Category Archives: Homeschooling

Free Resource: Ruth Review Sheets for Family Devotionals [Printable]

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Several months ago, we shared with you some review sheets we used in our family to teach and review the book of Matthew in our family devotionals. [Find out more here.]

Today, we are sharing another book of the Bible and (are you ready?) next week we will release another!

The free pdf we are sharing today is from the book of Ruth and consists of a single pdf that is divided into six lessons. Each lesson contains questions straight from the text (usually about 8-10), review questions (3 or 4), and one memory verse.

As usual, I made these on my lunch breaks or between meetings, so you will probably find a few typos or some questions that could be worded in a more succinct fashion. Still, we hope you find these sheets to be a good aid, and that they help your children learn the wonderful and beautiful account of Ruth.

To preview or download the sheets in pdf format, click on this link or on the picture below.

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Finally, to access our store, which contains several other free printables, follow this link. We hope these free resources help your family dig into God’s Word together!

As we said, another freebie is coming next Wednesday! Be on the lookout for it.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Enough

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My friend, you have been looking a bit harried lately. Not to say you don’t look beautiful, but I can see it in your eyes. You feel like you are falling short. And not just falling short in one or two areas but all across the board. Your husband needs some attention and all of your children seem to have an activity or school project due this week. And those lesson plans don’t write themselves!

Or maybe you are the friend whose aging parents are competing with your job for who or what can cause the most stress. You know God teaches to respect and care for those in your family, but your boss doesn’t seem to understand that and is pressing for more travel, more revenue, more something!

Or maybe you are the single friend who is happy with her life until someone makes you feel like you aren’t enough because you haven’t followed the traditional path of marriage right after college. Nevermind that the only reason you haven’t is because you can’t find a man who loves God first.

Or maybe you are …

You get the picture. There are a variety of us who each have our own unique situation that is stretching us to the max. Lately, I have found myself praying to be everything that all of the people in my life need me to be. And then I realized that if I would change my prayer, I might help myself not feel so overwhelmed and change my focus.

What is this “magic” prayer? Simply this, “God, please help me be who You need me to be.” And that will be enough.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” –Ecclesiastes 12:13


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Studying Matthew with Your Children [Free Printable]

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Need a resource to help with your family Bible study? Then today’s post is for you!

At the 2016 Lads to Leaders convention, the book to study for the Bible Bowl event was Matthew. Knowing that, we decided to study that book in our Family Bible Time at night. Matthew is a fairly lengthy book (28 chapters), so to help our kids study, we made little worksheets for each of the chapters.

Today, we are pleased to share them with you…for free!

For each of the chapters, there are four things on the worksheet:

1. A box with the two or three major events or stories found in that chapter,

2. Fill in the black or short-answer questions straight from the text (based on the New King James Version),

3. A handful of discussion questions (meanings of words, “how would you feel,” etc.), and

4. A memory verse or two from that chapter.

If you click on the picture below, you will be redirected to a page with the document in pdf format. It is 55 pages in length, and you are welcome to print it out and use it for Bible school, homeschool, family Bible time, or any other purpose you would like.

All we ask in return is this: if you take the time to download or print the pdf, would you please share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest? That way, others can find out about this resource as well. Thank you!

We hope this resource helps you. I’m sure you’ll find a typo or two, but we pray this is something that will help your family learn this wonderful book that opens our New Testament.

To view or download, click on the following image.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

My 5 Favorite Bible School Links

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Any Bible school teacher who is responsible for teaching a class of squirmy children needs all the resources she can find. Unfortunately, not all teachers have access to a “resource room” full of ideas. The good news is that the internet is full of ideas. That is really good news for moms like me who want to teach but don’t have loads of time to devote to coming up with everything from scratch. Today, I wanted to give you some of my go-to Bible school links and give a brief explanation of each one.

On to the links!

  1. Bible Fun for Kids is written by Debbie Jackson. This is one of my favorites. Debbie’s lessons are packed full of printables. The great thing about this blog is that Debbie’s lessons are “complete.” She tells the Bible story and includes pictures. Then, there is always a worksheet, chart, game, or activity to print. I have always thought that a Bible school teacher who is a member of a congregation who couldn’t afford an entire curriculum could use Debbie’s blog and have a good start at teaching her students chronologically through the Bible. She even has lessons about Paul’s letters, which, let me tell you, is almost unheard of – even with a bought curriculum.
  2. Free Bible Images is a website where you can print, well, free Bible images! These are beautiful pictures, and I love that the images include a brief script that corresponds to each picture. In fact, I have used these images to make flip charts for our teachers at our congregation. This site is very well organized, and it is very user-friendly. You can search by Bible book or by Bible character. There are illustrations for roughly 250 Bible lessons on this site. It is well worth your time.
  3. Apologetics Press has an enormous amount of material. Not only do you have full access to all of the articles of past Discovery Magazine for Kids, but they have also been hard at work preparing a 4-year Bible school program. The online curriculum comes with complete lesson plans and links to their own activity pages and also correlates with the beloved Discovery articles. This one is great. Just look for the “Bible School Curriculum” tab. There is an outline of all the lessons, and you should be able to go from there. [Note: The Bible School Curriculum area of their site requires sign-in, but it is free.]
  4. Mission Arlington. I wanted to include this site because I have always loved the hands-on ideas on the “Learning Activity” section of their lessons. Sometimes it is as simple as “bring animal cookies,” but if you’re like me, sometimes you need just a little creative reminder.
  5. Pinterest. Almost anyone who is reading this knows that Pinterest has countless ideas. I like Pinterest for the craft ideas. I also like that Pinterest allows you to share boards, so that all the teachers of your congregation can add items to the same board. I am in the process of rearranging my Pinterest boards, and you can follow me here.

* I do want to be clear that just because I recommend a website, I don’t necessarily endorse everything on that website. I am assuming that each teacher is consulting her Bible first.

These are my favorite websites for Bible school, and I hope they will help you feel more prepared to teach your children!

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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

Episode 40: 100 Things We are Thankful For (Part 1) [Podcast]

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November is the time of year when many people slow down and count their blessings. Sometimes, though, we struggle to start that list, though we know the list is endless.

To help you, we are taking two programs to share 100 things our family is thankful for. On this week’s program, which is part one, Adam and his eight-year-old son, Turner, share 25 things each they are thankful for. We hope you are encouraged by their lists, and make sure you tune in next week to hear Leah and Mary Carol share their lists, too.

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

The Necessary Thing (and a Basket That Will Help Teach It)

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As a mother, there are many things I want to teach my children. My head swirls with all the responsibility. They are my gift from God, and I desperately want to train, educate, equip, discipline, and lead them so that when they leave my house they are ready. I want to them to be ready to face this world.

Every day, there is another item added to the list of “crucial information my children need to know before they leave my home.” That list is long and varied. I want my children to know how to be polite. I want them to know how to clean and how to finally learn how to put something back in its place! (Can I get an “amen”?) I want them to know about their country, and I want them to see that this country is indeed exceptional. I want them to be able to write and read in cursive, and I want them to be able to read a clock that isn’t digital! I want them to be familiar with the parts of an orchestra and to know what the inside of a real theater looks like – and could someone please teach at least one of my children how to play the piano?

Then, because I am a homeschooler, the list seems to grow exponentially. Even now, we are learning to identify types of verbs, we are memorizing a long list of prepositions, and we are learning when to double a consonant. We are locating countries on a map and learning about latitude and longitude. We are learning about sea life, and this week we learned the difference between a sea lion and a seal. Our heads are full of line segments and rays and diameters and regrouping and the constant drilling of addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

Then there are the books I want them to read. I want them to read good books and even the great books. There is just so much, and the task is daunting. I feel the weight of the responsibility. I wonder if I’ll be able to do it.

Just then, when I am about to crumble under the pressure, I will think of the words of Jesus to Martha.

In Luke chapter 10, Martha herself was crumbling under the pressure of preparing a meal for Jesus and His many followers. Martha, I’m sure, wanted to be certain she didn’t leave anything undone. This pressure made her come undone! She was so undone that she complained to her friend and Lord that Mary had left her to serve alone.

Then, Jesus said the words that chastise me and sooth me at the same time. He said the words that give me hope. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” The question that we should ask, then, is, “What is the one thing that is necessary?” The answer can be found in verse 39: “[Martha] had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.”

You see, it is very easy for me to spend all my time teaching my kids the things I think they “need” to know. Sometimes I am anxious and troubled about it, just like Martha, and I need the reminder that the one necessary thing is that I teach them about God and His Word. If I neglect that, I have, quite literally, neglected it all.

Children who grow up with a top-notch education and children who star on baseball and softball teams will have nothing when they stand before God on the Day of Judgment if they don’t have the necessary thing. I don’t want to be among the parents who have given their children the whole world and nothing else. The world will pass away and be taken from us, but God’s Word cannot be taken from us.

With that in mind, I have made it a goal to teach my kids to stop every day and “sit at the feet of Jesus.” On our hearth, there is a basket. It is our Bible time basket. It is filled with Bible story books, charts, prayer reminders and prayers to memorize, books of the Bible cards, Bible games, and–who knows–I might even squeeze a writing assignment in there every so often. The point is, I want them to see that, above everything else we are learning, God’s word is far more important, because it is the only thing that will last. We have Family Bible time. Our kids memorize verses, they are reading through the book of Matthew this year, and they have a daily Bible reading schedule that goes along with their Bible class at church, but I want the Bible time basket to be more about their individual time with God.

Here are some pictures of this simple basket. I hope it encourages you to put something before your children daily to help them “sit at the feet of Jesus.”

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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

Our Homsechool Room and Curriculum [Video]

For today’s post, Adam and Leah recorded a video. In it, they give you a quick tour of their simple homeschool room, as well as some thoughts on the books and materials being used this year. Enjoy!

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An Appropriate Place for “George”

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What you are about to read is the very first paragraph of an uncorrected proof of a book that is scheduled for publication on August 25, 2015. Let’s see if you find anything strange about that paragraph:

George pulled a silver house key out of the smallest pocket of a large red backpack. Mom had sewn the key in so that it wouldn’t get lost, but the yarn wasn’t quite long enough to reach the keyhole if the bag rested on the ground. Instead, George had to steady herself awkwardly on one foot while the backpack rested on her other knee. She wiggled the key until it clicked into place.

It wasn’t really too difficult to catch, was it? Somebody named George was referred to as “herself,” “her,” and “she.”

The publisher of this book is Scholastic Press. As you probably already know, the target audience for Scholastic Press is young people; especially young people involved in public education. 

The person who allowed me to borrow a copy of this book is both a public school teacher and a Christian sister. From both of these perspectives, she is appalled that anybody would publish anything like George for people of any age to read. I join with her in being appalled at the specific agenda and target audience for this book.

Enclosed with the book was a letter from The Editors at Scholastic Reading Club. I will reproduce below (without comment) almost all of the letter. The only information I am not including is the place to provide feedback and the thanks from the editors to those who have a “…commitment to getting books into your students’ hands…”

Please read the bulk of the letter very carefully. You will find both the message the book is sending and the target age group to whom it is being sent.

Dear Reading Club Teacher,

Our commitment at Scholastic Reading Club is to bring you books that open the world to you and your students–to help them find themselves and others in literature.

George by Alex Gino is scheduled for publication on August 25, 2015. It is s special novel starring an eight-year-old girl named Melissa, who was born a boy named George.

George, the middle grade novel, just like George, the character, faces head-on a complex subject that is very much in public discourse. We wanted you to have a chance to read it prior to publication.

Everyone who’s read George has been talking about it, in both the Scholastic offices and in the publishing community. Librarians and bookstores have said that there is a place for George on their shelves, and we would like to invite you to join the conversation. What do you think of George, and do you see a place for it in your classroom?

I had planned to write a letter to Scholastic Press, but could not find a physical address for them. I did find a place on their website where I could–and did–express my opinion about this book. If you would like to do the same, I sent my message to this location: http://scholastic.custhelp.com/app/ask

It is my opinion that the only appropriate place for a book of this nature is in the trashcan. What do you think?

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Book cover photo via Scholastic Book Club

Our Review of the Creation Museum

Last week, our family enjoyed a wonderful few days in the Cincinnati, Ohio area on vacation (video coming tomorrow!). The main reason we chose this area for our vacation was to visit the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. I had heard of this museum for some time, and we were thrilled to be able to go and enjoy the museum for two days.

syslfrog via Creative Commons

syslfrog via Creative Commons

After getting home, I thought it would be good to write a review on the site, since I’m sure many of you have never been to the Creation Museum. In a word, my review is “go.” If I had to add another word, it would be “soon.”

We enjoy going to museums and galleries, so this type of trip was nothing out of the ordinary for us. However, it was such a relief to not have to “explain away” things, as we so often have to do elsewhere. The only references to “millions of years” in the Creation Museum was where they showed that such is not the case, and that the Biblical record can be trusted. This museum is very much a faith-building experience in the reliability of the narrative of the Bible, especially the opening chapters of Genesis.

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Operated by Answers in Genesis, the museum features several things. The major part of the tour walks visitors through “7 C’s of the Bible.” These 7 include Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, and Christ. Each section of the walk is based in Scripture, and shows not only the “Bible story,” but science attached to each one. The displays are stunning, and you will find yourself looking at some of them for a long time, finding new details with every glance. This one major tour area of the museum took us more than two hours to complete.

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Other parts of the museum are more “stand alone” than this area, but each one is worthy of your time. The botanical gardens are breathtaking, and the perfect place to reflect on God’s glory in creation. We saw wonderfully blooming flowers, a goose and gosling, and even a big ol’ frog, in addition to many other wonders in this beautiful place.

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At the end of the gardens section, there is also a petting zoo, which is unlike any other I’ve ever been to. Where else can your kids have a chance to pet a zedonk (a zebra-donkey mix) or a walabee? While this part of the grounds is small, it is still very cool, and–coupled with the botanical gardens–a welcome break from being indoors at the museum.

Further, there are several independent displays in the museum that are not part of the main tour. There is a large insect display (Turner loved that), a dinosaur den, displays of minerals and stones, a bone and fossil display, a wall covered with dinosaur stamps from all over the world, and a section with a good number of old Bibles from printing presses. While each of these only takes a few minutes, they are a great part of the whole experience.

Finally, there are several shows and programs to enjoy. Some come included with the price of admission, while others cost extra. We enjoyed “Men in White.” This multimedia show displays how the Bible’s scientific information is under attack, but can be trusted. This show was included in our admission price. We also enjoyed “Critters of the Ice Age,” which was an hour-long seminar on some great creatures (including the Cave Bear, Giant Sloth, and Sabertooth Cat). This fun and informative program was only $3.50 per person, and each one of us also got to make a clay model of a sabertooth tiger’s head. Finally, we went to one show about comets in the planetarium. This wasn’t free (to say the least), but the kids loved it. There were two planetarium shows, but we decided to only watch one.

[For a full virtual tour, click here.]

Overall, the Creation Museum is a must-see. Here is a quick rundown of some things we loved about the museum.

We Loved…

First-Class All the Way. Quite often, things done by Christians are considered shoddily put together. That is not the case with the Creation Museum. The building, the displays, and the grounds are all very high-class. (Even the bathrooms are upscale and clean.) It is obvious that nothing has just been thrown together.

Bible Permeated. You may disagree with something here or there in the museum, but Scripture and a Biblical worldview saturates everything throughout the experience. How many times have you visited a planetarium where a Bible verse was part of the show?

Something for All Ages. Our kids are currently 8 and 7 years of age, respectively. They were a great age for their “first trip” to the museum, because they could get a lot from the visual displays. However, this museum is not just for young children. Tweens, teenagers, and all adults will find a lot of things to learn and enjoy throughout the experience.

Kids Get in Free in 2014. The Creation Museum is not free, but in 2014, every child (12 years of age and under) who comes with an adult gets in free. This is a huge money-saver!

Friendly and Helpful Staff. The staff members are not there to “preach,” but they are certainly friendly and helpful throughout. We found them to be great at helping us find things, and explaining other things to us throughout out time. (One even showed our kids how to pet a goat.)

Two-Day Tickets. I don’t know if it is this way all the time, but right now, general admission tickets are good for two days. This was a wonderful blessing. We spent about 4-5 hours each of the two days at the museum, instead of feeling like we had to stay from opening to closing to try to see everything. I really hope this is a full-time policy, or one they decide to keep, because it greatly helped us.

If you have never been to the Creation Museum, we highly recommend it. Visit the website and plan your visit. You’ll be glad you did!

QUESTION: Have you ever visited the Creation Museum? Share your experience in the comments!

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Photo credit: syslfrog on Creative Commons

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We Homeschool, But You Don’t Have To (or, “Why a Lot of Homeschoolers Give Homeschooling a Bad Name”)

Yes, we homeschool our children.

Yes, we have since they started school. We are in year 3 now.

Yes, we think it’s what is best for our children (at least at this time).

But no…we do not think you have to in order to be faithful parents.

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I saw it again very recently. I was scanning my Facebook feed and noticed an article someone had linked to. It was about some controversial matter in another state in a public school (by the way, the person who linked to the article doesn’t even live in the state where the event happened). It was one of those matters that is good to know about, and I’m glad this person linked to it as a sort of “f.y.i.”.

Then, however, I read it. It was the comment on the link which said, basically, “This is why we homeschool our children.”

Then, this person added…

“…and you should, too.”

I groaned.

We love homeschooling our children. We love what it gives both to them and to our family. When people ask about it, we try to be enthusiastic about what it means to our family. If they are considering homeschooling, we try to tell them that they can do it, and we strive to show the benefits.

But we do not try to tell people (1) that’s is a utopia, or (2) that it’s the only answer!

Let’s be honest: a strong argument could be made against homeschooling. That whole “salt” and “light” idea comes to mind, just for starters.

Are events like the one I read about on Facebook a reason why we homeschool? Absolutely. But that drift in many parts of our country away from Biblical morality is not the only reason we made this choice.

But far above that, way too many of us who homeschool talk about it as if it is “the only answer” for schooling children. The fact of the matter is, that’s just not the case. We plan on homeschooling throughout our children’s “school years,” but we also are honest enough to say that we need to evaluate that decision each year. Is this decision the right one for “this” child at “this” time?

We are very enthusiastic about our choice, and we think it works for us. A lot–I would even say, a vast majority–who homeschool feel the same way. They love it, and it works well. However, my job as a dad who homeschools is not to tell you that you should choose the same for your children. I don’t know your children like you do. I don’t know your home situation like you do.

But I do know this: no matter what choice you make, you must be involved! No matter how you choose to educate your children, you are still the steward of a life entrusted to you by God. If your children go to public or private school, you need to be involved in seeing that values are upheld. Remember, it’s not “their” job to educate your children. It’s your work to raise them in God’s nurture and admonition.

So, may I make an appeal? It is an appeal from a dad who homeschools to all the other homeschooling parents out there. Be enthusiastic about it. Go at it as best you can. Let this decision be one you are proud of and that truly impacts your children.

But please, stop trying to make it sound like every family should make the same choice. It’s a good choice. We think it’s a great choice…

…for our kids…

but we are going to pray that you make the best choice for your kids. And we’ll support your decision, and hope you’ll support ours.

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Photo credit: Jimmie on Creative Commons

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