Announcing Good Things!

Are you looking for effective ways to build the habit of thankfulness in your children? Or, perhaps you’re interested in hands-on craft projects or unit studies which follow a Thanksgiving theme? During the month of November, Kerry Beck is hosting 30 Days of Thanks at her blog, How to Homeschool My Child.

Every day will cover a different topic, from a variety of homeschool moms. I will be contributing a post later in the month, and I’ll let you know when that is live. In the meantime, why not subscribe to Kerry’s blog and get all thirty posts in your mailbox? There are giveaway packages to sign up for, and many of the blog posts will offer freebies to everyone.

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AND, we have a wonderful sale for you! For one week only, now through 11-7-19,  Character Building for Families, Volumes 1 and 2 are $3.00 off per book.

Bible character studies

Regularly $16.00 each, they are now $13.00 each. Save even more by ordering both! There is no extra charge for shipping (U.S. only). For our international customers, we have a PDF version for the same price. (Sorry, we no longer sell the paperback version outside the U.S.)

ORDER NOW

 

Our Enduring Ministry

praying parentsSo, the homeschooling era of your life has ended. The last child has graduated. The emotions may be mixed. On one hand, it’s wonderful to know you have accomplished the task. On the other, it can make you feel empty, wondering what comes next.

The reality is, parenting, whether it has involved homeschooling or not, is never over. It just changes in its emphasis. We have to let our grown kids make their own decisions and choose their path — to refuse the temptation to leverage control. That sometimes means swallowing the unasked-for advice which we so clearly see they still need. It is hard!

There is one part of parenting which we must never relinquish, however, and that is prayer for our children. This will be a lifelong ministry to them, one they will never outgrow a need for — and it is a huge deal. While we may have put a lot of sweat into “training up our children in the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6), as powerful and important as that is, interceding on their behalf is just as powerful, if not more so.

Ideally, you have been praying for them since they were born. Together with the Lord, you have dreamed over them, expressed great desires for them, pleaded for that right spouse to eventually come along. But the job is never done. There will always be fresh turns on their life-road, with new pitfalls presenting themselves along the way. Parents, we can help them navigate those through our prayers, no matter how old they (and we) get.

Some of you may be feeling guilty. I wasn’t very faithful about praying for my children during their growing up years. I guess I messed up. You know, parents get busy, and it doesn’t always happen like it should. I doubt if most of us feel we prayed enough for our kids. Take heart. Even if you neglected to pray for them as much as you should have when they were young, it’s never too late to start. God is very good at handling eleventh hour situations. He has a way of making up for our lost time in prayer. It’s not about how many words we should have spoken. It’s about His marvelous ability to make up for our lack and pour out bountiful answers to the prayers we do bring before His throne. So start now. He is faithful, even when we have not been.

What if I raised them right to the best of my ability and prayed diligently for them, but they still turned away from Jesus when they grew up? That happens. It’s not always your fault. Our children have to make right decisions, too. This is the time, more than ever, to intercede for their turnaround. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man [or woman] avails much” (James 5:16). Still. Just as it did in Elijah’s day. What do you think the father in the story of the prodigal son did while his boy was gone? Most likely he was interceding. God delights in the business of bringing prodigal sons and daughters home.

Even if our children are following the Lord, they will always need to hear His voice with clarity, to make God-choices rather than “good” choices, to be able to discern the subtleties of right and wrong in gray areas. They will need to overcome busyness and laziness in order to stay consistent in prayer and the Word. They will need to grow increasingly more passionate for their Savior. Doors of opportunity must be opened before them which the devil would like to keep closed — and they will have to recognize those doors, so they can walk through them. We can be powerful aides to them in these things through our prayers.

Never minimize in your mind the power of your prayers on behalf of your children. They are more crucial than you can see at this time. Start now, no matter how early or late the hour is in their life and in yours. This is a long-haul ministry, an enduring ministry, one of eternal impact and reward. And it is precious to the Lord.

homeschool character

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

No Cookie Cutters Needed

cookie cutter, homeschooling When you are new to homeschooling, it can be overwhelming. You may have started on this adventure thinking the path would be lined with daisies — but just a few days or weeks into it, you’ve suddenly come smack up against reality: it isn’t humming along as smoothly as you had dreamed. In fact, at first it may seem like you are caught in a vortex of chaos!

The overwhelmed feeling could be just because it takes a while to get into the rhythm of a new routine. You haven’t yet found your stride. A few weeks from now you will be there, so press on.

There’s also the comparison factor. Maybe you have a friend who has been homeschooling for a couple of years or more. You see (or think you see) how well she handles it. Her kids all appear to flow with her and behave themselves admirably. (That’s probably not her reality all the time, either.)

Maybe your friend, or some “expert” you follow online, steered you toward a particular style of homeschooling or the perfect curriculum package. You’ve been assured, “Just do it this way, and you can’t go wrong.” But already you have your doubts about whether this is going to work — and it’s stressing you out!

Here’s a little de-stresser tip:

Your family doesn’t need to do it exactly like other people do. Homeschooling isn’t about fitting someone else’s cookie cutter.

It’s OK if you don’t connect with the Charlotte Mason method, or the classical model, or the unit study approach you are so valiantly trying to make work.

While we were homeschooling, curricula based around playing various board games was a big trend. Against my better judgment, we tried it with chemistry. I hated it, but I kept up the cheerful, enthusiastic facade — until my daughter said, “Mom, this is really dumb. Can we just skip the games and do the book?” Learning via games just wasn’t our thing, even though a lot of people were recommending it.

God loves variety. He has made your family unique, and that will affect how you learn in your home. Follow His leading, observing what brings the most peace and joy. You don’t have to homeschool just like somebody else does. And how you do it encompasses more than the program or method you use. It might be about which hours of the day seem to be the most productive learning times, or whether your children do best working all together at the kitchen table or flopped on the living room floor. Some children need undistracted space away from their siblings in order to concentrate. Some get nothing done if they are out of your sight. What works, works, so don’t fight it so hard.

Put Jesus first in your family and in your homeschooling day. If you invest time in praying, reading the Bible together, and just talking about Him with your children, you will be amazed how peaceful the rest of your day can be and how things will fall into place better. Matthew 6:33 tells us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” It’s true!

If you find, as the year wears on, that you and your family are growing more and more frustrated with homeschooling, that doesn’t mean you should send the kids back into the institutional school setting. Rather, it is a good indicator that you should look at homeschooling differently next year. Unless it is going extremely badly, it’s usually good to stick with the program you have until then. You can make common-sense adaptations to it, though, to make life more bearable. Small tweaks can help a lot. Most homeschool materials need to be adjusted a bit under the best of circumstances anyway.

Pray for guidance for how to change things up in the future. Psalm 37:23 assures us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” That includes you! The Lord loves to be invited into both your day-to-day and long-term homeschooling decisions. He will be faithful to lead you into the best plan for you and your family.

If this isn’t your first year homeschooling, do you have some encouragement for new homeschoolers? What changes did you implement that made the difference for you? Please share in the comments!

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homeschooling, character studies

 

Character Building for Families,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

Help for the New Homeschooling Mom

new homeschoolingAre you homeschooling for the first time? Are you a little nervous about how this is all going to work? Home schooling is a big step, and it will be quite an adventure for you and your children. But with Jesus’ help, you can do this! He will give you the grace and wisdom, just as He has been doing ever since your children were born.

Here are some articles and article series from a variety of homeschool veterans which will make your way a little smoother:

A great starting place — know your state’s homeschooling laws.

This is a vital beginning step, and believe it or not, your state’s Department of Public Instruction is not always the best source of information. In some cases, the people in charge overstep their legal bounds, demanding more information from homeschool families than what is required by law. Why does that matter? For the sake of our constitutional freedoms, and to avoid setting dangerous precedents for future homeschoolers, it’s pretty important to give only the information needed to be in compliance with the law.

Don’t skip filing whatever paperwork is necessary, and do adhere to the law. Rogue homeschoolers end up giving homeschooling a bad name, making it harder for other families to homeschool with freedom. If you get into trouble for not following state statutes, it can cause unnecessary knee-jerk legislation which makes homeschooling more restrictive for everyone. So, stay in compliance. Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a reliable source for finding out what your states requirements are:  HSLDA: Homeschool Laws in Your State. Check out their home page, too. They have lots of helpful info, including links to state and local support groups.

If you put Jesus first, everything else about homeschooling will go much better.

I love this article by Kay Chance, written for new homeschooling parents. It will help you to have a successful, peace-filled homeschooling experience:
How Do I Homeschool? 4 Guiding Principles from Scripture.

You may also find my short article series, Create an Atmosphere of Peace in Your Home helpful.

Just like with the rest of life, homeschooling will have its ups and downs. You and your children will have good and bad days. Every once in a while, you may be tempted to resign and hand the job over to somebody else. That’s normal — but don’t give in. Call on Jesus when it gets hard — and call an understanding friend who has been there before you when you need to talk it all out.

There are many different homeschooling methods to choose from.

Here’s an article from Homeschooling.com which explains them:
Different Types of Homeschooling Methods.

Keep in mind that in reality, you may not follow any one method to the letter. Relax, and do what works for you. As you find your stride, many adjustments will come quite naturally. Your home school doesn’t have to look exactly like anyone else’s.

The How-To Nitty Gritty:

New to Homeschooling? — my own short series with practical helps and encouragement

A Homeschool Mom: Homeschooling 101 — from Christina Grau. This is a wonderful blog. You might enjoy subscribing to read more of what she has to say!

Simple Homeschool: 10 Things Every New Homeschooler Should Know

10 Things I Would Tell a New Homeschool Mom –from The Chaos and the Clutter blog

Do you need more practical info? Check out these links at the LAMP Homeschool page,  New to Homeschooling?

And if you need some solid character education help for your children, please take a look at our Character Building for Families manuals. They can be used for a Bible class or for family devotions. Besides being nondenominational and biblically sound , they’re simple, fun, and economical. We have sample pages and reviews to help you decide if they are right for you.

homeschool character studies

 

Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 4)

teaching honor

In our last three posts, we covered honoring the Lord, people in general, parents, older people, and public officials. We should also teach our children to honor people within the church family — especially those in leadership.

Honor church leadership by giving.

We are told in 1 Timothy 5:17, 18, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn.’ And, ‘The laborer is worthy of his reward.'”

Above all, we honor the Lord by giving generously in the offering, but we also honor our church leaders in this way. Our giving ensures that expenses are met and pastors and their families are not in want. Elders who do well at teaching the Word and those who lead capably are to be especially honored by our giving. The idea that pastors should be “kept poor to keep them humble” is ungodly. Paul said that those who labor for the Lord are worthy of being compensated accordingly.

Children can be taught the concepts of cheerful giving and tithing (giving 10% of one’s income) at an early age. Are they paid for chores, or do they get an allowance? Help them to set aside the 10%. Create in them an excitement about contributing in the offering. Be a powerful, positive example by modeling cheerful giving of your finances.

Honor leaders by speaking well of them.

Paul goes on in 1 Timothy 5:19, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder, except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Do you “have the pastor for lunch” at your house — criticizing him over Sunday dinner? We must avoid that, especially by being an example to our children of honoring and respecting church leadership with our speech.

This does not mean if they say something wrong that we have to swallow it whole. We must always measure teaching and preaching by the Bible, using discernment and wisdom. But if they err, there are proper ways to handle that. Grousing about them is not one of them.

There were times we and our children were present when a pastor or traveling speaker said something from the pulpit which was not in line with the Bible. We addressed what was wrong with our children, so that they would know they should not believe what they had heard. We showed them what the Bible had to say on that subject. But we also tried to emphasize that even church leaders need grace and room to grow in their understanding. I wouldn’t say we always achieved this perfectly, but it was our goal.

Honor them by submitting to their leadership.

Hebrews 13:17 says, Obey them who have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they who must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Submission does not always mean complete agreement. But it does mean we honor their leadership, even if they make mistakes. It also means we receive their correction humbly, just as we would want our children to submit to us, their parents. We can explain to our children that pastors hold a God-given authority to direct the church, just as the father of the family holds that authority in the home. Again, the most effective way to teach this concept is by example, but sharing Bible verses with them which back up the principle is important, too.

The loyalty unit of our book, Character Building for Families, Volume 1, provides detailed, scripted lessons to help you discuss in greater depth with your family how to honor church leadership.

Honor the body of Christ.

We’ve already mentioned 1 Peter 2:17 twice before in this series: “Honor all men…” (Part 1), and “…Honor the king” (Part 3). Sandwiched in between those parts in the verse is still another command: “Love the brotherhood.” Remember that genuine love for others will always cause us to honor them in our behavior. Every member of the body of Christ — particularly in the local congregation — is to be treated with respect. Romans 12:10 further encourages us to “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.”

In our home, we also used 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, which explains the church family metaphorically as being like a human body, to help our children understand just how indispensable each person in the congregation is to the rest of us. It’s a wonderful passage to discuss and memorize together, and doing so will leave a Christ-like deposit in your children.

This concludes our series on teaching our children how to honor others. I’d love to get your input on ways you teach honor to your children, and if you can think of other areas where you feel honor should be taught, please share in the comments.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit

 

 

Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 3)

teaching honor

In our first two posts in this series, we talked about honoring God, parents, and older people. Let’s continue with more categories of people the Bible specifically instructs us to honor.

Honor government officials and public authorities.

This would include elected and appointed officials, such as the President, members of Congress, state and local leaders, judges, and police.

1 Peter 2:17 tells us, “…Honor the king.” How easy it is, when we don’t agree with our leaders’ politics or policies, to use derogatory language about them! Most of us adults are probably guilty of this. Unfortunately, our children are learning from our poor example.

Studying honor toward government officials together provides an opportunity for the whole family to grow in Christ-like behavior, especially humility. We can teach our children to honor their government leaders by pointing out how we have already failed to model this well for them, and then ask their forgiveness. We can pray for each other to do better in the future, and even give them permission to remind us (respectfully) if we slip up again. Ah, accountability! I don’t like exposing my sin to my children, but it is an effective teaching tool. They see our weaknesses anyway, so we might as well use them to advantage.

Romans 13:1-7 is a good passage for explaining to our children why we should be respectful of public authorities. Take a look at verses 1 and 2 (NIV):

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment upon themselves.”

Like them or not, people holding public office and other positions of governmental authority (such as police) have been placed there by God, whether they were elected or appointed. Even evil officials have been placed in power for the Lord’s own purposes, perhaps to lead us to prayer, repentance, and heartfelt intercession for change. The apostle Paul wrote this passage during a very difficult time of oppression under an evil Roman emperor. Yet he recognized God’s hand on that leadership and system of government. We must teach our children to have this perspective, and to trust God in the midst of it.

Besides not using disrespectful language about them, one of the best ways to show honor to government leaders is by praying for them. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 speaks of this, explaining both the why and the how:

“I exhort therefore, that … supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Notice that praying for them is for our benefit, so that we will have government which provides a quiet and peaceful existence, but also for their benefit, that they would be saved through our intercession for them.

Next time, we’ll wrap up this series by talking about honor within the local church.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

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Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit

Teaching Our Children About Honor (Part 2)

teaching honorIn our last post, we said that giving honor is a way we show love. We noted that the two great commandments were to love God and love other people — which includes honor. Today we will look at more specifics of whom to honor and how to do that.

Honor parents.

After honoring the Lord Himself, this is the beginning building block in teaching our children the concept of honoring others. The Fifth Commandment, found in Exodus 20: 12, is, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.”

The apostle Paul restates it in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” Notice that obeying parents is closely tied to honoring them.

Notice also that the stipulation “in the Lord” is added. When teaching our children honor, we should be clear that if anyone directs them to do something wrong, whether a parent, teacher, pastor, employer, or government official, they are not required to do it. When commanded to stop preaching about Jesus, the apostles responded to the Jewish leaders, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). They were not arrogant in their response, but they were firm. We must teach our children not to let anyone talk them out of  honoring God above all others.

The Bible speaks very seriously about the sin of not respecting one’s parents — even when the child is grown. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 said older children who were rebellious and disrespectful to parents should be brought before the authorities to be stoned.

While we do not use such severe measures today in dealing with rebellious children, we should help them see from a very early age that rebellion and disrespect are highly displeasing to the Lord. We must never allow ourselves to think sassiness in a little one is cute, and we cannot afford to neglect dealing with it consistently. The sooner it is taken care of, the less likely that greater problems will show up later on.

In our home, we worked diligently to get at the root heart attitudes which evidenced outwardly in disrespectful words, tones of voice, and body language (such as eye-rolling). If we only deal with outward behavior, the sin will resurface down the road a bit.

So, talk with your children about what is going on inside. Lead them into confessing sin to the Lord and calling upon Him for His help in overcoming. Help them to understand that disrespect toward people hurts God’s heart as much as it does the people they are not behaving kindly toward. Dealing with these issues is exhausting, but getting at them early and often is well worth the effort in the long run.

Honor older people for their age.

This starts with honoring older parents. Our children should understand that God expects us to respect our parents throughout their lives. Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” While we should discuss this concept with our children, it is even more important for them to observe us showing honor to our elderly parents. Seeing Mom and Dad treat Grandma and Grandpa with kindness, patience, and respect goes a long way toward helping our children do likewise.

Honoring older people should go beyond the family. Leviticus 19:32 instructs in basic manners toward the elderly: “You shall stand up before the gray head, and honor the face of the old man….”

Paul gave direction to Timothy on how to treat older men and women in the local church body: “Do not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father, … the elder women as mothers … with all purity” (1 Timothy 5:1). 1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, you who are younger, submit yourselves to those who are older….”

In much of the western world, youth and the physical beauty or strength that goes with it are glorified, while the elderly are often devalued and mocked. That is not a godly perspective. The Bible speaks much of the wisdom which comes with years, especially in the person who has grown old knowing the Lord. Job 12:12 observes, “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days is understanding.” King Rehoboam made the mistake of taking the advice of men his own age, rather than listening to the veteran counselors who had served his father Solomon. The results were disastrous (1 Kings 12:2-16).

In our next two posts, we will continue looking at particular groups of people whom the Bible says to honor.

Part 1
Part 3

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Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann RubsamDo you need help in teaching your children about honor? The Deference and Loyalty units in Character Building for Families, Volume 1 can help!

Sample pages from the Deference unit