I recently listened to a podcast and the homeschool mother being interviewed about traditional classical education said: “I don’t have to be the teacher. And that’s what I’m trying to impart to parents now. You’re not the teacher . . . you’re the lead learner. You don’t have to know everything. You just need to guide and coax.” While I agree that we learn along side our children, we don’t have to know “everything”, and that we need to guide our children, I disagree about coaxing them. I believe that we are to inspire the mind and heart of the child. Furthermore, I believe that we are to be a teacher and I’ll explain that why as well.
Let’s look at the vocabulary (grammar) of our subject as we work through this topic:
What It Means to Coax a Child
COAX, verb transitive To wheedle; to flatter; to soothe, appease or persuade by flattery and foundling.
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Coaxing—flattery—has to do with non-choice attributes really. Instead of focusing on the child’s natural ability, focus on the child’s effort. Or, instead of highlighting how intelligent the child is, highlight the choice the child made.
What It Means to Inspire
Instead of flattering, soothing, appeasing, or persuading our children with flattery let’s inspire them.
INSPI’RE, verb intransitive [Latin inspiro; in and spiro, to breathe.] INSPI’RE, verb transitive To breathe into. To infuse into the mind; as, to inspire with new life. To infuse ideas or poetic spirit.
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
What It Means to Inspire the Mind and Heart of the Child
Being a “lead learner” is on target for a couple of reasons. For one, as teachers we parents are “living books” that our children read. Additionally, Scripture teaches us that:
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
-Luke 6:40 (KJV)
The word “master” may also be translated as “teacher.” In Luke 6:40, “master” is Strong’s G1320 – didaskalos and it is also defined as “teacher.”
God gives us the whole counsel of the Bible from which to learn and teach and infuse our minds with. To say that parents don’t need to be a teacher to their children is to say that they don’t need to teach their children from the principles of the Bible.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
-2 Timothy 3:16, 17 (KJV)
Therefore, Biblically, there is an element to parents being both a learner (disciple of Christ) and a teacher (one who disciples his/her children). We have the responsibility to help our children be “furnished unto all good works.”
Let’s break this down a little.
Inspire the Heart and Mind of the Child with Skills
What if a parent isn’t skilled in some way? For instance, does a parent need to be an artist for the child to develop artistic skills? If a parent isn’t skilled in art, but the child shows interest or talent in it, does the parent need to learn artistic skills? That’s not necessarily the case. Indeed, a parent may help inspire the development of creative skills in the following ways:
- provide resources (books, educational DVDs, online courses, etc.) to aid their child’s growth in art
- give their child plenty of time to practice developing the skills
- inspire their child’s creativity by visiting art museums or simply exploring many art media
- hire a Biblical-Principle Approach art tutor to help
The above are all ways to help “inspire with new life” and “infuse ideas” that nurture the child’s interests.
Inspire the Heart and Mind of the Child with Biblical Principles
Wouldn’t it be lovely for children to think fondly back to their homeschool experience and be thankful for their parents who inspired them with Biblical reasoning in each subject?
Naturally, parents will need to dive into some research, develop a leading idea, decide what to talk about with their children, and help their children reason from the Biblical principle(s). It’s delightful how much the mind and heart are inspired. It’s amazing how much wisdom is given by a teacher who takes great care to cultivate the heart’s soil to receive truths from God’s Word. And, it’s a blessing for families to bond over God’s principles.
In this respect, the child cannot be greater than his/her teacher. Therefore, it’s important for parents to teach—that is disciple—their children.
Inspire the Heart and Mind of the Child with Natural Law
Natural Law is God’s Creation (Romans 1:20). How may you share Biblical reasoning with your child as you go on nature walks, bug hunting, or examine leaves together at your dining room table? For instance, how can you help your child reason from the Principle of Individuality in all that you observe together from God’s Creation? How does it teach about Creator God?
Inspiring the Heart Helps Preserve Innocence
There’s a lot of worldly things out there that compete for the heart and mind of parents and children. The more we infuse our minds with God’s principles and our thoughts dwell on Him, the more it helps to preserve our innocence.
Many people mistakenly equate “innocence” with “ignorance.” But, they aren’t the same thing.
IN’NOCENCY, noun [Latin innocentia; in and noceo, to hurt.] Properly, freedom from any quality that can injure; In a moral sense, freedom from crime, sin or guilt; untainted purity of heart and life; unimpaired integrity; Freedom from guilt or evil intentions; simplicity of heart; as the innocence of a child.
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
As we fill our minds with:
- the Truths of God’s Word,
- thinking governmentally,
- dwelling on His sovereignty and providence,
- thoughts of His goodness,
- Biblical principles,
- Christ as the Focal Point of His Story,
we don’t have room in our minds for the trash the world has to offer. We’re too busy praising and worshiping our Heavenly Father for all His awesomeness.
How to Learn More About Inspiring the Heart of the Child
Be mentored and discipled in the Biblical-Principle Approach so that you can be equipped to disciple your children. Join the waitlist today for the Biblical-Principle Approach Homeschool Experience™ (Membership) today!
You can also read the article: What is a Principle Approach® Homeschool?