Monday, March 26, 2012

Teaching the way my mother Taught

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Often I hear from people when they find
out that I home school, wow, I could never do that, I am not a
teacher, how do you do it, etc. I chuckle to myself because I too am
not a teacher. So, I was thinking last night, how do I do it. I
know I do all things through Christ Jesus, but practically how do I
do it. So, I realized I do it the way my mom taught me to teach. Here are the things I learned from my mom either by watching her teach or actually from her instructions to me on how to teach. Growing up in a pastor's home, we learned to start
teaching young, either teaching Sunday school, children's church or
at VBS, or just where ever the need was. I think I first started
teaching, of course at home, with my younger foster/adopted siblings.
But, it was very young that I started teaching at Bible clubs, VBS,
and such, maybe around 10 years old. We learned to teach others
practical skills, Biblical training, and academic tutoring. So, here
is what I learned:

Practices of Purposeful and Productive teaching (learned from my mom)

1. Be Passionate -
I watched my mom teach kids to sing and praise God even though she is not at
all gifted in the area of music (sorry mom, but you know it is
true,lol.) But, those kids never knew she wasn't a great musician
because she was so passionate about the songs and the words of
Praise to God. She taught motions and always was animated in her
face and body as she taught. I remember once coming home from
teaching Wednesday night children's church and saying mom they
aren't listening, they aren't interested. She said, “Kate, you
have to be passionate about every part of the teaching. If you
believe what your teaching, be excited about it. If your excited
then they are going to be interested in knowing why your so excited
about what your telling them.” I have found this true, I use this
method to teach exciting truths from God's word, but also to teach
simple lessons like toilet training. By talking up using the
toilet and being excited about every attempt and over the top
excited about every success, my kids have learned there is something
cool about using the toilet. It doesn't matter what I am teaching,
if I can find a reason to be passionate about it, then it creates an
interest and desire in my students to want to learn it.

2. Be Purposeful -
You have to plan and be prepared. Knowing the materials I am teaching and
understanding them first, sometimes doing extra research, helps me
be ready to answer those curious kids questions. I can't just teach
for the sake of teaching, there has to be a purpose for what we are
teaching, and kids have to understand that purpose to want to learn.
I actually learned this from both my parents. I wasn't a great
academic student and my dad would often spend hours working on
homework with me as a child. But, one subject I absolutely loved
was math. Why? The answer is easy my dad showed me how it applied
in everyday life. When I was young we played grocery shopping
games, learning how to be frugal and how to estimate your total
bill, and even how to add the actual prices quickly. Then as I got
older he showed me how to do budgets and do taxes, to measure and
build, he and mom showed how to measure things in the kitchen, and
so on and so on. These were taught naturally and brought purpose to
learning math. Again this can be used in Biblical training and
instructing as well as in academic teaching. Critical thinking was
taught around the dinner table, with mom asking pointed questions
and us sharing varies answers. These things didn't just happen
though, mom and dad had to make them happen.

3. Prizes, projects, papers, and paper clips
- I remember when I first started teaching at VBS,
my mom was in charge of VBS and she was talking to all the
volunteers preparing us for the week. She said, “Never let a child
go home empty handed.” She went on to explain that you always
want to give the children something to take home to help remind them
of what they were taught that day. I remember thinking I always
wondered about the trinkets over the years my mom would give to her
students in Sunday school, or other places. She went on to explain
that this memento would not only help them remember the teaching,
but would also give them a visual of how God blesses his people.
Here is the thing, we lived on a tight budget and sometimes I was
amazed at the things my mom would use to teach a lesson. It might
have been a rubber band (to show how God pulls us back to himself),
it might have been a paper clip (to show how we can be fastened
together with God's people), it might have just been a piece of
paper for them to color on or write a verse on and take home, maybe
it was a sort of project (a song, dance, play acting, craft, etc.)
These often are not taking home in hand but in the heart or mind.
And yes, my mom taught that prizes are great teaching tools, she
would reward those who applied teaching with small prizes (a
sticker, a cookie, bouncy ball, a homemade certificate,etc.)

NOTE: I find kids today expect great rewards for little effort, but if again you present them a
reward with enthusiasm they see it as you do. Also, I am not saying
to reward for every little thing. No, hard work is expected and
recognized with a word of praise. Prizes should be rare to make
them more meaningful.

4. Press On -
This is the biggest thing my mom taught me. That same day that I came and told
her, I didn't think the children in church were listening to me.
She told me not only to teach with passion, but to also press on
even when it seems no one is listening or learning. She said
(especially with middle school aged kids) that it may seem they are
bored and not interested and that they are not listening, but she
has found that if she pressed on and taught, they often truly were
listening. So, I learned to press on in each lesson. I will never
forget the day, that a boy I was sure never listened to me in class,
came to me a couple years later and told me that he always
appreciated and enjoyed my class. He said that it was because of
the things I taught that he made a decision to become a Christian.
I would have never guess it.

So, these are four teaching tools I learned from my mom. The funny thing is I am pretty sure if you asked my mom if she is a teacher, she would say NO. I too, do not
have the gift of teaching, but God calls all of us to go into all the
World and teach the Good News, he also calls every parent to teach
His Word and His Way (Laws) to our children so that no generation
will ever forget what the Lord God has done for us. So, how and why
I home school is done for and thru the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is a link to another great teaching method based on Deuteronomy, written by a home school friend of mine. It is called, Hear, Learn, Keep, Do.
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when
you rise. Deuteronomy 11:19

Monday, March 5, 2012

how do you do it?

Okay, so Jeremy and I are asked, "How do you do it?" all the time. Usually this is in response to hearing that we homeschool our twelve children. Recently, I was asked this by other homeschooling mom's. So, I will attempt to share how, and a little of why we do what we do. I hestitate to write this because by no means do I want anyone to think I believe our way is the only way. God leads and directs all his children, and each family must seek God's will for themselves. But if an insight into our lives will help you in your search, I am willing to share to help someone along the way. So, let's start with the why?
Why do we choose to homeschool?
The reason we homeschool is because we believe God chose us to parent our children, and according to His Word that means to teach and train them. We read this in Deuteronomy 6. "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." These are the words of Moses to the people of Isreal. He is preparing them for entering into the Promise Land, and he is reminding them that it is very important to hold tight to the ways of God, because if they don't they will be pulled away from God into the ways of the world. We believe that we should be in the world and sharing God's love with the lost, but we must be seperate from the world to stay close to the Lord. We read this is Paul's letter to the Romans chapter 12 verse 2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." We believe that as parents it is our job to train and teach our children the Word of God, so that they can know God and live for HIM, if they are not with us then we can't teach then these things.
Simple answer: we homeschool because we beleive that God tells us to.
How do we homeschool?
We use the WORD of God as our primary textbook. What? you say. Well, it is quit simple as we look and study God's Word we find that not only in Deuteronomy, but all throughout scripture God tells us that he wants us to seek HIM first, to know HIS laws, and to learn HIS ways. We believe everything one needs for success in life is in the WORD of God and can be found no where else. This belief is founded on the scrpiture 2 Timothy 3:16-17 " All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Ok, so how does it work?
We start and end our day with the WORD of God. We take the scripture literally and believe we need to be talking of the Word of God when we sit, rise, and lay down. When we are out and about and when we are home. So, when the kids wake up in the morning they start their day copying the Word of God into notebooks (they do this for one hour). (Learn more about this method here Then we sit down and pray and eat together. Then we read from the Bible, we discuss what we read, touching on history, timeline, maps, literature, grammar, and such and I give assignments based on these scriptures. We try and read the Bible chronologically and my goal is to complete the whole Bible in four years, and cycle back to the beginning. (I use Anne Elliots Bible materials and her soon to be available history and grammar materials as help guides. We clear the table and the older kids continue copying the Bible for another hour. Each of my younger students, ages four up to about 11( depending on their reading ability and ability to do their work on their own), take turns reading the Bible with me and getting writing assignments from their reading.
After the students finish their copywork, they do morning chores. Then we break for lunch, at this time we read together again using support materials to go with our Bible reading. Examples of support material can be a history book, like Story of the Ancient World by Christina Miller(, or it could be a character building book like, Making brothers and sisters best friends by Sarah, Steven, and Grace Mally, After lunch we do other studies or activities of interest. This is when math, journaling, independent literature reading, study of sciences or arts, home improvement, and so much more are done. Each child takes time learing things that they are personally interested in (ie. carpentry, music, technology, sports,etc.) , and also takes times learning things we as their parents deem they should learn (ie. cooking, cleaning, basic car care, serving, etc.). The next learning part of our day comes at supper time with dad. After supper, Dad teaches us from the Bible using the One verse a day method ( Our evenings are spent watching educational videos that go with what we are studying in the Bible (example Mike Snavely creation series , play in games, reading additional materials, or just visiting with each other.
Ok, I know your wondering how this really works out day to day? Is it really as simple as it sounds? Of course not, we are human after all and no were near perfect. Life get's busy with distactions no matter who you are and how hard you work at it. But, we seek to seek God's Kingdom and Righteousness first. Matthew 6:33 So, here is a look at how this schedule looks on paper and then how it might look in real life.
8 am everyone is up and copying the Bible at the table, little guys are playing quietly near by, mom is making breakfast and meal prep for the day.
9 am prayer, breakfast, Bible reading and discussion (recite Bible verses and books of OT)
10:30 am copy work and mom one on one with younger guys
11:30 morning jobs
12:30 lunch prep
1:00 LUNCH story time (recite again)
1:30 lunch clean up
2-4 independent studies
5:oo house keeping before dad comes home
6:00 supper Bible with dad (recite again)
7:00 movie night
9 bedrooms
10 lights out
What really happens:
8:00 little kids up running around house(before 6), some big kids copying the Bible, some big kids still in bed, mom trying to make breakfast but has to take care of fussy baby and deal with kids fighting over toys.
9:00 mom calling everyone to table, kids moving slow and complaining about oatmeal.
9:30 Mom read's Bible story and get's interrupted by little guys several times.
(mom can't find her lesson book, and is trying to remember what questions and ssignements to give).
10:30 big kids copying, but have to stop to help with little guys who need diapers changed, and a bath after throwing up breakfast.
mom has to feed baby and read to little ones at the same time.
12:15 finally done with morning routine and start morning clean up and lunch
1:30 finally sit for lunch (not to bad only 30 minutes of schedule).
have story and visit about yesterday's sermon and get off topic for a little while, but glad to know kids are listening at church.
2:45 clean up lunch
3:15 Independent time, no one can find their notebooks, or lessons from the day before, and it is mom's fault. (dad calls and needs mom to take car to mechanic.
mom leaves big kids care for little kids. mom is gone longer than planned, big kids decided to have little ones watch tv since it is raining out. (always)
5 big kids supervise house work, and start supper.
6 pm mom home, but dad's running late. so supper help off till 7.
7 pm supper.
too late for movie night now, so we play rock band on the PS3 instead.
other interruptions we often have are doctors appointments, service projects we found out about, music lessons or classes, sports, goodnews club (teaching), Bible studies, sickness, toys in toilet, etc.
So, how do we do it?
Well, this was just a sample of how our life looks. We have a weekly schedule, a monthly calendar, and daily charts with chores, menus, and lesson plans. And yes, God has gifted me to be pretty organized, but the truth is we do it with God's grace and Power.
You see, we believe God never gives us more than we can handle. We find this in 1 Corithians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." We also believe that God gives us the strength and ability to do that which he has called us to do. there are many verse for this belief, but here are just a few. Phillipians 4:13 "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." In Hebrews 13:20-21 , we see that it is by the same power of God used to raise Christ from the dead that he equips us to do the work he has called us to," Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. " Finally, in Phillipians 2:12-13 we are told to continue in obedience as God works in us to accomplish His will. "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. "
So why and how we homeschool, is simply done by the grace and Power of God with the use of his WORD.