The Importance of Truth Beyond Textbooks

Motherchild-sunsetI’m a Christian parent, as well as a homeschooler. Some posts will reflect how faith influences what we do in educating our children. This is one of them. 🙂  These ideas are applicable to any Christian parent, though…regardless of the schooling methodology they have chosen for their children.

I attended a Christian University for my Bachelor’s degree. In the bookstore, you could open any volume, whether written by a “tried and true” theologian like Spurgeon, or a new contemporary author, and you’d find the same thing on the inside cover. A disclaimer. A brief blurb with words like:

“The fact that a product is being sold by [this store] does not constitute an endorsement…of the contents or of any entity associated with the product…”


Because people are human. People make mistakes and can be mistaken. People are sometimes wrong about one thing, but not about another. People are fallible.

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

Truth. Pay attention to your children, that they are using biblical truth as their standard, and not social norms, the standards of another family or friend, or the world’s idea of morality. God’s Word is an unchangeable standard. In a changeable world where it seems every ounce of truth is “up for grabs” and material for debate, it is so important for us to provide this solid, predictable, consistent foundation for our kids.

God always means what He says. He always keeps His promises. He never changes, and is not fickle. His promises hold weight, simply because He made them. They are backed by His attributes–He is holy, infinite, all-powerful, everywhere-present, unchangeable, eternal, all-wise, all-knowing, self-existent, self-sufficient, good, gracious, merciful, just, and so much more. Always.

Sanctifying. We are so prone to look around us, and compare ourselves with people (and we can always find someone we feel is “worse off” than we are, and so easily justify ourselves according to their standard). Teach by word and example that it is what God says, and choosing to live by His words, which sanctifies us.

The word sanctify means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. And that job is God’s, for He is Jehovah Mekoddishkem, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Ex. 31:13).

We must continually caution ourselves as moms, who discipline and try to shape the character of our children every day. Our efforts do not sanctify. We must never communicate to our kids that good behavior is synonymous with sanctification. It may be associated. It may not be. Very wicked people can behave well. Teach them the truth of James, that our faith is proven by our works…works are the healthy and natural outgrowth of faith, not the basis of it.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience which springs from love, (not fear, self righteousness, or mere duty) is the ultimate goal. We help our kids attain this by deepening their walk with God.

Comparison. Remember the story of the publican and the Pharisee? By what standard was the publican measuring his life?

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”

How about the other man (and remember, publicans (or tax collectors) were viewed among the worst in their society for being untruthful scoundrels!), who found himself “justified” and “exalted” at the end of that story?

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:2

We moms can play the comparison game too well. Comparing one child’s behavior to another sibling’s, comparing our kids with another family’s, comparing our parenting to that of another mom…the list goes on.

Guard your heart. Compare *vertically* (what God has to say) rather than horizontally (what fallible, frail, fallen human beings have to say).

You’ll find it is a very freeing thing.

The One-Armed Paper Hanger Lives!

The only things I needed to buy for school this year…and it came to less than $30! 🙂

Oh yes…I’m still here. 🙂  Things have been a whirlwind here lately, so I’m having to juggle some priorities.

As you may know, in the space of a few weeks, we candidated at a church, which called my husband as their pastor, we packed, cleaned, and moved all our stuff (with the gracious help of friends).  We then had VBS at our church (the Lord blessed with a wonderful turn out for both the children’s morning program and the teen’s evening activities).  I was corralling kids from 9 until noon, unpacking like a crazy woman all afternoon, and then back to the church for the teens from 6:30-9:30.  Very busy days!

Now, we have only a few boxes remaining in the house, and things are feeling more like home.  This past week, I put my nose to the grindstone and got (at least) the first month of lesson plans done for school…which we’ve bumped to the first week in September, all things considered.  Wow, so grateful for amazing internet tools!  I began combing through resources several months ago to set up lessons for all three kids (1st, 7th and 10th grades).  The Lord helped me to find wonderful things (every bit of it free) as well as a superabundance of things I did not need, but simply could not allow to disappear back into the abyss of  I’ll-never-find-it-again-unless-I-bookmark-it-but-how-many-things-does-a-person-really-need-in-their-favorites. So I started “Schoolin’ Swag.”

If you are on Facebook, and have an interest in homeschooling, come join the group!  We have 300+ members now, with new friends being added every day.  Each day there are new freebies, tips and deals from all over the web.  I figured it was one way to help others who were in the same boat as I was…feeling overwhelmed, combing through scads of URL’s (some dead, some great, some not so much).

I’ll just share two tools here that I have really enjoyed.  The first is from GoalForIt.  This site offers free chore charts, with lots of templates and options.  There are very cute ones, and some that are more streamlined for tweens and teens.  Here is a screen shot of our Katie’s, for example:

The kids get to choose what buttons they want for checking off their responsibilities, and they can earn “moolah” if you wish (which translates into minutes for computer time in our house).

Another tool I am grateful for is Home School, Inc.  At this free site, I have set up all my lesson plans for all three students, and the various options allow me to print attendance records, report cards, etc.  I can keep track of each student’s progress daily, and it gives them one easy place (for older students) to independently move through their day, checking off their work as they go.  I just entered instructions for each course, and URL’s for where they need to go to find their work for the day.  It required a few hours of my time, but it will help things to go much more smoothly when school has begun.  Here is a screen shot of my main page for all of our courses:

Here is a “School Today” page for our 10th grader:

This view shows here how many courses she has each day. If she clicks on “View Week,” it gives her the week’s assignments at a glance. She also has the option of clicking the down arrow on any given day to see that day’s work. The small boxes next to each date indicate if that day’s work has been complete.

So this gives you a pretty good idea about where I’ve been.  Looking forward to a great year. Once the dust settles, I’ll share more postings with you here.  TTFN! 🙂

Schoolin' Swag–Win a Copy of "If" by Amy Carmichael

I haven’t blogged much about homeschooling because for the past two years we’ve been doing a virtual academy.  This next school year, however, due to an overdose of standardized testing, our son’s special needs, and some other factors, we’ve decided to hit the “old chalk dust trail” once more.

So, in my quest for good, solid, cheap (or even better…FREE) curriculum, I began to accumulate quite a list of goodies.  I just couldn’t keep it to myself, so I started a group on Facebook called “Schoolin’ Swag”.  If you are on Facebook and are interested, just search the name and request to be added.  It is an open group.  We’ve been having a lot of fun, and already have in excess of 80 great links for helps, printables, curriculum and more!

Something else going on in the group is a contest to name our homeschool.  Currently, it is “Heeney Homeschool” (I know… *yawn*).  Join the group, offer some suggestions for our school (if we name it, we’ll get attached to it, right? 😉 ), and you may win a copy of “If” by Amy Carmichael.

Come join us!