Category Archives: Homeschooling

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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2013-2014 School Year, Here We Come

Today is the first day of our year of home school. We thought we’d share a little about the excitement we have for this year.

Last night, the kids were getting ready. Enjoy this short video where they tell you what they are looking forward to.

Then, this morning, we got the teacher involved and asked her what she’s looking forward to.

Here are some pictures of the kids, all ready to go into the house and start day #1 of the school year.

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Lord,

I pray your blessings on my precious children as they begin another school year. Help their hearts to be drawn closer to you by the lessons they are taught. Help them to see you in every good thing they learn. Be with Leah as she teaches, and help the bond between mother and children only be strengthened by what occurs each day of this year.

Through Christ,

Amen.

Homeschool Idea: Daddy Challenge Chair

Our homeschool begins today, with Mary Carol in 1st grade and Turner beginning Kindergarten. They are both really excited, and Leah (as always) has done a tremendous job getting ready for the year to begin.

One of the struggles I had last year was staying “in the loop” with what the kids were learning. So, I came up with an idea for this year’s school that I’m really excited about.

The Daddy Challenge Chair!

Here is what I did. I took the kids with me to a flea market and bought a little stool for next-to-nothing. (To make this a “Pinterest-y” post, I’m including before and after pictures!) Here is what it looked like when we got it.

Not awful, but also pretty rough. Also, if you are thinking, That looks more like a table than a stool, you would be correct. It actually is a small accent table, but (don’t tell anyone) I sat on it at the store to be sure it would be okay, and it was great.

Now, I couldn’t have something that unsightly in our beautiful house, so, I did the Pinterest thing and spray-painted the thing. But, to make it more “pinnable,” I did it in two different colors. The kids helped me pick out the colors, and here is what it looks like now.

Now, some of you are going, “What’s with the slip of paper on it?”

That’s the Daddy Challenge!

You see, the idea for this little piece of furniture is this. Each day, I write a short “challenge” for the kids to complete either during their day of school or when I get home. Here are some ideas I have.

  • Quote your memory verse
  • Create a puppet show
  • Draw a picture (that’s today’s, by the way)
  • Take daddy on your nature walk
  • Make up a play

And there are a few others. As you can see, these are meant to encourage the creative application of what has been talked about at school, and they will help me see more of what the kids are learning.

You may not homeschool, but this idea can be used in many different ways. Maybe you can use it for your family devotionals, or even just to keep up with homework.

QUESTION: What do you think?

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Home Education: A Biblical Perspective

Home Education: A Biblical Perspective

Recently, we asked our readers for some suggested topics. This is the 8th and final post of these suggestions in the month of July. Thank you for the suggestions, and I hope to do this again.

Erin suggested that we write about the Biblical perspective of home education. As many of you know, we homeschool our children. Next Monday, Mary Carol will start first grade, and Turner will start Kindergarten (although we “homeschooled” him last year, too. We just called it “Mommy preschool.”)

The decision we made to do this was after countless hours of prayer, conversations, and thought. We know there are drawbacks, and one of our goals is to lessen those as much as possible. However, for our children, we decided this was the best way for us to handle their education. Also, let me say, that this is something we regularly evaluate. While we plan on homeschooling them throughout all 13 years of school, we understand that this is something that needs to be decided upon yearly, and that each child is different, too. It is always worthy of evaluation.

Further, let me say that homeschooling is not for every family. This is not a salvation issue! We do not think less of families whose children go to public or private schools. Each family needs to decide what is best for their child and they need to work hard in whatever decision they might make.

That said, is there a Biblical reason to educate children at home? I think there is. The reason is that the primary education of children is to be done, by God’s design, by their father and mother.

The ultimate passage on this is Deuteronomy 6, where the education of children was to take place at all times of the day (verses 7-9). The teachings of the Lord were to be passed on to the sons and to the son’s sons. The education was perpetual, but it was primarily centered in the home.

Further, God’s design for the family was that fathers are to “bring up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). A father may get all the help in the world to do this–especially the help of a faithful, Godly spouse–but he has the primary leadership role to provide both discipline and instruction for his children. When the children are being taught in the parameters of the home, this becomes easier to fulfill.

Are there families who cannot homeschool? Of course. In fact, there are some who do not need to!

But I am thankful that we live in a time where home education is not seen as something totally strange or offbeat. More and more parents are seeing the value in teaching their children about God while at the same time teaching them reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. It provides parents a way to instill even stronger values under their leadership and love. Ultimately, it also provides parents with more time with their children during those few precious years that they are under their roof.

Will there come a time when one or both of our children are not homeschooled? It is possible. We may decide that a certain type of schooling (whether public or private) is what is best for one or both. But for now, we feel that having both our precious children at home and instructing them that way is what is best. Further, we feel that we have a Biblical basis for doing this, but we feel the weight of doing our very best at it.

After all, if we are doing this for the spiritual development of our children, then we owe it both to them and to our heavenly Father to do our very best!

QUESTIONS: What are some other Biblical reasons to educate children in the home? Also, what are some reasons not to?

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Photo credit: whgrad on Flickr creative commons

Resources for Family Devotionals

Resources for Family Devotionals

Recently, we asked our readers for ideas on what they would like us to write about. We got a lot of good suggestions, and we are writing about 8 of them in July. (This is the 3rd post.)

One of the suggestions, from “Mashflash16,” was for some help with family devotional ideas. The comment stated that their family devotionals were always praying, singing songs, and reading Scripture, but they wanted other ideas.

Before giving some suggestions, let me commend this family. The main thing about family devotionals is to do them! We do not have one every single night, but we strive to have about 2 per week. Honestly, we are a little “hit or miss,” but we do not go a week without what we call “Bible time.” If you are not having family devotions (whatever you decide to call them), the key is to start. Just start!

Of course, singing, praying, and opening the Bible is the best place to start. Many times, this is what we do, as well. We will each pick a favorite song and sing it. Other times, we will have a prayer. Sometimes we just read and talk about a Bible story. These are enjoyable and educational for our children, but we are always looking for other ideas, too.

First, let me give you a list of other things to try, then we will share some links to resources you can use.

Other Activities

1. Games. We often play review games in our Bible time. When we come to the end of a unit in homeschool or in the kids’ Bible classes at church, we will ask some review questions and have a little game to play. Most of the time, we simply have the kids stand on one side of the room and answer questions. When they get a question correct, they take 2 baby steps towards us. When they get to us, they get to have their nightly snack. Obviously games can be far more elaborate, but this is a starter idea.

2. Role playing. We have role played a few Bible stories. I think their favorite is when the kids are David and daddy is Goliath (probably because daddy has to fall down…and,  no, we don’t let them chop my head off!!!). Think of other stories that are easy to walk through, and enjoy letting them put their own personality in the story.

3. Go outside and talk about nature. Even though devotionals are usually at night, you can still look at the stars or the sunset or the rain. This is also a great way to have devotionals when you are driving. Turn off the radio and talk about the trees and stars around you, then talk about the wonderful God who created it all!

4. Bible memorization. We have written about this before, but take some time to memorize some Bible verses as a family. Read the linked post for suggestions on how to do that.

5. Crafts. We don’t do this often, but if you have kids who are artistic, this is a great way to teach them the Bible. Make something together. Put together a Bible puzzle. Make something for a neighbor who is struggling. Devotionals don’t just have to be about learning, they can combine doing, too.

Resources

Here are some resources we recommend to help you get different ideas for your devotionals.

1. We have created an Amazon Store with several books and resources we like. Our plan is to keep updating it as we find more, but for now click here to see some good “idea starter” products.

2. Child Training Bible. A great way to show kids that the Bible has the answer to all sorts of issues! (Note: This product is not yet available on Amazon, but we did include the Bible we recommend to use it with in our store.)

3. Hannah’s Hundred. These CDs by our friends the Colley family are wonderful ways to teach your children Bible verses.

4. Picking Melons and Mates. Also from the Colley family, this is another book we recommend that is not yet available on Amazon. When (if) it is, we will add it to our store!

5. Apologetics Press Children’s Books. We included a few of these in our Amazon store, but not all are available there. We highly recommend these books, and many of them are just $2.00 each!

QUESTION: What other tips and/or resources would you recommend for family devotionals?

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Photo credit: commanderjaygold on Flickr Creative Commons

Three Special Interviews

Yesterday was our last day of homeschool for the 2011-2012 school year. For memory’s sake, I decided to interview our two students and their lovely teacher. Enjoy!

Sing those Verses!

Sing those Verses!

Recently, we have been making a strong effort with our kids to memorize Scripture. The best way we have found is to put little melodies to those verses.

In our car, we have been playing some of the Hannah’s Hundred CDs for quite some time. If you are not familiar with these CDs, they are a collection of 100 verses per CD sung by our friends: Glenn, Cindy, Caleb, and Hannah Colley. We currently have two of the CDs and you would be amazed how many of those little songs our kids know, and how many they walk around the house singing. If you are interested in these resources, here’s a link to find out more.

As a funny little story, I was walking through the house one day and Turner, then age 4, was just singing one of the songs at the top of his lungs. The verse he was singing so loudly? “Thou shalt not commit adultery!” That will make sure that our marriage remains strong…when your children are singing that around the house!

In addition to these CDs, we are also beginning to do some of our own songs. As we read our Bible, or study for an upcoming lesson, we come across a verse we want the kids to know. Then we just make up a little melody to help them remember the words. You don’t have to have any musical talent whatever to do this. In fact, the child often best remembers the melody that you think sound the silliest!

The point of this post is to surround your children with God’s Word. In your car, as well as around the house, put these eternal truths in their hearts, and they will not soon forget them.

***BONUS TIP: You already know tons of Bible verses. Just flip through your song book and you will be amazed at how many songs are either direct quotations from Scripture, or are very close. If you are struggling to write little songs for the kids to learn verses, this is a good place to start! (Just as one example, “I Will Call Upon the Lord” quotes from Psalm 18:3.)

A Family Video for You to Enjoy

Here are some pictures of our trip to Parsons this week. We had a great time in both the meeting and in taking the kids to some fun and educational places. Enjoy!

 

Spring 2012 West Tennessee Trip from Adam Faughn on Vimeo.

Bible Review Time (by Leah)

Bible Review Time (by Leah)

NOTE: Today’s post is from Leah. This is her first post on our blog, but I really hope it is not her last!!! Her post deals with our homeschool, but the tips she will give will help any parents, especially of smaller children. Even if you do not homeschool, read this post. She gives some help for all parents at the end. Thanks to Leah for a great post…but even more for being a wonderful wife!

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We all get hundreds of these projects from our children's Bible classes. What do we do with them? (This picture is a project by one of our precious kids at Lebanon Road, Olivia Harris.)

I’m probably not the only mom with young children who wonders what to do with all of the cute little take-home sheets from the kids’ Bible School classes at church. Just a few weeks ago during our fall break, I sat in the floor, wiping tears, as I looked at the cute cotton ball lambs with the purple scribbles all over it. I tried to keep a lot of it, so that I could sit again one day and cry. (Aren’t we mothers weird?)
We are blessed at Lebanon Road to have wonderful Bible school teachers. They truly teach the Bible. Without fail, our children come out of class with a cute Bible-based craft that they have worked on during class. We have many of these crafts come through our house, and I know that I won’t be able to keep all of them, but I wanted to use them somehow.
So, in my first blog post ever, I wanted to let you know how I am using them.

Our "Workboxes"

This is very simple. Everyday, in our school, we have our workbox time. These boxes have all kinds of learning activities for the kids to do. I decided that every Monday morning and every Thursday morning I would put the Bible school sheets that the kids bring home in a “workbox.”

When it is time to do that particular box, I sit with them and ask them questions about their lessons from the day before. (This is in addition to the  time that we talk about their lessons in the car on the way home and our own Bible class at homeschool.)  I try to make sure they remember the main events in the story. It is true that repetition is the key, and this is just one more time that I can talk to the kids about the wonderful Bible lessons they learn in Bible School.
Even if you don’t homeschool, you can still make Bible School Review a special time in your home.
The important thing is this - talk to your children about what they are learning in Bible class. They need to know that you value Biblical learning even on a 5 year old level. There’s also a side benefit – if they know you will ask, they will be more likely to listen better in class. So, please use those little sheets and crafts. I can tell you as a Bible school teacher myself: that is exactly what they’re for!

Fall Break Family Day … A Wonderful Day!

This week is our kids’ Fall Break from home school. Leah and I planned a huge day for them on Thursday, and we had an absolute blast.

We began the day by going to a local farm that has a pumpkin patch. It’s a little drive, but I would highly, highly recommend Lannom Farms. Not only did the kids have tons of stuff to do, but the people were extremely friendly and informative. It took us about 30 minutes to drive there, but it was worth it!!!

After a morning at the farm, we headed to Providence Mall. At Target, we shopped and bought a new outfit that each of our kids needed. We then went to Chick-fil-A and then to Books a Million.

Following that, we headed over to the movie theater, where we watched Lion King 3D.  I had seen Lion King several times, but watching it in 3D was really cool. It was the kids first 3D movie (and just their 2nd movie total…we just don’t go often), and they thought it was fun.

We ended the day by picking up a pizza and enjoying it while watching Full House at, well, our house.

Here are some pictures from a day we will not soon forget.