Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: discipleship

what does discipleship in homeschool look like

Once upon a time, our homeschool looked like us learning all together around the kitchen table, taking nature walks in the afternoon searching for cool treasures we could learn more about when we got home, laughing, learning, and growing together.

We took the time to get together with friends for Bible study each week, recognizing that building that time into our school week showed a priority for studying God’s Word together with friends. We had our own makeshift homeschool group as three families gathered together each week- 1 mom getting to go out while 2 stayed home to teach and enjoy the fellowship. Those were great days!

This was taken on the most epic homeschool field trip ever– 10 days in Israel, learning more than this article could ever contain… and that trip certainly wasn’t possible during the same season I alluded to before– It was saved for this one.

Nowadays in our Homeschool…

These days are great, too! With 1 in college and 2 taking dual credit classes while they finish their high school work, and one in middle school, our weeks look very different now. Yet, we continue to learn together, laugh together, and grow together. We continue to invest our time in building Kingdom relationships with others and in growing together through God’s Word.

Yes, our homeschool looks different, and yes, I sometimes miss those carefree days when they were young— but the depth of relationship I now have with my bigs was built through those younger days, and I will be eternally grateful.

Stay the course, mama! Be thankful for whatever stage you are in. Look for the beauty of that season and teach your children by example what is most important— loving God and loving others even as you are preparing for whatever God has in store for you.

 

Want some help staying focused on the hearts of your children and thus the heart of your homeschool? Get more strategic in the way you pray for them! Click here to download a free prayer guide for your children and enter a 35-day email series that will walk you practically through a more strategic way of praying scripture for them that will change you as a Christian Mama or Daddy even as you see God working in the lives of your children. Click Here To Download Now.

If you are looking for daily encouragement and relationships with other homeschool moms walking the same path you are– but at various points on their journey, I invite you to join us in teach Them Diligently 365. Get more details here.

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Things don’t always go as we want them to. Bad things happen and always will. Companies close. People move. What we once held dear can be taken away from us. It is how we react to those things that gives us great insight into where our heart is and how we find our identity, for as one of the characters in the new movie Overcomer notes, ” Your identity is tied to whatever you give your heart to.” He goes on to note that, “Something or someone will have first place in your heart. When you find your identity in the One Who created you, it will change your whole perspective.”

I’ll let that last statement sink in a bit.

In a world that seems to have lost its mind and all sense of reason regarding the concept of identity, Overcomer gives hope! There is a solid foundation in which we can find our selves, our worth, and our future. We cannot allow our past to define us or hold us back, for we are offered forgiveness freely from the only One Who is able to change us from the inside out.

Your family really does need to see Overcomer movie, which opens in theaters today! There are great messages there for one and all.

  • Your children need to see it, for there are lessons presented to them as they watch young Hannah Scott learn who she truly is by digging into God’s Word. We are excited to be able to offer you a great resource to help you talk to your kiddos about this issue. Click here to download it now.
  • Mom and Dad, you need to see it. I actually texted David as I watched it, since he wasn’t with me at the time, to ask if they had been living with us. This movie explores some of the stress points you may have experienced as you seek to serve God together. There is some great insight for all families offered there.
  • Your unsaved friends need to see it! Invite them to join you. It’s a very good story, and they will absolutely hear the gospel presented clearly and with great relevance during this movie.
  • Your discouraged Christian friends needs to see it. Their hearts will be encouraged as they begin to look beyond today to see what God is doing– and to remember what He has already done.

So, what are you waiting for? Download your discussion guide, purchase your tickets, and take your family to the movies this weekend. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on it!

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Peaceful Sleep

Those of you who have been a member of Teach Them Diligently 365 for any length of time, have probably heard me talk about how I used to set scripture to tune as I was teaching my children. We used to sing scripture to help memorize it, to learn the principles of it, and so much more.

One of the songs we sang almost every single day while they were growing up (and even sometimes now that they’re older,) is a tune I made up for Psalm 4:8. That verse starts, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep…” I would sing that every night with each child individually to help calm their heart and point them to the One Who is able to keep them safe and to help them sleep in peace. It’s very much a part of the tapestry of our family.

This week, I was thinking of how easy it is for us moms (and dads!) to comfort our kiddos with verses like that. We can assure them that the boogie man won’t get them, and there is no monster hiding in their closet. (My youngest used to call those the “Spookies”… :) ) We parents faithfully point their little hearts to their loving Heavenly Father Who promises never to leave them and to keep them safe. It’s easy for us to wrap our heads around that.

But, is it easy for us to remember that and apply it to our concerns as well? Can I sing to myself “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep…” as confidently as I sing it with my children? I am facing “spookies” of a different kind. There are bills to be paid, more to do than there is of me, and stressors that threaten to take my breath away if I dwell on them.  For some, there are serious health issues, economic issues, or relationships that seem completely out of control. How can we possibly lay down in peace and sleep?

The answer is found in the last part of that verse (and consequently our little Nunnery-song…) “For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”  Only by focusing on the God Who is able to make me dwell in safety can I truly lie down in peace and sleep. Only by trusting in His love and His power can I find sweet rest. Only in submitting myself to his plan and purpose can I find the repose to lie down in serenity.

So, I wonder, Mom and Dad, are you able to sing that song with me? Are you able to lie down in peace and sleep; knowing that the God of the Universe, Who loves you so much He sent His only Son to earth to make a way for you to live eternally, is taking care of you and making you able to dwell in safety? If not, I urge you to spend some time in His Word this evening, reminding yourself of Who He is. Perhaps a quick trip to Psalm 4 is a good place to start. :)

Joining You In This Journey!
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I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that TONIGHT is your final opportunity to purchase a ticket to this year’s Back2Homeschool virtual conference. Lifetime access to all the workshops listed there is available for only $25, but it goes away overnight. The first workshop is one that I did on the Heart of Your Homeschool, which I pray will be a great encouragement to you– helping you refocus and refine your vision for this new homeschool year. I sure would love for you to check it out. Click here to secure your ticket now before it’s too late. 

Register for the Homeschool Convention Today

We are so excited about next week’s Back 2 Homeschool virtual conference! There are so many great sessions coming straight to your home, so you can enjoy them the day they are initially released or any day after that since you’ll have lifetime access to all the recordings and resources. See what you can expect to receive each day next week if you have registered for the Back2Homeschool conference. Haven’t done that yet?? What are you waiting for? The price for a ticket is $19 this weekend only– after that, it goes up to $25!  Click here to register today!  We’ll start sending out the SWAG bag of goodies and the link to the virtual exhibit hall on Sunday night, and the first sessions will be released on Monday morning. It’s almost time for us to have our Back2Homeschool homeschool mom (and dad!) fun!!

Meet the homeschool speakers who contributed the following workshops for this conference here.

Monday– Homeschool Foundation Focus

  • For the Heart of Your Homeschool– Leslie Nunnery
  • Seven Keys To A Successful Homeschool– Ruth Adams
  • The Compelling Case for Homeschooling– Mike Donnelly
  • Understanding The Different Methods of Teaching– Faithe Thomas
  • Kindergarten at Home– Carisa Hinson
  • How to Help Your Wiggly Kids Learn– Sharon Fisher
  • 5 Intentional Ways to Connect With Your Child– Jessica Anderson
  • Connecting With Your Child Through Singing Together– Katie Sutton
  • The Lifestyle of a Charlotte Mason Homeschool– Dollie Freeman
  • Created to be Creators– Penny Mayes
  • Teaching the Bible At Home– Danika Cooley

 

Tuesday– Homeschool Academics Focus

  • Homeschooling: The Making Of Theodore Roosevelt– Charlene Notgrass
  • Spelling Beyond the Book– Laura Macfarlan
  • Why and How to Create Your Own Unit Studies- Leah Courtney
  • 5 Steps to a Superior Science Education– Jeannie Fulbright
  • Visualizing History: Increasing Reading Comprehension and Independent Learning Through Visuals and Hands-on Projects–Penny Mayes
  • Curriculum 911: What to Do When Homeschool Isn’t Going Well– Kim Sorgius
  • Developing and Drafting an SEP- Student Education Plan– Krisa Winn
  • How to Teach Spelling– Cynthia L. Simmons
  • IRL Math: Math In Real Life– Andrea Hall
  • Dealing with the DARK SIDE of History– Linda Lacour Hobar
  • Teaching Reluctant Readers and Writers– Karen Johnson Bateman
  • Preparing Now For College Writing Success– Dr. Lynn Lease
  • A Charlotte Mason Plant Study: Give it time, it will grow on you — Jasmine Lucero

 

Wednesday– Homeschool Encouragement Focus

  • Quick Start Guide for this New Homeschool Year– Leslie Nunnery
  • Eternals before Externals– Karen Debeus
  • How to Find Your Homeschool Rhythm– Rebecca Spooner
  • How to Choose the Best for YOUR Homeschool- Kerry Beck
  • Theme Based Learning in the Early Years– Carisa Hinson
  • Your Kids Don’t Have To Go To College– Diane Benson
  • Rethink Your Why– Leslie Nunnery and Jamie Erickson 
  • Teaching Deep Biblical Truths– B.A. Snider
  • About to Burn Out? Here’s Some Help For Homeschool Success– Sharon Fisher
  • Teach The Heart Not The Mind- Lani Carey
  • Homeschool Teachers Are A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!– Davis Carman
  • College Readiness– Realizing the Dream– Elisa Turner

 

Thursday– Homeschool Organization Focus

  • Homeschool Portfolios and Record Keeping 101– Rebecca Spooner
  • Discovering God’s Unique Design– Lesa Dale
  • Scholarships 101– Creating The Strategy– Elisa Turner
  • Be Better Prepared For Your School Year Than Ever– Karen Debeus
  • Organizing Your Homeschool Classes– Leslie Nunnery
  • Creating The Perfect Homeschool Schedule– Amy Roberts
  • Understanding the Way Your Child Learns– Faithe Thomas
  • It’s Crunch Time: How to Choose the Best Curriculum for “Your” Family– Kerry Beck
  • 5 Stones of Goal Setting– Lesa Dale
  • A Four Year Guide to Preparing your Homeschooler for College.– Michelle Osborn

 

Friday– Homeschool Family Focus

  • A Grumble Free (Homeschool) Year– Tricia Goyer
  • 10 Ways To Keep The Heart Of Your Child– Kim Sorgius
  • Homeschooling and Parenting Without Guilt– Margie Abbitt
  • Rethink Chores and Responsibilities– Leslie Nunnery
  • Financial Aid for Homeschoolers– Dariu Dumitru
  • Raising Future Millionaires : Money Habits Every Child Should Master –Holly Reid Toodle
  • 7 Practical Tips To Stay Sane As A Working Homeschool Parent- Jessica Anderson
  • Our Family’s Journey Towards Home Education– Jessica Hager
  • What You Wished You Knew– Over 30 Year’s Worth Of Questions And Answers From Homeschool Parents Just Like You!”–Deb, Joy, and Hope Deffinbaugh
  • Homeschooling With Little Ones In The Mix– Leah Courtney
  • The Nutrition Connection– Regina Tyndall
  • Busy Mom’s Game Plan: How To Stay Close To God– Kerry Beck
  • Self-Care Tips, Tools, and Techniques– Shayla Lorraine Bryant
  • Calming Angry Kids– Tricia Goyer
  • Rethink Your Influence– Leslie Nunnery and Lisa Schmidt
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As a mom of three children, there is nothing more rewarding than walking alongside my kids as they grow in their relationship with Christ. Whether reading the Bible or attending church on Sundays, I’ve come to place so much value on experiences we have as a family that connect us more deeply with Scripture and help us grow together.

My passion for connecting people to the Bible was cultivated early in my own childhood.

I grew up in our family’s business. My grandfather went from producing milk as a dairy farmer to producing live stage shows with a purpose. He was passionate about helping people see and understand the Bible as he did: full of life and creativity. Deeply motivated by the way Jesus used parables to help people connect to scripture, he used what he had to begin doing the same. Armed with a camera, slide projector and passion for the gospel, he began creating experiences for families to share together that connected them to Bible stories. What started as a small multi-media show grew into the Sight & Sound Theatres that exists today: two state-of-the-art venues in Lancaster, Pa. and Branson, Mo. where Bible stories come to life on a panoramic stage with massive sets and live animals (not to mention our signature roasted almonds which are an experience of their own!).

A lot may have changed in our 42-year history, but one thing remains the same: our passion for bringing the Bible to life. We realize not everyone may be able to visit us in person, so this April we’re “taking the show on the road.” For three days, our landmark production NOAH will be playing in movie theaters nationwide! We’re thrilled about the idea of thousands of people across the country experiencing this cherished Bible story together in their own backyards.

If you’re making plans to bring your family, I’d like to recommend reading the story together before embarking on your excursion (found in Genesis 6-9).

Additionally, here are three discussion questions for the drive home after your voyage:

  1. Noah had to make a hard decision and was ridiculed for it. Was there ever a time that you had to make a decision that wasn’t popular?
  2. Noah had to trust that God was going to deliver on His promise even when he couldn’t see the outcome. Was there a time you had to trust God in your own life when you didn’t know what would happen?
  3. God’s faithfulness is evident throughout Noah’s whole life. How have you experienced God coming through in your life?

We invite you to set sail with us in April to experience this extraordinary Bible story full of animals (two-by-two!), a monumental flood, and (spoiler alert!), a rainbow for the grand finale! Our hope is the story will come to life for your family in a brand new way. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

About NOAH

Seen by more than 5 million people live on stage, Sight & Sound’s landmark production sets sail into movie theaters April 9, 11, and 13 for a special nationwide event. Filmed in front of a live audience, NOAH takes you on history’s best-known voyage as you board the enormous ark—along with two of every kind of animal! For locations and tickets visit NoahEvent.com.

 

About Katie Miller

As the oldest grandchild of Sight & Sound’s founders, Katie Miller was the first member of the family’s third generation to work in the organization. Katie stepped onto the stage when she was four years old and performed as part of the cast until she was 13. Today, she serves as Corporate Communications Manager. Her unique, rich experience within the company’s formative years has helped her collaborate in everything from publicity opportunities to future succession planning. She lives in Lancaster, Pa. with her husband of 15 years and their three children.        

 

 

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Are We Engaged In The Right Battle?

One day last week my son asked me to play a game of chess with him. He had it already set up and was so excited that I agreed to join the game. I was not really engaged, though. My body was playing chess, but my mind was working on something else altogether. It took him all of three moves before I heard “check mate.” He rubbed in that he had beaten me again, told his siblings and his daddy, and generally had a great time with it. I on the other hand realized in an instant the importance of fully engaging in the battle into which I have been called.

As believers, we are in a war right now on many fronts. I don’t think anyone would question that. I wonder, though, if we are fighting the right battles or if we are allowing Satan to make us impotent because we have taken our eyes off the true prize and have no energy or manpower left for the battles that really need to be fought.

The Battle For Home Educators- Fight with the end instead of the means in mind!

We have largely allowed ourselves to be taken out of the spiritual battle as home educators. Satan has caused us to focus and even to fight for home education so much that we have lost sight of the true end we sought initially– that we as families would love the Lord our God with all our hearts and that we would be girded up to fight His battles when they come our way.

I have seen this misplaced loyalty in the news and even through our social media. When someone posts a juicy common core article or  homeschool freedom article, the engagement numbers soar. But a discipleship post sits primarily dormant. This should not be!

Yes, we need to be informed about what’s going on- but not so we can fume or be afraid. No! We must be informed, so that we, like the Apostle Paul at the Areopagus, can intelligently use what people in culture know and understand to point them to Christ. (His speech in Acts 17 is brilliant, weaving culture and history together to point them to Christ.)

The real fight that is ragingWe must rather fight this battle with the end, not the means in mind. The battle should never be strictly for our right to home educate without government influence, though we certainly want to see that maintained. The real fight that is raging, though, is for our families- for the very souls of our children and of our children’s children. That is the battle in which we must engage. It is imperative that we take these freedom-filled days of home education to instill in our children a rock solid foundation of love and devotion to Jesus Christ alone. Every other foundation we would try to give them can be broken down but not the Cornerstone of God’s Kingdom!

The Battle For The Heart of our Children

We must use these days to train ourselves and our children about what love for Jesus looks like– for what is in our hearts will always come out. Love for Jesus will overflow into a life lived powerfully, not running from the skirmishes we encounter. Love for Jesus must manifest a sincere love for people, for Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who were lost. (Often lost people are very unlovable and disagreeable, but those are the ones Jesus came for. We must never forget that we were once counted among them.) Love for Jesus and a passion for serving Him at all costs and instilling those things into our children must be our highest objectives as parents. There is coming a day very soon when the battles that rage in our land are going to necessitate that we take hard stands and dangerous positions as believers. Are we preparing our children for that day?

Oh that we will get our hearts and our minds in the right battle! May we not be so distracted by the fear of losing our rights to home educate autonomously that we miss the time we have to build a solid foundation for our family that is capable to stand even when the real battle comes to our front yard. Our family started Teach Them Diligently with this battle in mind. There will be a ton of material presented that will equip you to be a better home educator, but the real heart of the event is to equip you to be a better parent, to build a stronger family, and to better disciple your children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind. The stakes are high! It is time to gird up, learn all we can, and prepare for battle.

We sure would love to see you there! Register today and gird up for battle. Find an event near you by clicking here.

Get involved in the battle through strategic prayer. Join me in praying for our children and marriages. Sign up here: www.TeachThemDiligently.net/pray.

 

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The Path of Suffering, Part 1

Most of you don’t know this, but I coached my son’s varsity basketball team last year.

It was one of those experiences that I would not trade for anything. It was my son’s senior season which was part of the motivation, but I came away with a sense that this was something that I should have done sooner. They were a good team and a great bunch of guys which made it much easier. We had a lot of success! However, I have to tell you that while it was fun, it was also stressful.

To be quite honest, I lost much more sleep worrying about the basketball team than I did about Teach Them Diligently or even our mission agency during that time.

As we went through the season, I would spend time before games and at practices teaching the guys from what God was teaching me. The truths I am going to share with you over the next couple of days came out of one of those times with the team. We had just come through a difficult pre-season tournament in which we lost our first game and then won the next two. After the tournament and just before our first regular season game, I shared these truths with them. As I taught, I thought of a very difficult time in the history of Teach Them Diligently back in 2013.

In 2013, Teach Them Diligently moved forward with an aggressive expansion that we felt God was directing us toward. We expanded to three large events and then we added 10 mini-events on top of that. This plan had been bathed in prayer, and we moved forward with great excitement. It was not long, however, before we realized that things were not going as well as we had hoped. By the time we got to the end of May, we started to cancel events. We had not even started the mini-events and cash was low. To make a long story short, we only did four of the planned ten mini-events. We lost more money that year than we brought in total for the year. We also had to let go several people we hired to help run these new events. It was hard, and I was devastated. I had so many questions. Most started with “Why?”

Why would God do this or not that?

Why did I feel so certain that this was the direction God wanted us to go?

Why am I even doing these events?

And, why should we even continue?

I will tell you that I felt responsible, and I was beating myself up pretty hard over the problems.

Now, the first question that many of you are asking is “Why am I telling you about this?” Obviously, Teach Them Diligently did not go under, so this could not have been a really serious problem. Well, first I want to tell you that it was very serious, and Teach Them Diligently and our family are still feeling the impact of that time even now–6 years later. Second, I wanted to tell you about this because Teach Them Diligently is something that all of us have in common, and this organization was very close to closing. The reason it is here is because of God’s sustaining hand, and what He taught me during that time in 2013.

So, let’s go to Scripture. The Scripture that I am bringing all of this from is in Romans 5:1-11.  The caption at the top of this chapter in my Bible is “Peace with God Through Faith.” Please read these verses.

In these verses Paul is talking to a group that is wondering about suffering in relation to the Gospel. Some are wondering why they are suffering now that they have accepted the redemption of Christ. For others, Paul is rallying them around the idea of glorifying God through suffering. And, Paul in a manner that we see over and over again in his epistles gives a step by step growth path. He takes one characteristic and adds it to another and then another and then another.

Here is what this path or road looks like in Romans 5:

  1. Suffering
  2. Endurance
  3. Character
  4. Hope
  5. No Shame

The first thing that we often do when a time of suffering comes into any of our lives is ask why. Whether we are dealing with a difficult marriage, the death of a loved one, a child that we are homeschooling that is just incredibly difficult to handle, or we are tired, enduring financial hardship, or anything that puts us into a rocky and hard time, we tend to ask “Why?”. Why is this happening? Why is God allowing this? Whether we are angry and frustrated or even just sad, it is highly likely that you are asking a lot of questions and searching for answers as you are suffering. Additionally, you may also be asking a question like “Is this worth it?”

That is Endurance…What I mean is that if you face any hardship, the first thing that develops as you work through it is endurance. The opposite is to give up and that can be pretty serious in some cases. For some it means that they just stop or resign a position. For others, it may involve entering a self-destructive spiral. Developing the Endurance that Paul talks about here is searching for meaning in what you are going through and finding it.  

This is the same place Job was in while his friends were telling him what he had done to deserve all of this tragedy in his life. They were answering the question why. Although their answers were wrong, they were trying to help Job by answering that grand question.

I want you to know that there is a plan, and God is not going to allow suffering in your life just because he wants to or because he is angry with you. That is not the purpose of suffering. Many of you are hearing this and starting to fill in the blanks with your own answers of why God allows suffering. Or, as many put it, “Allow bad things to happen to good people…” God does not waste these times of difficulty, and the treasure on the other side of this suffering is faith. Your belief is deeper and stronger.

To recap, Endurance develops because God answers the questions we have, and we realize that there is a point. God has a plan! However, He is not done.

God plans on taking what we have learned and putting action to it. That is where character comes in. We will discuss that next Sunday evening. Suffering leads to Endurance and that endurance leads to character…

The night that I presented the truths to our team we won by 25 points. We were not as good as we were going to be, but God had already used the difficulty of the pre-season tournament to mold us as a team. These guys were starting to play together. They trusted and believed in each other.

And, 5 years ago, I actually considered shutting down Teach Them Diligently completely. I doubted everything, but something would not allow me to close these events. I just had this strong sense that God was burning off the “dross”. That he was molding something. As my wife puts it, God had directed us to step out on this path of faith, and then He stood behind us, forcing us to stay the course as He blocked our way back.

Next week, I will unpack character…How does character fit into suffering, and why does Paul include it on this path?

Tonight, though, I hope and pray you are planning to join us for one of the Teach Them Diligently events this season. We believe passionately that God is at work through these events, and we have been thrilled to hear from countless families testimonies of His grace and reviving power as they come out of them.  I sure would love to see you there, and to hear your story  of how God has worked. If you want to learn more about these events, click here.

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Sincerely,

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The First Reason Kids Get Sucked in by Porn

Fifteen-year-old Sarah’s brow furrowed as she recounted her story of being stuck on porn at age 8.

As a homeschooled child, Sarah (not her real name) had many advantages in avoiding inappropriate content online. She didn’t ride a school bus packed with kids watching cell phones, and she missed the naughty jokes on the playground. But she did overhear some boys saying words she just didn’t know, so she picked up her dad’s phone to search what she had heard.

Each search produced a parade of images and video that shocked and confused her and ignited feelings she didn’t understand. Like every child, she was curious about what people looked like naked, but this was so much more than that. And each image and video led to another, and only the sound of her parents’ footsteps could break the trance.

In secrecy, day after day, week after week, month after month, she watched porn for two years before her parents discovered her habit and provided help.

At 15, she brought her dad to our Covenant Eyes booth at a Teach Them Diligently conference to sign up for Accountability and Filtering services, and she grabbed a handful of flyers to take home. “So many of my friends are struggling too,” she said.

Sarah’s story is common. Children today, who know little to nothing about sex, stumble into hardcore and deviant porn. Because they are unprepared for what they see, they fall headlong into its neurologically stimulating trap. Often, they have feelings that this must be wrong, but their brains won’t turn away. Feelings of shame, secrecy, and fear help them keep their secret from parents, yet they are less reserved about sharing their discoveries with other children. And thus, pornography is being spread from child to child like the secret handshake of an exclusive club, except the membership is sadly broad and destructive.

Parents shudder at this thought. Surely, their beautiful, sweet, and playful child would never be curious (like you and I were curious at that age). And even if they did see pornography, wouldn’t they just look away? It wouldn’t dig its claws into them, right? If they did see porn, wouldn’t it be better to just ignore it, because talking to them about it might make them more curious, right?

An untrained child has such a difficult time looking away from pornography, but as parents we can prepare and train our kids to turn, run, and tell, so that porn doesn’t have an opportunity to stain their minds and how they view the world.

Holy Smokes, What’s That?

Porn is not sex; it is a hijacking of what God created.

Today’s graphic online pornography commandeers the brain’s neurology with what science calls supernormal stimuli. In basic scientific terms, supernormal stimuli are artificially enhanced. They subvert and hijack our natural appetites and motivational systems and overstimulate our neural pathways.

In common terms, porn can light up a brain, including an unsuspecting and inexperienced child’s brain.

Since the 1950s, a myriad of studies by Niko Tinbergen and others have shown songbirds feeding fake babies who had wider and redder mouths, peacocks choosing exaggerated dummies for mating, and butterflies trying to mate with bright cardboard replicas and ignoring other real butterflies.

We see supernormal stimuli affecting people today as they choose saltier, sweeter, and fattier processed foods. Our senses are artificially stimulated far above what we find in nature.

If those supernormal stimuli change behavior, they pale in comparison to today’s pornography, which activates fireworks shows in the arousal and rewards systems of the brain.

Online, a person can surf through dozens, even hundreds, of images and videos at a time. Seeing so much pornography, which is often shocking, violent, and even bizarre, isn’t normal. And our brains become hijacked.

Supernormal stimulus is just the first step. Cravings and seeking behavior for porn come with repetition.  And often, adults who struggle most with pornography were exposed at early ages.

So, that’s a lot of bad news.

The good news is you can train your child to know what pornography is and how they can defend themselves.

Let me leave you with three actionable steps you can take now.

  • First, use a porn blocker to prevent accidents and get a report of your child’s online activity and turn curiosity and interests in to conversations. Blocking prevents accidental exposure, while the report shows curiosity, intentions, and even tricks used to try to get around a blocker. Use the code TTD and get 30 days free at covenanteyes.com.
  • Depending on the age of your child, read with them either Good Pictures, Bad Pictures or Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. These books provide age-appropriate information, and teach your child to recognize inappropriate content, to look away, and to tell a trusted adult. Simply put, they learn to turn, run, and tell.
  • Download a free e-book called Equipped: Raising Godly Digital Natives to help you start teaching and instructing your child today. Get it free at covenanteyes.com/ebooks.

 

Sam Black is a vice president at Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability, a speaker, and the author of The Porn Circuit: Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days.  He joined the Covenant Eyes team in 2007 after 18 years as a journalist and has edited 16 books on the impact of pornography, how to protect our families, and how God’s grace brings restoration. He has been married for 23 years and is a father of two.

 

 

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