Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: character training

mom and children carving pumpkins

Squanto – Native American Interpreter and Guide

Squanto’s story provides a wonderful backdrop to talk to our children about character. It is difficult to find meaning in adversity. How can and does God work EVERYTHING together for good in our lives, especially when our struggles make no sense? The answer boils down to our world view.

Do we struggle to fit God into our plans or do we fit into His? Are circumstances good only when they bring ease and reward? Teaching perseverance and a godly worldview are solid steps to building Christian character in our children. Squanto’s story is a timely example we can use to help our children develop desirable character traits.

God’s Plans

God is the creator of all things, and the unfolding of history is His-story. He has a master plan for all of humanity: the rise and fall of nations, the preaching of the good news to all men, and the birth of babies who will become world changers. A homegrown world changer might be sitting around your kitchen table right now!

Squanto’s story poignantly reveals God’s sovereign plans. English traders landed in what was to become Plymouth, Massachusetts a decade before the pilgrims arrived. Wampanoag Indians came to trade with the Englishmen. Sadly, the traders took Indians prisoner and carried them to  Spain to sell them them into slavery.

Even in the midst of this tragic circumstance, God kept a young Indian boy named Squanto safe. A kind Spanish monk bought him, treated him well, and taught him the Christian faith.


In 1618, Squanto sailed back to America. When he arrived, an epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village. Squanto survived because he had been sold into slavery and lived far away during the epidemic. God’s plan for Squanto’s life was far bigger than Squanto could have imagined. He would play an important role in birthing a new nation. God would use the new nation for good in the entire earth!

Imagine the shock that filtered through the Plymouth colony founders a year after Squanto’s return when they arrived on the shores of his home. Squanto approached and greeted them in English!

Governor William Bradford’s diary indicates he realized Squanto was a special instrument of good sent from God. Squanto helped the Pilgrims communicate with the surrounding Indian tribes and showed them how to plant corn and other crops. He helped them survive in the new land and stayed with the Pilgrims for the rest of his life.

Fun Pilgrim Hat Cookie Recipe

In honor of the redeeming love of God in Squanto’s life and the first Thanksgiving so many years ago, I am sharing my recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats. What a fun way to teach your children about God’s faithfulness in building our nation! I hope these ideas will bring many opportunities for you to discuss Squanto’s life story in the context of  character training this holiday season.

These cute and tasty hats are a snap to make. Just dip marshmallows in candy coating and place on Keebler® Fudge Stripes™ cookies. Then, decorate with a little yellow frosting.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 16



1. For hats, place KEEBLER FUDGE STRIPES cookies, stripes sides down, on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

2. Melt confectioner’s coating according to manufacturer’s directions.

3. Use fork to dip marshmallows, one at a time, into candy coating, scraping excess coating from bottoms of marshmallows. Place one coated marshmallow on center of each cookie. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until coating is set.

4. Tint frosting yellow. Use to pipe buckle on each hat.

To print out this recipe from Kellogg’s click here.


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.



For more ideas on character training or Thanksgiving activities, you might like these posts:

A Family Thanksgiving Worship Service

Make Your Own Blessing Tree


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Free Resource – The 14 Day Starter Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms!

Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms

Focusing on the foundation of your homeschool provides a powerful anchor to direct your day and your school teaching to the Gospel. A short focus on the foundation at the beginning of your day will bear massive results.

    Each entry can be read in minutes each day.
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Object Lessons from Life

“It is more important for your child to be who he should be than know what he should know. “

Knowledge is important, but character trumps that. If you teach your child to manage time well, work hard, and love learning (and if you teach him HOW to learn), he can conquer any learning curve ahead in the future. If, however, you teach him knowledge without character or the skills above, he will be hard-pressed to continue learning new skills as an adult.


We use object lessons from daily life to mold our children’s character, foster a love for God, and inspire a love for learning. Every little circumstance and observance is a chance to learn about life, God, and ourselves.

Object Lessons from Life:

  • Someone trips over a stone:  a sin we consider very small can cause great damage and downfall.
  • Salt and pepper on a bland dish at dinner: the Lord wants us to season our words with grace to make them easier for others to swallow.
  • Choosing healthy foods over sugary snacks: be discerning about the choices we make. Do we think ahead ahead to the results of our decisions, and are we making wise choices?
  • Boiling spaghetti noodles: the Lord sometimes takes those he loves through a trying time of “hot water” so our hearts become tender and of benefit to those around us.
  • Gift giving: a gift comes as an unexpected surprise reminding us that God loves us — not because of our behavior or it is deserved, but because of his goodness and great love for us.
  • Honey on a cracker: reminds us God’s word is sweeter than honey to our souls and sustains our spiritual bodies.
  • A project that must be done in steps: reminds us God is a God of order.  When we follow his commands, we can see the beauty at the end of the process.
  • An army of ants in the yard:  a chance to stop and observe God’s creation to learn from them as they work diligently, work together, care for one another, and store up food. God uses them as an example of a great worth ethic.
  • Cleaning the smudges off the window: God wants to wash us clean with the water of the Word.
  • Adding food coloring to pancakes (or cupcakes or cookie dough): a lesson about how what we take into our minds changes us. We need to carefully guard what we allow into our hearts and minds.
  • A bird’s song on a cool, wet spring morning: a  reminder to be thankful and sing praise to God for our blessings. The bird was outside, wet and cold, but still sings for another day and a bright sun to warm him.

There are so many more object lessons from life we can use as teaching opportunities. Everywhere you look, you see examples of God’s love, his greatness, and his principles for life. You just need to be mindful as you look around you.

Ask the Lord to help you look for those object lessons of life.

Ask for eyes to see the lesson and the words to share it with your child. It only takes a few extra seconds to do it.  When done consistently, you teach your child to be one who expects to see God show up in mundane moments of life. These moment-by-moment conversations develop their desire to share the same lessons with others.


I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 3 John 1:7


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The A to Z of a Characterhealthy Homeschool

Teach Them Diligently 365 members, listen to:

“The A to Z of a Characterhealthy Homeschool”

If we homeschool simply to achieve high academic marks, we are squandering the opportunity to influence our children for Christ. Character healthy leaders are those children who have learned to elevate virtues above feelings. Check out the video for more information.

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Since the movie, The Bucket List, it seems everyone has a bucket list for something. Merriam-Webster  defines ‘bucket list’ as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” Do you have a homeschool bucket list?

We might tweak a homeschool bucket list to read:  “a list of things we want to accomplish before our children graduate”.  Our bucket list may be described as goals and may change early. Even if we don’t have a written list, we all have a fluid sense of what we want to accomplish tucked away in the crevices of our brain.

Here are some common homeschool bucket list items:

  • College admission
  • Above average skills in all subjects
  • Skills to make a reasoned argument
  • A love for learning
  • Life skills (budgeting, cooking, driving)
  • Well-rounded adult
  • High college entrance scores
  • Exotic field trips
  • Music, art, drama, or athletic achievements

“Oh no,” you say. “I want more than that for my kiddos. I want them to be good people, serve God, have good character, and be productive.” Do our actions back up our statement?

Quite frequently in my homeschool career, I said I wanted my children to leave our school as adults who serve God. I often said my bucket list (goals) was to raise godly adults.

The deep-down truth? My actions indicated I was really focusing most on the items in the bucket list above. Issues of character development ran a distant second to academic goals.

We need to be honest with ourselves about what we’re actually putting on our bucket list. It’s easy to get caught up chasing academic goals at the expense of our deepest desires for our children.

Support groups, the latest book, the ‘perfect’ homeschool family at the convention, or pressure from family and friends may make us alter our bucket list to only educational goals. It’s hard work to maintain the focus on our real heart’s desire for our children.

How do we match our actions to our heart?

To create a bucket list that includes love of God, service to others, honesty, patience, and all the other qualities we strive for, work through this activity:

  1. Create a homeschool bucket list including only character qualities you want your child to develop. These are not life-long objectives, so re-evaluate and update often.
  2. Make suitable-for-framing copy of your list, frame it, and hang it for all to see. What better way to match actions with ideas than to allow those ideas to be public?
  3. Explain the bucket list to your children. Ask what they would like to add. Ask them what area they need to work on. In other words, allow them to adopt the character bucket list as their own.
  4. As your children get older and move closer to graduation, encourage them to make their own life-long bucket list.

You may find you need to detox from academics for a while — especially if a child is floundering with character issues. If you find yourself slipping back to academic goals as a primary motivator, put the books away and engage in activities that build the qualities on your list. You can catch up on algebra or composition later, but can you catch up on character training?

Every now and then, you may have to review your personal bucket list. Not just to check off all the things you dream of doing but to be sure your list supports your mission regarding character training goals. It’s easy to get off track with what’s important because life is busy. So, re-evaluate and steady your course of action as needed.

My children have all graduated from our homeschool. Have they completed everything on the bucket list? No. Like all of us, they are still growing and maturing in the Lord. The ideas are implanted, and those seeds will grow as they become mature adults.

What’s on your homeschool bucket list? Even if your children are young, begin preparing the list of qualities God has put in your heart for your children. Homeschooling bucket lists are, after all, about far more than academics!


Here is a link to another great article on “Preparing Teenagers for Adulthood“.


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Aiming Arrows into Adulthood

If you’re a Teach Them Diligently 365 member, check out the workshop, “Aiming Arrows into Adulthood”

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As homeschooling parents, how can we prepare our children for adulthood? And how can we prepare our hearts (through prayer and effective communication) to release our kids, into a new season? There’s life after graduation– with college, careers, romance, weddings, and next-generation purpose. Let’s aim and launch our arrows to hit God’s mark!

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This article originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on

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