One of the greatest aspects of homeschooling for us is that we may “teach (the Words of God) to our sons, talking of them when we sit in our house and when we walk along the road and when we lie down and when we rise up.” If my children are with me for the whole day, I have so very many opportunities to instruct them in the Word of God and to demonstrate what an obedient believer looks like. Now I frequently fail miserably at demonstrating an obedient believer, but that is when God’s grace becomes evident. So here is a little window into how the Hoyer family puts Educational Pillar #1 into practice.
(1) Our mission is to train our children to become skillful handlers of the Truth of God as recorded in the Scriptures in order that they might not only be hearers, but doers of the Word. They must be deeply anchored in understanding and interpreting literature. They will be encouraged to love language, as it was the means by which the Creator of the Universe chose to reveal Himself to us.
Gustav spends 15-20 minutes every morning following breakfast in the Word with the kids. They have gone through the books of John, Acts, Romans, Joshua, Genesis and Exodus in the past couple of years. I am blessed to have a husband who takes the command to “teach them to his sons” so seriously. His own deep personal study also allows him to answer their sometimes very insightful questions on the fly. This morning’s discussion? If the Lord is immutable, how did he change his mind after Moses’ entreaty in Exodus 32: 11-14? Good stuff.
To finish up our devotion time we frequently sing a hymn together. We have, as a family, memorized many hymns. The teaching in those old, great hymns is just incredible. I believe we do a disservice to our children when we write them off as antiquated. Just recently, we have begun singing hymns in parts. Honestly, it is such an incredible, worshipful time to be able to sing the great truths of Scripture together as a family. Remember, we are commanded in Scripture to sing, but nowhere are we commanded to sing well! He just wants us to lift our voices in praise!
Personal Bible Study
Once our kids can read they are expected to read their Bible every morning. If there is one habit we want to instill in their lives, it would be this. The older children have daily reading plans that they follow and Nicholas and Gretchen both managed to read through the whole Bible in 2008. Our younger kids just spend 10 minutes reading somewhere in their Bible. It’s about forming the habit, not about quantity .
Scripture (and other) Memory
I was so blessed a couple of years ago to find Charlotte Mason’s Scripture Memory System. It has been such a great, systematic way to memorize Scripture together. We purpose to memorize larger portions of Scripture with some shorter ones thrown in. This year we have memorized Genesis 1, Exodus 20:2-17, Isaiah 53, Psalm 8, as well as 10-12 shorter verses. They do this on top of the AWANA verses they memorize each week. I do not mention this to brag, simply to show that with a systematic approach, our kids can hide a lot of God’s Word in their hearts. (And their Mommies, too!)
We also just love The Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization. It’s a mouth-full, but a fantastic program for memorizing some great poetry. Again, just 10-15 minutes per day yields a brain full of some lovely stuff.
There is just so much great literature out there, that I sometimes feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I love using the 1000 Good Books List and Honey for a Child’s Heart to find great literature selections for my kids at their appropriate reading level. Each year I come up with reading selections that line up with our history studies, as well as the literature I want them to cover that year. Throw in a list for family read-alouds, and we have a great time reading and learning together.
Sometimes, it is far more important to let the “schoolwork” go to address a character issue in my kids. This was a hard-learned lesson for me. I like very much crossing things off the daily to-do list. But sometimes it is a better choice to let the work stay unfinished and have that heart-to-heart with the child who is grumbling and complaining, or with the child who is choosing harsh words. Bringing Scripture to bear in these situations promotes opportunities for our children to be “doers of the Word” and not only hearers. Gentle correction and an opportunity to correct the offense and restore the relationship are, in the end, far more important than fractions, vocabulary, or spelling. It is a window into the very character of God. We must be commanded to do these things because they DO NOT come easily to the human race. We would much rather be selfish, prideful complainers, wouldn’t we?
Ultimately, we want to create a home environment where Christ is the head, where opportunities for learning about Him abound, and where His Word is honored.
Up next: Educational Pillar #2 :-)