When my oldest daughter started high school, I really didn’t have a clue about how to plan for high school…much less anything beyond high school. At that point, we were still in our guinea pig mode, trying to determine what was best for our family with lots of prayer and far too much trial and error. I remember going through the “state requirements” and writing her list of classes based on those requirements.
Thankfully, she was a pretty straightforward case and completed her studies without too many struggles. We had assumed that she would be attending college after high school (isn’t that what they are suppose to do!), so many of our decisions were based on this factor. As the years went by, our thinking slowly began to change. Maybe she didn’t need to go to college after all. But a degree would be nice to have, just in case.
So then we began looking at College Plus and other alternative college methods. Then during the middle of her Senior year, the Lord place a great desire on Kendra’s heart. It wasn’t anything any of us had planned for. It wasn’t anything we agonized over and wondered about. Really, it was just a brief mention in a conversation.
“How about becoming a midwife?”
From that time on, the Lord got a hold of her heart and has been leading her on the journey He has planned for. First, it was providing a Spanish class with a native Guatemalan teacher, who incorporated her knowledge of herbal medicine into her Spanish lessons. Then there was the provision of a midwife with whom she can apprentice–the same one that delivered Cooper! God has been so gracious in His leading her to become a midwife. I would like to say that all my planning paid off, but honestly, I was planning based on a system that we are not part of. I was trying to fit a round peg into a square whole.
So how do you plan to let the Lord lead your children where He would have them go?
First and foremost, you begin to pray that the Lord would use them any way He sees fit. Then you watch and see where He leads, guiding them to keep them on the right path. It reminds me of sewing. You know how the machine pulls the fabric along, but we have to keep a close eye on the fabric and a steady hand guiding it to make sure the fabric is sewn at the right spot. This is our job as parents, specifically homeschooling parents. We are to guide our children, keeping a close eye on them and a steady hand leading them in the ways of the Lord.
There are several practical ways that we can plan on doing this:
From the youngest age possible, we need to be training up our children in the way they should go.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
God has entrusted us with our children that we may train them up as warriors for Him. Think about that for a moment. A warrior. In my mind I think of William Wallace fighting for freedom in Scotland. If I knew that I would be sending my son or daughter into a William Wallace kind of battle, would the extent of their training be a 2 hour, once a week lesson. I don’t think so. So let’s not depend on one Sunday service a week to prepare our children for the spiritual battle they will face.
The first step should be daily Bible study and prayer, both together as a family and on their own. Bible studies and curriculum are nice, but nothing should replace simply reading the Word and letting the Holy Spirit dictate the lessons. We have printed off Bible reading checklists so that they could keep track of what they had read.
Other than the Bible, we have found Christian worldview books extremely profitable in teaching the kids to defend their faith. Answers in Genesis and Masters Books have several titles that have helped cement vital concepts into my childrens’ minds. Over the past year, we have had several opportunities to visit with non-Christian members of our family. My children were able to explain our beliefs very clearly because they were prepared. I don’t think they would have been able to be so articulate in their beliefs had we not made a conscience effort to train them in this area.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
Staying Out of Debt
When my husband and I were first married 20 years ago, his paycheck was $800 a month. Granted our rent was only $200 a month, but we still struggled greatly. We quickly found our way to credit cards and debt that has taken years to pay off. After 20 years, I am so thankful that the only debt we will have when my husband retires from the Air Force next spring will be a mortgage on our house. But there is such a better way, and we have worked with our children to teach them sound Biblical principles in regards to finances.
First, we have instilled in them that debt is not the way to go. We have taught them that it is always better to either save up enough money to pay in cash or work something out creatively. This may mean learning to do without, making their own, or finding something used.
Earning Their Own Money
We don’t give allowances in our home, but we do help our children find ways to earn money even if they are young. Over the years, my oldest daughter has babysat, dog sat, taught piano lessons, taught knitting lessons, sold her handmade items, worked at a kennel and a yarn store. She learned many great lessons in each of these experiences, but most of all she learned the value of money. She is now a very frugal young lady. She buys most of her clothes at the thrift store or makes them herself.
With my son, we made it clear to him from a very young age that one day he will be head over his own family. And one of the greatest responsibilities he will have is providing for them. We have also advised him to try to earn enough money before he gets married to buy a house without debt. We know that it will take a lot of hard work and determination to make this happen, but this is perfect “training” for the rest of his life.
He started selling items on eBay when he was 10 or 11, and now earns money on YouTube as well. He also takes any hard job offered to him, including mowing lawns, working with his uncle on his tree service, or helping a neighbor plant trees. We allowed him to use his own money to buy a nice camera for his filmmaking adventures and to build his own computer.
These items were expensive items for a 15 year old to possess, but because he had shown diligence in working hard to earn the money (an he realized how hard it is to earn that money) we felt he had proved he was mature enough to make the decision to purchase these items. He also takes extremely good care of his equipment because he does remember how hard they were to earn.
One last thing I would like to add about financial training (which really applies to all types of training) is to not be afraid to let your children fail. Our children need to be able to learn from mistakes and there is no better time for this than in the safety of your home. There have been times that our kids have made poor choices with their money, but these times are when we sit down with them and lovingly point out how the choice might have been better.
It is important to not to berate them or make them feel like they are incapable of making a wise choice. Rather, let them know that we all make poor choices at times and the Lord uses these times to teach us how to make better choices next time.
Please join me for part 2 of Planning for Life After Homeschooling: Graduation and Beyond where I will be discussing life skills and education.
Are you looking for more homeschool planning advice? The bloggers of iHomeschool Network are joining forces this week providing you with all kinds of tools to help you plan your homeschool year!