I've read several posts lately that have primed the pump for my taking on this topic, as well as recently touching on it myself on our homeschool page above. What really got me to thinking about this, though, was this week's Bible study from the Desiring God DVD Study Guide. One of the questions asked us to list 5 specific, even mundane, activities that are a part of our day-to-day lives. It then asked us to write a sentence or two describing how it might be done to the glory of God. It wasn't difficult to come up with 5 daily activities, but of course homeschooling jumped to the top of my list. Not that it's mundane exactly, but it seems to occupy the majority of my day every day and it doesn't exactly seem glamorous (in terms of ministry) or obvious how it can be done to the glory of God.
In order to discuss how homeschooling might be done to the glory of God, we have to first agree on what it means to glorify God. We cannot add any glory to God, since He is all glorious, but glorifying God has to do with reflecting Him both to the world and back to Him. We were made in God's image, but after the Fall that image was tarnished, we no longer as accurately reflected God. Salvation, and even more specifically the process of sanctification by which God makes us holy, is all about restoring us to His image. When we show God's attributes like His love or His mighty works like creation or answered prayer, we are reflecting His glory, thus glorifying Him. This can be accomplished in worship, in fact it is the goal of worship. It can also be accomplished in any task we perform, if we do it in a way that magnifies God. One way of thinking about glorifying God is that it is living life in a very God-centered and God-exalting way, rather than promoting self at every turn, as is our natural inclination. These are my words and according to my understanding, of course, and I hope I rightly conveyed this all important, but sometimes abstract concept. Please read this John Piper article on the joyful duty of man to glorify God for a better explanation if you're interested.
This brings me to the question of how we can glorify God in our homeschool.
Put God first. In other words, we must make our homeschools God-centered. I used to think this meant we needed to pray and read our Bibles first thing each morning. That's a great start, but now I think putting God first in our homeschool is much more. We need to magnify God in EVERY subject we study throughout the day. There are no secular subjects!
History- Continually point our children to the Providence of God and how He works in and through events and people to bring about His will.
Geography- Emphasize praying for the church around the world, that God would build His church and glorify Himself among the nations (something He says He will do, so this is praying for God to accomplish His will).
Science and Mathematics, the language of science- Praise God's power and order displayed in creation and the laws that He uses to govern His creation.
Language Arts- Emphasize the importance of being able to clearly communicate the gospel to others. Shining the light of God's redemptive plan magnifies Him in a way difficult to match. It shows His sovereignty, love, grace, mercy, fogiveness, justice. Almost every attribute of God is displayed in His marvelous work of redemption. Part of being ready to give a defense for the hope of Christ that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), is simply being able to communicate clearly.
Foreign languages- Determine which languages will best equip your family to share Christ or better worship God. In our homeschool we think biblical Greek will aid us in understanding God's Word, and therefore God. We're also studying Mandarin Chinese, but whatever foreign language you fill into this blank, we should attempt to discern how our children can use this ability in the future to point others to Christ.
Music or Art- Encourage your kids to think how they can best reflect God to others through the arts. Both music and the visual arts can be of assistance in worship. They can also be used to bless the body of Christ, displaying Christ's love for His church.
All of the above is only dealing with the content of our homeschool. The manner in which we homeschool is another way we can reflect God's glory. It doesn't matter how great our homeschool content is, if we spend all day screaming at our kids and criticizing them, we are NOT reflecting God's glory. I struggle with the drill sargeant mentality. I've been praying for some time that the Lord would help me be patient and loving, gentle and encouraging with my kids throughout the day. Often, I have to stop and repent of my attitude or tone right in the middle of the day. I love homeschooling my kids, but sometimes my words and demeanor don't accuately convey that. Likewise, if our kids spend all day fighting with one another, we've missed the point. We don't want to raise little pharisees who know the law in their minds, but missed it in their hearts. It's not enough to study godly character traits, though we certainly do this, we must pray that the Lord will work in us and through us to glorify Himself. We start each day with that very prayer. That we will love the Lord and show that love by being obedient to Him and loving one another. This is easier said than done and obviously a lot harder to control than our homeschool content, but God is the one at work in us to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6)!
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.