As you’re busily planning your homeschool year with your children, remember to PLAN IT ALL – which includes the fun, the character building, and the rest time. If you don’t plan these important things, they’ll get pushed aside and forgotten, or maybe squeezed in. We always make room in the schedule for academics, sports, and dance classes; but what you include in your plan shows your children what is most important to you. Is it academics? Is it competition? Or is it the condition of your family?

Or is it the condition of the souls of the members of your family?

Not every child will pursue a college degree. But every child will become an adult, and every adult has to make his own way in the world. Will your children be prepared for this? Yes, they’ll need academic learning. But they’ll also need training. Godly character training. For example, of course they need to learn to “get along” with their siblings, but even more importantly, they need to learn how to think of others before themselves. They need to learn to prioritize relationships over activities, people over things.

But kids fight. How do we teach them these important life lessons when they’re constantly in time out? WHEN do we teach them these things when our days are completely filled with academics and running to and from activities? These are great questions. And the answers are simple. Plan it. Just as you set aside specific times for academics, soccer practice, and dance class, you must schedule designated times for training in godliness. Then when disputes arise, you’ll have your lessons in godliness to refer to in guiding your children through the struggle.

What about you, Mom? Have you planned time for your OWN spiritual growth? If you don’t plan it, you’ll not achieve it. Set aside a little time, even if it’s an hour each week, to read. I’m not talking about your daily Scripture readings. (You are spending a little time in the Word each day, aren’t you?) I’m talking about books that will challenge you to grow spiritually. Books that will challenge you to know God in a deeper way and learn about His attributes.

As Christians, we are to bear His image. If we don’t REALLY know Him, how can we display His attributes? How can we introduce our children to Him? Things to consider…Learn church history. Study biblical doctrine. Involve your children in meeting needs in your church family. Is someone needy? Sick? Just had a baby or surgery? When you make dinner tonight, make a little extra. Get the kids to help pack a box with disposable plates, napkins silverware, and the little extra you made for dinner. Then take the kids with you to deliver it. Pray for the person who receives the meal. How many beautiful Scriptural life lessons have you taught your children in this one act of kindness? Make sure your children—and the recipient—understand that all the glory for this act goes to God, for it is because of Him that we are even ABLE to help others.

Don’t forget to also plan time for them to be children, and for you to be Mom. Schedule in the park days, the zoo trips, the rest days. Plan time to just be a mom and her children. Schedule time for character training and growth—both for your children and for you. If your schedule is too full of academics and activities, you won’t have time for true character training. When the Bible speaks of training up your child in the way he should go, it is not referring to math or science.

Enjoy your family and the freedom that home education allows!

Debbie Gibson, CHEO Leadership Team