As I prepare for each new school year, the first thing I do is re-check my goals, motivations, purposes, and priorities. In all these years, I have found that I begin to loose steam somewhere along the way.
I was up early over the weekend, sitting outside with my Bible and praying and just thinking. Oh, how I love to sit out doors and just “be” with His Creation!!! I was enjoying the early morning sun, the birds singing their wake up songs, our rooster working up his voice to a full blown cock-a-doodle-doo, when quietly a little deer stepped into my view munching on the dew covered grasses in the field. What a precious time.
I was pondering Proverbs 9. The picture is of Wisdom preparing her home to reprove, instruct and teach. And who was all this preparation for? The simple.
She “hewn her seven pillars” - or built beautiful support and structure for the roof (protection).
She “has slaughtered her beast...” - or has prepared nutritional and filling “food”.
She “has mixed her wine...” - something enjoyable and pleasant.
And she “has set her table.” - a place that is beautiful, inviting, welcoming.
Last, she has sent out her young women to call to the simple...”Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” (vs. 6 and be sure to read 7-9 to find out about “reprove, instruction and to teach).
Verse 10 finishes with “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
As I was thinking on this I also read Deuteronomy 18:13 “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God,”. The hebrew word for blameless here is tamin which means “wholehearted”. So, I would read the above verse “You shall be wholehearted with the LORD your God.” The Lord was telling the Israelites that “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.” (Deut. 18:9). The word tamin adds a deeper meaning to being wholehearted. “In our relationship with God, tamin means being wholehearted, resolute, and entirely committed to walking “with” Him in His Word.” (From Hebrew 4 Christians). I believe the LORD is still saying these things to us and our children...we are in a “land”, (not just in American, but world wide and until Christ returns), that follows abominable practices and peoples that worship “other gods”, and we are NOT to learn to follow them. The LORD’s answer to this is be wholehearted with the LORD our God! We must prepare our children to also live in the “land”.
Careful though....there is still a great deal of wisdom to be found in the Bible, so before we go forward, we must go back to some thing that will destroy all of our pillars if we do not listen!
We mothers really do want to do the best job for our children!! However, even in home education, there is a “law” that we can fall into. You know the one...
“YOU, mother, must give your children the best education possible. They must be the best Christians, the best at all academic subjects, able in all life skills, complete, obedient and perfect in every way.”
Here’s the Bible’s response to this;
“...and be found in Him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith...” (Philippians 3:9).
We cannot make our children “righteous” or perfect! Wait though...remember Wisdom from Prov. 9? We are wise also when we prepare, plan, build and present an education that leads them to “the righteousness from God that depends on faith”.
We can teach our children the beginning of wisdom (to fear the LORD) and give them insight (the knowledge of the LORD).
AND we need to pray for their hearts ...
We must not cease to give thanks for our families, remembering them in our prayers, that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give them a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of their hearts enlightened, that they may know what is the hope to which He has called them, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe... (paraphrased from Ephesians 1:16-19).
Are you overwhelmed? I hope not.
Practically, with this #1 priority in mind,
we begin our day with Bible Time, and this is what that will look like this year. I TRY to start school time at 8 a.m with Bible Time. We all sit with our Bibles and journals (if they have one), and have 15 or so minutes of quiet reading time. The littles ones are trained (believe me, trained, as in every day) to sit quietly with their picture Bibles and look at them. Then those that can read out loud take turns reading from a book in the Old Testament. If I feel there is something to talk about or something to teach then I do. After that I read from the New Testament and talk about what we are reading from that. We then recite the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) and the Avinu (The Lord’s Prayer - Matt. 6-9-13). Then we pray/offer thanksgiving and then I send the older ones off to start something while I read some Bible Stories or devotions that I will pick from Sonlight to the pre-K and K little ones.
I might also use this Bible Study Tool with all of my Elementary age children. I want the children to have a firm foundation in the WHOLE Bible, so I study the Tanakh or Hebrew scriptures (all of the Old Testament) from a Hebrew view point as much as possible so that I have a more accurate understand to teach the children from. I have used recommendations from Heart of Wisdom (see below) and Hebrew for Christians (mentioned above) for my studies of this (and believe me, this is worth your time because it is SO interesting!!!!) If you want me to recommend a few of my favorites, just ask in the comments section!! (I’m already afraid I might be over doing this post, but I just couldn’t stop-sorry).
AND NOW, A QUESTION FROM A READER!!!
I would love to know what Phonics program you've like the most/had the most success with.
Chris, thank you so much for reading and asking this question. I started Jace out with Sing, Spell, Read and Write and liked it. Kalyn came along with Dyslexia and I had to do many special learning activities before she was able to read. With Caresse, I needed to simplify so I bought TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS, after I heard so many good things about it. Let me put it this way...I have now taught four children to read with this book (I have had to buy it twice because we really used the 1st one to pieces). I don’t know why I would use anything else. I only do the extra stuff it mentions if a child needs it. Once they master that book, I move to young readers and from there we go!!! HOWEVER, I would also recommend looking into the Sonlight reading programs....I have really learned to trust Sonlight and use them as a valuable resource when in doubt!!
Now for some other favorite links......
-my first link for you and one of my favorites is Heart of Wisdom - this link is to the blog. LOTS of great info here so take your time and ask the LORD to lead you.
-here is an encouraging article by Robin from Heart of Wisdom called - An Easy Way to Make Homeschool Decisions
-O.K., one more wonderful post by Robin...just to get you started (LOL) - God Has a Plan for Your Homeschool
Take time to read these and pray...you’re on an awesome adventure and it can be so fun!!!! Keep your questions comin’ and we will walk through this together!!!