Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: parenting

christian parenting

Depending on who you ask or reference…approximately 60% to 80% of young people from Christian families are leaving the church once they graduate high school.  

Many Christian families look at these numbers with trepidation.

Some think that whether their children become a statistic or not is completely out of their control. We are all observant enough to perceive that there are a lot of big churches out there that are empty on Sundays. We notice that the church in America seems to be shrinking and not growing. Some adults have even accepted this idea of the prodigal son or daughter as being a part of growing up where we can expect children to leave the church for a time.

All of us who went to a secular college or university went through the gauntlet of a bitter professor that spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince young Christians that there was no God. I was one of these young people that went through his teenage years in a church-going home, never believing, and fleeing the church the first opportunity I received. I didn’t believe in Christ when I arrived at college and while I was there one of these professors simply gave force to the beliefs already bouncing around my head. By college, I had already veered off the course my family preached.

I was no longer willing to check the same boxes as my family…

These larger statistics of young people leaving the church and the antidote to this trend is the answer to why we believe these events are so important.

I want to give you a quote that is foundational to the mission of Teach Them Diligently. Make no mistake, we are a homeschool convention, but we are also much more! Teach Them Diligently has a mission tied closely to the Great Commission that we believe will turn the tide of young people leaving the church.

“You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are!”

If you have been around Teach Them Diligently for a while (this is our 8th year producing events,) you have heard me say this from the main stage at one point or another. Keep reading because I will tie that quote into the larger mission, but first, another story connected to a good friend of ours.

Once as I was reading Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham, I noticed how he described how separated our families are now.  He points out that a typical Christian family will send their children to a traditional school for 8 hours a day while the parents head to work. The mom and dad often get home late, and the children are generally participating in extra activities like cheerleading, sports, clubs, etc. Once everyone finally comes home, they scarcely ever eat a meal together. The children will do homework and study for tests while parents watch television or whatever.  Then, they go to church, and it is worse. They go to Sunday School separated by age and then on to children’s church. The church is filled with programs broken down by age so the families seldom worship together in the same room or even sit together. Many young children never witness their parents actively participating in worship.

Did you know that the average father or mother only spends 34 minutes per day with their children?

When I saw this, my immediate thought was that this was the answer…! This is the reason that so many of our children are running from the church when they leave the home.

In Deuteronomy 6 God gives a very direct and specific plan to the Israelites about how to pass down their faith in God to their children. He does not say create this institution or find a youth pastor or find a good school. Instead He directly instructs the parents. He tells them how and what to teach. We will unpack this a little more in an upcoming article.  However, what I want to focus on right now is that God instructs the parents to teach them.

Now, some of you are reading this and thinking that I am demonizing all schools, youth groups, and Sunday School programs. I am not!  What I am saying is that there are a lot of parents that are anxious to throw their children to churches and schools to disciple and educate them. They are outsourcing!

So many parents do not even realize that they are the ones God has directed to pass down a love and belief in the redemptive work of Christ.

Homeschooling is not a checkbox! You don’t suddenly start homeschooling and your children become smarter and more spiritual than everyone else.  At Teach Them Diligently, we are adamantly opposed to diminishing a Life with Christ to a series of checkboxes.

The truth is that our children need their parents. They need parents to invest in them and engage.

It is very possible to engage in discipling your children and still send them to public or private school. However, I do think it is harder, but definitely possible! I know a lot of children that love the Lord in public and private schools.

We (Teach Them Diligently) are advocates for homeschooling because we believe homeschooling with the intention of discipleship and equipping them to excel in this world is the best way to reproduce young people that love the Lord Jesus Christ . Additionally, we believe parents are to teach their children how to teach and mentor others. Some of you have heard me say many times that your home is your Jerusalem, and Leslie and I absolutely believe that our mission is first to those God placed in our home.

AND, if parents are to be the disciplers God meant them to be, there is one word you should remember that is incredibly important in this process. I discussed this one important word in another article you can access by clicking here.  It truly could be the most impactful thing you could ever tell your children in the day to day process of raising and equipping them, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to check it out.

We believe the antidote for the flow of young Christians out of the church and away from Christ is parents engaging and taking serious the task of discipleship God has given them.

This is the reason that you hear us talk so much about relationships at our events, and that is the reason Leslie penned the Teach Them Diligently book to talk about what the Bible has to say about discipleship-focused parenting.

Of course, we spend a lot of time talking about the academic success of homeschooling. However, there are also a lot of sessions regarding relationships in terms of parenting and marriage and even your relationship with Christ. Every year there are several that realize that they have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ. (One year, we had 8 salvation decisions in our teen program that wasn’t even programmed with that end as a goal.)

We don’t ignore teaching methods, organization, and academics. But, if you are in October and getting frustrated because your school year is not quite going the way you envisioned in August, remember that the core is discipleship. Pray over your homeschool! Ask God to forgive you for being frustrated and remember what the ultimate goal is! It will be okay! God is with you!

God will not ask you to do anything that he has not equipped you to achieve, right? You need Him, though, and that is the point.

He does not expect you to be perfect! Which brings me again to the one word you need to remember…You can read that article here!

For now,…Remember that your children need you to engage in their life with Christ and mentor them to be reproducible believers equipped to love God and to serve Him better in the future.

We at Teach Them Diligently see our mission as encouraging you to seize the role God has for you and help you proceed with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done Biblically will strengthen your family in Christ.

We would love to have you join us there, because we truly do believe that you need this encouragement and further equipping for the mission God has given you. Find an event near you and plan to join us now.

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Sincerely,

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Sometimes it’s hard to admit we may need help with our home school.

Understandably, we may be overwhelmed with a curriculum choice, lesson plan, need for organization, home school itself, or the motivation to want to teach class. It is during hard times such as these that we should ask for help. Too often, as home school parents, we feel the pressure to ‘measure up’ with other home educators whom we feel have it all together, so we don’t ask for help. We stubbornly or pridefully persist in finding our own solution; and we continue to sink, possibly getting in over our heads before reaching out. This reminds me of an experience I had, related to this observation.

It seemed like a very simple plan. We were studying a unit on biology, and I decided to take full advantage that our house fronted a lake. We’d just purchased a brand new microscope. I decided to give my children a new experience, to see a little bit of pond life and an amazing creature called the amoeba.

I explained all of this to them as I pulled on my husband’s rubber fishing boots. (Little did I now that this was mistake number one, the boots were way too big.)

Once I was ready, I walked out to the backyard with six laughing, shouting, and very excited children running ahead. (“See,” I thought to myself, “I knew I could make biology fun!”)

Stay on the Bank

Giving the kids one final encouraging warning, “STAY ON THE BANK,” I waded into the lake, specimen jar in hand, while envisioning what impact this type of hands-on experiment would have on their learning and possibly their future career choices. Then it happened. As I took my third step into the water, I felt one foot begin to sink just a tad deeper than the other. I quickly steadied myself, so as not to plunge headlong into the murky lake. But, I was in trouble. As I attempted to bring my left foot even with my right, I felt my foot coming out of the boot, so I pushed my foot back into the boot to try to put it firmly back on. (This was mistake number two – trying to force my foot back into the boot only caused it to sink deeper into the mud.)

Still undeterred, I decided to pivot on my right foot and place it evenly with the left and head another way.
Yet, to no avail, for the right foot was sliding out of that boot as well. To my horror, my big boots were stuck in the mud, and with a maneuver in either direction, I felt myself sinking.

While trying to remain calm (and trying to look cool), realizing the children were closely watching my every move, I tried to think of a plan of action that did not include yelling for my husband. I couldn’t think of one.

My feet were not going anywhere, no matter how tightly I curled my toes to try and lift the big boots up. So, now, not quite so calmly, I shouted, “Go get your dad and tell him I’m stuck in the mud out in the lake.”

Three children raced to be the first to deliver the message, and three stayed to ask if I wanted them to come in and help. Unfortunately, the tranquil learning environment I had intended had quickly turned chaotic. I saw my husband’s face as he raced out the door, and knew at once the message he’d been given might have been a bit more dramatic than necessary. The dog was barking at all the commotion, the three children who’d remained faithfully at the bank were now screaming for their father to “ hurry up” and rescue me.

To The Rescue

What a blessing my husband was, so loving and understanding of who I was. He lifted me up and pulled me out of the water, leaving the boots behind, and carried me to the bank, all the while suppressing a chuckle. He was indeed that day my hero.

We also have heroes all around us, in support groups, friends, spouses, when we feel ourselves sinking under the stresses of teaching and training our children. Yet, to have access to the greatest rescuer of them all, our heavenly Father, is the most wonderful blessing imaginable. Just as I called for my husband’s help, knowing he would come, the Father is waiting to help when we call.

Article provided by Kristine Malingowski.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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Attending a Teach Them Diligently Convention in 2019 is one change that is guaranteed to help your homeschool– and bless your family! We hope you will make that a priority!  Watch the video for more information!

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discipleship teaching

As a homeschool mothers, wives, and believers in Christ we have many aspirations. We want to love the Lord with all our heart and be a godly wives according to Proverbs 31. We want to teach our children in the ways of the Lord and shield them from the evils of this world. We want to give them a Christian worldview so they can be world changers and carry on the message of the Gospel to the next generation.

Recently as I pondered these thoughts I wondered if how we attempt to do this is really an effective strategy. Am I teaching my kids to stand up for Jesus or stand apart?

Standing Up for Jesus

Standing up for Jesus means sharing my faith when it is not the popular thing to do. For me that means inviting people of different faiths into my home and sharing truth from God’s Word. It means not being afraid of those different from me and being willing to show the love of Jesus to those in need. It means letting go of the critical spirit that so easily besets those of the Christian faith and reaching out to the world in need.

I grew up completely surrounded by those of a faith just like mine. It wasn’t hard to stand up for Jesus in that environment. I learned to be comfortable and I spoke with all the Christian lingo of my friends. I was a good girl who followed in the faith of my fathers. There came a day, however, when I had to make my faith my own. I began to take ownership of my faith and realized the joy of my salvation. I wanted to share that with others. I spent time doing short-term missions. I was exposed to those in need in a great way by those trips.

When I came home, I saw the world through different eyes. I was no longer content to stay in my little circle and reach out to only those like me. I saw the sadness in the eyes of those I passed in the street. I was more aware of “divine appointments” or opportunities that God brought into my life to share his love with others.

 

gospel matthew 24:14

Standing Apart

My definition of standing apart in this context is to reject a spirit of pride and haughtiness and not convey to my kids that we have all the answers and those that are not living, doing or acting as we do are in the wrong. I teach my kids that there are moral standards that we should follow and I am purposing to take them to the Scriptures when we have questions about right and wrong: however, I want them to see others who are different from them through eyes of love rather than judgement. Can we see the victims of abuse through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the homeless through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the addict through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the friend who is bitter and out of church through the eyes of Jesus? Jesus sought out sinners to dine with them.

 

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17 (NIV)

 

I found that the early years of child rearing were tough and some days I was living on flare prayers. “Jesus help me!”, I would cry as I went about wiping runny noses, cleaning up potty messes and mending scraped knees. I spent my time teaching the kids Christian values by sharing truth with them from the Bible.

Now as my eldest is entering middle school, I am starting to see the transfer of faith and how important it is for me to live out my faith by example. It is no longer enough for me to tell my kids we need to love like Jesus because the Bible says so. They need to see me loving like Jesus loved.

We need to serve in the soup kitchen together. We need to do missions as a family. They need to see us give as a family. They need to see mom and dad participate in missions. They need to be beside us on their knees crying out for the salvation of our loved ones.

Am I teaching my kids to stand apart in judgement or join in the work with a heart of love toward those that are different? I want to join with Fanny Crosby and make the lyrics of this old hymn Rescue the Perishing my heart’s cry:

 

  • Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
    Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
    Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
  • Refrain:
    Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
  • Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
    Waiting the penitent child to receive;
    Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
    He will forgive if they only believe.
  • Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
    Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
    Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
    Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
  • Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
    Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
    Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
    Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

1869 – Public Domain

 

Let’s teach our kids by example to put away pride and haughtiness and be about our Father’s business. Let’s not get so caught up in standing apart from sin that we neglect the sinner in need of a Savior. Let’s look for opportunities to teach our kids to stand up for the faith and reach out to a world in need with a heart of love and compassion, while holding firm to our convictions and beliefs.

 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

 

Bio photo JSA

 

Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com.

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

Do you want more fun articles on a wide range of topics like discipleship, academics, family, encouragement and general homeschooling?  Just click here to search the vast blog library!

 

Rethink Home Education

To further your reading, we have a special ebook that we would like to send to you. It’s entitled “RETHINK EDUCATION, Turning Scary Questions About Home Education Into Exciting Possibilities.” It was written after countless conversations with moms who are either considering homeschooling or struggling with doubt. My heart in writing it is to offer hopeful answers to some of the questions moms tend to be asking… and you might be surprised at which ones didn’t make the list. I would love for it to become a resource you could share with your friends who are considering home education, or who are wondering if they’ll keep going. So, grab your copy today! – Leslie Nunnery

 

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creation today genesis

In a culture that has become increasingly antagonistic toward biblical principles, Christian families need to be firmly grounded in the Truth. That’s why Teach Them Diligently is excited to announce our partnership with Creation Apologist Eric Hovind, whose passion for the Gospel has taken him to speak in all 50 states and 8 foreign countries. Recently his ministry, Creation Today, released “Genesis: Paradise Lost,” a revolutionary 3D feature film released on over 1,200 screens nationwide. Through it’s message, cultural norms are being challenged to go back to the beginning in the quest for Truth.

genesis dvd creation today

 

Using cutting-edge cinematography and stunning visual effects, Genesis: Paradise Lost takes the viewer on a journey to investigate our origins and explore the creation story. While the booming voice of Dr. Voddie Baucham provides riveting narration, the film is interspersed with interviews from scientists, apologists, and evangelists like Dr. Charles Jackson, Ken Ham, and Ray Comfort. Genesis: Paradise Lost profoundly sheds light on secular worldviews which choose the chaos of moral relativity over the sure foundation of Scripture.

 

creation today

Whether dialoguing with atheists, encouraging believers, or instructing families, Eric Hovind inspires confidence in the God of the Bible. During his 20 years of full-time ministry, he has produced 136 episodes of The Creation Today Show, launched the Creation Network, and translated apologetic materials into over 40 languages. His dynamic presentations captivate audiences of all ages and are frequently accompanied by fun demonstrations of how Science and Scripture merge together perfectly. While outreach opportunities have changed over the decades, the mission of Creation Today remains the same: to impact the world to KNOW and DEFEND their Creator—God.

 

As homeschool families who desire to diligently teach our children, it is imperative that we lay a foundation for truth which begins with the very first chapter of Genesis. From Creation to the Cross; from the grave to the skies, we glimpse the redemptive work of God and discover truth, value, and a respect for life that can only come from a knowledge of the Creator. Truly, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7

 

Since 2011, Teach Them Diligently has been committed to helping you raise children who will stand boldly on the Word of God in the face of a godless culture. That is why we are delighted to name “Genesis: Paradise Lost” as our Movie of the Year. Reserve your copy today when you register to attend a Teach Them Diligently convention at the location of your choice. Then make plans to join Eric Hovind’s unforgettable breakout sessions at one of the following locations:

 

  • March 21-23 – Rogers, AR
  • March 28-30 – Nashville, TN
  • April 11-13 – Waco, TX
  • April 25-27 – Atlanta, GA
  • May 9-11 – Mobile, AL

 

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense

to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15

 

 

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Pick up a t-shirt!  Homeschoolers know what subjects matter: Life, Love, Common Sense, Truth, Character

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financial guidance counselor

Originally aired as a Facebook Live, this video will give you some great insights and ideas for how to teach your children to succeed financially. Linda Carlson and Vere Reynolds from Evangelical Christian Credit Union are part of the Homeschool Financial Counselor Team here at Teach Them Diligently, and they share some incredibly helpful ideas for preparing your children to be financially prepared as they get older.

 

Giving Teens the Freedom (and Guidance) to Succeed Financially

VIDEO:  Giving Teens the Freedom (and Guidance) to Succeed Financially

In this conversation, Linda and Vere cover the following topics:

  • How to Help them Build a budget
  • How to Help them Prioritize spending
  • How to Help them Gather their tools  (Understand the Basics of Opening and Managing a Bank Account)
  • How to Help them Plan Ahead
  • How To Help Them Get familiar with Credit

 

Sign up for the FREE Homeschool Financial Counselor Program to make sure you don’t miss any additional helpful content about teaching your children how to handle their finances.

Check out some of the other articles that have been published as part of the homeschool financial counselor program.

Learn more about the ECCU Start Young Program and how that tool can be invaluable to your family as you teach your children solid financial principles.

Linda Carlson also did an interview with Leslie about Teaching Your Children about Money. Check that out here.

 

Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU) stands with homeschooling families with offers and resources that are specifically designed to benefit your unique lifestyle. 

 

Make your plans to join us at Teach Them Diligently Conventions this spring because we’ll have a special track of sessions that are all about finances, money savings, and financial education.

 

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When we were younger Leslie and I helped out in a youth group at our church. Honestly, there was no better training for being a parent than working within this youth group.

The youth group consisted of roughly 60 young people from middle school to high school. As young parents who had babies at this time, we were able to see this varied collection of teens from different homes influenced by different cultures, parenting styles and education choices.

The one consistency in this group, just as can be found in any group, was imperfection. Dealing with people is often messy!

Once I was sitting in the back of the sanctuary with a young man from the youth group when his father walked up to him and started yelling. His father was upset because his son had worn athletic shoes with his nice slacks to church. Apparently, before they left home his dad had already told him to wear something nicer, and the young man had defied his dad. Whether you think this is a crazy request from the father or not, is not the point. This young man was in the open and apparently there was more going on between them than just a disagreement over shoes. This young man already had a problem with bitterness toward his father, and his father was just exasperating the bitterness through his reaction to his son’s defiance.

We’ll get to that most important word shortly, but first…

Provoking our Children to Wrath

InEphesians 5, scripture makes a big deal about provoking your children to anger or wrath. Think about this…of all the things Paul could have referenced under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he points to provoking your children to wrath.  I think that tells us a lot about not only the potential power anger has over our children, but also the tendencies of fathers and their children.

Paul knew that anger in the home has the potential to allow bitterness to enter the hearts of mothers, fathers, and children. There is nothing more powerful in ripping a family apart or even separating a person from God the Father than anger and bitterness. The Holy Spirit directed Paul to write this verse in Ephesians because He understood the tendency in our sin to sway into anger.

And, I am not talking about short-term anger like being upset when children spill drinks on nice furniture, or even when they miss a curfew or fail a test.

I am talking about the kind of anger that develops into rage or violence or grudges or bitterness.

This is the kind of anger that people hold onto. 

Quick story, Once my oldest was arguing a little with his mother over something he had done. When I heard him argue I became very upset. I don’t even remember what I said or he said; but I remember he was defending himself, and I perceived it as being disrespectful to his mother.

I walked into the room and told him what I thought of what he had done to draw the scolding from his mother, and I also told him to stop defending himself.  I did this with a raised voice.  At that point, he stopped talking, stuck his jaw out, dropped his head, and sat on his bed.  Then, as he was looking down, I told him how I felt about his attitude and how he should never do it again. The next thing I know tears started to show.

After I saw the tears, I backed off and walked out of the room.

I left him in his room for a little while so we both could cool down. Shortly thereafter, I came back into his room and apologized. I didn’t justify it or tell him what he did wrong at this point at all.  I just fell on the sword. I told him that I was very sorry for raising my voice in a way that tore him down.  I made sure to ask him to forgive me, which is very important.

The reason I did this was because I knew that it was the way forward. God talks about forgiveness not just because it releases the wrong-doer but also because it releases the one that is wronged. Sometimes saying sorry is the best way forward.

In parenting you are going to mess up. You are not going to handle every punishment and circumstances with perfect consistency, justice, the right measure of grace, and wisdom. But, to allow any level of anger or bitterness to rise up and develop into a breach in the relationship with your children will make it impossible to reach them…to disciple…to mentor…and to direct them. If your children are holding onto anger or bitterness, it does not matter if you feel like you are right, you need to resolve that. Sometimes the only way forward is to humble yourself and say sorry for your reactions.

That is why SORRY is one of the most important words in discipling your children. You will make mistakes, guaranteed! Don’t think it undermines any level of your authority by saying sorry.

Let me help you a little more on this! What I apologized for with my son was losing my temper and yelling in anger at him in such a way that it diminished him. What the father in the case with his son’s shoes could have done is say sorry to his son for yelling at him in front of everyone and embarrassing him.

Think about Ephesians 5 again…what is going to provoke your children to wrath? Make a list…what is it that could be a source of anger for your son or daughter?

  • injustice or unjustified response
  • inconsistency in applying rules
  • choosing something over them
  • embarrassing them and diminishing them
  • withholding love from them
  • misdirected anger landing on them

Keep going! Think about the root causes of any anger that might be in your children. Dig deep!!

These are the kinds of things you should apologize for.

Okay! Now replace the phrase in Ephesian 5 with one of the phrases above.

Fathers…do not withhold love from your children
Fathers…do not embarrass your children or diminish them
Fathers…do not allow the stresses of life to be misdirected into anger on your children

Do those things make sense? I think that is a good test of something you may want to apologize and clear up with your children.

Now, try that experiment on these statements…

Fathers…do not defend your wife when she is being disrespected by your children
Fathers…do not withhold the car when your child failed a test
Fathers…allow your sons to have girls over to the house without adult supervision

Those don’t make sense do they in the context of Ephesians 5?…Therefore, don’t apologize for those things.

For being focused on a single word, this is a long article. Therefore, I think it is time to move on.

We at Teach Them Diligently see our mission as encouraging you to seize the role God has for you and help you precede with greater confidence as a servant of Christ. We truly do believe that homeschooling when done Biblically will strengthen your family in Christ. Through our media and our events, we endeavor to give you resources to encourage and help you on your way. One such resource I would highly recommend is Leslie’s book on discipleship parenting: Teach Them Diligently, Raising Children of Promise. In it, she walks through what the Bible says about parenting… and there’s a LOT of instruction and insight straight from God’s Word in there. Won’t you pick up a copy today? I truly believe it will be a great help to you and your family.

I also sincerely encourage you to join us next Spring for one of our events. You will not find another conference that focuses so intently on helping you strengthen your relationship with your children and with your God through Biblical homeschooling. You really do need this!

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Sincerely,

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P.S. If you are reading this and have already registered, invite a friend or family member.  The truth is that if they are not homeschoolers or even considering homeschooling, they could still benefit largely from the vision of these events. Need more info about the referral program. Click Here

P.P.S: There is a whole series of posts specific to homeschool dads. I would encourage you to check them out. Click here.

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washer and dryer

Do you wonder how to encourage responsibility in your homeschool? Are you dreading the holidays because you feel rushed and frazzled? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing more and asking less if we think we can get it all done faster without help.

Finding ways to encourage responsibility will give you breathing room in this busy time. Sharing examples from the Pilgrim’s story is a wonderful way to teach your family about the need for shared chores around the home.

Pilgrims’ Responsibilities

The seeds of self-government and democracy grew out of  the first harsh winter when many Pilgrims starved. After landing in their new land, the Pilgrims planted a communal garden. Sadly, not everyone wanted to do his fair share and considered the task someone else’s responsibility. As a result, 45 of 102 colonists died of illness and starvation the first winter.

The following summer,  William Bradford decided to change strategies. He gave the Pilgrims personal responsibly over their own gardens. Knowing they would only eat what they cultivated with their own hands, everyone was motivated to work harder to prepare for the second winter. The abundant fruit of their labors was the inspiration for the first Thanksgiving!

Promote Personal Responsibility

As homeschool moms, we can follow the example of William Bradford by encouraging personal responsibility and self-government. Our homeschools will run much more smoothly. We moms will find time for a much deserved break!

The basis of self government is simple. If you govern yourself, others won’t have to. (Teens like this one!) When we focus on this character issue, we are teaching them to discipline inner desires. Education is more than academics. There may be times when academics give way to character training. Below are ways to incorporate responsibility and self-government into our daily routines.

Give them responsibility for maintaining their own homeschool basket or desk.

Ownership fosters responsibility.  If you know you are in control of an item or area, you take pride in what you are doing. There may be a learning curve when falling down on the job impacts the convenience of others. But, that’s real life. The sooner we learn what we do affects the welfare of others, the better able we will be to handle that reality as adults.

Don’t be a hover mother.

This was one of my son’s biggest complaints. Foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment by allowing them to do a project or chore their own way. When chores include ownership, they can actually graduate from doing it from obedience to doing it because it needs to be done.

Teach consequences, but be gentle.

We all learn by trial and error. Learning based in self discovery sticks with a child a long time. Instead of being harshly critical, ask questions that encourage self-discovery. “What can we learn from what happened here,” and “What do you know now that you didn’t know before?” are good places to start.

Throttle your expectations.

Don’t criticize when it’s not done up to par. Ask them kindly, “How do you think this could be done better next time,”  or “Now that you’ve done this chore a time or two, what have you learned that enables you to do it faster and more completely?”

Teach structure and routine.

As homeschoolers, we have the distinct privilege to order our day  and include chores as an educational foundation of responsibility. Give each child a daily chore for the benefit of the family along with personal chores. As a part of a larger group, the family, we all have a responsibility to take care of each other and make our family strong.

When they are old enough, make them ruler over more.

Kids need to learn how to take care of belongings. Encourage teens to do their own laundry. When they go off to college, this skill will benefit them. Encourage their growing insights with comments like: “We clean up our art supplies to keep them in good condition,” and “We take care of our bodies to stay healthy and avoid disease.”

Kids with higher self-esteem tend to be more responsible.

Build a sense that they are lovable and appreciated. Send messages of unconditional love:

“I’m so blessed to have you as my child.”
“I love spending time with you.”
“You are really good at that!”
“I love you no matter what!”
“I am proud of you, and I believe in you.”

 

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” – Chuck Palahniuk

 

“Every person who has changed the world has taken responsibility for something that mattered not just to them, but to mankind.” – Mike Stutman

 

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

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Chores and Responsibilities

Watch the Free Video, “Chores and Responsibilities”

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As parents, we all want to instill a sense of responsibility into our children, but how we go about that varies as our children grow and mature. This week, we’ll take a look at our family’s Daily Five to see how this system has helped us stay on top of chores at our house and helped teach the children to be responsible along the way.

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World Wide Web

The internet is frightening to me as a mom. Quite frankly, if I could pick one thing that I wish I didn’t have to parent through, it would be internet usage. I regularly have to cast my fear on God, though, for I know what is out there waiting to prey on my children but I also know who holds them in the palm of His hand. I see the benefit of the resources contained on the world wide web, but I have also seen the devastating effects that the evil it contains can wreak on individuals and families. Our family strives to incorporate a balanced, and well conceived internet plan.

Helpful Tips

This is not to be an article on the dangers of the internet. I hope you know those. If you have not researched this topic, please do. Covenant Eyes has some ebooks that are very informative and helpful to families trying to protect their children from being exposed to information and images that they should not be exposed to. Unfiltered is a good one to start with, for it introduces the dangers that are out there and how you can combat those.

Instead of writing about the dangers of the internet, I wanted to share how our family handles internet usage and activity. This approach has worked for us, and I hope it will at least spark discussions of ways that your family can start putting more safeguards in place as well.

Internet Browsers and Time Online

The internet is a fabulous source of information.  I firmly believe that every student needs to have solid knowledge of how to navigate and extract the information they need. Since so much of the world’s commerce and information is shared on the internet in today’s economy, we are not doing our children any favors by keeping them completely offline.

Although we want our children to know how to handle the internet, we do not want to set them up for failure or for exposure to unwanted material. With that in mind, we use a couple of tools that allow us to control the time they spend on the internet.

 

Router

Our router allows us to give or take away access to the internet directly from the source. There are no computers or tablets in our house that have internet access overnight. This has given us incredible peace of mind, and has allowed my boys to listen to audible books, etc. on their tablets while they are trying to go to sleep. Here is an Amazon search for routers. Since pricing and updates happen so often, I didn’t want to list just one. We have used Netgear routers for years, because they allow me to control them through an app on my phone, have strong parental controls at that level, and have been incredibly reliable.

Covenant Eyes

Every device in our home is equipped with Covenant Eyes. For my older children, the settings are for accountability. We know that if they do not learn to regulate their internet usage on their own while they are at home, we cannot expect them to do it when they find themselves in a less protective environment. The younger ones still have a filter on their computers. For our older children, we get reports daily from Covenant Eyes informing us if their report looks good or if they need some attention. With that level of accountability, we are able to jump on any problems that may be building as soon as they are forming. If you use discount code TTD, you can get a free month to try out Covenant Eyes. I truly believe you will love it and want to stick with it indefinitely!

I recently recorded a video interview with Sam Black of Covenant Eyes on our Teach Them Diligently 365 platform. Check it out here to learn even more.

Time Limits, Usage, and Boundaries

Computers are a fabulous help, but I have found that my children are not writing well, because almost everything they do is on the computer. For that reason, we took one school year and made it “going old school”, and kept lots of notebooks… with actual notebook paper and pens! This helped us manage our time online and on the computer quite a bit. Still, though, there are many things they need to do on their computer, both for their classes at home and at co-op.

Social Media

“People Matter” is a mantra around our house. I have found that the more time we spend on social media, the less “real” people (as in the ones that are right here, able to be actually touched by our lives and share experiences) get our attention. We have also found that unlimited access to social media at a young age sets our children up for making mistakes and mis-managing their time.

For that reason, we don’t allow social media of any kind until our children display the maturity to handle it. When they are allowed access, it is with the understanding that I always have their password and am their “friend” on that platform. There have been a few times that I have sensed a heart change and have been able to find explanation or confirmation of it on their social media. Being tuned in has allowed us to approach the child about the issue quickly and thankfully each time disciple them through the issue.

The upside of social media is that it makes the world a lot smaller. Our oldest is able to build on friendships that were started at camps or at Teach Them Diligently. This is a great benefit of social media usage, and one that I am thankful my children can enjoy. Currently, the only platform any of our children are allowed to be on is Instagram, since that is the platform that most of their friends are on. On that platform, they are required to have private profiles and only approve followers they know. David and I can easily see who they follow and who follows them.

Accountability

This level of accountability is important. It was not born in a vacuum, though. Rather, we have been building a strong relationship with our children since they were young. They know the reasons for the accountability, and we know and respect their need for privacy. For the most part, there has been no need for me to go into direct messages, email, etc., and honestly they show me their feed most of the time voluntarily. There are some funny things on Instagram that need to be shared with Mama, you know.

If you have not built a strong relationship with your children, this may be perceived as threatening and intrusive. I urge you to work on strengthening that relationship. Become closer as a family by spending time together, talking together, playing games together, worshiping together and more. There is no greater privilege you will ever have than building strong relationships and discipling your children.

Our children understand that practically speaking, anything they put on the internet is public record and can be uncovered if someone goes looking for it hard enough. We have spent time talking to them and training them about giving the right opinion of The Lord and of themselves in everything they do and say, even on the world wide web.

A Plea

If you have children or teens that are using the internet in any capacity, please take the time to talk to them about the pitfalls and dangers as well as the opportunities and resources available there. This presents a great opportunity for discipleship in so many ways, and we have found that sins committed on the internet just like sins committed elsewhere will generally be found out, and generally pretty quickly. That is truly a mercy from The Lord who loves them so much that He will not allow them to continue indefinitely in sin.

 

 

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Internet Safety

Watch the Free Video, “Internet Safety”

Teach Them Diligently 365

In this fallen world we live in, the internet can naturally be a scary place. However, that doesn’t give us reason to fear! I’ll share with you what precautions my family has taken in regards to internet safety, and I hope this will give you some ideas for how to best protect yourself and those you love from the dangers of the internet.

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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 TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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