Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homeschool: The heart and the head

It has been a rather rough week. The boys have been particularly challenging, and we had a couple of cases of clear disobedience. There was one incidence of one boy taking a scissors to his brother's hair. There was a spilt potty all over the rug and cushions, even after repeated reminders not to play with the potty. I lost my cool quite a few times. 

This week, I am reminded that when it comes to parenting, we need to address matters of the heart over matters of the head:

“All behavior is linked to attitudes of the heart. Therefore, discipline must address attitudes of the heart.” 
- Ted Tripp, Shepherding A Child's Heart

Many a times, it is much easier to focus on the matters of the head, especially when it comes to homeschool. It is far more convenient choosing a curriculum to teach Math, compared to disciplining a child who refuses to obey. Teaching academics is straightforward, and it yields tangible results (when the child learns and grasps a concept or skill). This usually happens in a relatively short period of time. In many cases, teaching matters of the head can even be fun, because you get to do all sorts of interesting activities, stuff that you can photograph, stuff that you can write about or share.

But matters of the heart are far more complicated. Working on their hearts takes a lot of time. Many times, you don't see results, and you find you keep having to encourage, warn and discipline. It isn't enjoyable, having to deal with tantrums or disobedience. It gets really tiring. However, these are the issues that matter over learning a subject. 

I was encouraged by another homeschooling mum that "the nature of school changes significantly once there is obedience". We need to invest in relationships and obedience starting from young. 

So after all that happened, we made the choice to put down our books. We took time to talk. We prayed. I do not know how much of what we talked about actually went in, but I am also reminded about how I am not perfect, and how my children are not perfect either. I am encouraged because while we still fall so so short, we are saved by God's grace, and that is what makes family beautiful: imperfect people loving each other, because we were placed together.

“The gospel enables you and your children to face the worst in yourselves—your sin, your badness, and your weakness—and still find hope, because grace is powerful.” 
- Tedd TrippShepherding a Child's Heart

 PS: For Christian parents who want to read more about discipline, I highly recommend "Shepherding a Child's Heart" (which we quoted from). It has been one of the books that has helped me to look at discipline in clearer light.


  1. Grace is indeed powerful, and we all need a big dollop of grace daily esp where it concerns the family and relationships. Hope you are feeling better after the weekend. PS. I find Ted Tripp's book really helpful and sound too. Penned down some lessons from it some time back!

  2. Typed a long comment that got lost.

    Just wanted to say that I totally agree with your post. Heard that his brother Paul Tripp has great videos on parenting too.

    Our chaos also springs from this season of our kids' ages, don't think we can expect much different. My girls also each took scissors to their own hair on almost consecutive days. Argh.

  3. Thanks for sharing this book with us and your walk as a parent. I struggle so much with my 12yo tween. We try to show him grace but many a times he takes the opportunities and chances given to him for granted. His mood swings and lack of self discipline frustrates me so much. I am still holding on to the reminder the LORD put in my heart- that although I wasn't an angel myself, He still pulled me through. And I realise it is all of Him. I know K will be just fine but it still doesn't make it easy to stomach or handle situations he puts us through.



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