As a parent of four magnificent children, this is something I wish I would have known when I began our homeschool journey some 10+ years ago. The thought of using accountability to create responsibility may be something we naturally do as parents, but we can have a greater impact with intentional goal-setting in this area. According to the Bible, everyone is accountable to God and some sub-structure here on Earth: children to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, students to teachers, etc. Have we ever thought about how accountability can set the parameters for our lives? Accountability builds intention and demonstrates responsibility, and through consistent feedback, we sharpen our responsibility in all said areas.
It’s no different with our children! The hearts of our children need shaping and accountability is the tool that will produce responsibility. The Bible puts it this way,
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” ~ Prov 4:23
One thing that I love about homeschooling, is the privilege to speak to their hearts consistently through reasoning, life examples, quiet conversations, and more. I am able to speak to their souls when I ask questions about their decision-making and the possibilities for better insights in the future. As God continues to show me both the letter and heart of His ways, I have devised 7 goals for accountability in my homeschool this year.
- Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first.
As a parent, our children watch EVERYTHING we do. If we want to build accountability and responsibility in the hearts of our children, how are we the lead learner in this endeavor? Are we being intentional about the way we are first accountable to the commitment to homeschool in the effort and preparation? For me, it took a few years to figure out my rhythm and what I was willing and not willing to do. I am not an artsy mom, so any curriculum that involved arts and crafts with ubers of supplies and planning was not for me. Once I figured that out, I was no longer in denial about it; but owned it and moved forward with curriculums that suited my strengths as a teacher. Customizing the type of curriculum to my children was a breeze then.
- Set goals. (spiritual, emotional, social, and physical).
About 5 years ago, this was a game-changer for me as a Christian, wife, mom, and educator. When there are not goals in place, there is no vision, and
“where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18
So now I loosely set goals for each part of the child. I often journal areas that need sharpening so I can look for life opportunities to teach and reflect.
- Consistently give feedback.
Don’t we all do better when we know the areas that need strengthening? I have found that one of our jewels has a real hard time with accepting feedback; but thanks be to God, where I lack, God gives abundant grace (2 Cor 12:9). Now that I am aware, I can take frequent opportunities to gently give feedback.
- Create a culture of two-way feedback.
This has been a pretty new phenomenon in our homeschool. I think I have been of the “old school” philosophy of “do what I say because I said so.” There are few occasions where that still holds true, because children should always respect the authority of their parents (Eph 6:1) but training our kids classically, as they increase in wisdom and wonder, I have found that it is much more valuable for them to respectfully interject ideas, questions, and reasoning into the discussion. This has fostered better practice in critical thinking for them and me. Instead of shutting down questions and supposed disrespect, try using questions to foster conversation, allowing them an opportunity to discover truth, beauty, and respectful communication. It’s a consistent work in progress and intention. Patience and persistence is key for teaching the beauty of logic, the ability to reason well.
- Make accountability a habit.
Accountability can be defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. There must be a heart of willingness to accept that responsibility. Our children demonstrate that responsibility through consistent practice. At times they are rewarded, and other times they must accept good for goodness sake. If we take away the consistency, we confuse them and perhaps teach a conditional reward system versus a biblical one that pleases God.
- Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable.
One would agree that it is irresponsible to make a commitment and not keep it. This is far different than not accepting a commitment because of too many prior commitments. Time management is an essential element so that teachers and students alike can understand the abilities and constraints. This is a trait that we must execute well as adults, and we see its beginnings reared in childhood. When we are not able to keep our commitments, other obstacles like tardiness and procrastination arise. As parents and lead learners in the homeschool journey, we must model proficient time management, consistently aligning our motives and actions with this verse:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~ Colossians 3:23-24
- Use accountability as your structure for life lessons.
Accountability is everything to our homeschool. God continues to teach me this lesson as I humbly submit to His will and His ways for my life. Our children learn as they humbly submit to my authority as a Christian, mom, and educator. They will forever be accountable to someone, and it’s a truth we must all get used to and accept. Pride has a funny way of showing up when we don’t accept this truth.
**Bonus: hold others accountable by supporting and encouraging one another
This is the bonus rule for our homeschool. As mom submits to Christ, the kids submit to mom through Christ, therefore encouraging and supporting one another. The more Bible we all learn and practice, the more our hearts are shaped through action, thought, and deed. It’s a constant sharpening, a fluid grace, and forward-thinking that helps us as teachers and students through this magnificent journey.
Be encouraged as you lay your victories and worries at His feet and move through knowing for certain,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
To God be the Glory