I’ll bet you’ve heard the verse a number of times, but have you ever related Proverbs 27:17 to parenting or homeschooling? “Iron sharpeneth iron: so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Isn’t that what homeschooling really is? Haven’t you experienced the iron striking iron effect? I know that I have never been so refined, never had a deeper sense of my own need, than as a homeschooling mom. God is using homeschooling to help me grow in wisdom.
The first step on the path to wisdom is viewing homeschooling as a vocation–a call from God that God will equip us to perform. Questions about which math program to use or when to start formal grammar lessons take on a new dimension when we see them as a part of a larger project.
Eternal Treasures: Teaching Your Child at Home by Cheryl Swope and Rachel Whiting provides a context for the spiritual and religious significance on homeschooling. Speaking about our vocation or calling, Cheryl Swope says,
As Parents and teachers we can take heart and remember that God himself works through us in spite of our weaknesses, to accomplish His good purposes for our children.
One tangible way that our family is cultivating this connection is through observing the church year. We are creatures set down in time. Does anyone experience time’s ever-rolling stream like a homeschooling mom? But the church circles around to the same feasts (Christmas and Easter) and fasts (Advent and Lent) every year. Almost everyone celebrates Easter and Christmas, but there’s an entire year of celebrations. In our family we use block schedules to mark off the seasons of Advent and Lent. This time outside of time helps us to prepare for the coming feasts. And more practically, it helps to break up our school year, providing variety and contrast.
The book is co-authored, but is filled with stories from other homeschoolers right in the midst of the work. Hearing their voices, seeing their sample schedules moves this book from being purely theoretical. Eternal Treasures is written primarily for Lutheran homeschoolers. But anyone from a confessional church will find much to encourage and help. There are sections on
- reading aloud to develop the moral imagination
- scripture memory
- the joys of Latin and Greek study
- the role of service in the Christian life
The book also contains a rich appendix of recommended resources–the books and curriculum to walk this path–as well as suggestions on sourcing the materials. Eternal Treasures is the rare book that helps us to widen our view–to help us align our daily work with God’s redeeming work–while providing a deep well of heartening practical advice.