Debra Bell, author of The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, was a plenary speaker at the recently held Philippine Homeschool Conference.
She was a pioneering homeschool mom and educator who was instrumental in legalizing home education in Pennsylvania back in the 1980s. Her book has been an invaluable tool to homeschoolers around the world. I read my mom’s first edition copy years ago when I was researching about homeschooling.
Her book and testimony is of even greater value to me at present because her children are all grown up, married and successful. They are committed followers of Jesus, accomplished in their occupations of choice, and they all remain close as a family. They are living proof that Debra and her husband, Kermit, made the right choice by homeschooling. I was blessed to spend some personal time with her and hear stories about her family and her walk with God. She is a remarkable woman.
During a smaller gathering of parents that was organized a day before the conference, she shared six key principles for homeschooling success. In the decades that she has taught her kids, been a certified educator, and served the homeschooling community, she has narrowed down the success factors to six non-negotiables. Regardless of culture, these factors are elemental to gracefully surviving homeschooling:
1.Your family relationships are healthy.
Do you and your spouse prioritize your marital relationship?
Do you pursue your children relationally?
She recommends reading books like Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
2. Your home is educationally stimulating. Children’s natural curiosity is God-given and never intended to be extinguished.
What value do you place on education?
Are you convinced that God wants you to invest in the intellectual gifts of your children?
What do you expect your child to devote his or her time to?
Are you willing to invest in the best resources you can afford?
3. You have a biblical conviction that God has called you to this.
How did you make your decision?
Do you trust that God will make His will known?
“A double-minded is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8
Homeschooling is born out of a biblical conviction and is sustained by faith and grace.
4. You are committed to Christian maturity
What is your commitment to progressive sanctification in your own life?
Are you growing in spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness?
Expect homeschooling to be uncomfortable, but by God’s power, you can do it!
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-8 NLT)
5. You have a support system.
Do you have people with whom you can build a homeschool community for the benefit of your children?
Can you share resources with family and friends?
6. You are willing to seek help.
Do you acknowledge that you need others?
God gives grace to the humble. No homeschooler is an island. You will need to supplement and augment your weaknesses by enlisting the help of others.
Here is the encouragement, if these factors are in check, you can be confident that you are providing the best education you can for your kids.
I love this quote of Debra Bell. If we built a school from the ground up based on how children learn best, we would build a home. May this inspire you!
Connect with her here: Debra Bell