Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Building Family Culture Through Homeschooling

When I first decided to homeschool several years ago, I don't think I would have listed "creating family culture" as one of my primary reasons. And yet, that's exactly why I choose homeschooling today.

There are so many ways we are intentionally choosing to create and nurture the family culture in our home. I could probably write a separate post on each item, but for now I'll just jot down some quick thoughts.

Faith ~ I do not use "Christian" curriculum in our homeschool. In fact, I've intentionally chosen not to. Still, faith is a huge part of our lives, and we want it to permeate every part of our day, including our education.   We start our day with Bible reading, which is a great way to center ourselves around our Creator before we dig into the hard work of learning. Church also plays a big role in this category. We go every Sunday (unless we are out of town) and try to be actively involved in many different ways. Most of our socialization throughout the week is with members of our church family. It's so nice to get beyond Sunday morning church and find ways to incorporate church into our every day lives.

Reading ~ I'm not sure when reading became an important part of my life. I do remember reading as a child, but I don't think I was a bookworm by any means. Now, every single member in our family has at least one book going at any given time, and often we have a book going in each room of the house! We read alone, and we read together. We listen to audio books in the car while running errands and on long drives. We talk about stories around the dinner table and compare books to their movies. We also frequent the library (several times a week) and often have full carts in Amazon. I don't have to schedule quiet time for my girls to read, or assign a certain number of chapters for them to read. They simply love reading; we all do.

Music ~ Music has always been important to both my husband and I, and now our girls both play violin as well. Creating music is a daily thing in our house. We have a current family project to learn a set (12-15) of tunes we can play out in public this summer. In addition to practicing and working on our individual skills each day, we also love listening to music as a family. Like books and stories, it's fun to share favorite songs and albums.

Adventure ~ Whether it's hiking, rock climbing, camping, biking or traveling, we always seem to be up for an adventure. I cannot even begin to tell you all the ways adventure has shaped our family. We have games and stories that are specific to the trail, memories of trips, challenges given and met while rock climbing and so much more. These are my most cherished times because there always seems to be some sort of challenge that we must rise to and overcome in order to succeed. And even when we don't succeed, we still come out stronger. 

Service ~ Living out our faith by intentionally serving others is also important to our family. We have found a variety of ways to love our neighbors - both literal and figurative - as a family. I'll share some of what we've done - not as a way to brag and bring attention to ourselves, but rather to inspire you and encourage you to give some of these a try.
  • monthly concerts at local nursing home (don't play an instrument? - take children's picture books and read them aloud)
  • writing to sponsored children around the world
  • baking cookies and bread for neighbors
  • playing Christmas carols for neighbors
  • painting rocks and leaving them by the sidewalk for others to enjoy and pick up
  • delivering flower bouquets from our garden
  • serving meals to homeless women and children
  • shopping for homeless shelter
  • putting together shoeboxes at Christmas time

No other family is going to look exactly like ours. Some families build their family culture around sports or games or world wide travel or languages or movies or homesteading or anything else. Despite what your family culture looks like, I think it's important to step back and know what you are building and be intentional about nurturing it every day.


  1. A beautiful set of family goals!

  2. I love this!!
    You are an amazing mom and teacher to your girls. I'm curious, I see so many homeschoolers who choose Christian curriculum - why did you select to not use one but permeate naturally?

    1. great question - I think it's because I was more interested in quality materials and am not afraid that if we don't do "Christian" spelling my girls won't have faith. I don't want to indocrinate my children - I just want to model my faith and live with integrity. How they choose to live and what they choose to believe is up to them anyway. I'm not afraid to explore different ideas (science comes to mind) with my kids and then discuss what we believe and what others believe. I've seen too many people throw their faith out completely when confronted with contradictory world views in college.

  3. I would like to take some time to think about the family culture we are creating through homeschool too. I love reading your blog. I've replaced facebook with reading your blog instead, because it is so much more life giving and inspires my own creativity. Thanks for your investment!! I also love your Compassion blog and will be telling other moms about it at a Compassion-MOPS event I'm working tomorrow!!

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words - it means so much! Sometimes I wonder if this is worth my time...I'm not sure I would even read my blog some days.

    2. It looks to be some what therapeutic as you organize your thoughts and goals and display your art forms. At least that is what I assume from the outside...and why I've considered starting one myself.

  4. I could never do homeschooling...I admire the patience, time and dedication moms like you put into your families 24/7! And in your case I love that you are very clear as to why you do what you do! Great post!