Hints for Home Schoolers – The Prodigal

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So, you’ve done everything right.  You’ve home-schooled for years, surrounded your kids with the love of Christ, and after years of careful tending – your semi-adult child rebels.  And not a little rebellion – we’re talking major rebellion.  I’m not referring to the sullen eight year old who refuses to  finish his math paper – what is on the table here is the child who morally rebels, and may even leave home.  Can this happen in a Christian home school? Yes.  Rarely, but it does happen.
Every person born in the world has the potential for rebellion within them.  One only needs to hear that first NO! out of a toddler’s mouth to believe it.  This is natural rebellion that every parent must quell in their child, or the infant terrible    will grow into an intolerable human being.  But is teenage rebellion “natural?”  Must teenagers rebel?
To answer that question, we must address what causes it.

  • Attention starvation – Ok, you have three younger children that need 100% supervision.  Your 15 year old doesn’t need that much from you – right? Wrong.  The teenager that is “acting  out” is actually “crying out” for attention.
  • Too much criticism from youNEVER  publicly chasten your teen.  Bear in mind that teasing can be taken as mocking, and it is very, very painful.  And please have a tender heart for other people’s teenagers.
  • Be informedAlways make every effort to be fully informed before you make a judgement on something.  Often  kids are so fearful of disappointing their parents they will compound what they have done by attempting to conceal it. 
  • Making assumptions – Both teens and their parents make assumptions about each others’  motivations.  And they are usually wrong!
  • The Golden Child – This is a toughie.  It very frequently happens in multi-child households that one of them will seem “golden” to the other kids.  They don’t seem to get disciplined, their grades are wondrous, they are talented, everyone loves them!  Every person on this earth, including your “un-golden”  child has something they can do well.  Make it a priority to dig for that “gold.”

Alright, you did all that and you still have a rebel.  What now?  Cling to the Word of God like a life preserver in a stormy sea, and heed this promise:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6
True story time –
A conservative family with seven children, all raised the in the same fashion, had one child that chose the world.  After twelve years of homeschool and careful nurturing, the unsuspecting parents were greeted by a note and an empty  bed one morning.  Their 18 1/2 year old daughter had simply moved out in the middle of the night.
In her note she said she wanted to “see the world.”  For these parents, it was almost like a death.  For the first time in her life, the parents did not know where she was.  They did not know who had helped transport her, either.  All of her clothing had been taken, so it was clear she had moved out.
This experience was so terrifying for the parents, they called the prayer chain, and began fasting and praying with all of their being.  Days passed, then weeks, then months.  Then years.  Not a word.  The toll on the mother’s health was drastic.  They acted hopeful around each other, but inwardly carried it like a ten ton weight.
The one day, out of the blue, the daughter returned home.  She was a broken person.  She no longer had that sparkle in her eye they all loved.  She looked more like a hunted animal.  And – she was four months pregnant.  But – she was penitent!  She came into the home, and in front of the entire family, got down on her knees and begged forgiveness from her parents, saying that she had already asked the Lord for forgiveness.  And, those blessed, weary parents embraced that child with all the love they could muster, praising God and giving thanks for her safe return.
Did they reprimand her?  No, because they could see that she had already “paid the piper” several times over, and bore scars that would last a life time.  The purpose of this story, is to know that there is restoration for the rebel and their families.  With God – all things are possible.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15: 7
The Lord has promised that if we raise our children in the  “nurture and admonition” of the Lord, even if they rebel, they will return.  The Proverb says that when they are “old” they will not depart from it.  We can know from this that the Lord is in there, somewhere inside them, and they will return to Him.  Amen.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6: 4


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Hands down – the absolute best way to teach your children, ages 7 – 13 the Bible.  A Beka Bible Flash Cards.  Beautiful art work, wonderful script.  There are even expanded, in-depth, sections for older students.   Even if you can only buy one of these sets – get the “Salvation Series.”  My kids  said these were their  absolute, favorite part of school.  I have seen them for sale used, so do, do try to get them.
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