teaching my children and learning along with them. However, my son and I were constantly at odds over Algebra.
There were tears and harsh words, and it strained our relationship. After much discussion, we tried a different program for Geometry (Thinkwell) that had online tutoring. Having someone else help out with that one class was so worth the benefits to our relationship.
Relationships with Others
In addition to our family relationships, we need to think about our relationships with others. This might mean friends, neighbors, church family, the mailman, or anyone you come into contact with on a given day.
At this point, your teenagers might agree with me and use this as an excuse to hang out with their friends instead of doing math.
What Does That Look Like?
That is not what I am talking about, but it might look like taking the day off to sit with a friend whose parent is having surgery or supporting a friend going through a difficult time.
I am not saying that we should put aside academics for every social activity. However, we must remember it is okay to set aside academics for a day or a time to help others. A day spent with grandma will be remembered long after that history lesson. It is okay to take a break from math and help your neighbor get her heavy groceries put away.
Overall, academics are necessary but not as important as relationships. Relationships have a lifelong and sometimes eternal impact!
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