The Chief End of a Homeschool Co-op, Part II

In last month’s post, Tracey reminded us that education is an intensely spiritual process because it is inextricably linked with our sanctification. As Christians who are educating our children, our end goal is for our children to become more like Christ and to be faithful servants to whom He will one day say “well done”. Ultimately, we do this by learning what their gifts and talents are and assisting them in order to be serviceable to the Lord.

Does this then mean that we Moms are responsible for our kids’ use of their talents? No, we are not. Our responsibility is to be faithful with the treasures He has entrusted to us, not the treasures and talents He has given to our children, although our personal treasures do include our children.

I hear you all saying, “How does that work? How can I be responsible for my child, but not for their personal gifts?” I think it works like this: our responsibility is to train and teach (or disciple) our children in such a way that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they will be able to draw out their strengths and to develop their gifts, while also working to overcome their weaknesses and temptations, for God’s glory. Another wise thing that Charlotte Mason said is that this work of learning belongs to the child; we cannot do it for them. Our responsibility as parents is to faithfully provide our children with the opportunities to ascertain and develop their gifts, although we are not responsible for how they ultimately use those gifts.

We must also remember that faithfulness does not mean perfection. If that were the criteria, there would be no rewards in heaven for anyone. What faithfulness means is consistently recognizing Christ’s work in our children and cooperating with His work as much as possible. However, the only way we can know His work is by seeking to know Him ourselves. As we personally seek to know Him, we can better recognize His gifts in our children and delight in them. We can better see their weaknesses and struggles and come alongside them to encourage and strengthen them. And as we seek to know more of His heart, we learn better what grieves Him, and can recognize better when our children are sinning, and we are better able to lead them to repentance for their sin by speaking the truth to them in love and modeling repentance before them in our own lives.

Finally, faithfulness means delighting together with our children in the world Christ has created and glorifying Him for His good gifts. And that is why we are here today in this co-op: to delight together in God’s good gifts to us. This year, we will delight in our Lord by praising Him for:

The way He works out His will in history.

The way math shows us His orderliness and unchanging nature.

The way He has ordered His physical world through geography.

The way in which He sustains His world through the processes of nature that we call science.

The many ways in which others have expressed praise to Him in music and art, even if they didn’t know they were doing that (because every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, and sometimes that happens now and not just in the future kingdom).

Good literature that is a reflection of the One True Story and some of the many ways that story can be told.

And so many other things as well.

As we do this together in our co-op and individually in our homes, our prayer is that iron will sharpen iron, and we will begin to see strengths and gifts in our children and learn from each other how to better help our children develop those. We will see weaknesses and temptations as our sin natures rub up against one another, and we will have many opportunities to extend grace and mercy, sometimes through talking through those things that offend us, and other times by overlooking them.

Ultimately, this is what education is. It is the process by which our child’s unique calling before God will be clarified and those qualities that will be their unique contribution to His world are drawn out of them. You’ve heard this example before: He is weaving a tapestry and each citizen of His kingdom has a thread in it. Some threads are longer, some shorter. Some are brighter, some more muted. But without any one of those threads, the tapestry is incomplete and even could unravel. We know that God is the author of perfection, and He will complete the good work He has begun in us and in our children. The question before us as this school year begins is this. Will we be faithful to cooperate with Him in it?


 Tracey Leary has taught for nearly twenty years in both public and classically private school settings, as well as for her local co-op and other homeschool classes. She now teaches online courses in the integrated humanities with Kepler Education while continuing to homeschool her boys. She lives in Alabama with her family and a guinea pig.

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