There are so many different things that pull for our attention but the one thing that has shaped our family has been the commitment to relationships first. There is the vertical relationship between the individual and God, and there is the horizontal relationships between each other. The family is our first relational sphere as a child – it is the practice ground for all of our relationships.
Relationships first is a mindset that is against the task-driven environment that we all live in. The desire to complete our to-do lists and/or finish our lessons is always at the back of our mind, and though those things need to be completed, never at the expense of relationships, never at the expense of heart issues of life.
What does Relationships First look like in a homeschool?
Any primary focus has to affect the day-to-day, real life of a family; else it is just a good theory. Relationships first in our family mean we make the issues of relationships a priority in our day.
- We give relationship issues our prime time in our day
- We stop any other activity if there is a relational area out of whack
- We feel as if we are achieving our goals if we spend a day on relational issues
There are various aspects to building relationship skills:
- Prioritising God, Family and then others
- Intentionally working on character-based responses to people
- Serving others – using the lifeskills we have to meet the needs of others
- Giving gifts (showing love) to one another
- Learning to communicate well (speaking, listening, reading, writing)
- Growing in conflict resolution skills
And I’m sure there are many more. Seeing relational issues, as the prime focus of our days, has been a major reshuffling of our preconceived ideas of what education is all about. It cuts across the idea that we are training the brain, the academics and makes us remember that touching the heart, the seat of all that we are, is what is important.
A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.
– Charles Swindoll
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