Tag: homeschool

Benefits of Homechurch

You’re never late–even when it is daylight savings time and everyone wakes up way past when any church starts.

In other words today church will be later–probably evening. 🙂  Actually it often is since that is when my husband prefers having it.

Squirmy kids only interrupt a few people and the leader can stop church and deal with any disciplinary issues.

When fellowshipping and worshiping in a smaller group–in our case, immediate family (Matthew:18: 19-20) it is a simple thing to deal with a noisy kid and there is no embarrassment  on the parent’s part because the children like to sit front and center where they can see everything  so the parent has to lead the small crowd all the way back to the back of the sanctuary to remove the kid.  This also includes bathroom breaks which are always more frequently needed when children are sitting in church.

The lesson can be taught in a way the the children “get it” and can be discussed at the moment instead of trying to remember all the questions later.

When we “went to church” the kids went with us and were expected to pay attention–well at least the older two, Issac spent the time rolling his cars under the pews.  This meant that they would often have questions whichthey whisper during the sermon.  Later, on the way home, we would ransack our brains trying to remember what their questions were.  Now the kids ask immediately and the “sermon” is more a discussion of a reading as it takes place than a lecture.  Not only does this benefit the children but it also benefits the adults involved–one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else.

The children are actively involved in the lesson.

My girls adore reading verses that have struck them during the week aloud after the main Bible reading.  They also love to share what God has been doing in their lives throughout the week.  Issac is not quite as interested in what is going on–last week he spent the entire time determined to read quietly from my Bible.  He read two paragraphs of the chapter we were reading–Mark 7.

We can focus on a verse or section as long as we need to.

God has been speaking to us through Mark 7 for two weeks now.  Shamus and I are also reading through Romans together on the side and God has lined up our readings brilliantly and is teaching us much.  Our church time is also much shorter than traditional church.  We don’t need to spend an hour on a subject unless the conversation goes on that long.  Often the main conversation is short and then extends into later conversations throughout the week.

The kids are with us and no one is  pointing out that there are all kinds of “Children’s Ministries”.

Some time ago the Lord started convicting us that our children needed to be learning beside us instead of in a separate classroom.  Some children benefit from “children’s church” and all that entails but not my kids and God made it very clear.  When we went to the more crowded services, kids in tow, many well meaning adults would gently let us know that the church had a wonderful “children’s program”.  When we began attending the smaller, earlier service the mostly elderly adults loved to pull us aside and bless us for bringing our little ones so they too could be fed.   I agreed with them and was delighted to know others felt that way.  I know that “Children’s ministries” are necessary for some but don’t tell me that you have a family friendly church and then separate my family at every possibly moment.  Child friendly?  Yes, family friendly?  No.  Family friendly to me means beneficial to the family as a family unit.  There are no scriptures that I can think of that refer to children being taught separately from their parents but there are several that refer to women and children being present while the teaching was going on– Ezra 10 is one of my favorite examples but when Jesus taught the women and children also gathered to listen (for example see Matthew 14:13-18.)

We are living out  Proverbs 22: 5-7 and Deuteronomy 4:8-10.

Homechurching and homeschooling give us ample opportunity to focus on what each child specifically needs to learn.  It also allows us to live what we teach and teach what we live.  Our goal is not to train our children in the way WE THINK they should go but in the way God designed them to go.  We are giving them the tools they need and making sure we teach them His truths at every step of the way.  We are also able to remove separate the traditions of men from the truth of scripture so they can stay focused on Him.  The Lord has reminding us of this over the last few weeks as we study Mark 7 and Romans 1-5.

As I said before–homechurch isn’t for everyone and God has definitely called us specifically to homechurch for this time.  It has been a real blessing and the above listed are just a few of the ways.

Wordless Wednesday (or look at our new play shelter!)

Cool damp weather brings out the worst in me–this week I am taking it easy as I am relying on my herbal supplements, eating right, and wisdom to keep my arthritis from having a full-fledged flair-up.

So of course I would decide to help the kids build a new shelter today, this time out of wood and tarps instead of just bungee cords and tarps. 🙂

It is comprised of an old apple tree, an old wooden climbing toy, scavenged wood, tarps, lots of bungee cords, some nails, plus an old sliding board from the climbing toy. All aspects of this shelter were scavenged, nothing was purchased for the project.


Yes, this project included hammering, and sawing, and carrying heavy things. Yes, I know those are not wise things to be doing when you are already fending off an attack of rheumatoid arthritis.

(The kids helped a lot and did a lot of the planning though I had to do the sawing and some of the carrying and hammering.)

It was well worth it. I spent the rest of the day resting and playing Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, huddled in a pile of blankets trying to keep warm–which was nice in its own way.

I have actual work I need to do but was not up to that so just sat and rested.

The kids spent that time playing in their new shelter and discussing how the next one will be even better ( Rachel spent quite a bit of time perusing Issac’s new “The Dangerous Book for Boys” for how to build a tree house–I have a feeling that will be their next such project. :))

(This shelter is nice because it is out of the wind and when we do get snow will provide a place for the kids to get out of the elements without having to climb the hill to our house. 🙂 They can’t wait for snow!

A Day in the Life 3: Unschool vs Traditional School– a Reminder to Self

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This past few weeks have been a time of waffling in regards to various areas of our lives. Shamus and I both have been too easily tossed in the winds as far as our decisions have gone, making a decision we feel God pulling us towards only to second guess a day later. I long to work through them here but some of them I can’t because they are too personal or would border on gossip. The school question, however, I am willing to put out there although I know some will not understand and may even judge me because of it. Before I explain let me tell you that in all of these questions of decision we have been waffling internally yet God is keeping us head on–giving us instant reminders as soon as we begin to waffle. Today was just such a day.

As I have mentioned before, we have a classroom in the basement set up in the traditional classroom style. It is especially good for Rachel to know it is there–it is a reminder that we are responsible for her education and that we take it seriously–even if most of her learning does not occur there. In fact, we haven’t used it in a few months–other than as an art studio where they set up shop with oils and acrylics while I worked on an oil painting.

So, if they haven’t done their workbooks in a few weeks what are they doing with themselves all day? How can they possibly be learning if they aren’t taught? Shamus and I had this very discussion this morning because he occasionally likes them to bring him a workbook page so he can see what they are learning. He is very open to the new style of teaching I have taken on but is nervous because he hasn’t seen any evidence. I suggested he ask them what they are learning or listen to their conversations to see if they are learning anything new. He agreed and went in to have a chat with them. (Because I am under PA tutor law instead of traditional homeschool law I am considered their primary educator–it is because I have a teacher’s certification and 5 years of college that I can do this but it also means that Shamus is not considered their “teacher”. He recognizes this and holds me accountable instead of taking over teaching–though he will likely teach them programming and higher math as they show interest.)

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So what did he find out and what have they been doing?

They spent all of yesterday decorating their room for Christmas. I put up an artificial tree in their room with lights and Christmas balls and handed them reams of construction paper, glue, tape, and scissors. They spent hours cutting and pasting making tons of paper chains and other decorations and taping them around their room. While two were doing that the other one was playing Fate–a D&D type computer game with NO plot. If you have never played D&D and are a Christian you are probably nervous. Don’t be. Most of the game consists of trying to catch different types of fish, fighting evil creatures, and leveling up so you can get better stuff. You have to earn and save money, make wise spending decisions, choose different armor and other items based on percentage bonuses (yes, all three are reading what they need to do and understand percentages and how different percentages of different bonuses affect different functions of their character. Believe me this is tricky stuff that I can barely wrap my brain around–harder than figuring out percent off sales when shopping by a long run because you have to take in multiple affects.) They also had to keep track of how long each child had been on the game to decide who’s turn it was next and Rachel spent a long time helping Issac figure out the basic reading and how percentages work–this had him going around the house reading plenty of other things.

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They also wrote me a grocery list of the items they felt we needed based on what each child liked to eat. They looked in each of the cupboards for things that were missing or that we only had one of and helped me plan the list by making their own. They had to look up spellings or sound out those they were unsure of. And if they wanted it it had to be on the list. (I am talking my big monthly shopping list here–not even a once a week list.)

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We have also been reading about 4 chapters or so of the Elyon books per day–me reading aloud as they old laundry (we were a bit behind on the laundry and this has gotten us caught up.) Issac has also been helping me figure out the colors for a new painting and how they go on the paper. This goes far beyond “what color is this” and into “what color do I need to add to get this to the exact right shade of red.” Also, Rachel taught herself how to make pie crust by messing the first one up and then making the second one right because she didn’t follow the instructions the first time–she made a pie for herself and one for her brother and sister (small ones.) She also took on rice making and several other recipes because I was busy on a project I need to finish up.

Add to that them listening to old radio shows and my old records, playing board games (we played Where in the USA is Carman Sandiego yesterday which degraded into “how fast can you find the state”–I was amazed to see how many Issac knew.) They also watched “Mythbusters” online last night–Rachel just listened and we discussed their ideas of what would and should work and how they tested their theories. There have been many more goings on–including the girls playing Fate while Issac and I went shopping.

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Issac and I had a huge discussion about God’s love for us and whether He loves us even when He allows bad things to happen–for a 6 year old he has a better grasp of this than many Christians. He also helped me keep track of the grocery budget, decide how many of each item we needed to last us a month, and loaded and unloaded the cart. When we returned home the girls put away what we had and helped decide what items we just weren’t eating and those will go to the food cupboard. Putting a month’s worth of groceries away is a big deal (especially for a family of 5) and requires much ingenuity of stacking and storing. :)) We are now off to visit our final grocery store and my grandmother, dropping things off at the food cupboard and picking up some work for myself.

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Writing it all down is a wonderful reminder of how much they are learning and growing and living. (And don’t worry about the video game–they will be sick of it in a few days and have some other project they are working on–they always do. I write this up to them having the freedom to play for long periods of time without someone complaining about it–when you are free to do something as long as you like you get thoroughly sick of it. Believe me, I know. :))

Finally–you may be wondering how God reminded me that the kids are growing and learning a lot? After our discussion this morning I went out. When I got home I suddenly had a slew of unschooling sites in my feed reader with posts about the benefits, including one that linked back to my previous “unschooling” post.

Oh yeah, I forgot.

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*The photos are all from this year–I haven’t had time to take pictures this week but these all reflect things the kids have done this week. 🙂