by Cindy Downes
They fail to make a commitment.
Jas 1:8 (amp), “A double-minded man is unstable in all
his ways.” Doubleminded means: hesitating, dubious,
irresolute — is unstable and unreliable and uncertain
about everything he thinks, feels, decides. You will want
to give up many times and so will your kids. If you don't
make a firm decision, your kids, friends, and relatives will
make one for you but you and your husband will be the ones
They are not in agreement with their husband. Amos 3:3,
"Can two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?"
If your husband is not in agreement, ask God to speak to
him. In the meantime, keep quiet. God will convict him if
that is what He wants you to do. There may be a reason why
you should wait that only God knows. Only when you are both
in agreement, should you homeschool.
They neglect to discipline their children. 1 Tim. 3:4
says an overseer (that's you in this case), "must manage his
own family well and see that his children obey him with proper
respect." See Proverbs 22:15 and 13:25 for God's word on
proper discipline. The key is to be consistent in enforcing
rules and keep in mind that if they don't obey you, they
won't obey God!
They fail to count the cost. Homeschool will cost you
—your personal time, money, and possibly the loss of
your family's and friends' support. Many parents react instead
of respond by pulling their kids out of school and getting
the facts later. Luke 14:28 (NIV) says, "Suppose one of you
wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate
the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" Luke
14:31 says, "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against
another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether
he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one coming against
him with twenty thousand?" Get the facts first, count the
cost, and then make a decision together with your spouse.
They don't take the time to set goals. Each year, take
time to set goals for each child individually. Prov. 29:18
says, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Perish
means to go astray or wander. A homeschool mom who does not
set goals wanders around trying this and that curriculum,
always doubtful that she is doing the right thing. Ask God
to show you what each child needs and how to fulfill those
needs. Pray. Romans 8:26 says the Holy Spirit will help us
to pray when we don't know what to pray for. Trust God to
give you the answer. Proverbs 16:3 (amp) says, "Roll your
works upon the Lord — commit and trust them wholly to
Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His
will and so shall your plans be established and succeed."
Then, believe that you heard from God and resist doubt (Jas.1:6).
They fail to establish priorities and then stick to them.
Many homeschool moms wear themselves out doing perfectly
good things and then wonder why their homeschool is not going
well. Keep your priorities: 1) God, 2) husband, 3) children,
4) work — homeschool in this case, 5) church/ministry,
and 6) other. Don't get so busy doing "good" things that you
don't do the "God" thing He has called you to do.
They fail to trust God to provide the material things they
need. God is Jehovah Jireh — our provider. He wouldn't
call you to do something and then not give you the resources
to do it. Phil. 4:19 says He will supply all your needs. Many
moms go to work, either full or part time, not because they
have to, but because they are frustrated at home or in fear
over finances. If this is you, instead of going to work outside
the home, (1) look for ways to cut costs, (2) pray for your
husband's boss or business to prosper, (3) investigate a home
business, and (4) be patient. Caution: If you do pursue a
home business, don't let it interfere with your family responsibilities.
Prov. 31:16 (amp) states this very clearly, "She considers
a new field before she buys or accepts it — expanding
prudently (and not courting neglect of her present duties
by assuming others)." The best time to start a home business
is when your youngest child is reading and writing so that
all your children can participate in the business and learn
valuable skills as part of their homeschool.
They fail to keep the Sabbath principle with their family. Heb.
4:4b says, "And God rested on the seventh day from all
His work." If God rested, what makes you think you can do
without? The Sabbath was made for your good (Mark 2:27). The
purpose is for you to get needed rest and time with your family.
You should only do what is absolutely mandatory or extend
mercy in a time of need (Exodus 20:10, Luke 13:15, Matt. 12:12).
The Sabbath is from sunset to sunset — 24 hours (Lev.
23:32). Pick a day that you can spend together with your
family and break it for no one.
They neglect their own spiritual growth. Read the Word.
Read it to your kids if that's the only way you can get it.
Pray. Pray while you're doing housework if necessary. Don't
neglect the assembly of believers. Getting together with
other believers not only encourages you but you have the
responsibility to encourage them as well. Heb. 10: 24b-25
says, "And let
us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and
good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are
in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —
and all the more as you see the DAY approaching."
strive for the approval of men. Many homeschool moms
make the mistake of comparing their school or kids with the
public or private school down the street or their homeschool
friends' kids. God created each of your children for a specific
purpose in his generation. Your job is to help each of your
children find his specific calling, discover what he lacks
to pursue it, and then equip him with what he needs to fulfill
that calling. Don't be so concerned with obtaining "approval" that
you miss hearing from God what He wants your children to
They have an unnecessary fear of authorities. Prov. 16:7
says, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes
even his enemies live at peace with him." When Cindy lived
in Pennsylvania, one of the toughest states in which to homeschool,
she used nontraditional curriculum which was unfamiliar to
the local authorities at that time. The Lord not only gave
her favor with the school officials but even helped her deal
with mandatory testing during the years her son was behind
grade level. If you do what's right in God's eyes, He will
protect you. Listen to what the Spirit is telling you. If
the Lord is telling you to spend more time in ministry and
less time on diagramming sentences, or spend more time on
electronics and less time memorizing dates in World History,
do it. Don't try to do everything in the curriculum according
to the teacher's manual. Scope and sequences vary from school
to school, year to year, and book to book. No one can learn
everything there is to know. Curriculum publishers and "professional"
educators make decisions on what topics a child "needs" to
learn and when, based on their standards and philosophies.
Your child; however, may need to learn something else or
on a different time schedule. As you go through your school
year, before you assign seatwork or introduce a new topic,
ask yourself: (1) Is this going to help this particular child
do what God has called him to do? (2) Is this the time to
introduce this (readiness)? If you answer yes to these two
questions, then teach the topic and/or have them do the seatwork.
If you answer no, then don't!
They forget to create enthusiasm for learning. Enthusiasm
comes from the Greek words "en theos" meaning "in God". Learning
in God should be exciting! Don't be afraid to have fun in
your homeschool. Use real books and hands-on activities instead
of, or to enhance, your textbooks.
neglect their children's spiritual training. The great
commission (Matt. 28:19-20) applies to your own children,
too! Pearl S. Buck, a famous author, was homeschooled by
Christian parents who were missionaries to China. While they
were ministering salvation to the people of China, they neglected
to minister to their own child. In the morning, Pearl studied
her lessons assigned by her mother from a secular curriculum.
In the afternoon, they gave her more studies under the tutelage
of a local Chinese man, Mr. Kung. Pearl says in her book,
My Several Worlds,
"I became mentally bifocal, and so I learned early to understand
that there is no such condition in human affairs as absolute
truth. There is only truth as people see it
" (p. 41)
The damage done meant she "never belonged entirely to one
side of any question." She called her parent's faith "their
religion" not hers. By neglecting to continually put the truth
of God's Word in front of her and allowing her to be taught
by a person of another faith, Pearl's parents will eventually
have to stand before the Lord and be held accountable. Our
children are body, soul and spirit and all three parts need
feeding on a regular basis. One or two hours at church every
week will not do it. God gave us a model for a well-rounded
education as shown in Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom,
stature, in favor with God, and in favor with man." Our goal
should be for our children to increase in all four areas
just as Jesus did. (See The Checklist
for more information.)
They fail to teach their children the love and grace of God.
If they don’t experience the love and grace of God,
they will not be able to give God’s love and grace.
My biggest regret regarding my homeschooling years is that
I failed in this area. Yes, I was saved and serving God with
all my heart, but I hadn’t personally experienced the
love and grace of God. Therefore, I was not able to pass this
on to my children. They, like me, learned all the rules and
regulations of serving God, but not the joy of God’s
love and His unending grace. Consequently, in spite of all
that I taught them, they spent their early adult years running
from God instead of to God. Thanks be to God who IS love and
grace, we are all now learning to know God’s love and
grace. My prayer for you is that as you personally experience
God’s love and grace, you will pass it on to your children.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, “If I speak
in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love (that
reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired
by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong
or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers—that
is, the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose;
and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess
all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can
remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me),
I am nothing—a useless nobody.” (Amplified)
They fail to get help when needed. Proverbs 1:5 says,
"A wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man
of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." Don't
be afraid to ask for help when you need it. However, make
sure it's the right kind of help. Don't ask your local school
teacher. That would be like asking a skin doctor to perform
heart surgery on you. Even though they may both be good doctors,
they are experienced in two different fields. Don't ask a
friend who's new at homeschooling. That would be like asking
a student in law school to represent you in court instead
of an experienced attorney! Consult people who have several
successful years of homeschooling under their belt and who
are of like faith.
They don't endure to the end! I think Paul was really
talking about homeschool in 2 Tim. 2:2-3! He tells Timothy,
and the things you have heard me say in the presence
of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be
qualified to teach others also. Endure hardship with us like
a good soldier of Christ." You are stewards of God's children
and it is "
required of stewards
to be found faithful"
(1 Cor. 4:2). It's not always going to be easy. Your kids
are not always going to like it. It's a job that God has called
you to do. Some days it may seem as if you are just spinning
wheels. But Jas. 1:12 tells us that the patient man wins the
crown. Keep on doing what God says and trust Him for the results.
I like what Paul said in 1 Cor. 4:3-5, "I care very little
if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do
not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does
not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore
judge nothing before the appointed time."
if you made some of these mistakes in the past (and who
hasn't!), it's not too late to make corrections. Make
a commitment with your husband, today, to avoid these
16 mistakes and then open your heart to hear from God.
You will do what God has called you to do. You will finish
the course and you will receive the prize! Prov. 30:31
says, "Give her of the fruit of her
hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the