By Nathan & Rachel Tiemeyer
“YESSSS! School doesn’t matter now!” Our middle schooler jumped up and down after reading the email.
For good reasons, our school district declared that this time of quarantined homeschooling won’t count for grades. We appreciate that they are taking the needs of all students into account and believe their decision makes sense.
However, motivating our own children to want to do their schoolwork at home each day just got even harder. Is anyone else hearing, in between groaning, “I don’t have to do (fill in the blank with an assignment). It doesn’t count.”?
Parents, right now we have a chance to help our kids shift from a “this is meaningless” mentality to a “this is an opportunity” mentality. To that end, we recently called a family meeting to discuss why we should still care about learning. If you’re in the same boat, here are three big picture points to help address the question, “Why should I care about school if it doesn’t count?”
Note: We’ve written these points directly to students, so you can either share them verbatim or communicate them in your own words to your kids.
#1: This time can help us to remember who we’re ultimately learning for.
As followers of Jesus, the ultimate reason to learn isn’t getting a good grade, pleasing our teachers or parents, or even getting a good job in the future, as important as those things often may be.
Everything we do, including learning, has an even bigger purpose than that.
Paul tells the Corinthian church, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). He also writes, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!” (Romans 11:36).
Do you see who our learning is for? It’s for our God! It’s ultimately to please him and bring him glory.
Even when there is no teacher looking over your shoulder or a grade on the line, God sees. God cares. And, when we strive to glorify God by working hard at our learning and doing it for him, he promises to reward us even if no one else does (see Colossians 3:22-24).
#2: This time can help us understand more about God and our place in his story.
Public education may not seem like it has anything to do with God at all. In fact, sometimes it can feel like the opposite. But, that’s simply not the case.
In Genesis 1:28, we learn that one big purpose God has given us is to discover and creatively bring out the potential that he’s packed into his creation. Learning of all kinds will help us fulfill this great calling he’s given us.
On top of that, when we study a subject—any subject really—we’re actually learning more about God and our place in his story.
Math and Science give us a window into the wonder, beauty, and amazing order we find in the created world. Just as a great work of art tells us something about the artist, so God’s world tells us something about him.
History and Social Studies teach us a lot about ourselves—both how we bear God’s image and are fallen beings. They show us the tragedy of living out of step with God’s purpose for us, as well as the blessing that comes from living consistently with it.
If we pay close attention, these subjects and many more can teach us about who God is and his bigger story for our lives. So, as you do schoolwork during this time, ask yourself some questions:
- What can I learn about God?
- What am I finding out about his creation (including myself)?
- What can I learn about his big story for my life?
#3: This time of unique learning is a gift from God.
Imagine someone cleared your entire schedule for two months and said, “you can learn about anything you want and do it in the way that works best for you.” What would you want to learn about? What would you read? What skill would you want to get better at?
Surprise! God has handed you this gift.
For perhaps the first time, you have the opportunity to learn in a way that doesn’t include the confines of a classroom and the pressure of grades. Take advantage of it, dream, ask questions, and learn about whatever you’ve never had time to before. Don’t waste this great gift.
Looking for ideas on how your family can make the most of this time home from school? Make family devotional time a part of your quarantine routine with these daily video devotionals.