Teaching the Whole Child

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It is easy for homeschooling mamas to be overly concerned with what their children are taking into their minds and to get sidetracked from the needs of their children’s hearts and souls and sometimes even their bodies. I am long past those years of day in and day out homeschooling details, so I have the benefit of hindsight and therefore find it easier to take a broader view. When I pray for Ray and our children and grandchildren, I very often ask God to bless their hearts, souls, minds, and bodies. Jesus recognized these four components of every human being when He taught us the most important commandment.

Jesus answered, “The foremost is,
‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord;
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind,
and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:29-30

In this passage, Jesus is answering a scribe who asked Him what commandment was foremost. As soon as Jesus told him the most important commandment, He followed up with the commandment that is the second most important. Jesus said:

The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 12:31a

Then Jesus said:

“There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:31b

When Jesus discussed the first and second greatest commandments with a lawyer in Luke 10, Jesus told the lawyer:

“Do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:27b

 “Do this and you will live” is a powerful promise from the lips of the Son of God. The purpose of education is to prepare children for life. In the first and second greatest commandments, Jesus helps the homeschooling mama see the scope of educating for life. The wise homeschooling mama is not content to train only her child’s mind. She trains the whole child. She trains the child’s heart, soul, and body, too.

She also teaches her child how to interact with God and how to interact with others. At the core of how to interact with God is to love Him with our whole selves. At the core of how best to interact with others is to love each person as we love ourselves.

As I thought about how to illustrate this post, I thought about this painting by Winslow Homer. It is one of my favorite Homer paintings. These boys are enjoying life and, except for perhaps the one who has fallen down, they are enjoying one another.

Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer, 1872. Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Christian A. Zabriskie, 1950.

Our children don’t have to settle for a life that is mediocre.

I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly.
John 10:10b

They can live a full life that will never end. Wow! Just think of that.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life;
he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 
and everyone who lives and believes in Me
will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25

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