Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Andriod devices.

After more than seventeen years of homeschooling our own children, we now find ourselves in the delightful position of watching our five grandchildren being homeschooled. Our two daughters are responsible for the day-to-day homeschooling, but as grandparents we have an important role to play too. 

What do we do? Well we spray our grandchildren.

Spray?

We live in a world of acronyms, right? Perhaps you still remember the colors of the rainbow because you learned the acronym “Roy G. Biv”: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Everyone makes up simple acronyms to help remember key concepts, and we hoped SPRAY might help you remember five important principles for every homeschool grandparent.

As grandparents without some of the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting, we have time to tell stories; stories about ourselves, and stories from the Bible. We weave our stories in with the lessons and principles of God’s Word, and we actively love our grandchildren by providing them with meaningful character lessons. Yes, it is a continuation of what they receive at home and in Sunday School, but we live in a world where a little extra dose of “character” is always a good idea! So the first letter (S) in our acronym SPRAY reminds us to provide our grandchildren with additional Spiritual input on a regular basis.

The second letter in SPRAY stands for Prayer. We pray for our kids and our grandkids on a daily basis. The Bible tells us that we have an enemy who prowls about and seeks to devour us (and our grandchildren) like a lion. He is the enemy of our souls and the enemy of our grandchildren’s souls. 

In 2011, more than ever, our grandchildren need prayer covering from grandparents who have seen the darkness that continues to oppress families and children. So pray on a regular basis for your grandchildren.

The third letter—R—stands for Resources. As grandparents, we are always looking for interesting enrichment resources, including books, art or craft projects, games, and movies that enrich our grandchildren’s life at home. If those resources happen to go along with whatever they’re studying at the moment that’s even better. 

We are always listening, and if we hear “we were studying clouds today,” then we may notice a great cloud book at the bookstore and buy it for their home library. We enjoy filling in where we can, providing interesting learning helps that enrich their homeschooling experience.

The fourth letter, A, is for Asking. We ask our grandchildren lots of questions as a way to encourage their growth in knowledge and wisdom. We try never to grill our children about how they are parenting/teaching, nor do we grill our grandchildren on what they are learning. Our goal is not to test them or make sure they’re being well educated. 

Instead, we ask questions and watch. We wait patiently for those special moments when there is something wonderful and worthy to praise or admire, and we let them know how proud we are of their choices and their efforts. Keeping encouragement as our goal, we recognize and commend their growth and accomplishments, and at the same time we enrich our relationship with all of them.