Posts Tagged ‘homeschooling’

Our Home Education

Jewish people were and are some of the most educated people on the planet.  It is because they were chosen by God and given His Word.  They never stopped learning and teaching throughout the millennia.  Because of this, they have given the world more scientific discoveries, inventions, and more music than any other culture.   Hebrew school was central to education giving children foundation for what God had planned for them individually and corporately as a nation.

Daily Bible Study

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3)

The Bible is the foundation of everything in life from history to family gatherings.  I used the Bible for learning to read (beginning Bibles) and writing (keeping a Scripture journal).  I made up my own Bible studies, used a few curriculums, studied lyrics to hymns and worship songs. The Biblical festivals became central to our weekly, monthly and yearly lives. With every festival we studied types and shadows of people and events and highlighted Scriptures throughout the Bible that related to individual festivals.  We developed plays and puppet shows for some of the holy days. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Spiritual Gifts were very important to me.  I found ‘tests’ to learn what each of my children’s spiritual gifts were so we could develop them – both in learning the strengths of their spiritual gifts as well was their weakness.  In this way, I could teach my children in the very way that they were created by the Father.

Learning at Home

Apart from a good spiritual foundation, what is homeschooling? First, it is not bringing school into the home. It is allowing life at home to educate. This is how Adam and Eve taught their children agriculture, Noah taught his sons how to measure and build, King David taught his son public policy, King Solomon taught his sons architecture, and even Joseph taught his sons carpentry.

My husband taught our children how to take care of a vehicle so they would be wise when they owned their own. He also taught them Photoshop as he is a guru, how to play guitar, and how to take care of a lawn. I taught my children to cook, grocery shop, maintain a clean and orderly home. I also taught them how to play piano, how to garden, to take care of chickens, and how to use herbs and essential oils for their health.

Some structure is important. My children had responsibilities all day long. They made their beds, they got dressed, they did chores from feeding animals, doing their own laundry and helping to clean the house for Sabbath. In the evening they helped their dad clean up the kitchen after dinner. These responsibilities began at a very young age and taught them self-discipline. When it came time to actually ‘do schoolwork,’ they had already established an order to their lives which allowed for a more formal education and a lot of free time.

Free time? Most state regulations do not require more than 2 hours of school per day for elementary-aged children; high school-aged, 4. Of course, by opting out of that system, it didn’t matter to me how many hours they studied or played, I knew they were learning. From the moment we decided to homeschool, when my firstborn was about 4, we made the decision it was for the duration. We determined that homeschooling for us would begin process of lifelong learning and would not be institution (church or school) centered, but God and family centered.

It’s Subjective

Though I wanted my children to read, write and do arithmetic, I wanted them educated so they could reason and think for themselves when they became adults. My educational program did not follow the typical school program as I had children and then I had young adults. Though they knew their elementary grade so they could respond when asked, we didn’t really do grades. At the end of each year, I gave them a report card and moved them forward to the next level. Each report card was sent to grandparents to ‘prove’ we were educating our children. Since subjects in junior high school were just repeated in high school, I did not do junior high. When my children finished ‘sixth grade,’ they went right into high school studies. This allowed them to graduate at 15-16 years old. My youngest son started college at the same time he learned to drive.

I went to an excellent high school and took the college prep program. I did not care if my children ever went to college, but I wanted them prepared to do so if they wished. In fact, I encouraged my daughters to be homemakers and my sons to have good jobs to support a family. Yes, traditional values, but values that have and will stand the test of time.

How it is thus far? My oldest son began working for a corporation at 15, got his IT degree during that time and is now managing a department for another very large corporation. He is married to a woman who was home schooled and they will homeschool their children when they have them. My oldest daughter graduated at 15, got a position as a manager for bank tellers until she moved to New York to model and eventually work in movies. Now, she is a stay-at-home mom and teaches her two young ones in ways I could never have imagined. Second generation stuff amazes me. My youngest son graduated at 15, went to the local community college to get undergraduate studies completed. He then received a four-year degree in Human Biology. He continued his education at Palmer Chiropractic. Today, he has his own chiropractic practice. My youngest daughter graduated at 15. She took competitive dance classes while she went to a community college in another state. She graduated as a paralegal and is now working for a judge in a state court. She hopes to someday be like her sister and stay at home raising her children and home schooling them.

English/Language Arts

Having a degree in English, communication is  important to me, especially written communication. I believe that reading classics and good literature creates vocabulary and develops writing skills.  I used Learning Language Arts Through Literature, but my children didn’t just do the excerpts, they had to read the complete book.  I developed an incredible home library, but more importantly we had A LIBRARY CARD.

I also loved unit studies for novels when we left Learning Language Arts Through Literature. I bought many and created my own. One of my favorite novels is Anne of Green Gables and I created my own study guide for that novel.

Foreign Language

I have a degree in French and took some Russian. Over the years I taught myself Portuguese and Hebrew. There is evidence that learning a foreign language makes a person more intelligent so this aspect of communication became important to me. Plus, if you are raising your child to go on mission trips, shouldn’t communication with those in the foreign country should be part of the program? With whatever foreign language my child wanted to study, we used videos and CDs and found Rosetta Stone to be the best program. I taught basic Hebrew along with the ancient word pictures so that I could teach the 10 Commandments through the letters.  I wanted my children to have a basic understanding of all the commonly used blessings. Today they all know a little Hebrew and one of my daughters is fluent in Portugues as she spent time in Brasil.

History/Geography

I love timelines and I had the wall space to make one huge one that began with the first day of creation and ended with the new heavens and new earth. Everything in between included both Biblical history as well as secular. We made not only words, but pictures to hang on our timeline which made it an interesting object lesson even for visitors to our home.

I used Bible geography to study cultures like ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia.  Whenever we read about a country like Ethiopia, we studied the country.  We made foods, costumes, and listened to music from the country.  We also studied one or two countries from each continent.

We learned about the ‘other’ gods and goddesses found in Scriptures and the cultures that worshipped them. One of my children did a high school research paper on Greek gods and goddesses, where they are found in Scripture, and how they affect Christianity today.  

IF I could do history all over again, I would have my children read nothing but historical novels. Each of them had very different historical interests and I believe they could have learned even more through novels. As a first generation homeschooler, I just wasn’t sure about ‘what they were learning’ so I didn’t focus solely on novels. I wish I had.

As for geography, I’m not sure how it happened, but having an exchange student changed all of their lives. It opened them up to wanting to meet people from other countries and then visiting them. Watching this desire develop in each of them has been a blessing that has no words.

Science

The Creation week is jam-packed with science.  For example, on day 1 is the study of light and physics. Day 2 was all about water, the atmosphere, oceanography, weather and includes rainbows.  Day  3 begins biology and includes botany (study of plants) and geology (study of rocks and minerals).  Day 4 is all-inclusive astronomy (study of sun, moon, stars, planets, space).  Day 5 is orinthology (study of birds), ichthyology (study of fish), and marine biology (study of ocean life). Day 6 is zoology (study of animals) and anatomy, physiology and sociology (study of humanity).

I found wonderful science kits through Rainbow Resource Center that taught science through magic and many other topics found in the kits. As my children entered their high school years, I used Exploring Creation Through Physical, Biology, and Chemistry. I had everything from scales to test tubes to bunsen burners in my home.

Mathematics

Math is important because it teaches reasoning skills and the ability to think. I used Miquon Math with manipulative blocks and even an abacus with my younger children.  In the upper years, I used Saxon Math. Challenges will always be a part of life and it’s important to meet challenges head on, not quit.  When I was struggling with Algebra in high school, I wondered if I would ever ‘use it’ again.  I did – when teaching my own children – one of which LOVED Algebra and Geometry.

A note here about my science and math book curriculums. When I was working on high school transcripts, I went to the local high school to see one. In the course of the conversation I learned that a student could go to school half the required time, do half of the book (which most do) and still receive full credit. I was astounded. In the few hours a day that my children ‘did school,’ they completed their math and science books in their entirety: experiments, study guides and all tests.

Child-directed Education

Many home studies I created for each individual child.  My daughter who owned two horses did two years of horse studies, read every book she could find about horses including veterinary science.  Though we lived in land-locked Nebraska, she wanted to study marine biology. I found a very hands-on curriculum which gave her a wonderful foundation for when she spent several weeks with a cousin studying marine biology on the west coast and visited an aquarium on the east coast.

One son completed a drafting course. From what he learned he designed ‘the Bridge’ of the Starship Enterprise to scale in my basement. He also loved studying Torah and understanding God’s laws, so he also did a legal course grounded in the Constitution of the United States.

One of my daughters was dyslexic. I learned that through exercise and dance her brain would make the right connections. She took dance from the time she was young and she is still dancing.

Field Trips

We did not homeschool our children to isolate them from the world, but to have the freedom to show them the world. We wanted them to see history, see geography, see life in its reality. From the butterfly museum to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) to milking cows or goats to visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield to camping in numerous national parks to visiting cities from New York to Rio De Janeiro and Jerusalem, my children were given a well-rounded education because they saw the world through their own eyes.

Lifelong learning, yes. That is what homeschool is about. Take your time. Learn with your children. Learn about your children. Watch them grow into the person God created them to be. It really isn’t about socialization, it is about parents and children coming together, being together, learning together, and loving together.

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Proverbs 9:1-2 – Carving the Weekly Pillars

“Wisdom has built herself a house; she has carved her seven pillars” (Proverbs 9:1-2).

When my children were young, I read aloud the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  One of the books describes Ma’s weekly activities.  She would wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday, churn on Thursday, clean on Friday, bake on Saturday, rest on Sunday.  As a child, I remember my mom also outlined her week with washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, shopping on Wednesday, cleaning bedrooms on Thursday, cleaning the main part of the house on Friday, baking on Saturday, and resting on Sunday.

As I considered these two women, Ma Ingalls and my own mother, I saw that they had created a pattern for accomplishing their work and then resting.  In their own way, they had “carved out their seven pillars.”  Although both of these women rested on Sunday and not the seventh-day Sabbath as commanded, it was an illustration for me to begin to “carve out my own seven pillars.”

 The Crown of a Home is Godliness

“Likewise, tell the older women to behave the way people leading a holy life should …. They should teach what is good, thus training the younger women to love their husbands and children to be self-controlled and pure, to take good care of their homes and submit to their husbands.  In this way, God’s message will not be brought into disgrace” (Titus 2:3-5).

Along with honoring our husbands and teaching our children taking “good care of their homes” is part of a young woman’s way of keeping God’s name from being blasphemed; the Word of God from being maligned.   To ‘take good care of the home’ means to keep the home neat, orderly, and clean, one of the foundations of a godly home.

To be a ‘keeper of the home’ means the ‘home’ becomes the center of the woman’s world. Friends are wonderful blessings, but after God created Adam and Eve, He didn’t give them friends; He gave them children.  Too often outside activities  become the focus of life, and the family and the home become lost in the activities. Turmoil and an unkempt home becomes the consequence.  In our modern-day culture, everything from school to sports to church activities take the place of the family focus, table fellowship, and the home tabernacle where the father becomes ‘priest.’

The Life of a Home is Contentment

As I raised my children, my most important daily goal was to complete all the day’s chores before my husband came home from work.  Evening family time was set apart for eating together, sharing about the day’s events, reading books, and preparing our children for bed.   I did not clean, shop, school or extra-curricular activities after 4:30 p.m. so we could spend quality family time together with Daddy.

We had no satellite television so our children could only watch shows pre-approved by me or my husband. As the age of technology advanced, our children had one hour of computer time each day –– one hour.  They did not receive a cell phone until they were driving and had jobs. We lived miles from any town they needed to be able to get in touch with us if something happened.   We never used technology or television as a ‘babysitter.’

With small children at home and home schooling, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to accomplish a lot in one day.  I broke down weekly goals into daily activities that I, along with my children, could do each day as part of their ‘training.’  By the end of each week, we could look back with contentment and see that we had completed another weekly cycle that ended with some well-deserved rest.

A friend had a painting that described a home’s beauty, joy, dignity, and hospitality.

The Beauty of a Home is Orderliness

One of my Mom’s favorite sayings was  “Don’t worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough trouble already!” (Matthew 6:34).  She always made sure our house was ‘in order’ before she went to bed so she didn’t have today’s messes tomorrow.  I followed her example and taught my children a similarly.  Every day all toys were cleaned up before lunch, before  afternoon quiet/nap time, before dinner, and before bed.  Bedrooms were neat and tidy and all dirty clothes were put in laundry baskets before climbing in between those cozy sheets and snoozing off to sleep.

I trained my children from a young age to clean up after themselves.  I read To Train Up A Child, by Michael and Debby Pearl, and they postulated that if a child could get something out, they were quite capable of putting it away.  It works for a child of any age.  Even a baby who can only sit and dump something out of a bucket can pick it up and put it back in.  You turn the bucket over and show them how to pick up the objects and drop them into the bucket.  It becomes a game.  I tried their idea; it worked.  From that day forward, there could be no excuses for not putting something away. I never had a ‘trashed out’ toy room, living room, family room or child’s bedroom.

I have been blessed with a dishwasher and I trained my children to clear their dishes from the table and put them into it.   If I had not had a dishwasher, I would have trained them to wash their dishes and put them in the drainer.  Too short to reach the sink?  Stools and ladders are great inventions. There is no reason to have dirty dishes stacked to the ceiling, an unkempt kitchen or dining room table, except for a lack of child training.

Children will rise to the standard you set. They are more than willing to help so that they feel part of the family.  Too often I have visited homes with small children only to  hear the mother apologize for the condition of her home.  Hearing those words always grieved my heart, because as a woman of God, she is called to be the ‘keeper’ not the ‘excuse maker.’  She is commanded to teach and train her children. Excuses are nothing more than abdicating her responsibility and handicapping her children for life.

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania near the Amish country where families have many, many children.  I have never visited an Amish home where there was a mess that needed to be justified.   Amish mothers train their dozen or more children to be neat, orderly, and to help take care of the home –– inside and out.   Each person had chores and everyone did their chores, even if it was little Miss two-year-old shaking the front door rug every morning.

Every day after we finished school, textbooks were put back on the bookshelves.  I have heard people make the excuse for school projects cluttering the home: “Home is where they’re learning.”  This is true of home schooling, but also part of homse learning is ‘cleaning up’.  When I make dinner, I do not leave a mess for someone else to clean up.  When I sew, I do not leave all my pins and scraps of fabric laying around.  If I’m painting, I wash my brushes and put my paint away.   I don’t leave messes on the counters, floors or furniture just because it’s my home and I can.  Because it is my home, there is order before I head off to my cozy sheets, too.

One of my favorite verses for encouraging my children in orderliness has been “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Look at creation; everything is in order.  We are created in God’s image and we can choose order or disorder in our lives.  We can choose to live in chaos or the beauty of orderliness.

The Joy of a Home is Dignity

My children were always dressed nicely, had their hair combed, and faces washed. Though it’s easy to just ‘hang out’ in pajamas or ignore a child’s messiness, I taught them to have self-respect and dignity which gave them joyful smiles and light in their eyes.

My children woke up, dressed, and made their beds before ever leaving their rooms. They would eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and begin their morning chores: emptying the dishwasher, feeding cats, dogs, horses, fish, shaking rugs, or gathering their laundry.   This started a routine that now, as adults, they are disciplined and faithful to their jobs and employers and have the ability to maintain orderly homes.  Each of them have thanked me for teaching them to clean because they have lived with roommates who had no clue, no training.

I never allowed my children to choose their own outfits until they were an appropriate age.    My reason was not to stifle their creativity; art class, playing outside in dress ups or making roads in dirt was their creative expression.  I wanted my children to have dignity in public (and private) and look like they had a mother!   This meant clean clothes, clothes matched, and were just clothes in general.

My children were not allowed to take their clothing off and run around naked.  It didn’t matter if it was the sweltering heat of summer.   My children never removed their clothes except to take baths or change into sleepwear.  I knew people who thought it was fine to allow their children to express themselves in this manner – even removing dirty diapers wherever they happened to be at that moment in time.

For one family who justified the removal of clothing and naked children, they had a ‘wake up call’ at a movie theater. During the film, two of the children removed their clothing and started running up and down the center aisle naked. The father was completely mortified and should have been. Adults don’t run around naked; children shouldn’t either.  Parents, especially mothers, are given the high responsibility to train our children to live in the world in a dignified manner, teaching them to honor their own bodies with the joy of dignity.

The Blessing of a Home is Rest

“So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people.  For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his.  Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest; so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-10).

As our family began growing spiritually, we learned about the Biblical Sabbath. I carved my ‘seven pillars around preparing for the Shabbat. I wanted my weekly work completed so I could enter into the same Sabbath rest as my heavenly Father.

My Daily Pillars

Pillar One.  Prepare wisely for the week ahead.

The first day of the week, Sunday, became my day to organize the  upcoming week’s homeschooling activities.  I would make copies of lessons, prepare tests, collect supplies for science experiments or art projects.   I would update my records for each child to keep them current with state requirements.  I would make sure I was ready to enter the week prepared so there would not be  confusion and stress because ‘the teacher’ was not ready.

As the Scriptures teach, money was dealt with on the first day of the week. At my husband’s request, Sunday was designated to deal with finances: pay bills and give to ministries.

Sometimes,  no matter how prepared, the schedule or plan would change and I had to learn to go with the flow.  Sickness, a sudden revelation during Bible study that became an all-day teaching time, my husband needing me to attend to something he could not, a surprise visit, a phone call or just realizing we all needed a sunshine or snow day, could change daily plans.  Most times, I came to see that Yeshua had a plan that wasn’t mine and His was so much better.  Still, there was a plan, and had I not followed it most of the time, I would never have ‘kept my home’ nor would I have educated my children.

Pillar Two.  Attacking the mountains of clothes.

As with both Ma and my mom, Monday became wash day.  From the time my children were young, they helped with the laundry.  First, they each had their own personal laundry basket and were trained to throw their clothes in it.  They started by watching me do it when I undressed them and then I had them do it.  For my first son, I made a basketball hoop over his laundry basket to make it fun.  Dirty clothes strewn around their bedrooms never occurred in my home and socks, for some strange reason, always had partners.

Sorting clothes for a toddler is a fun way to teach colors and organization.  Even folding clothes for a toddler can become an hour long (or more) busy activity.  As my children got older, they were responsible for using the washing machine, the dryer, folding their own clothes, and putting them away.

My oldest son remembers using a little ladder to climb up to the washing machine to remove his clothes.  He would lay across the top of the dryer and reach into the washing machine for his clothes.  He would throw them in a basket on the floor and then climb down the ladder.  He would open the dryer and throw the clothes in the dryer and climb back up the ladder to turn on the dryer.  The best part was that he taught his little sister the system too!    When I had older and younger children, they were paired together: one older with one younger helping each another do their laundry.  (Side note: My children never played in the dryer.  It is an appliance. Just as I would not let them play in the washer, the oven or dishwasher.  The dryer and the life-threatening hazards it presents made it off limits!)

I had a friend with eight children who told me that laundry was the biggest headache in her life.  I suggested she pair an older child with a younger child and give each pair a day in the week for doing their laundry together.  After about two months, she called and told me that her home had been revolutionized.  There were no more mountains of laundry and each child was learning how to take care of their own clothes. She also began to see special relationships building between siblings.

Pillar Three.  Free day to iron out other details.

I do not iron.  So, Tuesday is not ironing day for me.  For those who like to iron, Tuesday is a great day to iron.   When I had babies, Tuesday was another laundry day –– diapers.

I mill my own grains so Tuesday became the day for filling up canisters of grain, flour, and maybe even baking cookies.  Tuesday became my  kitchen organization day.  I also planned meals and prepared my two-week grocery list so I would be ready for ‘Pillar Four.’

Pillar Four. Merchant vessel goes afar for food (Proverbs 31:14)

Since I have been married, I have lived a minimum of 30 minutes from any town where I could just run to grab a gallon of milk or a head of lettuce.  Planning has always been an important part of grocery shopping.   My mother made lists for two weeks at a time and I followed her example.  I made meal lists for two weeks and developed my grocery lists for everything including toiletries and other home/children necessities.   Once I had a computer, budgeting for food and non-food items became easier.  I made a database with everything that I bought in each different store and the aisle order in the store.  Every item had a price, and after sorting the lists, I had a ‘grand total’ of what I was going to spend.

As our family delved more into healthy eating, I felt many times like the Proverbs woman who “is like those merchant vessels, bringing her food from far away” (Proverbs 31:14).  From joining co-ops to traveling to store warehouses for different products, or driving to an egg, chicken or grain farm, my shopping took a full day to accomplish.  Living away from big cities, I learned how to set aside time and money to shop when those opportunities arrived and we were in a big city for a day.

As I was home schooling my children, they would go with me wherever I needed to go.  They went to dairy farms, chicken farms, and produce farms.  I never left any child at home when I shopped or picked up orders.   Though I can say that it wasn’t always easy, my children learned shopping etiquette and manners through each experience. In the grocery store, they learned to hold onto the cart so they wouldn’t get separated from me.  They learned self-control; they were not allowed to ask for anything that was not on my list –– most especially the items that were on shelves at their eye level for the very purpose of challenging weak-willed parents.    As they grew older and could read, I would break some of my lists in parts and allow them to shop along with me.  Eventually, in their young adult years, they would go off and do half of my shopping.  As adults, they are experienced shoppers and know how to buy the best and healthiest food for their money.

Pillar Five. Good hygiene for the home

As I have always had more than one bathroom, cleaning them became the Thursday event.  Whatever bathroom you used, you learned to clean.  Tubs were sprayed down.  Toilets stirred.  Sinks scrubbed. Mirrors once again became mirrors.  Towels were washed and replaced on the towel rack.

Pillar Six. Sabbath preparation day.

I did not teach school on Friday. It is the ‘day of preparation’ for the Sabbath.

My children would order their desks, their dresser drawers, their closets, and their shoes. They would vacuum the bedoroom carpets as the finishing touch.  Once a month during the ‘new moon’ week,  bedding was washed and bedrooms dusted.

One of the most incredible things that happened as each of my children turned 12 was the sudden realization that if they kept their bedrooms in order every day, they wouldn’t have to do it on Friday.  Friday became a free day –– the reward for being good stewards ––  a blessing for me from years of training, reminding, training, reminding, and training.

I cleaned my home every Friday.  New Moon Friday, I would dust. Anything that needed to be put away was put away.  All floors were vacuumed, swept, and mopped.  All kitchen towels, napkins, and place mats were washed.  Trash cans were emptied and all garbage removed from the house.  Animal pens that needed to be cleaned were cleaned and feeders filled if necessary. 

My two daughters’ preparation activities involved setting the Sabbath table.  This meant putting a white table cloth on our dining room table along with golden candle sticks with white candles, our best dishes, silverware, napkins, and wine glasses. They learned how to set a formal table as our guest of honor was Yeshua.

I would bake bread, make a special dinner, and dessert.  Everyone would bathe and dress to bring in the sunset to start the Sabbath.  The week’s work would have been completed by sundown –– laundry, school, shopping, cleaning, sewing, organizing, vacuuming.    As a family, we would enter the holy Sabbath with lit candles, homemade challah bread, glasses of wine/grape juice, blessings over the wife, children, and family. And singing.

We would rest from all our weekly work on the Sabbath.  We had time as a family to read and study the Word of God.  My husband and I taught our children about God’s  commands and how to live them out in their everyday lives.  We had time to read about the life of Yeshua and how he is our example in living out the Scriptures.  We had time to pull out tambourines, guitars, flutes, recorders –– and dance.  We were able to worship the Creator of the Sabbath in our home with our children.

The Glory of a Home is Hospitality

Pillar Seven. The Sabbath.

One of the greatest blessings of ‘carving our weekly pillars’ around Sabbath was the freedom to invite others to share in the fellowship. I always knew my home would be in order, food would be prepared, and our hearts ready for guests. These times of hospitality became opportunities to teach others about the Father’s physical rest from his creative works and the joy of our spiritual rest in Yeshua.  When the Sabbath was complete the next afternoon and the sun began to set, we were refreshed, recharged, and ready to begin our weekly pillar cycle again.

“[Wisdom] has prepared her food, spiced her wine, and she has set her table.  She calls from the heights of the city … ‘Come and eat my food!  Drink the wine I have mixed!  Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding” (Proverbs 9:3-6).

©2009 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Lifelong Learning

“How long do you intend to home school?

Home education is not only about reading, writing and arithmetic.  It includes learning about life and enjoying the world in which we live.  It is teaching and training children the way to learn for the rest of their lives.  Home education, in the right mindset, begins at birth setting in motion a love for learning.  Training continues until a child takes the reins and discovers his own love of learning and continues to learn and grow through his life.   To limit education to finishing middle school or high school or even college, puts a child into a box and quenches vision of a lifetime of discovery as well as personal growth.

I once read that the perfect way to homeschool is to give your child the ability to read, write and a little mathematics. Then, take them to the library to explore all of life.   Of course, visiting real historical places, taking them to ballets and operas, touring museums and participating in sports shows them the vast number of opportunities that life offers.  Each hand-on adventure that allows touching, seeing, tasting or hearing gives opens another window or door and gives them each a foundation of understanding that learning can be a lifelong adventure – not something that happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One of the greatest blessings of home education is the freedom to learn.

Children are different and have different ways of learning, different interests in learning, and different visions for their lives.  I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Often times this verse is taken to mean that if you train your child spiritually he will not depart from that way.  Though this can be the partial meaning, the original Hebrew states something more like, “Train a child in HIS way (according to his bent) and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Spiritual training is foundational in the home education of our children.  It was primary, foremost, and always first on the day’s agenda.  Yet, each of our children received this spiritual training differently because they have been spiritually gifted in different ways.  For example, I have four children.  One of my children has the gift of teaching, another has the gift of mercy, another has the gift of giving, and another has the gift of exhortation.  In spiritually training them, they had to learn how to use their own gifts in their own way.  They had to learn the challenges and pitfalls of their gifts in order to discern when they were to use them.  They had to experience the blessing and joy of using their gifts rightly and to the glory of God.

Education is the same way.  Each of my children had different interests and challenges.   I had one who loved math and history, another who loved marine biology (we live on the prairie) and the arts and languages, another who loved music and using his hands, and another who loved reading and dancing, but struggled with dyslexia.     Teaching them according to their interests was of vital importance.

The one who loved math and computers was given lots of math and a computer.  He studied the history of ancient worlds and today loves to travel whenever and wherever he can.   He works for a big corporation as a network manager. He has always loved Apple Computers and has certifications in many areas.

The one who loved horses read every horse book imaginable and studied horses until she was ready to have a horse.  She knew the history of horses, the science of breeding, and the economics involved in taking care of a horse.  This one also loved the arts and acted in plays and is now living and working in New York City.   She also taught herself Portuguese and has visited Brazil several times.

The one who loved to use his hands played instruments and wrote piano music.  He is studying pre-med and wants to be a chiropractor.

The dancer is still up in the air, but whatever she chooses to do, she will succeed.  She has a lifetime to live and learn.

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Everybody’s Doing It – Socialization

When I was still a baby believer, I had a pastor ask me the following question:  “Where in the Bible is the majority right?”

I didn’t know my Bible very well at the time and I wondered if it was a trick question.  I had visions come into my head of different Bible accounts that I knew, but no actual verse came to mind that revealed the answer.  I decided it was a trick question and said, “Nowhere.”

To my shock and amazement, the pastor said, “Right!”  It was the correct answer? I should have known it was.    It was the very response my mom would give me when I wanted to do what everyone else was doing.  “Would you follow your friends off a cliff? Should you follow the crowd?”

It is the very answer to the greatest question ever asked about homeschooling:

What about socialization?

“What ABOUT socialization?” is always my response back.  Just because ‘everybody’s doing it – school’ does it make it the right and best way for my children?

Following are two definitions of ‘socialization’ that I found on the internet.

1.  To place under government or group ownership or control

In regards to this definition of socialization  I can only say that my husband and I took very seriously the upbringing of our children.  We did not and still do not want to place our children under any government ownership or control.

This definition is the perfect outline of the public education system bought with taxpayers’ dollars.   Through the Department of Education, there is control over what can and cannot be taught in school.  There is a ‘dumbing down’ of this country’s educational system that has been taking place for decades.  Today, we see the results in young people graduating who have little to no reading and writing skills.  Math and science in this country is at an all-time low.  Yet, we have the best, most funded government-controlled schools in the world that allow parents to believe they are directing their children’s education.  (For more information about this read “What’s Really Wrong With Our Schools? by John Taylor Gatto.)  To top it off, most (not all) of these young people have no idea how to socialize apart from parties and sexual promiscuity.

2.  To make fit for companionship with others; sociable (friendly or agreeable in company)

This second definition is more likely the one that questioning people ask.    I remember a wise friend telling me that socialization is not about sending your  five-year-old to a five-star restaurant with their peers.  It’s about taking them there yourself and teaching them appropriate behavior at a five-star restaurant so they grow up with social skills.    This is the truth.  My husband and I have literally done this and have reaped incredible rewards – both when our children were young and now that they are grown adults.

Proverbs 12:26 “A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

When people ask about ‘socialization’, they believe that school is a social place and that without school children will not have friends.   School should not be a social place, it should be a place of education, but that is not how it is viewed.    Though schools are filled with children,  it’s not a healthy social place.  It’s a place of great peer pressure and challenges that young children and especially young adults should not have to deal with until they are grounded and mature.   It is through the educational system that the concept of ‘teenagers’ was born.  Teenager describes a rebellious child who has no idea who he/she is and find their identity in being like everyone else.

In terms of sociability, public and even private education are the only institutions in the world that puts people of the same age together for 12 years of their lives and tells them that is life’s reality.  It’s not reality.  There is no office, no business, no other occupation where people of the same age are together for the rest of their lives.  There are always various age groups working together for a common purpose or goal.

To be sociable is defined above – ‘friendly or agreeable in company.’  What is company?  When our family has company, it is not a group of 10 year olds that come to my house.  It is a family that consists of adults and other aged people.  True  socialization is the ability of a ten-year-old child to enjoy the company of the two-year-old toddler as well as the grandfather who visits with the toddler.  It is the ability of the ten-year-old child to have an intelligent, making eye contact conversation with the parents of the toddler with respect.   It is the ability of the ten-year-old child to find fun things to do for himself and the others who visit him.  It is true reality for the ten-year-old to understand ‘they’ are not the center of attention nor are their childish whims and desires

In order to appease those who have questioned the sociability of my children, we did have them do extra-curricular activities.  Our sons played soccer or baseball.  Our daughters took dance classes.  All of our children were involved in theater groups.  Within all of these social activities, they were quite capable of making and being friends with others of their same age.  However, even more important was the relationships they also created with their coaches, instructors and other actors.

Today, all of my children are quite sociable and enjoy social events like eating out, going to theater, and spending time with other people.    They are confident in who they are, what they like and don’t like, and what they want to do and don’t want to do.    Their lives are not defined by their peers or the crowd, but by who they were and are created to be following the path set out for them by God and not an educational system bent on dumbing them down in a world of unreality.

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.