What does it look like when Dad homeschools?
This is a great question, one that has been asked several times on our Facebook page, and because I’m in search of answers too, my hope is to use a series of blog posts on the topic as a forum for productive, encouraging, and mutually beneficial conversation.
A good place to start is the most important contribution to family life a Dad can make: leading and facilitating family worship.
For our family, this has grown to include a time of reading and a brief discussion of a few Bible verses, the singing of a Psalm or Hymn, the reciting of a Compendium question and answer (a good tool for learning doctrine), and prayer. We have been married for almost 7 years now, and for the last few months, this has been what works for our family.
Throughout those 6+ years, we have tried various programs, children’s Bibles, different memorization schedules and material. It is easy (and good!) to have high expectations and aspirations, but the reality of having a 6-month-old, 2, 4 and 5-year-old has taken us down an interesting path to our current stage where we have a mostly functional and productive worship time and can grow together.
Pray for wisdom and the ability to lead your family and teach them their need of a Savior, the Savior’s willingness and ability to save them, and how he wants them to lead a life of gratitude for the salvation he gives. It is a wonderful thing to see this prayer answered, your children engaged and enjoying worship time, and growing from it.
Sometimes the term “family worship” can conjure up images of a deeply spiritual father delivering powerful sermons to attentive and eager children (no matter their age or attention span) or other similarly impracticable illusions. While we do want to go about these things with a prayerful heart and put effort into it, it really is a habit that needs to be formed and one that, like any other, will get easier in time.
The devil wants us to believe that we are incapable and unqualified for this and who will try everything to keep us from opening the Bible with our families. He wants you to believe that family worship is an unattainable goal, something you may as well brush off to the side. He trembles when a Dad picks up his Bible with intent to teach his child(ren) about God. This is a testament to the fact that he has seen fruit upon these efforts. If it didn’t have an impact, it wouldn’t be so hard!
Be consistent. Aim for family worship time daily at least, 2-3x if possible. We find it easiest to have family worship right after each meal while the children are still seated around the table. This means that my wife is leading the family in worship after breakfast and lunch on weekdays while Dad at work. I lead any time I am home (after dinner and on the weekends).
Take baby steps and take into account your family situation. You don’t need to include four elements as this point in time allows us to do, or perhaps you’re able to include more.
On average, family worship takes around 10 minutes, but there are 5 minute days and 15 minute days. Don’t skip family worship because you tried to do more than effectively could be done in your family situation and it wasn’t working. Scale back, pray for wisdom, and try again.
Just do it. Your flesh will rebel. You will tell yourself it isn’t worth it when they are too young to understand anyway. Your children will not always cooperate, there will be distractions, your schedule or your spouse might rush you, but, like so many other things in life, there is no silver bullet – you need to just do it.
Making family worship a habit will be a challenge, but I am convinced that there are few things as pleasing in God’s eyes as parents endeavoring to teach their children about Him. God requires it (Deuteronomy 6:7-9) and He rewards it (Proverbs 22:6).
Make it happen, Dad!