As I write this, I am listening to the decisions made by my home state of Minnesota about school this fall. After this spring and the experience of distance learning , my children and I are ready for school to be back in session.
Prior to the “school at home” mandate, we attempted homeschooling. I adored parts of homeschooling and abhorred others. Both while we were homeschooling and while we were distance learning, I had a constant fear looming over my head that I was missing something. When I hear the word “teach,” all of my insecurities and shortcomings come to mind. I see visions of worksheets and red pens, wrong answers, and questions I do not have answers to.
The same insecurities and shortcomings come to mind when I think about teaching the faith at home. But teaching the faith to our children does not have to be anxiety-inducing like schooling at home may have been. You don’t need a craft every time you sit down and read your Bible. It does not have to be at the kitchen table. It does not need to be rigidly scheduled and planned. There is no need for a red pen to mark answers right or wrong, because the answer is consistently the same: Jesus. All you need is family and the Word, because the Holy Spirit is at work on account of the work Christ has already completed.
Teaching the faith does not hinge on abilities or insecurities or strengths or our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit is working through us to teach our kids.
If you are looking for a resource other than a Bible, there are a plethora of them. There are new resources available, along with ones that have been around for hundreds of years. As Lutherans, we have a phenomenal resource that can sometimes be forgotten after confirmation: Luther’s Small Catechism. It was designed to give the head of the household help in teaching the faith. After all of these years, it is a helpful place to start and become rooted. With the help of Scripture, it asks and gives answers to questions like “Who is God?” and “Where is Church?” and “What is sin?”
In our household, we often feel rushed. A resource that helps us slow down and look at Luther’s Small Catechism is the Illuminated Catechism. It takes pieces of the Small Catechism and pairs them with coloring pages, hymn verses, and devotionals. It helps us to linger together and around the Word longer, and it may be a suitable resource for you and your family too.
When thinking about family devotions, it’s important to think about what your family is like and ask questions such as,
- How and when do you communicate well?
- What time of the day are you routinely or usually home?
- How much time do you have?
These are good questions to ask when thinking about how to get started teaching the faith at home. Christian families are called to teach the faith, but there is not a one-size-fits-all recipe for how to do it. Look at your family and talk about what would work for you. It could be a devotional podcast to listen to during a commute. It could be passing a devotional journal back and forth to ask and answer questions. It could be simply reading through a book of the Bible a chapter at a time.
Whatever you decide on, remember:
“Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
“He who started this good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Whatever plans you implement or resources you use, know that each time you read the Word or talk about the faith, the Holy Spirit is at work. Teaching the faith is not about what you do; it is about the completed work of Christ and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit for you and your family.
To find everything you need to teach the faith at home, check out the CPH homeschooling page below to find devotions, Bibles, catechisms, and more.