Homeschooling With Purpose – A Purposeful Home

{click to read all the posts in this series}

Look up from your computer and look around your home.  Right now.

What do you see?

I see a Bosch mixer with butter and chocolate chips sitting out in front of it waiting to be made into cookies.  I see a sink full of dishes.  I see coffee from this morning.  I see one daughter lying on the couch recovering from the flu and another sitting at the piano practicing for next week’s lesson.  I see a 2 year old pretending to read.  I see toys, school books, and LIFE.

We could talk schedules and chores and the logistics of raising a lot of littles all day long, but these things are only the means to an end.  Not the end itself.

The purpose of your home is not to run a well-oiled machine, but to create a dearly loved foretaste of our true Home.

If you spend your day striving for a home that looks devoid of family life, you will quickly find yourself

devoid of family life.

I am all for order, but order at the expense of relationships will never bring about the peaceful haven our homes should be.

Homeschooling at its finest is a messy business.  Curious minds make messes.  Rarely can those messes be confined to the dining room table.  Seeking order in your home should never be about appearances because the Lord looks on the heart of your home and cares nothing for your tidy facade.  Keep your motivation for creating order always in check, and be aware of how the order you have created is affecting those sharing your home. Is it beauty or beast?

Our lives as homeschoolers should be full of learning opportunities rooted and grounded in Scripture.  A home with purpose is a home where the wisdom and the heart of the Lord reigns supreme.

And what does this look like?

*A place to serve (Genesis 18, 2 Kings 4, John 12, Proverbs 31)

*A place to teach (Deuteronomy 4, Deuteronomy 6, Deuteronomy 11, Psalm 78)

*A place to love (Genesis 2, Deuteronomy 10, Proverbs 31, Titus 2)

There is so much more that could be said here, but what I really want to impress upon you is that the purpose of our earthly home is to reflect our heavenly home. Our homes should be places of joy, peace, and love, built by the Lord.

If these qualities are missing from your home, track down the source of strife.  This could be everything from lack of order to too much rigidity in your day to any number of things in between!  But you can be sure the strife you find will always have its roots in a lack of focus…a lack of purpose.

Refocus your home life and you will be much more able to homeschool with purpose.  Homeschool for Christ!

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33 thoughts on “Homeschooling With Purpose – A Purposeful Home

  1. Wonderful post! Our motivation should not be to have homes that look like they could be in Better Homes and Garden, but to have homes that reflect Christ. Love your comparison of our earthly homes to our Heavenly one!

  2. Amy,
    I totally agree with your point that our homes should be places of joy, peace and love, and our motives need to be in check, at all times. I take issue with what seems to be giving us an excuse to not try as hard to keep order and cleanliness in our homes. I believe that every woman ever born would love someone to give her an excuse why she doesn’t have to work as hard in this area, and we don’t need excuses, we need more discipline, and more encouragement.
    You hit a nerve in me with this post and I am preparing a post of my own because my comment became too long. I will link back, and leave a comment here, when I post.
    I would guess that, if we sat down and talked about this, we would actually agree and be saying the same thing.
    Blessings,
    Wendy

    • I don’t believe I gave that excuse, but simply am offering a REAL reason to keep order…the only Reason. So, yes, I am sure we would agree. :)

  3. Beautiful post! I really needed to read that also…thanks so much for posting. I put so much stress on myself because my home is messy but a homey family homeschool messy…yet I struggle with maintaining an appearance driven perfection. How silly! I will keep order but we live in our home, we create in our home, we love and laugh in our home. Thanks so much, I feel very blessed for having read this. :)

  4. Great post! I’m really enjoying this series. I love how it’s not a perpetual list of “things to do for a great homeschool”, but rather ideas to get me thinking and reflecting on my original vision. I love your blog and am always amazed at how you have a new post practically daily!

  5. Wendy Gunn,

    I totally see your point, and I agree fully. I have read so many times when women will say, “I have children, not clean floors”, and I cringe. OF COURSE any homeschooling mama is going to have a mess on the floor at times! Of course any mama committed to having several children home with her (we have 6 and one on the way) are going to have a house with things that are not “magazine cover perfect” because the HOUSE isn’t where we store our treasures..

    However, with that said, so many homeschoolers I know, live in chaos, and they do so with a great chuckle of excuses. Not in my home. One of the greatest things I do as a mom is run my home like a well-oiled machine. The children know they are expected to contribute with their chores, and they value how much work and time I put into growing a loving, clean, discipled-in-Christ home.

    I am thankful that I feel convicted daily to have an orderly home. I homeschool very effectively, and at any given time barring someone being ill or something, have a home that is very presentable to enter in..AND at the same time, loved and clean children, tasks for the day completed early, etc…then they get to just be kids and PLAY!

    Great post, and see the point, but disagree slightly..

  6. Amy, thanks for writing on a topic that I have struggled with and still do. It is very hard to keep a perfectly clean house and still take care of my family and homeschool. My wonderful husband used to expect me to be able to keep the house perfect, but he has learned that it is not always possible. We do clean and pick up every day, but I can’t do everything everyday, so I focus on having clean dishes and clean laundry and then I try to accomplish at least one other cleaning task every day. The kids also help by folding the laundry, sweeping floors and wiping bathroom counters down on a regular basis. Yes, I have to supervise and do it myself sometimes as they are little and are still learning how to do a good job, but I know that our home is filled with love and if I cleaned all day, it wouldn’t be.

  7. I totally understand the heart of what you’re saying, Amy. It is at the expense of a home filled with love, joy, peace, and service that you caution us.
    I don’t see this as an excuse to be slack in our household duties, I see it as encouragement and “permission” for us perfectionists that it’s OK to let something go to care for something greater.
    That doesn’t mean to leave it permanently in disarray!

    There is much that could be said on this topic from different angles. And I bet if we polled our children, we would glean some very valuable information from their own hearts on how THEIR needs are being met. :)

    Excellent topic. Thank you. :)

  8. What a wonderful post for me to read! I will start homeschooling my oldest in the fall (she’ll be in K). It just reminds me that life is a school in itself. That school goes beyond the text books and every day life! And also just the challenge to refocus our lives. It’s something I feel is constant in my life- re-evaluation, re-goaling (if that’s a word!) and creating ways to accomplish those things! I look forward to reading more!

  9. I see scrapbooks out from looking at, the carpet cleaner out from using, and two dogs curled up on the couch. Oops, an easter basket. No excuse for that!
    I don’t know if your post is telling us to let go of our perfectionism or telling us that the attitude/ vibe in our home is more important than some messes. I feel like I am not running a well-oiled machine- I feel like when you lift the hand mixer from the batter when it is spinning too fast… you try to protect the counter etc from splatters, but it doesn’t work. I am running behind my household tasks and grumping to my children. If I had a well-run house, I feel like I wouldn’t grump so much.
    Proverbs 31:27… please!!

  10. Wonderful post! I’ve definitely been a beast of a mama trying to keep the beauty from fading from a freshly cleaned and shined home. Not pretty. Perfection is an enemy wrapped in a lovely box with a big bow. Thanks for balance.

  11. This is part of an email I wrote to Amy:
    I am not a perfect housekeeper, by any means, so don’t get me wrong. I don’t think God is looking harshly at me because I have a basket of laundry in my bedroom, and dishes in my sink, which I do, but I don’t intend to leave them there or defend their presence there as a good thing, as though my kids are more loved, or better raised because of my messes. The goal is always higher, and for more order. God is a God of order. I want to emulate Him, and become more like Him, by creating more order and beauty in our home, not be proud of the lack of it, or say it doesn’t matter and that He doesn’t care.

    I believe that it shows respect for my family and those who visit our home to try (emphasis on the word “try”) to have it in order and clean. (I seem to be reaching this goal less and less as my children get older and my “workforce” isn’t home as much, and I am getting older, and the work doesn’t get less.) But I fight constantly against the mentality that “we want it to look like we live here,” and the temptation to lower the standard. When my children have suggested that to me, as all children will, I think it’s just their way of trying to get out of work. There’s absolutely no danger of our home looking like no one lived here, and for 99.9% of Homeschoolers that is true also.

    My goal is this: We should keep our house clean, with a regular schedule, and have determined where each of our possessions belong, not have too many “things” so that we can’t take care of them, not be slothful, using “we want it to look like we live here” as an excuse, but care more about the people in our home and who visit than the things in it, and keep our home in a state so that we can welcome guests warmly at any time.
    My home doesn’t always reflect these beliefs, but I feel badly about that. I don’t raise a flag and say how wonderful I am because of it. I’m saying this, not because I think Amy would raise a flag, but because I read many, many comments and blog posts that do seem to be boasting about the lack of order, the chaos, and the choice to leave things a mess and do something more enjoyable, rather than feeling sorry about it, and striving for something better. I am striving for—if not achieving–order and cleanliness. And it’s very important in my heart. Of course, we all have a long way to go (I’m sure many of you are much further along than me), but we need to encourage one another to continue on striving, with God’s help, to emulate Christ in love and good works, including keeping an orderly, clean and well-run home, filled with love, joy and peace.
    Blessings,
    Wendy

  12. Courageous post. I signed up for delivery to my inbox. I get to mull over two A’s as I pursue my own path of loving well.

  13. “If you spend your day striving for a home that looks devoid of family life, you will quickly find yourself

    devoid of family life.

    I am all for order, but order at the expense of relationships will never bring about the peaceful haven our homes should be.”

    So good Amy, thanks for the reminder. I think I found this out way later in life than I could have. I will look around and see the “family life” and enjoy it! You are a gift.

  14. I think Amy was speaking to those of us who would let the goal of keeping house get in the way of having love, etc. in our homes. Not to those who can keep order without taking it overboard.Anything in excess is not Godly,even housekeeping. Of course we want to “try” and have our homes looking company ready at anytime but speaking for myself this can also get out of control and make those living in the home uncomfortable. I did not see this as an excuse to not be a homemaker who has pride in her work but to be one who knows how to draw the line on both sides of the issue. For each family the level of order is different but I for one have been on the side of expecting to much of myself and my family to live in a “magazine” house and made all of us miserable.My health in recent years has made me slow down and in the process most to the time our house looks “lived in” and I can say we are the happier for it. Thanks Amy for putting this out there much better than I ever could have.

  15. Oh, how I loved this post! Thanks so much. God is really amazing, you know? Today was good for me. I took my 16 daughter to work. Took my three boys to get their hair cuts, came home, left to take the six of the seven kids to get drinks … then we came back home and cleaned. I cleaned the laundry room. The girls cleaned their room, and the two younger boys cleaned theirs. I was happy ready to tackle my room, right? Well, I cleaned the laundry room, seperated all of the clothes and began washing. That was until my 17 son came in and wanted to talk. Not about anything in particular just talk. We talked about him finding a job. When he goes off to college. Him getting his room clean, and doing the yard. Then he asked, “Hey Mom, will you watch a movie with me? Just me and you?” “Sure son I said. I’d love to.” So that’s what we did. We laughed, just my oldest and I. We talked and we watched a movie. So thankful for the experience, and so thankful for your post.

    Blessings to you :)

  16. Beautifully said! A great refocus, and yet…..

    What do see?? I see a cold and rainy Sunday outside (Michigan for ya.) I see a yard that needs a mow. But I also see my sleeping son and with him a sleeping cat. I see piles of unread newspaper (weeks old) and my messy computer desk. I see my coffee pot is on. I see my homemade soup on the stove. My daughter is in her room. She is playing her ukelele. All is quiet. We are resting after a busy week.

    I agree relationships are first. I loved the simple break down for remembering our homes should be places of love, learning and service. AMEN! Thank you for the reminder.

    I admit, I am guilty of stressing over a tidy/dirty home. A grouchy mom is no fun and stresses out the rest of the fam! But I have learned that when I feel that attitude come upon me, it is my fault! I haven’t loved, taught, or encouraged my kids to serve!

    Here is my “take” on a clean house. My kids have heard these things and I will share them with you in humility. I learned them from my parents, but I also learned them the hard way, by not applying them consistently with my kids.
    1. All of us live here. We all mess it up. Therefore, we all share in taking care of it-daily.
    2. Work is a privilege and joy can be found in it.
    3. Just as we homeschool to teach academics, we homeschool to teach how to care for a home, car, pet, etc.
    4. As a member of a family, each child is very needed. Help is necessary in running this home. Mom and Dad can’t do it without you! (Huge ego booster!)
    5. If the job of a clean house falls to one person, it is a burden to that person and soon discouragement and frustration set in.

    SO, If the house is messy, as in: it be tidied in 30-45 minutes, then no worries! But if it is flat out dirty, as in not cleaned for weeks, then you may be failing to teach your children to love, learn and serve. Why? It is unloving to watch someone struggle under the weight of a constant burden and not get involved. Children should, in a perfect world, come to the aid of a frazzled mom. More realistically, it is unloving to not train your children to clean. This is a life skill and a discipline which will yield much fruit. Again, life skills in cleaning, laundry, shoveling snow, etc need to be taught and caught. Kids need to work alongside you; teach them how to work. Let them know you need and value them. They will quickly learn to thrive on being a valuable member of the family. There is only shame in being a freeloading tenant. Finally, your children will learn about service first at home and first with each other. If mom is the maid, this will teach your children that this service is expected and not seen as it is–a service performed in love for them. When we serve each other, we are setting ourselves aside for another. Acts of service are a very practical way to show love.
    I see love, learning, and service are all connected. You can learn to work and serve. Serving others is a way to love them. Teaching your children to serve is an act of love toward them.
    So, I see a clean house as evidence that I AM teaching my children to love and serve and learn.

    My daughter and son are now teens–17 and 14. They are not perfect. We fail to love and serve each other sometimes. But, let me brag a minute. Both of my kids now work and earn money for what they have learned at home. We all clean house for a family bi-monthly. My sons has a small lawn business. My daughter is hired to clean and organize for another family almost each week.
    But more importantly, they contribute to the care and keep of this house. They each see jobs that need done and do them–without my asking. They rarely complain or need badgering. They are not paid for chores. They can work together without fighting. They bless me every day!

  17. Oh, Amy, I so needed to read this post!! Thank you for your precious heart poured out on this webpage!!! It has blessed my house greatly.

    ~Blessings~
    Semone

  18. A friend linked this on facebook, and I was so encouraged. I am that mom who places order over relationships, and I needed to hear this so that I could be chastened.

    Our house is currently on the market, and it has become such a stressful situation to keep it “show ready” that everyone is frayed. I know that, unfortunately, we have to keep it spotless as often as possible in this season of our life, but your post has encouraged me to change the way I relate to my precious blessings as we get it cleaned up together. Selling my house isn’t more important than my relationship with my kids.

    Thanks so much. In your article I hear no excuses, just freedom to love our kids and open up an atmosphere of learning and teamwork in our homes by dropping the perfectionistic tendencies we have acquired!

  19. A friend sent me a link to this post. I am righ there with you! Thanks for your post. Our only son is just turning a year old but I agree with you whole-heartedly.
    I do think there is a difference between life’s messes and filth. Dishes in the sink until tomorrow morning so I can give the baby a bath or take an impromtu ATV ride with my husband is one thing; dishes in the sink till next Thursday is another.
    The bushel of peaches on my counter will still be there tomorrow; no question. I simply will not get them skinned, sliced, jarred and canned today. But the dog hair on the floor will be vaccumed up before I go to bed.

  20. So true, thank you for the reminder, at 35 weeks pregnant, with a kitchen renovation and homeschool our home is not perfectly clean, but I try to do the essential things. Planning to look over the list of age appropriate chores, maybe the children can help and learn to be part of this family team. I know that not everyone sees this the same… I also bought Large Family Logistics by Kim from Vision Forum. ( even though we only have 3+1 children, under 6) Have you read the book? I saw the information about it on the

  21. Modest Mom blog, just waiting for it in the mail. I also read about it in the 4/5 moms series ( Kim is one of the moms, if you are interested in the book)

  22. My aunt sent a link to this article to my other aunt yet I’m SO glad that I read it. While I don’t feel led to homeschool my sweet one just yet, your wonderfully convicting reminder of the purpose of my home was exactly what I needed to read. God’s timing is perfect.

    I’ve felt that my whole spiritual life needs a re-vamp and my home is definitely on of these areas. What you said about what the purpose of my home should be has really resonated with me and is my new starting off-point to get my life and my home in tune with the Father.

    I’m sure He has been trying to tell me during my parenting journey, but the way you worded it really brought it all together. I can get so caught up in a perfectionist mode that I forget what “home” is supposed to be for my family.

    Thank you so much for sharing His Wisdom and your tried-and-tested insight. Keep it coming. God bless you and your family!

  23. Amy, this is such an encouraging post! Thank you! I struggle with wanting the house to be picked up and everything to be “just so” .. but negates so much of what we could be experiencing.. plus it just makes me act crazy. Thank you for this reminder.