FIVE CRITICAL CHALLENGES OF AN OFW HOME SCHOOL

During   the   2-day  SOT®P Home Educators’ Convention held November 26-27, 2019 in Deira City, Dubai, I had the privilege to speak on the importance and role of “Family Devotions” to the OFW home school parents there. I introduced this talk with the “Five Critical Challenges that Impact an OFW Home school.” I am sharing this same material here because these challenges and how to overcome them also apply to home school parents everywhere. The principles follow the acrostic: F I R S T.

The first challenge: FINANCES, a challenge of priorities. The question to ask is “Do you have a Biblical viewpoint about money?

The inability to properly manage one’s income always results in serious financial difficulties in the home and the acquisition of bad debts (e.g. credit cards). Often the problem is not really the amount of income but the bad spending habits that cause financial crisis which puts tremendous pressure on the marriage. When parents constantly argue or fight over money at home, the children’s homeschooling is adversely affected.  In some cases, the children’s normal progress is halted due to lack of funds to purchase materials.

The key to solving this challenge is first of all to have a Biblical mindset about money and to properly plan and budget so that you don’t get carried away by irresponsible spending especially when living in an affluent environment such as in Dubai. You must create priorities with your finances so that you live within your means and are contented with what God provides (and HE always does! – Phil 4:19!) Instead of being stressed all the time.

I Timothy 6:8-10 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Hebrews 13:5, 6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

The second Challenge: ISOLATION, a challenge to develop capacity for life. Are you coping well with loneliness?

When you work/live abroad you leave behind loved ones, friends, and family. Even if you take your immediate family with you abroad, it takes a while to adjust to the isolation and feelings of loneliness, uncertainty and anxiety of living in a foreign land.

Some people who can’t cope with loneliness turn to cheap substitutes and sublimate through excessive entertainment (which costs a lot), alcohol, illicit affairs, and other diversions. Parents who get hooked on these activities are obviously destroying their families. The education of their kids takes a toll. The solution to loneliness is to develop a capacity for life based on knowing that the Lord is with you at all times wherever you go, guiding and protecting you.

Psalm 139:7-10 “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

Capacity for life means you are tranquil and happy in your present circumstance, whatever it may be, because you know the Lord is with you and you are occupied with Christ as taught in Isa. 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind   is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in Thee”. A tranquil and happy home provides a stable atmosphere conducive to home school children.

 The challenge is to fix our priorities: God must be first in everything. This requires placing the study of His Word first in our scale of values. Wherever we are and whatever we do for a living, we must fulfill God’s purpose for our lives as His ambassadors on earth (2 Cor. 5:20). We must daily learn, absorb, and apply God’s Word because Jesus has said that man cannot live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). We need the Word more than we need food!

When parents walk with God every day, their children see it. And as the saying goes, “Children learn more by what they see than by what they are taught” or “your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear what you say”. The spiritual life of the parents is the single most important influence on the children.

The third Challenge: RELATIONSHIP, a challenge of integrity & unconditional love. Are you loyal to your partner and is there domestic peace in your home?

The stories of workplace extra-marital affairs are legion. Close friendships with an opposite sex by fellow OFWs can easily develop into illicit relationships if the husband or the wife is not strongly protected by integrity of their soul. Often when a “third party” is involved in a marriage it results in constant “war” in the home between the husband and the wife. And the poor children are left confused, bitter and/or abused. Their education goes down the drain.

The key to stability and happiness in a marriage relationship is unconditional love (spelled SACRIFICE!) on the part of the husband. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Eph. 5:25) and respect or submission on the part of the wife: “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). Unconditional love and integrity are developed in our souls when we consistently take in God’s Word and live under the filling of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23). A healthy marriage breeds generally good, well-adjusted children who are motivated and disciplined to obey their parents as they see good examples in them.

The fourth Challenge: SPIRITUALITY, a challenge to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for your life. Are you regularly growing in the Word?

As children of God, we are commanded to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18a), live the spiritual life God designed for us, and fulfill His plan, will and purpose for our lives. In many cases, however, believers fail in this area because they allow themselves to be distracted by material things, inordinate ambition and other satanic-sponsored distractions. Often the impetus and drive are just to earn money. Spiritual life takes a back seat.

The challenge is to fix our priorities: God must be first in everything. This requires placing the study of His Word first in our scale of values. Wherever we are and whatever we do for a living, we must fulfill God’s purpose for our lives as His ambassadors on earth (2 Cor. 5:20). We must daily learn, absorb, and apply God’s Word because Jesus has said that man cannot live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). We need the Word more than we need food!

When parents walk with God every day, their children see it. And as the saying goes, “Children learn more by what they see than by what they are taught” or “your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear what you say”. The spiritual life of the parents is the single most important influence on the children.

The fifth Challenge: TIME, a challenge of self- discipline. Do you use your time well?

Time for the OFW family is an expensive commodity. Especially for the homeschooling OFW. Someone said that time can’t be managed because it is the same for all of us: 24 hours in a day. The key is to select our priorities and organize them around the time allotted to us.

Home schooled children require time from their parents to be supervised, etc. One parent during the convention showed me his smart phone with real time footage of CCTV cameras in his house where his 3 boys are doing PACEs. The camera in the kids’ offices has a voice feature where he could talk to them wherever he is – cool!

The Bible tells us in Ps. 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Use of time requires self-discipline and the ability to plan activities and chores for the family to achieve maximum results.

In closing, I want you to know that the critical success factors of the School of Tomorrow home school program, being a Bible- based curriculum, are very much different than that of other programs. They involve overcoming obstacles brought about by an unseen spiritual conflict. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)

Parents must use the spiritual power provided by God to keep making good daily decisions to overcome them.

The key therefore to winning with this system is for the parents to first live and honor the Lord, keep the marriage strong, set proper priorities, and organize your home well for your children to grow and get the best out of the S.O.T.® Home school program (PCST-HEP) .

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