Friday, August 13, 2010

Learning with the Little Ones

I'll get back to the "why I homeschool" thing sooner or later, but right now I want to share some stuff I've been doing recently with my 4yo girl and almost 3yo girl.

I'm not one of those that is in a great hurry to have my little people reading from the encyclopedia before they turn 3 (though they do flip through it to look at pictures), and I'm not sitting there with flash cards trying to teach them words, letters or even colors the second they can focus their little eye balls. I don't parade the 18 month old out for friends and grandparents to show them how they know this or that 4 years before anyone else and can repeat ABC's, etc. Gag. Just live and enjoy and they learn plenty, you know?

But, I wanted something to do with the girls to make them feel included in the whole school thing and something that they could fiddle with at the table while I teach. They love hands on stuff and they ARE rather sponge-like when it comes to learning, so I've been making a few hands on things for my 4yo to do to reinforce some things she already knows or add to soem things she's already been accumulating in that little brain. And the 2yo...she, of course, just wants to be a part.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle is a favorite, read 1000 times, bed-time book for the little ladies. I found a template for some counting cards made from that book. The girls LOVE them! We count the pictures on each card and they work on putting them in order. The younger one doesn't much care what order they're in as long as no one else is touching them. Sweet, isn't it? Hm. It's also good for her to learn color names. They're all red in her opinion.

Something the 4yo particularly enjoys is our file folder game. It was supposed to be an
Even/Odd game for the older boys, but due to the fact that it would have the same numbers in the same place every time (and there are far more than 24 odd/even numbers, right?), I decided to just use blank hermit crabs and use a wet-erase marker so I could switch numbers. THEN I figured I could use it for the 4yo to identify numbers. THEN I figured I could also use it to help teach lower case letters. My kids always know the upper case letters and their sounds while still getting mixed up on which lower case letter goes to which upper case letter/sound. So, on one side are her numbers. I call out a number and she covers it. And on the other side are her letters where I give her a sound and she covers the letter that goes with the sound. And I can change it up once she gets those down. Or, I can use it for the even/odd practice that it was supposed to be for!

Both of these little things only take a few minutes but it seems to be enough to satisfy their desire for school work!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I Homeschool (part 2)

I had written this all out back in June but I was unable to fit EVERYTHING I wrote into one post and didn't have the time to cut it up just so. At any's the next part of why we homeschool! :)

Still on the note of God being opposed by the schools: The curriculum is written by people who want God to be removed from our minds. Look to two very significant places. The National Education Association has a huge impact on laws that relate to our schools. They are far from a “Christian” group and they are far from concerned about parents rights or, of course, the spiritual well being of our children. They want our children to be introduced to a variety of lifestyles, they want parents to butt out, they have a plan for our children and the future of our country and they have the numbers to act. The NEA is actively AGAINST homeschooling. They want children schooled THEIR way, period. They feel that THEY are the children’s champion and that schools/government should be trusted for their good intentions over that of parents!!! They imply that homeschooled children must be protected from their children, they need to be better monitored to be sure no neglect or abuse is taking place. It’s insane! Their power over the schools (and thus, families) in our nation is no small thing. They have an impact on the curriculum, on the things that children are taught, etc. A powerful force. And none of their values line up with God’s.

Next is that California is the largest buyer of school curriculum. As you might know, California is also one of the most liberal, least family friendly/God friendly states (looking at legislation). What that means is that publishers make their school curriculum with their largest customer (Cal) in mind. Anywhere that morals can be skewed…they are. No more acting like a nuclear family is normal. No reference to America’s very abundant God-fearing American history. These books are then used in ALL the schools in America. American public school students do not realize what America was built on…UNLESS, of course, a spin can be put on it to make people look like religious fanatics who killed and slaughtered and abused others in the name of God. THAT, you might see. Regardless of how sweet your child’s teacher is, it’s unlikely that she will properly fill in the blanks left by the publishers or that she will recognize subtle omissions and sometimes distortions of truth. No, God is NOT honored in our public schools. I could no more send them there than I could send them to a Muslim school or a Satanist school.

There they are taught that tolerance is the greatest virtue but that you should NOT tolerate anyone who thinks there is ONE way to do things or that there is ONE definite truth. Christian adults who have been raised up in these schools pride themselves on their tolerance of other religions because they believe that it’s better to be tolerant than to tell others they are going to hell and have them realize their danger!

Left and right in God’s Word we see that God wants us to BE CAREFUL that we do not forget Him. Be careful that we are not lured into worshipping the false gods they worship (which, in our culture may not be an idol, but many ideas encourage in public schools that are far from God’s ways), not to yoke ourselves with those who do not love and serve God lest our affections be redirected to the things those peers love. We are reminded to keep His words and His actions before us ALL the time, giving honor to Him in all things. The very way God directs us to rmember Him is the opposite of what the powers that be want to occur in school. And they go to great lengths to make sure that it would be very difficult to keep God constantly in the forfront of their minds.

The whole situation of Christians sending their children to school makes me think of Malachi 1:6, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master” if then I be a father, where is mine honour” and if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Where in have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.”

We do not offer our children to the schools in honor of God because it is there He is decidedly NOT honored. This is nothing like Hannah sending Samuel to serve under and learn from Eli (which was not a normal thing, anyway, and should not be treated as such). We do not send them believing that it is a show of gratitude to God nor do we expect great spiritual benefit to it. It is in no way doing our best to train up a godly seed which He seeks (Mal. 2:15). We’re sending them hoping that not TOO much damage will be done or that we can, hopefully counter the damage in the little time we have during the evenings after we accomplish the homework and other stuff that the schools demand of our family time.

Some people argue that the presence of Christian children in schools will have a big impact. Well…Christians were in schools for a long time and it’s just become worse. At one time, the majority of people had Christian values. This is no longer true and this did not start happening because Christians weren’t involved. This has happened because the schools are turning Christian kids into very WEAK Christian kids, with little conviction and even less understanding. The Christians have less and less impact on the world around us because they are so weakened by their spiritually unhealthy upbringing.

When it comes to our children, the Bible emphasizes how the fathers and grandfathers are to teach things to their children/grandchildren. It does not speak of the government or teachers or friends training their children on a daily basis. The New Testament talks of making disciples. How did Jesus do that? By having the disciples live with Him, go about doing things with Him. He didn't just have them a couple hours that they should have been doing homework in the evenings and weekends. The school format just doesn't appear as a God ordained norm in scriptures.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why do we homeschool (part 1)

I'm asked this every once in a great while. Not often, mind you, but usually from people who are wanting to do it themselves but just can't decide. I'm never prepared...and even if I was, I never have enough time to explain. So, here...for anyone who wants to know:

1. My first reason is because I believe it’s what God wants from us, as Christian parents. To start with, in Duet. 6 God says, “Hear, O Israel: The lord our God is one Lord” And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates….Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage…Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you…”

This is just a starting place but it’s a big starting place. When you read those verses, it’s clear that the WAY God wants His people to instruct their children in His ways is NOT something accomplished by a little something in the morning and a little something in the evening. Look! His commands, His Word, His ways should be lived CONSTANTLY and taught continuously as is indicated by “when we walk by the way…liest down…risest up”. We can’t have a stretch of 6 hours a day, 5 days a week where teaching about God and the Bible is expressly prohibited…and your children KNOW that their God-loving parents are sending them to a place where they are not for God! And if it is not for Him then it is AGAINST Him, right? That clearly would NOT fall into the meaning of this passage. Look, too, at how His words are to be placed in our awareness: "for a sign on thine hand, frontlets between thine eyes…write them on the posts of thy house,” etc. Did He literally mean that’s where you put it? Put it there and then go on with life as usual? For our purposes, He’s saying that He wants us to be continually in mind of His words. Now, it certainly helps to have God's Words written everywhere, but for our children, it needs to be coming out of the mouth of their parents all day so that THEY, in turn, learn how it is a part of our all day, every day. This cannot happen in a school setting. And I’ll say that even in my experience at a Christian school, that did not happen.

But, you know, also from this passage I see that God is putting this responsibility on parents. Let me try and make a little analogy here. If I go on vacation and leave my pet with you, asking that you take care of it for the week, and you decided that you didn’t want to do it and so you sent my pet to someone else’s house for the week, would I not be a little…taken aback to say the least, when I returned? Or, perhaps if I left a dear friend my house key and asked her to check on my house every day while I was gone, but instead she gave it to someone that I decidedly did NOT ask to tend my house, would I be tickled about that? Not only someone I didn’t ask, but someone who’s life’s purpose is to oppose me?

Perhaps you do not see public schools in this light (opposing God). You, perhaps, do not see that they oppose God, or that, at least, not in YOUR public school. If that is indeed the case, let me point out a few things. First, you know that they MAY NOT (as in, do not have the permission to) teach about Jesus Christ. Many Christians don’t seem overly bothered by that but it is alarming and offensive. Imagine if your children were taught that they cannot discuss their parents or any moral teachings that come from their parents. If YOU were banned from the school, would you feel comfortable sending your child there? If so, you hold your relationship with your child far more lightly than you ought!

You also know that they do not teach creation as a fact. They often teach the theory of evolution (which has still not been proven, people) as a fact OR teach it without saying it’s a theory and then blow it out of the water as impossible (as should be done). No one teaches creation science in schools, showing how things might have gotten the way they are by using Biblical accounts. And evolution is loaded in their science books…”millions of years ago”, “Jurassic period” (indicating millions of years ago)…it’s dropped here and there all the time even when it’s not directly talking about evolution. And NO one says “Okay, kids, when they say millions of years ago, we know that this person is coming from the evolution view point…what we believe probably happened in this situation is that during the flood…” Nope, they don’t get a bit of that. What’s a kid to think about the relevance of God when they get pure trash thrown at them, often in very subtle ways, that Mom and Dad aren’t there to help pick through. And you know…Mom and Dad shouldn’t HAVE to pick through trash…their kids should be with them getting the wholesome goodness of a God centered worldview.

More on this subject coming soon (hopefully).