Back-to-School Tools

Would you like to know the best back-to-school item to have for a profitable year of homeschooling? No, it’s not a new computer, and it’s not a new microscope, math manipulative, or the latest educational game. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the most effective tool you have is simply the positive words you use to encourage your child. No high-tech gadget or apparatus can ever leave as profound an effect on your child’s education as saying things like, “Wow, you did a great job on that test!” and “How did you learn that so quickly?” Though it seems too good to be true, affirming your child with words of praise is the quickest way to motivate him to higher academic achievement.

As Christians, God also knows how encouraging words help us achieve success in our spiritual walk. Repeatedly, His Word provides the words we need to hear to encourage us through life’s hardest lessons. Read His promises to those who are in Christ Jesus:

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Do you find yourself apprehensive as you face a new homeschooling year? Don’t despair. The tool that will help your children achieve academic success is the same tool God uses to help you. The King of the universe will love and encourage you to achieve even more than you dreamed possible. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

Lord, thank You for Your encouraging words that fill me with hope and joy. Please, help me to seek You each day as we homeschool to achieve all You have planned for our family. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Comments(15 comments)

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KORI H 08/24/2009 18:25:16

I have heard so much about your curriculum, I have wanted to start my children on Sonlight, but we are an one income family and I home school all four of my children. We are unable to afford to purchase your curriculum. Is there any scholarships available or anyone who sponsors families? Kori Hudgins

CARL V 09/01/2009 11:34:23

Kori, Each month, AOP receives numerous phone calls, letters, and emails with heart-wrenching stories from homeschool families with limited financial resources. Through the help of our Operation Homeschool Gifts of Hope, we are able to provide curriculum assistance to a few of these homeschooling families. For more information on AOP's Operation Homeschool Gifts of Hope, please contact us at this link: May God bless your homeschool in the years to come.

DAVE S 08/24/2010 08:07:43

Thanks for the reminder abot the value of encouragement. I needed it this morning. Dave

VICKY T 08/23/2011 05:04:37

I was feeling extremely anxious about beginning this homeschool year. I was remembering how the last homeshcool year was quite challenging and difficult. I prayed earnestly to my Lord and Savior. I was completely honest about what I was feeling. I shared with Him my hopes for this new year and the pitfalls I would like to avoid. I know I can trust Him because He has brought us through so much last year. This devotional was right on time. Today is day 2 of our new homeschool year. And I am going to copy these verses on a 3 x 5 card and post them around our homeschool desk where the children play learning games. Please lift me, my husband and our family in prayer. Pray for wisdom and discernment as I have 4 children I am homeschooling this year and 2 children 3 and under. Thank you so much! In His grace and strength, Vicky Thompson

TARA T 08/23/2011 07:27:18

Today is Day 1 of Homeschooling, we have never done this before, I am homeschooling my 6th grader..I believe this is what God has called me to do for him..Thank you for the reminder this morning to encourage and give positive praise! I know that God is gonna bring us through this with flying colors!

PAULA K 08/23/2011 07:44:07

Kori, we too are a homeschooling family in a tight budget. I was blessed to find a curriculum starter kit on that covered the basics for my children. They had the math and language arts I already wanted! Then I bought a science/ social studies starter kit that I can do with all of them. Very cost effective. Also, offers a free online public school that my oldest daughter is doing. You can also check out for free classical Charlotte Mason method curriculum. They use books from the library and online books to do everything. Remember, anything you do at home is quality and by far more than they would get in public school. God will provide all you need!

JUDY P 08/23/2011 09:39:59

Kori, I have always been a homeschooler on a tight budget! Type in free homeschooling resources and you can find lots of stuff. Granted some of it will not fit your needs, but right now I am printing a free economics book that I learned of from Homeschool Freebie of the Day. Also the good thing about SOS, is that you can use it repeatedly with your children. Once a child finishes a grade, print their grades and recycle it for the next one. Ebay helps, friends who found things cheap at yard sales, computers given to us by companies upgrading theirs, the local library giving us things...God has blessed us tremendously!! We had P. E. today at a local lake, two sons are now in small engine repair class (aka known as fixing the lawn mower, lol). Thank you, Lord for all our many blessings!!

LISA H 08/23/2011 12:32:58

I love how God uses these Daily Focus devotionals to speak His Word into my life. Several of the verses mentioned in this devotional are exactly the verses God has put on our hearts this week! It's confirmation...sweet confirmation from the Lord how much He loves us, and is encouraging us to continue digging into His Word and learning His truths.

LISA N 08/23/2011 13:40:45

I should have read this this morning. I am struggling so hard with my 9 year old step son. He was doing so well when his mother was in prison and out of the picture. We still had our struggles, but they were mostly the same kinds of struggles I faced with my other children. That wasn't so hard to deal with most of the time. Now he resents me. He doesn't want to live here because we have boundaries and rules, and he hates school! He has always disliked having to do school work whether in public, private or homeschool, but now he really HATES it. I am struggling with encouraging him. He is bright, but refuses to use the gifts that God has given him. If I tell him to read 3 pages (while my 9 year daughter reads 6 1/2) he latterly cries until his eyes are swollen. If he has to learn a new concept in math (or any subject) he slouches in his seat and mopes and refuses to even try to work on his own after given and shown directions. I need help. I refuse to give up, but most days I just want to cry. My encouraging words don't seem to work. He usually does alright 2 days after he sees his mother, but that only leaves one day every other week and 3 days the other weeks. He takes all day and still will not finish his work most days that he knows he will see his mother that night, when normally he will finish everything around lunch time any other day. I need encouragement! I stand in the need of prayer.

JENNIFER T 08/23/2011 21:53:56

Lisa I will pray for you and your year. God only gives us what we can handle with Him. As I am sure you do continue to surrender this beautiful child to him. God is also working out a struggle in him. He is probably missing his mother and might feel out of what everyone else might think of normal. You and your family are his normal and I am sure you are loving to him as all the other children with you. He might be going through an inner struggle of loving where he is and feeling guilty about it. I will pray for you and him. God will bring this about for His Glory. You are doing what you can dont give up, its great to hear that you are not going to give up on him. I really enjoyed the devotional. I look forward to this new school year. I dont start until the 6th of Sept. I've been thru soo many other curricullum and had a very challenging year last year. I have hope that we will flourish and learn this year, with God's guidance and help. To God be the Glory, Jen T

TRACY S 08/25/2011 11:37:04

Lisa, You may want to consider that he may be depressed which affects all areas of life. Ask his doctor. We are on day 3 of homeschooling and it is not going well. Too many things going on. I have an 11 year old who struggles with reading. I have a special needs 9 year old. And I am a bit discouraged. Please keep our family in prayer. I appreciate it so much. God bless!

NANETTE R 08/25/2011 16:08:42

I start homeschooling in 13 days, and it will be my first. I have a 9th grader, 7th grader, 4th grade, 2nd grade and a 1st grader. I do like these devotionals, but they scare me sometime too. I know this is what I am supposed to do, but when I hear of struggles from many - I wonder how I'm going to respond to days like that. I do get encouraged though to see how many say they will pray for each other! Then, knowing I have a connection myself with the Lord, and that there are other praying as well - it gives hope! I truly can do all things through Christ - Who is the power within me (my paraphrase there of course! personally applied) :)

RHONDA B 08/23/2012 04:44:54

Nanette, Homeschooling is a wonderfully awesome challenge. Try not to let it scare you. God will provide. On the days I feel things are not going well and feel myself questioning if I have made the right decision, I think back to the days they were in public school and remember those weren't perfect days either:). Those days are getting farther and farther away as ths is our 3rd year homeschooling, but I do remember struggling over behavior issues and school work then. Just start slow and add a few subjects at a time. It is such a blessing!

KATHY S 08/23/2012 06:06:41

Praise!!! I agree with the Author 100%. I praise my son in all things. School, daily life, for anything he does positively, the task doesn't have to be perfect, just his best effort in anything he does is worth all the Praise I can give. The Author is correct. The more I praise my son, the more he tries and the better he does! Kori H. I too am on a small income as a single Mom, curriculum is expensive. But, I had to pick and choose this year where the most important need was. I purchased the "Switched on Schoolhouse from AOP for around $100. because we struggle in Math. However for all the other subjects there is a curriculum that I purchased on "the Christian Book store's" website for under $10.00 a book (subject). I love it, it's called "Spectrum". The concept is similar to one of AOP's in the sense that it is a teaching workbook, with the teachers answer key in the back of the book. Unfortunatley it only goes up to 8th grade. So next year for 9th grade, I have no clue how we will afford curriculum, aside from God's intervention. I'll pray the Lord guides you to the right materials that you are able to afford.

KIRSTEN H 08/23/2012 13:20:53

I just have to say that I signed up for these emails just last week after I was struggling with my decision to continue to homeschool or not. I am so glad I get these emails. I look forward to reading them everyday. I need the encouragement to persevere and continue this journey that God put me on. Thank you so much.

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