Investing in Your Children’s Gifts and Talents
Homeschooling has a ton of benefits, but one that stands out to us is the freedom to identify and mold the gifts and skill sets that each of our children has. Our three children are so different. They have different interests and God has given each of them something very special in which they excel. Our oldest child loves to bake! She enjoys getting in the kitchen and trying out new recipes. Our middle child is great with math and loves to build. He tells us regularly that he wants to be a “builder” when he grows up. Our youngest child has been blessed with a great deal of physical strength and agility. (Ironically, this is our baby girl!) She loves to dance and tumble. She is constantly on the go: flipping, running and leaping. So what’s a family to do with this hodgepodge of interests and gifts? Here are a few tips that have helped us develop the natural gifting of each of our children:
1. Pray that the Lord would help your children understand that their gifts come from him and should be used for his glory. We have tried our best to identify the strengths of our children at a very young age. Take our youngest for example; she started walking at 10 months old. She has never taken a dance lesson, but if you put on any type of music, she will spin and twirl. God has given her a natural sense of rhythm and ability to keep the timing of a song while moving. Even if it seems like she is simply playing, we try to encourage her to use that gift in a way that honors the Lord. We tell her that it would be great for her to join the dance ministry at church when she is old enough.
2. Never compare one child’s gifting to that of another one of your children. God created each of your children with unique qualities. If one child is an athlete and another is great with technology, learn to appreciate the differences between the two. Never ever say things like, “Why can’t you do (fill in the blank) like your sister?” You will live to regret those words and your child will likely be hurt by those words.
3. Be intentional in investing in activities that will help your children excel in their area of interest. Home educators are in a unique position because, for the most part, we have far more flexibility then we would have if our children were sent out to school. We can choose curricula and other resources that help strengthen our children’s gifts and skills. Our oldest daughter, who loves to bake, is able to clip coupons, prepare meals and research recipes that she would like to try. The hands on experience she will have in the kitchen will be invaluable to her in the future. If expense is a concern for you, particularly in the area of extracurricular activities, try your city’s local parks and recreation center. We have been able to enroll our children in tennis classes for very low cost. Our local library even offers free monthly science workshops! There are many good resources out there. Take a few minutes and see what’s available in your area. You may be surprised. I know we were.
4. Be prepared that your child’s interests may change as they get older. It is natural for children to “grow out” of things. Think about it. There were probably things that you loved doing as a teenager that you can’t stand now. (Roller coasters, anyone?) As your children get older they may no longer be as excited about certain things and that’s okay. Give your children grace to explore new things. Part of growing up, both physically and spiritually, is that your desires begin to change. The little girl that spun around in the tutu may want to try knitting as a teenager. Encourage your children and let them know that it is okay to try something new!
Thank you for stopping by our blog and reading our thoughts on home education. If you have a question for us, feel free to submit it on our Contact Us page. We’d love to hear from you!
Rodney and Sherry