Remembering the Character Cost 

Character costs are, of course, tied closely to spiritual costs when it comes to training our children.  Children's characters are formed mostly by those who have the most influence on their lives. If we can't govern who our children spend their days with when they are young and teach them how to choose their bosom companions as they develop, we risk their characters to chance. I'm not talking about turning our children into social snobs. But if it matters to us that our children share our spiritual, political, and social worldviews, then we'd better be in a position to be their biggest influences. If it matters that they develop a particular type of work ethic or a particular type of behavior in any other regard, then we should count the character cost with care.

We parents have the very naïve tendency to believe that our children will naturally turn out as stamped  carbon copies of ourselves. We expect that if we model our behavior, our faith, and our political beliefs, they will absorb and adopt them for themselves. This may work occasionally for some, but I can testify to you that we must take a day-in-day-out, proactive approach in order to instill these things.

As we are reminded in Deuteronomy 11:18-20: "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates." That passage has all the earmarks of being our homeschooling emblematic standard.

We mustn't expect that because we homeschool, go to church, and have devotions that our values will automatically be regenerated in our children. We must with intense diligence instruct, instruct, instruct! And guard, guard, guard! And pray, pray, pray! This is especially true if we have strong-willed kids. Some have children who respond to the merest discipline. They crumble at a frown and tear up at a stern word. But then there are those children who consider any discipline a challenge, something to triumph over rather than submit to. They never admit defeat. While this is at its deepest level a pride issue, it may cost our children their characters, their prospects for bright futures, and in the most severe cases, their very souls if we don't do everything we can to prevent it.

These are some of the potential costs to remember if we are thinking about giving up on homeschooling. The lure of an easier way will always dangle in front of us, but we must never stop asking the question: is the easy way really all that easy—or cheap?  

Naomi Musch and her husband Jeff  now have four homeschool graduates in the family with one still to go, and she's afraid the remaining time will fly by too quickly! She invites young writers to visit A NOVEL Writing Site ( a new, coauthored, mentoring Web site for homeschooling youth who love to write fiction. You can find Naomi's fiction and trail of blogs at

Originally published in Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to HSE Digital by visiting Every issue is packed with homeschool encouragement, help, and information. Get immediate access to the current issue when you start your FREE subscription today!