If you don’t identify your priorities before you begin your school year, you will soon find yourself overwhelmed and unsure of which direction to head next.
In this episode of the One Faithful Mom podcast, I help you break down your priorities into segments to make it more doable and give you ideas on what and how to prioritize.
If you’re just joining our series on How to Homeschool, this is Part 4, Identify Your Priorities. In case you missed the first 3 parts, you can find those here:
Part 1- Begin With the End in Mind
Part 2- Examine Strengths and Weaknesses
Before we jump into today’s content, I want to be sure you have your free cheat sheet so you can work through each section as we talk through them. You can grab that cheat sheet right here:
Now that you know…
If you’ve listened to the first 3 episode of this series, you now know several things:
- What you want to have accomplished by your child’s high school graduation.
- What you want to accomplish by the end of this year.
- What each child’s unique strengths and weaknesses are.
- What your own unique strengths and weaknesses are.
- What your state’s homeschool laws are.
- What method you plan to follow.
- Which curriculum you think best suits the method and your unique children.
If you have made it this far, congratulations! You have got the hard part behind you!
Truly, you have done the majority of the work required to have a great school year with your children. You know where you’re headed, what you need to focus on improving and what is already strong, and you are ready to do things in the most legal and ethical way possible.
Now that all that is done, it’s time to think about how to identify your priorities.
Spiritual growth is the #1 priority
As we think about the end of our child’s formal education, and as we consider our own lives, our number one priority must always be spiritual growth.
It says in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
And in Proverbs 4:7, the Bible tells us, “Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
So, it is very clear from Scripture what our number one priority as believers has to be. Spiritual growth. Wisdom.
Notice that our #1 priority is not teaching our child to read or do long division. It isn’t worrying about college or scholarships or whether they will have enough credits to graduate on time.
A deeper knowledge of God’s word combined with applying it to our lives leads to spiritual growth. And that growth combined with a deeper sense of Biblical knowledge leads to wisdom. But we will never grow in wisdom if we aren’t putting God’s Word to work in our lives.
What kind of character do you see in your children?
- Are your children kind to others, especially their siblings?
- Are they obedient to you and to God’s Word?
- Are they quick to ask for forgiveness and to grant it when asked?
- Are they hard workers?
- Do they show initiative for their schoolwork?
- Do they show an appropriate level of responsibility for their age?
Any of these are signs that your child is either showing a godly character or that their character needs some attention. You have to know your child’s character in order to set your priorities in this area.
Family relationships, bonds, and togetherness
Is your family the type of family that others would call close-knit?
Family closeness is your next priority to look at. Maybe your family does everything together. Maybe you have weekly game nights, dinner together every night, a solid bedtime routine, and fun family trips or vacations.
Or maybe you’re one of those families who all head off to your individual rooms after dinner and you don’t talk to each other anymore for the rest of the evening. If this is you, maybe you want to prioritize doing some things together this fall and winter.
Be willing to step up and be the one to let your spouse and children know that you really want to spend more time together.
Last but not least, academics
Finally, we reach academics.
Yes, academics are important but they are not above any of the previous things I’ve mentioned in terms of lasting importance in your life or your child’s life. Spiritual growth, character, and family life are all issues of the heart. They are part of the system God created for us to live and grow in.
Academics are temporary. They serve us for a time but they are not permanent.
You can have the most brilliant children in the world and if they’re lying cheaters who lack all self-discipline, what good will their academics have done them?
If your children graduate from Harvard or Oxford, but they end up in prison because they are awful people, what good will that education have done them?
Academics have their place, though. Our children do need to learn things and we absolutely do have to prioritize academics on some level. So, it’s time to figure out what you need to prioritize as far as academics this year.
Is this the year your little boy needs to learn to read? Does your daughter need to get a better handle on Algebra this year?
You obviously need more than one academic priority per year. Set priorities for each subject you will be studying this school year.
I truly want this series to be helpful for you as you begin a new school year with your children, especially if this is your first year of homeschooling. Join me next time for part 5!