succulent plants decoration in a frame
With Kay Chance
green succulent plants in a frame
succulent plants decoration in a frame
With Kay Chance
Drop the Blanket
A security blanket. Maybe your babies or toddlers have one? We know the Peanuts character Linus always carried his blue blanket around. 

It’s comforting to cling to the familiar, the things we’ve always known. For those of us who grew up in the public school system, textbooks, worksheets, lectures, and seatwork were the bulwark of education. We tend to believe that if we don’t use those things in our homeschools, our kids will be left with gaps in their learning, unable to get into college or live in the real world. 

But just like Linus’s blanket, none of those will give us the power to reach our true educational goals, though they may be steps in the process.

If you are a Peanuts fan, you’ve probably seen A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Linus, carrying his blanket, walks onto the stage to recite the Christmas story.

red succulent in a pot
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
—Luke 2:8–11
When he gets to the point that says, “Fear not…” something amazing happens. He drops the blanket. He lets go of the one thing he always carries as his security, his comfort. 

It’s as if in that moment he embraces the idea that the good news he is sharing on stage means he doesn’t have to be afraid. Jesus will be with him.

Dear Mom, the same is true for you. As a Christian homeschooling mom you have everything you need in order to do that which God has called you to do. You are a mom. You are a teacher. They are truly one and the same, and you can trust that you are not alone. The very One who uniquely designed your children is available—go to Him, seek His Word, and study your children, the ones He created and uniquely designed.

Guiding, Biblical Principles for a Natural Teaching Approach
What do I mean by “learning naturally?” It’s simply allowing your kids to learn in the way they were designed to learn. You look at how they’ve been learning since the day they were born and continue to be a student of your students. 

When we learn to trust that God designed our children to learn, then we will have the courage to trust the process, too. In our results-driven world we forget that the learning happens through the process. 

Does the Bible have anything to say about teaching our children? Maybe not in the academic sense of school subjects, but it is definitely not silent on the topic.

Principle 1:
Teaching should be a natural, daily part of life.
Learning happens all the time, and the most powerful lessons connect to real life.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, emphasis added)

Of course, contextually this is how God instructed the Israelites to pass His laws down to their children for the generations to come. Obviously, they didn’t have the Bible to study on their own at this point. But I believe there is a timeless principle here that is just as applicable to us today. 

The Israelites were to pass their faith along to their children as they went about their lives, as a part of their daily routines.

It is true for passing down our faith. I believe it is also true for educating the whole child—heart, mind, and soul.

green leaves spread apart
Principle 2:
Each Child is Uniquely Designed.
One size definitely does not fit all. We each have a distinct mixture of personality, gifts, abilities, talents, interests, flaws, and faults. We each have different learning styles, excel in some ways, and struggle in others. We are each and every one of us a unique creation of God. 

Consider Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way that he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” 

Train means to train up, or dedicate; it can literally be translated “according to his way.” Way denotes a road, journey, direction, or manner. I think the Amplified Bible puts this idea together well: Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Principle 3:
Our teaching methods should not frustrate and anger our children.
Notice I didn’t say our children will never be frustrated or angry. Yes, the sin nature is present. You will need to pray for discernment. There are times when learning is hard and our children have to persist to get something, to develop grit. And there are times when we have to be mindful of laziness (theirs and ours). But we have to consider that how we are teaching could be the problem. 
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
—Ephesians 6:4
We want teaching methods to encourage learning, not feelings of frustration and anger. These negative emotions do not produce a conducive environment for learning. And when we consistently provoke our children over time, we risk destroying our relationship with them.
girl with blanket blowing in the wind running through field
Scripture teaches not only what not to do, but also what to do. We are not to provoke our children, but to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

To understand this, let’s consider a couple of definitions:

Bring them up—to nourish up to maturity, to nourish; to nurture, bring up.

Discipline—the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment).

I love the word nurture that is used in this definition. Nurturing implies intentional care and encouragement as we raise them to become mature adults. I believe it connotes a gentleness in how we do it.

When we discipline our children, we train and educate them. Once again we see the idea that we are our children’s primary teachers. Commands, admonitions, reproof, and punishment are all a part of that process—in the context of a nurturing, loving relationship. Just as the Father does with each of us.

The root of discipline is disciple. Disciple simply means learner. Jesus’s disciples followed him in order to learn from him. If we look at how he taught them, we have insight in how we can teach our children. He walked and talked, trained and sent out, and loved them well.

Be Courageous
Your kids have access to you, and that is a powerful teaching tool. You are there when they rise and when they lay down. You are there for everything in between. Teaching them is parenting, and you’ve been doing that since the day they were born.

Your children are unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all type of education. Your kids are designed to learn. And you know them better than anyone else. More importantly, you have access to the One who created them.

God chose you to be the mother and teacher of your children. He didn’t make a mistake. He knew exactly what they needed—and who they needed. He equips you to do that which He has called you to do, if you’ll just follow his example.

Fear not. Drop the blanket.
You really don’t need it.

ay Chance homeschooled her children for fifteen years. While teaching them, she discovered a passion for writing and developing curriculum resources. She loves sharing natural learning methods and creative lesson ideas with other homeschooling parents. Kay is the co-executive editor of Homeschooling Today magazine and the author of the older extensions for the Trail Guide to Learning series. She makes her home in Texas with her husband Brian.