Thursday, August 23, 2012

2-1 of What I Wish I Believed...

This is the last of the series, What I Wish I Believed When I First Began Homeschooling...

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 appreciate 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 are always learning.

If we teach our children to love the process of learning, perhaps they will not be eager to abandon it. Education does not have to be drudgery! (Although there are definitely subjects that are not always fun to teach, that is true!) 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. In a few short years your children will be grown and gone, married maybe with children of their own. Those of you who are surrounded by only little ones, relish this time because it goes so very fast. ENJOY this time with them and LOVE them. There is a lifetime of learning ahead of them. You will only be the beginning.

1. For Christians, the Bible and communicating the love of our Savior should be of primary importance to us. 

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. It happens here. I am not a perfect parent, but it is such a rich blessing to be in the Word of God with your children!

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 is Who He says He is and that He works in our lives.

Memorize Scripture: 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. (The StartWrite Software program I noted in my first post 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 is 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 her history spine, breaking for short studies of Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome as they 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 (a fictionalized version of what might have happened in the beginning), along with other creation resources. I have since discovered The Mystery of History where the author blends the history of Scripture with the coordinating ancient history that was happening at the same time. In other years, the history of the church is a beautiful addition to your study as you understand the place of God and His hand through all of time. 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. This set of books is exceptionally great for this kind of study, History Lives. They also come in individual titles as listed on the website.

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. Master Books has some great resources and so does Creation Ministries International. We do not hide from the teaching of evolution and do not ban it in our home. It is what the majority of the world believes as fact so we must be able to give them the truth of God's amazing work in the natural world. 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 help them discuss these things 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! 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.

In our homeschools, in our lives, may we live Coram Deo. 

This phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.

To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze. To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty. (Source.)

But while we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive in Christ. Through Christ, God forgives our sins, cleanses us from our unrighteousness, makes us holy, and gives us access to Him. The glorious forgiveness and mercy of God is for those who believe in His Son. This is what we must communicate to our children as we homeschool. May He give us the grace to do it to His glory.


April said...

Loved it, Kate! Thank you for sharing your views and there really are some wonderful resources out there for incorporating Bible into to each subject. Abbey is allowe to complete her subjects for the day in the order she chooses except one--Bible. That one always has to come first so that if the day gets busy or the schedule gets interrupted, our prayers and Bible time have been completed.

Under the Sky said...

April, I have also found that the day goes so much better when we begin with God's word!

Thanks for your note!


Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

Enjoying the journey here! Somehow teaching my kids the information is so much more fun than when I was originally learning it as a student.

Anonymous said...

So true, dear Kate. We've always used Sonlight which schedules Bible reading until this year; so I asked our son what he thought he'd like to read. He asked to start in Genesis. Well, we got yesterday to Gen. 19 and I have seriously been praying for YEARS about how to present that to him!

God was SO gracious and it provided amazing illustrations: how desperately we need Christ, the influence the surrounding city can have on a person, the kind of father a father should be. God is SO able to always do exceedingly beyond all that we ask or imagine!

Thank you for giving me more lovely things to ponder as I parent and teach. Bless you!