Friday, March 20, 2009

Bring Them Up!

We are rounding off our first official year as a homeschooling family, so I am retrospectively looking back, listening to many friends, more seasoned than I, and readying myself for the year ahead. I was the more learned student this year. My son may have met many children, read hundreds of new books, and participated in a co-op, but I discovered my parental purpose!

Long before bearing children I anticipated that I would homeschool. Simultaneously, I resisted wanting to be, personally, sequestered in a Christian ghetto, of sorts, where my family only knew and associated with Christians. I have the spiritual gift of evangelism, and I always get antsy when I’m not in the world, getting to know my neighbors, and looking for the areas in their life that need Christ’s healing. I need to have prayerful purpose with those around me who do not yet know who Christ is.

So, as a homeschooling mom, who spends almost all of my time with my children, how do I balance the desire to be in the world with the need to build a spiritual foundation for my innocent and immature children? This year I learned that the best way is the way I’ve avoided—shelter them with other children whose moms and dads are also teaching about Jesus at home.

As I spent a few hours devouring Scripture the other night, I was obviously starving for a word from the Lord on our next direction. I soaked in the whole book of Hebrews with such joy and abandon! Here is the evidence that my job is to teach biblical foundation first. My children need to be able to read Hebrews 11 all their life and know who all these heroes of our faith are: Abraham, Joseph, David, Joshua, Levi, Rahab, Timothy, and Melchizedek, to name a few!

We tried meeting with fellow Christians from our church to cooperatively teach art—but, while it was a joy to fellowship with other Christians, there was not a strong spiritual element to our work, and I realized we could have taken art courses with any vendor, instead. Nothing stood out about this time as unique.

We tried meeting with people who share our zip code, locals who homeschool for dozens of reasons, but found the environment to be as secular in nature as if our kids were sharing a public school classroom.

We tried gathering mostly with other children who are gifted, as our son is a highly advanced reader, but, again, our Christian faith was not as relevant as his talents.

In no space, yet, have we found fulfillment. Sure, his academics have been enhanced, undergirded, and strengthened, and I did attempt to start our mornings with Scripture to “supplement” our days—but morning ice skating lessons often rushed us out the door having barely eaten breakfast, and we found ourselves getting distracted by the snowfall outside, or some other thing that popped in between the Bible and my children.

I am now convicted that raising children to know and love Jesus must be our first curricular choice all the time. We can teach numbers from Noah’s story (multiplication, skip-counting, measuring, addition), and history from Moses’ testimony (Egypt, pyramids, deserts, slavery). We can teach poetry out of the Psalms, Proverbs and Song of Solomon, and writing in the memorization of scripture. All of Middle Eastern geography can start in Scripture.

Of course I need additional materials to raise my children from now through high school, but let the Bible be our first text and let the other be its supplement!

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)


Jen said...

If I may, I'll plug some of the Catholic curriculum I've been using this year. while working on spelling, handwriting and grammar, they are learning scripture, Christian words, and other things. While some things might not mesh with everything you hold to, it's been great for us. Catholic Heritage Curricula is what I've been using for those subjects this year for the older 3. I figure, spelling, grammar, and handwriting are pretty much universal in the way they are taught, it's just the sentences and practice that's different from one book to another.

ModMomMuse said...

Thank you Jen---that sounds great! We'll look it up. We are Anglican--so you might consider us "Catholic Lite." A friend says we're not Catholic...yet. LOL! Anyway, I can certainly appreciate good curriculum that supports our faith!!

Kb said...

Totally agree with the need to not get lost in all the curr. available. I've been thinking about this this past week what with all the consignment sales and curr. sales that are coming up and having a new family budget. DS and I were just talking about how even though it's cool that DS is learning his multiplication facts, we all need to be far more focused on multiplying the fruits of the spirit because we love Him. I'll plug Our Father's World. We use it for science while supplementing from the library. We'll probably buy some other subjects this year from Our Father's World.