In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we have examined six ways to turn homework time into devotion time. Today we will look at a final four ways that you, as a parent, can make your child’s homework a time of worship and honoring to God.
7. Explain that God gives us gifts as a stewardship and it is a students job to develop those gifts and use them.
God gives different gifts to different people, and there is no doubt that he has given each of us gifting in different areas. That is why some students excel in math and others excel in the area of language arts. We have a responsibility to God to develop our minds, but we have a extra duty to develop those areas where God has gifted us. The Bible tells us that God gave us our gifts to be a blessing to other people. Unfortunately, many schools teach to the lowest common denominator and kids tends to breeze easily through those subjects and classes where they are naturally gifted. As students, your goal should not to be merely to “get by” or “even make good grades.” Your goal should be to excel and continue to grow in those areas where God has gifted you. As Christian parents, our job is to continue to challenge our kids in those areas that they find “easy” so they continue to grow in those areas.
8. Word pictures are great for describing our relationship with God.
For example, ME + GOD – ME = EVERYTHING. The Bible is full of word pictures. Think of every parable Jesus told in the new testament as a word picture for the Kingdom of God. It was one of his favorite teaching techniques. Not surprisingly then, it is also effective in teaching kids about the Bible, and where else do they come across word pictures frequently? That’s right, in there homework – the dreaded math word problem. Some kids love ‘em, others – not so much. However, helping kids to excel at picturing problems presented in words will reap great rewards when it comes to processing the word pictures presented in the Bible.
9. Use homework as a chance to teach cognitive thinking.
In other words, go further. The homework your child is assigned at school may very well focus on rote memorization and identification of patterns. Take it one step further with your child. Ask them questions that go beyond the assignment. Ask them how things make them feel. Ask them how they would apply what they are learning to their everyday life. All of the skills developed through these types of exercises will eventually help you child to go through the same process with their faith, and in the end, develop a much deeper – much more sustainable faith.
10. Spend time with your child helping with his or her homework.
Deuteronomy 6 is an oft quoted chapter of the Bible in Children’s Ministry circles these days, and there is a reason for it. It is one of the most concise descriptions in the Bible of a parent’s responsibility for the spiritual development of their children. Here is what it says:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV]
Did you catch the common denominator (pardon the math language, that was one of my gifts) in all the situations there – when you sit in your home; when you walk by the way; and when you lie down? They all involve spending time with your kids. It should go without saying, but in order to speak into the lives of your kids, you have to spend time with them. What better way to spend time than helping them with something they have to get done anyone. If you don’t know what they’re doing in school, look at it as an opportunity to learn together. So many parents, inexplicably if you ask me, view homework as an inconvenience. Instead, turn it into quality (and quantity) time spent with your kids. Plan for it. Set aside time for it. Make it a pattern in your lives, and the lives of your kids, that you are going to sit down with them each day, review the homework they have done, and help with the homework they have not yet completed.
There you have ten ways, some easy and some not so easy, to use your child’s homework as a way of pointing them to God. I hope you will pick one or two and use them with your child. If you do, please leave a comment below and let me know. Or, if you have others ways or other things that you have done, please let me know that too.