- Monday, April 26, 2004
Philippians 4:6,7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Our homeschool support group meets once a month where we go over curriculum choices on a regular basis. This is so helpful to find out what has worked or hasn't work for each one. I have made most of my purchases based on these recommendations. After all, our friends are perfect teachers and their children are all well-adjusted geniuses, right? Another wonderful resource is our homeschool library. We have pooled and supplied resources in order to have a central library for all of our families to use. This way, we can check out that curriculum we were questioning and see if it really will work. If you don't have one in your area, think about starting one. Everyone benefits, especially the children. They can read that series of books that we couldn't afford to purchase for our own home library or those that the public libraries don't carry. In order for our children to do their work at home, we need to do our home work. Pray, research, and pray some more.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Test all things; hold fast what is good."
Another thing to consider is what our children already know, or conversely, what they don't know. If they are not proficient in the basics of reading, writing and math, continue with the basics. Look for things that repeat and reinforce. Find out what is essential and learn those things well. All the extra stuff is just that – extra. They may excel in Greek History, but if they don't know their times tables, something basic is missing. They may be able to do the best science experiments, but if they cannot write a decent letter, it's time to go back to the basics. In training them for the future, the basics are essential.
If you look at military basic training, you see that they cram into a few weeks everything they deem essential in becoming a good soldier. It's pretty basic. They require and reinforce unquestioned obedience and they prepare them mentally and physically for possible future combat. Specialized fields come later. Ever thought of that in relation to your goals for homeschooling? I have. I want my children to unquestioningly obey God's commands and my commands, and I want to help prepare them in the basics for whatever the future holds. And then, in prayer, he will show us how to develop our children in their specialized fields.
Ephesians 6:4 "…bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
A good teacher knows where her children are academically. And if we are not sure, there are various avenues of testing. We don't need that special curriculum that guarantees success if they are already proficient in that area. And, we don't always need expensive tests. Most textbooks have them built right in, or we as their teachers can come up with our own.
The goal of testing is to ascertain knowledge. Therefore, the most important test, in my opinion, is the testing of the heart. Do our children know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy is understanding? Do we? Just as we test the basics in our children, the Lord tests the hearts. He knows we are easily deceived by our own thoughts and good ideas. Our ways seem right to us, but the end of them is futility. Let's look at verses 5-11 of the 17th chapter of Jeremiah in this light.
"Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes..."
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