Encouraging Honesty in Your Homeschool

Children tell lies for many reasons, They may be trying to avoid punishment, get attention, or obtain something they want. Like adults, children are sinful by nature and subject to the same temptations Satan, the father of lies, has been using since the Garden of Eden. Since God hates lying (Proverbs 6:17), honesty is a godly character trait parents need to diligently teach. Try these suggestions to successfully engineer an honesty lesson plan within your homeschool:

Establish a No Tolerance Policy
To teach children to be honest, clear-cut definitions, rules, and accompanying consequences must be given. Whether its half-truths, small fibs, or deceptive silence, children must realize that no form of lying is allowed. Consider reducing penalties for wrongdoings if children are quick to tell the truth.

Start Young
Like most godly character qualities, honesty should be taught from an early age. When little ones tell stories to get their way, be careful you don't encourage them to lie. Children need to see why honesty is important. Bible stories, books, and videos like Character Builders from Alpha Omega Publications help them understand the benefits of telling the truth.

Live What You Teach
Honesty is taught best by a parent's godly example. When the phone rings and you tell your children to say you're not available because you want to avoid an annoying family member, they learn that lying is acceptable. Unfortunately, small acts of lying grow into bigger acts of lying. As adults, your children will learn to justify lying to employers, cheating on income tax returns, and "forgetting" to return items they borrow from friends. Homeschool parents need to view character building in honesty as importantly as they view teaching academics.

Enable Your Child to Tell the Truth
If you find cookie crumbs in your child's room, crumbs on his face, and an empty cookie jar on the kitchen counter, don't ask, "Did you eat all the cookies?" After all, you already know your child has eaten them. A more appropriate question is, "Why did you eat all the cookies when I told you that you could only eat one?" Once your child senses your unconditional love and realizes you know the truth, it gives him an opportunity to explain his behavior rather than deny his wrongdoing.

Although no homeschooling parent enjoys catching a child in a lie, it is actually a wonderful teaching moment for instilling a sense of right and wrong. Not only do you have the opportunity to give your children instruction in godly character, but you can also help them develop the future practice of confessing their sins before God. "The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment" (Proverbs 12:19).

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