When we let our lifestyle create learning opportunities for our family it is easy to become complaisant and take life as it comes, knowing that our children are learning.  And yet, that isn’t the fullest picture that I try to paint here on my blog as it doesn’t represent the complete picture of what happened in our homeschool.

We need to teach and train, encourage and mentor our children through life.  If our family lifestyle isn’t presenting us with learning opportunities, or we are not deliberate in picking up those opportunities, then our lifestyle is not working for us.

 

My main goal for my parenting is to teach and train their hearts, and to give them the skills needed to live a godly, responsible life.  Homeschooling creates a lifestyle that helps me do that.  As we live life with our kids we

  • work together
  • travel together
  • worship together
  • read and learn together
  • play and relax together (and so forth)

I have the opportunity to teach and train my child – to help them be all that they can be in every facet of their life.

The question has to be asked though:  Do I?  Do I make the most of this time together?

What is your heart’s desire for each of your children?
What is your heart’s desire for your family?
Do these things translate into your family life?

Identifying the things that are important to us as parents is the first step towards being an intentional and deliberate parent.  But we must then take steps towards that goal.

Ironically the idea of using our family lifestyle can take away our intentionality, purpose and goals for our children.  We live life ready for the next opportunity, whatever that may be.  My intentional has always been about letting our lifestyle be used to reach our goals.  An intentional parent has goals – they know what they are aiming for.  They don’t micromanage, but they do have goals.

When we use our family lifestyle as a basis for much of our learning, we don’t compartmentalize our life into family and learning time.  It is about using everything that makes up our life as a part of our educational experiences.  It is using life situations to teach the spiritual, moral, emotional, social, intellectual and physical capacities of our children’s lives.

Over the years there have been times when I feel the level of intentionality slips.  We are living life together, but we are not making the most of those times.

When this happens in your family I encourage you to:

 

1–Look at each of your children (individually), and prayerfully consider one aspect of their life that needs your attention. It could be in the area of their relationships (with God or man), in their taking on responsibilities, in their emotional intelligence (intrapersonal skills), in developing their talents, or in their academic learning. Each aspect of their life needs us giving guidance, direction and challenge as they grow up.

2–Look at the things in your family life at the moment; your commitments, your responsibilities, your interests, your daily activities. Ask yourself this question – What happens in my day, or in my week, that would give me an opportunity to help my child grow and learn?

3–Look again at your commitments etc and ask a different question – What things happen in my day, or in my week that stop you, hinder you, or distract you from being with my children and teaching them the things I know need to be taught, whether it is a moral lesson or an academic lesson?

For example:  Your 5yo doesn’t like saying hello to your family friends.  So you can identify all the times that you are going to interact with family friends and make it a point to teach and train at that time (or before you get there – making the visit about practicing what you taught at home.)

Your 10yo boy is sluggish at school, so you look at your days and find a time where he can get more physical exercise.

Your 5yo is so ready to learn to read but lesson time keeps getting pushed aside so you look for a consistent time where you can be focus on phonics (maybe at baby’s nap time)

 

Answering these questions will help you align your lifestyle with your goals. You will be reminded of the opportunities that you have to teach and train your kids, and you will be prompted to make the most of those opportunities.

Alternatively you may see that your lifestyle is draining you of the freedom to teach and train your kids. If that is the case, you may need to change things in your lifestyle so your can work towards the things on your heart for your family.

Further Reading:

What to do when Homeschooling isn’t working – Part 1 When we feel like homeschooling isn’t working we need to be intentional and look for solutions

Making Changes:  Do you do well at making big changes or little changes?

Lifestyle as your Homeschool: When we see the learning opportunities in our everyday lifestyle we can start to see that our lifestyle is our homeschool.

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 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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