Like me, I’m sure you are just trying to raise your kids the best you can. It sure isn’t easy or automatic during these crazy COVID times.

Are you, like so many of my friends, weighing the decision of how to school and parent? Are you wondering if you are totally messing up these parenting decisions? (You’re not!) Maybe you thought you would never homeschool and now you are considering it even though you sometimes feel terrified. Maybe you’re worried because you don’t want to send you kids back to school, but virtual learning didn’t work well for you and them at the end of the school year. Maybe you’ve decided what to do, but you’re worried about what your friends or family are going to say regarding your decision. 

Your decisions must be tailored to your family. Christian parents are called to seek the Lord for what is best for our family and do that. Others may question us. They may not agree. Their thoughts matter, but not as much as God’s and ours. 

But how do we do this? How do we make decisions, choose strategies that work for our family, and our kids? There are so many books about this topic of parenting. Some books promise five steps to an obedient child. Some guarantee you can get your kids into the best schools. But this one-size-fits-all mold doesn’t work long-term.

But what do we do? First, we must remember that our kids are people who God has a unique plan for.  We must get to know these little people. We don’t have to be experts about phonics and math, but we should become experts on them. We should not focus on who we would like them to be, but who they actually are. Who God created them to be matters greatly! He has placed much greatness in them and we need to discover it so they can.

In the past, I had this idea that there was one “perfect way to parent,” a formula that if I would do X and Y then the final result would be Z with every kid, every time. But thanks to books like Dr. Kathy Koch’s Start with the Heart, that reminded me that my kids are human beings not human doings, and No More Perfect Kids, I’m a better parent. That book challenged me to stop thinking in terms of perfection and unrealistic expectations. Both gave me wisdom to see my kids as who they actually are and to focus on relationships instead of only rules.

I learned that we must study our kids, discover their passions, and understand their smarts and learning styles, so we can tailor our parenting to each of their needs. What works for my oldest son doesn’t work for my youngest daughter and that is okay. I need to focus on each child’s unique qualities and their strengths and weaknesses in all parenting and when thinking about school opportunities. 

This reminds me of Charlotte Mason, a twelfth-century British educator who established a new way of thinking about educating children. Her ideas can be applied to parenting in general. She wrote, “when we begin studying the person, the real child, we must serve who he is, not fit him into our schedules or plans.” So convicting! How often do we want our kids to fit into the box that we want them to fit into instead of being the people they actually are?

Decide with me today to cherish each child for the people they are and the people God created them to be. When we do that, it’s more likely we’ll make decisions that are best for them and shape them to be exactly who they are meant to be.

These questions may help:

  • Why is each of my children special?
  • Who do I think each of my children can become?
  • What is each of my children interested in?
  • What are some strengths of each of my children?
  • How does each of my children learn best? If I’m not sure, how can I find out?
  • How can I best support my children in the schooling option we’ll use?

As a homeschool mom of four kids, Melissa uses her background in child development and counseling to keep her family from going completely off the rails.  Melissa discovered her passion for helping kids meet their fullest potential over 15 years ago. As a therapist, she has worked with children in head start, foster care and in detention facilities to provide them the tools they need for success.  Melissa has also served hundreds of young people through her local church.  Her unique sense of humor, paired with a desire to make tough topics easy to talk about, makes her relatable to most parents struggling to keep their head above water in today’s cultural climate.  Whether she’s serving the “Happy Hannigan’s” or the “Hot Mess Hannigan’s”(it depends on the day!) she does it alongside her best friend and partner in life, John.  Melissa is an Associate with Celebrate Kids where she writes and speaks about a variety of topics.