Friday, June 09, 2006

Finally! Numbers 2 and 1!

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this last one up! I think these are the most important out of all I have written thus far, but sometimes the easiest to forget. As a homeschooler now for seven years I have learned the hard way and try to keep these before me to remember.


2. Enjoy the journey!


Homeschooling is a process and not a product! So often we get bogged down in the process and forget we are working with living breathing creations of God. These are His children, not just vessels to be filled with bits of knowledge, instruction, math facts, and grammar. We are entrusted by our very Creator to teach them diligently as we walk by the way. (Deut. 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.") This means SO much more than just teaching them the basics. It is living with your children, day in and day out, and being there for them. It is learning together the things of God as well as the things of knowledge. I love what the 1930 Calvert School Head Master, Virgil Hillyer, explained more than eight decades ago, "School is not the preparation for life – it is life." We will always be learning.


Teach your children to love the process and they will not be eager to leave it at any point in their lives. Homeschooling does not have to replicate public school in the home. Love your children and enjoy them; learn and grow together! The time goes SO very fast. I have a young lady living in my home now that only eleven and a half years ago depended on me for her very life. It is not so anymore. In a few short years she will be married and gone and my short time with her at home will have ended too. Those of you who are surrounded by only little ones, relish this time because it goes so very fast. God is good to me in that I have realized what I have while I still have it here. I still have many years until even the first will fly the coop, but the past eleven years have gone SO fast that I fear the next will fly by even faster and my time with my precious children will be gone. ENJOY this time with them and LOVE them. There is a lifetime of learning ahead of them. You will only be the beginning.


Last, but by no means least is number 1.


1. The Bible should form the spine of your child’s education and not a subject or a supplement.


How often have you said to your children, “OK, time for school! Get out the math!” (or grammar, or reading, or—you get the picture), but you forget the most important? The Bible gets left behind. I am ashamed to say it has happened here.  I have done some big changes in the past few years to right those wrongs. How do you incorporate the Bible into all of your learning? Here are a few suggestions. You will come up with more, I am sure, but here are just a few that we have used off and on over the years in different circumstances:


Reading:  Incorporate children into whatever Bible time your family practices.  Help them follow along during Bible reading, catechisms, and hymns at home and in church. Allow your children to be a part of Bible reading and learning. We give them their own real Bibles so they have their own copy of the Word of God. We choose not to give children's versions.  Yes, they will struggle with the meanings of difficult words sometimes, but it produces the most beautiful fruitful conversations! Don’t talk down to them about God’s concepts. Children are so bright! They see through hypocrisy and silly talk. Be real with your children during these times and humbly and appropriately share what God has done in your life. Our children need to know that God still works in our lives.


Memorize Scripture first.  Then add on anything else you feel is important: poems, songs, catechisms, historical leaders, famous speeches, etc. With God’s word at work in their minds they will be able to know what is true when they read the works of those who may not know Him.


Writing:  Make handwriting and copywork worksheets using Bible verses and catechism questions.  (StartWrite Software is a useful program for this.)  Once children are writing well, have them copy or dictate longer passages right from the Bible. We also incorporate other works of fiction here too, but try to be mindful that it be beneficial.


History:  For year one (Ancients) of the four year history cycle, my friend used a simplified story Bible (The Child's Story Bible, by Catherine Vos) as our history spine, breaking for short studies of Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome as we met them in the Bible.  Our first time through the Ancients we studied them using The Greenleaf Guide to the Old Testament, the Bible, and Ruth Beechick’s, Adam and His Kin, along with other creation resources from Answers in Genesis. This next time around (in a year or so) we will be using a program new to me called the Mystery of History that incorporates the Bible into the study of the Ancients so that I do not have to struggle through it myself. I really am excited about this resource! In other years, use the history of the Church as your spine whenever possible—the Medieval to Reformation times can be very exciting because there are so many godly people who paved the way for our religious freedom by their sacrifices. It was an amazing study when we did it and we used Christine Miller’s book, The Story of the Renaissance and Reformation along with many read-aloud historical fiction books on people such as Martin Luther, William Tyndale, etc.


Science:  We choose to view science through the lens of Scripture and not the other way round.  Remember that every scientist (Christian/atheist, creationist/evolutionist) begins with basic presuppositions that influence how he interprets data.  We believe the Bible in Genesis in its clearest reading so we use resources that reflect this. Answers in Genesis is very helpful, and we have also found great resources from Vision Forum as well as Master Books. We do not hide from the teaching of evolution and do not shun it from our home. It is what the majority of the world sadly believes as fact so we must be able to give them the truth of God’s amazing truth. We were not created to be mindless animals, but were created in the image of God. We were not born without purpose! We were born for such a time as this and are accountable to a Creator. What wonderful knowledge! We prepare our children with the knowledge to discuss in the world because they will be in it some day.


Worldview: Use read-aloud books and movies as a springboard for discussion about your Christian worldview. Ligonier Ministries has some excellent worldview materials for the later years that will not only challenge your children, but will likely challenge you! Remember that we read the classics to tie into Scripture—to view it through the eyes of Scripture—and not tacked on. All of our life we will face questions and challenges to our faith and our children will too. Equip your children to stand firm in the knowledge and faith of God.


I hope that something I have written over the course of the Ten Things has been helpful or encouraging in some way. I appreciate your kind comments and encouraging emails to me!





(The rest of the series is found in the right sidebar.)


Moms4Psalms said...

Thank you Kate!!!!



I hope you will keep these links on your sidebar for future bloggers to find. They are so encouraging!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I was a nag. : ?

Thank you for taking the time to finish them up. What rich, solid Godly instruction, encouragement and iron for us to be sharpened by.

Because of Grace,


PreschoolersandPeace said...

I've been referring moms to this series since you started it. And thanks for your sweet comment on my blog today :)

castlekids said...

I'm new and browsing the blogs listed in the classical education section of homeschool blogger.

I really enjoyed reading your list of 10 things. Thank you for the reminder to keep the Bible as the core. We too are using The Mystery of History it really makes the Bible come alive. For Science we are doing Zoology Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. I love having it from a biblical perspective.


Genesis1x28 said...

I love your Top Ten list, especially #1. We use the Bible for reading lessons and copywork.

JessieBeachBum said...

Would it be ok for me to print this list out (with credit to you, of course) and hand it out to some of the new homeschool moms in our small group at my church? Some of these points I have tried to encourage the beginners with at our meeting, but I think it would be great for them to hear it from someone else.

JulieBeth said...

A mom on one of my loops recommened this series from your blog and I am so glad she did. As a 15 year veteran teaching 5 children my point of view is almost identical to yours. I am so thankful that I was able to hear much of this wisdom from friends when I first started out and only had to learn (or relearn) some of them on my own over the years. There are so many "experts" out there telling people to get into a program, choose a curriculum, push academics, and they get their schools all out of focus, onto the world's point of view instead of what God thinks is important. We are very laid back homeschoolers yet I have seen my adult children and the ones still at home succeed in work, the community, and in being good people. Any academics we didn't give them they will get somewhere else, we just follow God's leading. Thanks again. Love in Christ, JulieBeth Lamb, leader, Oakdale Homeschool Support Group

rebeccahuff said...

Thanks for taking the time to post all this very useful information. I have been really praying and concentrating on how to make the Bible the center of our studies. I really like your suggestions!