Whether you are just getting started or have a few years under your belt, you might find it refreshing to consider what your homeschooling goals are. What metric will you use to determine if you're having a successful year? Are academics the most important? Or character training? Or raising your children to be independent adults?
As a partner in your family's education, these are the goals that we hold. If these sound good to you, Sonlight will be a great fit.
1 Teach your children to seek God's Kingdom above everything else.
Jesus instructed his followers to "Seek first His [God's] kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).
By design, Sonlight's curriculum seeks to spark meaningful conversations between you and your children. These moments can help your children learn to put God's kingdom purposes first.
2 Raise children with God's heart for the world.
God's plans are for all nations, all people groups. As Revelation 5:9 says, there will be some from "every tribe, language, people, and nation" worshipping before God's throne at the last day.
Since God's heart is for the world, you'll teach about the world right from the start. Starting with a true story set in Thailand in the Preschool program, and continuing each year, your children will meet (and pray for) people from many cultures.
With this global perspective, Sonlight offers the opportunity for your children to understand their role in what God is doing in the world.
3 Inspire your children to honor Christ boldly.
Our desire is that Sonlight students understand that they are part of God's plan, which is far bigger than they are. Th is plan has been carried forward through the centuries by "a great cloud" of faithful people who fulfilled their callings, often with great sacrifice (see Hebrews 12:1).
Your children will find true heroes – people whose lives you want to emulate. As you read compelling biographies, you'll help your children see these heroes as real, imperfect people who continually said yes to God. And you'll see how God has continued his work in the world through Christ-followers.
Your children will sense the excitement and challenge of following Jesus in big and little things – not only at home and at church, but also in their work and culture.
4 Prepare your children to be winsome ambassadors for Christ.
Paul calls us "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20). Ambassadors represent their home country in foreign places, communicating their home country's message to their hosts. They are the bridge between their home and their hosts.
What a wonderful calling! In order to train your children to become effective ambassadors, you help your children know both Christ and the Scriptures, as well as the people and culture around them.
Effective ambassadors are familiar with the Truth and know their audience. They know the message they have been sent to share, and how to share it, taking into account what their hosts think, believe, and value.
5 Raise "culturally literate" students.
We all need to know a certain basic set of background information if we want to get along in a culture, let alone influence it. We must be aware of the key historical events, significant people, movements, groups and ideas that have shaped our culture. With Sonlight, you'll read widely from carefully selected books that help your children become culturally literate adults. Your children will have a foundational base of knowledge.
More importantly, these books help prepare your children to respond to cultural influences in a godly way. Cultural literacy helps prepare students to become world-changers – people who make a difference for good.
6 Teach your students how to listen to others with confidence and with interest in other viewpoints.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak" (James 1:19).
To communicate effectively for Christ, we might do well to listen twice as much as we talk.
Sonlight uses two methods to help your students learn to listen.
First, your children will listen while you read to them. Studies show that children develop better listening skills when their parents regularly read to them at length. Sonlight Read-Alouds help you love reading together daily, and so your children will learn to listen.
Second, Sonlight programs often present multiple sides of an argument. Your children listen to two perspectives on various issues and work to find quality solutions. Sonlight equips you to walk alongside your children as they learn the tools, techniques, knowledge, and skills of godly intellectual engagement.
Your students will learn that most issues have more than one perspective, and that, in the face of other perspectives, they need not mock nor cower. They can find answers to questions that challenge their point of view. Th ere is no need to fear. They can be confident in the face of differing viewpoints.
7 Inspire students to be true scholars.
With Sonlight, your students go beyond simply memorizing information. They learn how to research, compare views, think critically, and explain their perspective articulately.
We believe true scholarship is an important step in preparing students to do whatever God calls them to do. Those who have "done their homework" are in far better positions than those who haven't learned to communicate effectively with people who hold different perspectives.
8 Foster a love of learning.
What good does it do to fill children's minds with information if they never develop a sincere desire to learn and grow in wisdom? As Solomon said: "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she [wisdom] is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her" (Proverbs 3:13-15).
Once your children want to learn, you have equipped them to keep learning throughout life. Th is allows them to press toward the goals God wants them to pursue.
9 Prepare students for thoughtful action on significant issues.
The Bible and other quality literature develop empathy, teach life lessons gracefully, and encourage students to search the Scriptures to find out how Jesus would respond in certain circumstances.
As your students read and think about serious social, personal, and ethical issues, they prepare themselves for times when they may face similar dilemmas. Can you imagine a more enjoyable way to gain wisdom and knowledge than to read great books?
10 Launch mature adults.
The end result of education is not solely to create young people with brilliant minds. A brilliant mind, after all, can be turned to good or ill purposes.
Rather, you want your children to be mature adults, who make prudent decisions instead of self-destructive ones, who have purpose and direction instead of aimlessness, who are eager to serve the Lord and the body of Christ rather than living for themselves.
Sonlight students worldwide are discovering their gifts and using them to further God's kingdom in different ways.
One Sonlighter was recently the first in her family to graduate college. Another just started at Stanford. Another Sonlight grad is headed to the Navy to study nuclear engineering. Another student plans to be a medical missionary, while another is already working to fight human trafficking.
As you look at your goals for your homeschool, may you be inspired by how meaningful this calling is; may you be encouraged by how doable it is, through God's grace; may you be strengthened in the year to come as you raise and educate your children.
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