Friday, September 30, 2011

Spontaneous Praise

It was a rushed dinner.  A family dinner at the table, as always, and as always it began with the insistent prayer of the two year old, "Dear Dog... Tank you for my food, my friends my fam-a-yee and Jesus.  Amen.", but it was rushed none-the-less.  Dan had come in from work, long enough to share the meal with us, but then had to head back out for a meeting.

He wouldn't be here for family worship time.  I'm not sure he had thought that through, having had a busy day and a busy night ahead.  Regardless, we'd finished eating and before we got up from the table he suddenly started singing "Father Abraham".

Perhaps you remember... Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham.  I am one of them, and so are you.  So let's just praise the Lord - right arm, left arm, nod your head.... "

The giggles and laughter of the little boys permeated the dining room.  Everyone acting silly, up and out of their seats, spinning and nodding, arms and legs waving.  Poor Noah, still in his high chair trying hard to follow along... while laughing and chewing a raw carrot.  The only interruption was me saying, "don't choke honey!  Chew what's in your mouth!"

The song ended and more songs of praise sprang forth.  Isaiah and Elijah, while singing along, hopped back out of their seats to gather paper and pencils and both penned another of their very own songs of praise.  Isaiah planned to lead family worship time, as he does, in Dan's absence.

While we were all around the table, singing old sunday school songs that Dan and I were recalling from childhood, it occurred to me.  Perhaps this is what it looks like, an attitude of praise.

The days are long again with Dan working extra hours and the autumn air creeping in, the sun lower in the sky.  The kids have had never-ending colds, mornings seem to come too quickly- kids up coughing at night, money is tight, the kitchen floors were sticky thanks to spilled apple juice and chicken broth, the laundry is undone and the hour is late.

I'm far less bothered than I would have been years ago.  Dan was able to join us for dinner and should be home soon, the kids are getting better, our needs were met today as always, the floors got mopped, the laundry can wait, and the kids are all asleep; the house is quiet...

...and I smile, songs of praise continuing to play in my head - and I can still hear the sound of the children's voices praising the Lord along with their father and I.
Sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
1 Chronicles 16:23-25

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Legacy of Faith

"I get many letters from you parents about your children. You want to know why we people up here in Princeton can’t make more out of them and do more for them. Let me tell you the reason we can’t. It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude. The reason is that they are your sons, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They have absorbed the ideals of your homes. You have formed and fashioned them. They are your sons. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives you have forever left your imprint upon them."  Woodrow Wilson, Pres. Princeton University 1902-1910 
I came across this quote from the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson.  This statement was made in a speech given to parents of Princeton University students at some point during Wilson's employment as President of Princeton University.

Wilson stated that the University could only do so much, regardless of the parents expectations.  The students had adopted the ideals of their parents.  As in Wilson's time, the students of today will have adopted the ideals of those who've reared them.  Today, that may be parents.  It may also be nanny's, teachers, or even peers.

Do you spend more time with your children than do other caretakers?  Are they really being reared in your home or do others have a greater influence?  Who, really, is molding them?

Do you have the expectation that teachers and nanny's will train them?  All children are trained and reared - but by whom, and to what end, is the question.

Do you expect that pastors and youth pastors will disciple your children?  Sure, they can and should partner with you, but the responsibility is your own.  Training is a continual process, impossible in an hour or two on Sunday.  What are you doing to set the tone?  To stay ahead of your children on the road down which you are leading them?

How do you view your children and how do your actions reflect your views?  Are they blessings to you, or burdens?

I ask you...  What are your ideals?  Your priorities?  What do you ultimately want for your children?  What is your husband's vision for your family?  How are you, as his wife, helping him in attaining that goal?  How are you helping him in training your children toward that end... the end that should be, ultimately, multigenerational faithfulness.

Do your children know and understand your values?  Do you teach them one thing but train them to do otherwise by not setting the example yourself?  Are you growing in Christ and showing your kids the Way, that is Christ?  Do they, do you, know Truth?

Are you displaying fruit in your daily life?  Ironically, apples don't fall far, as the saying goes.  Our words are meaningless, unless they are supported by our actions.  Our children will learn most from the example set before them.

Do they see you daily, Bible in hand?  Do they find you with your head bowed in prayer?  Do they hear you calling upon the Lord in times of trouble?  Do they hear you praising Him, thanking Him?  Do they hear you interceding on their behalf?  Are they invited to join you?  If you are not already, encourage them to read and to worship alongside you, to pray with you.

As Woodrow Wilson was attempting to point out, we cannot, as parents have unrealistic expectations on others to teach and train our children.  The job is ours.  We can embrace it with gladness and the weight of perfection is lifted when we understand that there should be one goal.


If we give the message to our children that above all else they are to receive straight A's, an athletic scholarship, an advanced degree, a six figure income, a comfortable life... what good is it?  It's all fleeting.

We are called to be faithful.  God's grace is enough, His power made perfect in our weakness.

May His grace cover our failures and shortcomings, and may He strengthen and equip us to to lead our children well.  To leave a lasting imprint; a legacy of faith.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

* A friendly reminder....  The LisaCorinne Handmade giveaway ends October 3, 2011.  I would love for you to join me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Popcorn {That Kids Can Make Themselves}

Microwave popcorn... without buying microwave popcorn?
Who knew!?
We recently discovered that you needn't purchase bags of microwave popcorn, but can instead make them yourself!  I guess I'd always assumed there was something special about the microwave popcorn bag, but apparently not - aside from unhealthy preservatives and toppings.

The kids have enjoyed making their own.
It's really quite simple.

Place 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a paper lunch bag, without opening up the bottom of the bag.
Fold the top down about an inch toward the bottom flap, and tape with one piece of scotch tape.

Place in microwave, tape side up and use the popcorn setting
(or set for 2-3 minutes and stop when there are several seconds between pops).

When it's finished, add salt and butter or whatever toppings you choose, or just eat it plain!

Not only is this version far more economical, but it's also healthier, assuming you go easy on the toppings!

These little bags are perfect for snacks.

When the bags are folded in thirds with the unpopped kernels inserted and they're neatly tied with twine or ribbon and maybe a gift tag, they look like an inviting treat, perfect perhaps for party favors.

Make several bags, add a new bowl and a DVD and they make a great gift set too!  

*Please be so kind as to join me here at Abundant Fruit & Olive Shoots if you have not already, and be entered to win a beautiful handmade baby hat and shoe set, by LisaCorinne Handmade.  Scroll below to the post titled "Giveaway" for details.  Thank you!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Perhaps you have read my previous posts about 
Perhaps you have already seen a few of my favorites.  These gorgeous crocheted baby items are 
handmade by my mother, Corinne Archibald.

Mom has graciously donated a baby boy hat and shoe set to Abundant Fruit & Olive Shoots to be used for a giveaway!

Here is the description of the adorable set {pictured here on this page} being given away...

Modern bootie, classic loafer style and matching beanie hat. Size 6 months with a shoe sole length of 4.00" and a hat circumference of 16 1/2"". This classic set is hand crocheted with a quality yarn of 50% cotton and 50% acrylic in hazelnut brown with a medium beige and soft lime green as accent colors. Each loafer has one wood button for closure and a double sole for a soft and comfortable feel for baby. The hat is a LisaCorinneHandmade pattern design and has a sweet stripe for accent and a little pom pom topping off this sweet hat. This set comes in a white gift box with a see through window top ~~ a lovely gift presentation for a baby shower or baby gift. This set is READY TO SHIP from a smoke free and pet free home and it is U.S. Consumer Product Safety Act compliant.

Hand wash in cold water ~~ shape and air dry.

Please note: Colors may vary slightly due to computer monitors.

The shoes were handmade using a hook candy crochet pattern available at

To be entered for the giveaway, I ask that you join me!  

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    (A total of three entries are possible for each person).

    Please kindly also leave a comment below this post, 
    being sure to include your email address so that I may contact you should your name be chosen.

    *The giveaway is open only to the U.S. and Canada and will end on Monday October 3, 2011.  If the winner does not respond within 10 days, a new winner will be chosen.  The giveaway will be shipped free of charge, courtesy of Abundant Fruit & Olive Shoots*

    If you are already following and would like to be included in the giveaway, please simply leave a comment below with your email address.  I will be happy to include you!

    If you like the crocheted items you see here and are interested in seeing more handmade sets for boys, you can use this link:

    For a greater selection of handmade items, please visit 
    the LisaCorinne Handmade Etsy shop.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011


    "But godliness with contentment is great gain."  
     1 Timothy 6:6

    Contentment in motherhood.

    Can it be had?  Can one truly be content, fulfilled, while cleaning toilets and wiping noses?

    Day.  After day.  After day?

    Everywhere you look, the general message given to younger women is "get out and get away".  "You need to recharge and catch your breath".  "You need to pamper yourself and have some fun!"  Many even offer, "your marriage will never last unless you leave your kids weekly and get out!"

    Younger women often express that there is never enough of what is needed...  There is never enough time to be alone, time to spend with their husband without the children, time to spend with girlfriends, to travel, to get to the gym, to the spa or to the beach.

    If our God supplies all our needs, if he is our provider, then why are we in need?  Or are we?  Are the things we lack necessities?  Is our attention on that which it should be on?  Is our attitude adjusted as it should be?

    What about our focus?  Is it on Christ... or is it really on ourselves?

    When women do go and leave their family and responsibilities behind in search of a break, what is the reentry like?  Are they rejuvenated, or left wanting more as they enter back into the reality of unclean laundry and hungry children?

    Unfortunately, the advice often offered to women and the messages our culture gives leads to wanting more time away, as does the sinful nature.  We are told we are deserving of more freedom, yet doesn't freedom come with obedience to Christ?  We are led to believe we will lose our sanity if we are cooped up at home, particularly with small children.

    Discontentment rises.  There is never enough.  We are taught that happiness, joy, and contentment can't be had at home.

    These desires, this advice all run contrary to scripture.  Life is not about us.  Me.

    "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine...  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."  Titus 2:1, 3-5

    Jesus, the King, came to serve not to be served.  

    If we are to be sanctified with Christ should we not follow his example?  As mothers, he has put husbands and children in our lives for us to serve.  Contentment must not be something we seek outside of our position as wives and mothers, but should be something that overflows from our joy in serving Christ through service to our families.  Joy, fruit, born of the Spirit's active work within and through us.

    Again, following Christ's example, our time alone should be in communion with the Father, and spent with those who will encourage us to fulfill our calling and edify our families and our roles as wives and mothers.  Our time spent away should not be reserved for self indulgence.  Escape does not equal rest.  Fleeing from responsibility will not rejuvenate.

    Our time is not our own.  An egocentric lifestyle does not achieve contentment.  Contentment can only be had when we learn to have it.  It takes action and intentionality, but Christ provides the strength.  The strength for us to do all things through Him.  The strength to be consistent.  The strength to not only get through the mundane, but to be joyful as we wash dishes and wipe bottoms.

    It is not escape or avoidance that restores, that fills the void.  Christ alone can fulfill.

    I am truly thankful for the privilege of serving the husband and children God has given me.... 

    The apostle Paul said, "...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content."

    ... and I am learning.

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    God's World News Magazine

    "The mail's here!"  Eli comes running, dashing through the door, Isaiah not far behind.  The little guy trying hard not to drop the mail he's precariously holding as he enters.

    Shoes kicked off in the doorway, mail dropped on the counter.  Little fingers thumbing through, searching for what their eyes had spotted at the mailbox.  Plastic wrapping ripped open, little guys retreat to the sunroom, sweaty and filthy from playing in their fort.  The fort created from downed pine tree branches caused by the recent hurricane.

    Both hop up on the sunroom love seat - the perfect place for reading on an early autumn day.  Surrounded by light filtering through the big windows, bird feeder attached to one nearby.

    "Look at what's in mine!"  "Did you know.....?"  "Wow!  Cool!"  The chitter chatter of boys, complete with bandaids that have lost their stick, pine sap brown on the palms.

    The sweat drips and they catch their breath from running off the boy steam, both ready for some down time.  Almost as exciting as library day, the day each week when we get home from the library with bags full of books, is the day their God's World News arrives.

    God's World News, the children's version of WORLD magazine offers six different publications for children Pre-K through high school.  The versions are based on grade level and each offer age appropriate articles on science, social studies, economics, politics, worldview and more.  Subscriptions offer maps, puzzles and web content to expand learning sparked from the articles in the magazines.

    "I'm done.  Can I read yours?"  They swap and share, grab a drink of water, and off they go.  Conversation and energy renewed, they saunter out the back door, side by side, in search of the football.

    *Reviews by Abundant Fruit & Olive Shoots are unpaid and therefore reflect the sincere opinion of the author.  

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Home Schooling - What About Socialization?

    Many fear that children who are home schooled will not be "socialized".   The short answer is that home schooled children, generally speaking, are socialized just like everyone else.  The difference is that they are often socialized in ways that are not deemed normal.

    So what is the difference?  What is the fear?

    What does it mean to be socialized?

    According to the popular information website Wikipedia,

    "{socialization} is a term used by sociologistssocial psychologistsanthropologistspolitical scientists and educationalists to refer to the process of inheriting and disseminating normscustoms and ideologies. It may provide the individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society; a society develops a culture through a plurality of shared norms, customs, values, traditions, social roles, symbols and languages. Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained".

    Track with me for a moment:  

    When looking at this definition in light of school children, how does it play out?  In contrast, how should it appear when viewed through the eyes of scripture.  Socialism provides individuals with skills and habits necessary...  The society develops culture through shared norms, customs, values, social roles, symbols and languages... 

    A visit to the local library this afternoon just as school was letting out gave me yet another sad, but clear glimpse at youth culture.  Students at the library, speaking disrespectfully to the librarians, rudely causing a raucous at the circulation desk, foolishly running through the stacks, giggling loudly and disruptively. 

    Many, many children who had just walked from school flooded the library.  Sadly, it seemed none of them knew how to behave in a library.  If they did know, they disregarded any prior instruction they may have had.  They had no care or concern for others, except those they were "socializing" with.

    The herd mentality reigned.

    Having been a librarian in the past, I know well the frustration of flipping the switch from librarian to nanny when the school bell rings, to disciplinarian as things inevitably get out of hand.   The students huddle together, whisper and comment, laugh about the trouble they cause.  They are socialized, I guess you would say, in that they're fitting in with their culture, their society.  They have conformed.  They were seeking approval from none other than their peers.

    When looking through a Biblical lens, the skills children should obtain should be ones that will benefit them and others.  They should be skills that help them to minister to others, or to one day support a family.  The habits they should have should be Godly.  They should be trained to show respect for authority.  By the teen years, they should be moving into adulthood, and be displaying evidence of the transition from childhood to adulthood in their discipline and self-control.  

    A stark contrast to today's standard of extended adolescence!

    What about shared norms?  Social norms are unwritten rules about how to behave and behavior that fulfills them is conformity.  Take a stroll through a local shopping mall and you'll find that youth travel in packs, nearly always with the same clothing and hair styles as those with whom they travel.  Those from whom they seek approval.  
    What is this socialization that requires a uniform?
    Conformity, as opposed to individuality?  
    They think of themselves as leaders, yet their behavior displays their lack of leadership.

    What about values?  Foolishness seems a value among many youth today, but scripture speaks plainly about the perils of foolishness.   If popular music and movies are a reflection of the language youth speak, I am certain the language of youth is not God-honoring.  

    Contrary to popular belief, the opposite of the above is not necessarily life in a monastery.  

    Homeschooled children interact with many different kinds of people on a daily basis.  The difference is that they do not spend their days segregated according to age and/or academic ability.  They learn that there is little good to be had in a quantity of acquaintances, but much to be had in quality relationships.  Their days are not filled with loud lunch rooms and quiet classrooms, but are spent living life, and experiencing the world, outside of a man made institution. 

    On a personal and practical note, our children do stay home a lot.  
    When they're home the parent/child and sibling relationships are fostered.  That said, they do get out plenty!  

    They visit local businesses often.  They do field trips often.  They participate in extra curricular activities from time to time when we find they will be beneficial for the family as a whole, as well as for the child participating.  They have, in the past, been part of a homeschool group and have recently joined a new co-op  (a weekly meeting with 62 children from 22 families ages infant through high school in which parents are the teachers).   They attend church and Sunday School.  They do play dates.  They spend days at a time with their grandparents.  

    In the settings they are in, they are being trained and, I guess you could say, socialized.  There are many instances where what they are taught at home is tested, but we know where they are at all times.  We know who they are with.  We know what movies they're watching, what music they're listening to and what they're viewing online.  We know what they're reading, and what and who is influencing them.  

    We are not only aware of these matters, but we are directly involved.  We are teaching them, by daily discussion and training, and through the implementation and upholding of limits, how to make wise choices.  We are finding that the older children have learned already to be discerning of what they are exposed to.  Even though they are showing wisdom, our training is far from complete!  

    Children require training.  
    Training must be diligent.  
    It must be wholehearted.  
    It must be consistent.  

    Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals."  1 Corinthians 15:33  

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Home Schooling - What to Teach?

    As mentioned in my previous post, Home Schooling - is it Legal?, I hope to break down some common questions asked of us about homeschooling to provide a better understanding for those who may be considering homeschooling or those who are simply curious.

    Common questions about homeschooling include questions about what is taught, and how we know what to teach.  They include questions about who supplies materials, where we get them and how we know what to use. 

    Before these questions can be answered well, the question
    "What is education?"
    must first be answered.

    When we first began to homeschool, our oldest son was an infant.  Yes.  An infant!  As new parents, we learned very quickly that our son was learning new things daily.  We were not schooling him, per se, yet we saw that he was learning regardless.

    We began to process what education really was, apart from what we'd been taught from the American education system.  Was it simply reading, writing and arithmetic, perhaps with a little Bible instruction thrown in on Sundays?  We had certainly not taught the 3 R's to our infant, yet we found ourselves marveling at the way he seemed to have an innate desire to learn.

    The years passed.  Years filled with the atmosphere of home, much training and discipline, and ... life.  
    The boy was still learning!  

    In the very early years of parenthood, I researched a great deal.  We read and read more about the approach we would take.  How would we approach this lifestyle that we felt called to, but was foreign? Many books proved helpful, then I read 
    For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

    In this I read, 
     "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life" - Charlotte Mason
    That was it!

    That was what we'd already been doing.  Without completely realizing it, we had been educating our son just through daily living.  He was learning habits of discipline.  Moral, mental, physical, spiritual discipline.  He was in an atmosphere that fostered and encouraged a quest for information, for development, for growth.
    He was learning.  Being educated!

    He didn't need preschool.  He learned his colors just fine.  Banana's are yellow, oranges, orange and M & M's come in a rainbow of colors!  He learned to throw, catch and hit a ball by playing often in the yard with his Dad.  He could ride a two wheeler by age 5.  One cookie plus one more cookie makes two cookies!  He gardened and bird watched with Grandpa.

    We spent hours and hours at the local audubon properties surrounded by nature - exploration led by he and his little brother.  Stopping as they wished to lay on their bellies and examine frog eggs with magnifying glasses or to turn over rocks in search of slugs.  One day they found two.  Each held one and they deemed themselves the "slug brothers".  This was when they were 4 and 2.

    This proved far more suitable for young minds than four walls.  Isaiah learned to read by reading his field guide, wanting to identify all that he saw.  He learned very young to love and appreciate creation.

    He is not exceptional, except perhaps to me!  He is a bright child, but not a genius.  In fact, at our recent visit to the Basketball Hall of Fame he remarked at how different basketball must have been when Dan and I played for fun in college, what with playing with a peach basket and all!  Does he really think we're that old!?

    Most children are born with this desire to learn new things.  When given the proper atmosphere and discipline, a life that fosters learning, education, freedom to explore, to play and to create, there will be a spark.

    Kindergarten was fast approaching...

    Isaiah was nearing his 6th birthday when we began.  We had chosen not to start him early, though he showed what many would call signs of readiness.  We remain more than pleased with that decision!

    Wanting something to guide us in our daily academic pursuits in the coming years, I spent hours prior to the start of Isaiah's kindergarten year pouring over curriculum options online.  Narrowing down and narrowing down more, then presenting Dan with the ones I most liked for him to help make a decision.  If you have not had this experience it can be overwhelming!  There are many many options to choose from!

    {To help you with this process, feel free to view and print the free printable "Choosing a Christian Homeschool Curriculum"} found under the homeschool tab above.}

    Our prayerful curriculum search led us to My Father's World.

    We are in our 4th year already of My Father's World (MFW) and it has been the perfect fit for our family.  It is an eclectic combination of the Charlotte Mason, unit study and classical methods of homeschooling with a Biblical worldview.  It is easy to use, there is minimal preparation and numerous children of varied ages can easily be taught together.  There is an international focus, chronological history, and our favorite feature is that the Bible content is integrated.

    We believe that Christ should be central to life, and therefore He should be central to our academic studies as well.  What kind of education is it if Christ is absent, or reserved for an hour on Sunday mornings?

    I recall always wondering as a kid, how God, Jesus, faith fit into the scope of life.  There was no continuity.  Subjects don't overlap.  English was English, where we read Stephen King and Shakespeare.  Science was not connected to history, or english, and the God who created all was very rarely, if ever, mentioned.  These subjects, to me, were always like puzzle pieces that never fit together.  Faith was something I practiced and sought to learn outside, and struggled to incorporate in class.

    Already, in our children's education, we can see that those pieces are less like puzzle pieces and more like building blocks.  Each lesson building on another, each lesson intertwined with another, rotating around the central theme and focus, that is Christ.

    In summary, the character of our children is of far greater importance to Dan and I than their academic "success".  We expect that they work hard and apply themselves, working to please the Lord.

    Academics, though important, are secondary to life... but... education is a life.

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Home Schooling - Is it Legal?

    With what is for most the beginning of a new school year, we get lots of questions.

    We get our groceries mid-day.  We book appointments for just after lunch - when there tends to be the shortest wait.  We run errands in the early afternoon.

    "Why are you not in school?"
    is the question that is asked of my boys numerous times each week.

    When my children reply that they're home schooled, the next questions are directed toward me. "Is that legal?", followed by "Does the school give you books?" and often, "how do they check up on you?".

    Sometimes the questions continue, "Do you have a teaching degree?  Are you certified?  Do your kids have to take the same standardized tests?"  And then there's my favorite, "How do you compare your kids to others?"

    Sadly, the conversation most typically ends with "I could never do that!  My kids would never listen to me!"

    Our answers look a bit like this:

    • Yes, it's legal.   
    • No, the school does not give us books, we choose and purchase our own curriculum.  
    • In our state, we are required to send an annual letter of intent informing the local superintendent of our plan to home school our children who are of compulsory school age.  In the spring we either send in standardized test scores or a portfolio of our child's work.  {We find it easiest to send the test scores, from a standardized test we administer ourselves and send out for scoring}.  
    • No, I do not have a degree.  I am not certified.  
    • No, our kids do not have to take the same tests, and frankly, we try hard not to compare our kids to others.  
    • Lastly- in most cases, yes!  You could home school!  If your children won't listen to you, there are greater issues that first need addressing.

    In the next weeks, I hope to break these questions down to provide a better understanding of home education.

    When looking at education through a biblical lens, a lens we should look through always, why is the assumption that the government has full authority and responsibility to educate our children?

    Teachers, though many do their very best, will never have the same concern for my children's education and well being as do I, their mother.  None of them would ever come to know my children, or their unique learning styles as I do.  School officials and administrators will likely never know my children as anything other than a number and perhaps a name on paper, and that only if they either excel or are a problem.

    So the question here is simply this:
    Who gives authority over children and to whom is it given?

    Biblically speaking, God is the giver of authority and authority over children is given to parents.  Parents can accept that responsibility or delegate it to others, but ultimately the parent is the responsible party before God with regard to all things relating to their child's training.  It's not the teacher, the youth pastor, the principal, the church, the school board, or the government.

    As a nation, we now collectively believe the schools should teach good behavior, good morals, and manners.  They should teach responsibility and self-control in addition to the 3 R's.  They should teach the value of hard work.

    We believe it's the church's job to teach the gospel to our children, to disciple them and also to entertain them so to keep them out of trouble.  Many feel it's the youth pastor's job, or perhaps the health instructors job, to teach sex education.

    Truthfully, I have had people ask me how my kids will learn to do simple things like get in line if they don't go to school!  I laugh, thinking of standing at the deli each week, holding our little pink number and waiting at the RMV on occasion.  Waiting in line to purchase our groceries, make a deposit at the bank, or to ride the ponies at the fair.
    My kids know nothing about indian cuts.  Do kids still do that?  Are our kids strange because they know nothing of the sort- they just know to stand in line and wait their turn?  Who cares!?
    I digress...

    I ask, "What then is our job as parents?  Is our job to simply taxi our kids and shuffle them from here to there and everywhere?  Why do we believe that everyone else can do our job better than we can?  Ultimately, what are our priorities?  What do we most want our children to learn?  Is there continuity between the direction we are leading them and what they are being taught outside the home?  Who should dictate what children need to know, what is most important for them to learn?

    Do our children belong to the government, or to God?

    If you would like further information on the legality of homeschooling, I would suggest checking out The Homeschool Legal Defense Association,  a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.

    For a very candid look at compulsory schooling, I recommend John Taylor Gatto's Dumbing Us Down.  Please be aware, however, that what Gatto, a 30 year teacher in NYC's public schools and recipient of the NYC Teacher of the Year and NY State Teacher of the Year awards, reports may be shocking to most and perhaps offensive to some. 

    Lastly, R.C. Sproul Jr.'s book titled When You Rise Up is also worth a read if you are interested in learning more about homeschooling from a Biblical perspective.  While many do not appreciate the author's tone, he speaks plainly on Deuteronomy chapter 6 and outlines how those scriptural directives to teach the things of God to our children daily can be carried out.


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