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Our Foundation, His Word

Prov. 14:7 “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.”

Prov. 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child...”

Hebr. 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter [finisher] of [our] faith…”

Jer. 15:19 “Therefore, thus says the LORD, If you return, then I will restore you — Before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, But as for you, you must not turn to them.”

1Cor. 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning...”

To Enhance, not Diminish, Your Children’s Spiritual Growth

How do we, as homeschool families, choose beneficial activities to enhance (intensify, deepen, heighten), not diminish (drain, decrease, lessen) our children’s spiritual growth?

It is often very difficult to determine which are foolish activities that have no eternal worth. They are at best temporary. However, very often some of our non-spiritual, everyday activities are the ones God uses to prepare us for our ministry. Clearly, the only way to truly discern which activities we should be in or stay involved in is through prayer. Ask God to show you what He wants you in and what He wants you to pull out of. It is a family “dying to self,” surrendering your wills to that of our heavenly Father. “Not my will by Thine be done.” God will faithfully lead you.

Matt. 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.”

It’s clear in the above verse that there are more people heading toward destruction than are traveling the narrow road in their lives. It is therefore very important that we actually take the time to really LOOK for the narrow gate. When “everyone is doing it” then THAT should be our signal that it may be a wide road to our family’s destruction.

The Church Nursery

For the most part, we have not taken advantage of church nurseries. Our main reason for not putting our children in the nursery was that our children were totally nursed. I did not give them pacifiers or bottles, which would make it very difficult for the nursery staff or volunteers. Even though most of my babies were good, there is something very challenging for a worker who has been left with a child who has no tangible means of comfort should the need arise.

Also, some of our babies did not do well away from me, or went through periods of time when they were a bit clingy. I found that by not pushing them away at these times, they soon grew out of these phases and became very secure and independent. I personally believe that pushing a child away will enhance his dependence and insecurity rather than eliminating it. However, I have also seen mothers who seem to make their children insecure by doting on them because of their own insecurities.

Be sympathetic to nursery workers. If your child does not do well with strangers or they will not have a way to comfort him, it may be best for everyone to keep the baby with you. You can either sit in the back or in a mothers’ room. If your church does not have one, you could suggest it and help them to implement it.

If you really need the break, you may be able to make an agreement with another mother to take turns in the service while you watch each other’s babies. Seek the Lord and diligently pray specifically for your needs. Don’t tell the Lord how to do it; just ask Him to work it out as you pour out your needs to your Heavenly Father.

And remember, most trials are only for “a season,” but of course when you are in the midst of them, they feel as though they will never end.

Children’s Church

At the moment, we do not put our children in children’s church because we believe that our children need to be with us in the main service. Before there were special services for children, all children sat with their parents. Many leaders today tell of how they “cut their teeth” on the church pews.

With that said, even though we do not feel that we should have our children in these groups or church nurseries, we are grateful for them, knowing that they serve a vital role in the church, and we therefore help to support them. Specifically, at the present time, our daughters help every other week in the nursery and occasionally our sons may go to a special event for the youth. In the recent past, two of our children were leaders in the children’s church so we allowed our younger children to go along with them and our three oldest sons sang in the youth choir. All of our participation has been for “a season” as the Lord led us in, and later, out. We were able to see, firsthand, the benefits of these groups and functions and also some of their downfalls. 

Before you pull your child from children’s church, ask yourself if your child is ready. Before your child is ready to be put in the very strict environment of the main adult service, you must make sure he can deal with it, and benefit from it. If my children were entertained the way most children are — through television, movies, hours of video games or fast-moving toys — then they could not sit still to hear the message. It would not only torture them, leaving them with bad memories and feelings about church, but it would also distract the adults who came to hear the message, not watch our children fidget or watch me correct them or answer their questions.

Our children have hours to run free now that we live on a farm, and before we moved here, they ran and played inside the boundaries of our fenced yard. Their play was and is not high speed or mechanical. They sit at the dinner table, sometimes for hours, and listen to adult conversation (mature, not sensual). So when the pastor talks they are able to listen, for a time, and pick up the basic message. I know, because they tell me or ask questions afterwards. If it does get too long and they lose interest they quietly entertain themselves with pens and paper or close their eyes and nap.

If your desire is to have your children with you in the service, then seek the Lord as to where to begin. It will be a journey, the same one the Lord has led us through. It will be difficult, confrontational and could offend others. However, it is YOUR responsibility to do ALL that you can not to offend others, while at the same time not trying to please them. It takes humility and knowing that you are not always right. Yet, when it is all said and done, your “fruits” will speak loudly and clearly.

It’s not about being AGAINST the groups in your church or any church; it is about being FOR attempting to take seriously your responsibility to “train your children up in the way they should go” and talking to them “when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Preschool and Play Groups

Some parents erroneously believe their children are missing out if they do not send them to preschool or enroll them in playgroups. This is erroneous because these schools and groups sprang up to meet the needs of those who did not have the advantage of siblings or a mother at home. The mother with only one child may feel that her child is missing out on socialization.

However, a child who is playing with other children his own age who are selfish, bullish and demanding may not learn good socialization skills but will become selfish, bullish and demanding. By keeping your child with you and out of group situations you may in fact help him to become sociable as long as you help him to share and do not give into his every demand.

Children who have been in a daycare situation with all the equipment, scheduled craft times and arranged play times are usually “bored” at home in a normal family environment. They have been continually entertained during every waking moment, and therefore often have difficulty when left to their own imagination or resources in playing at home.

Helping them slow down and learn to become resourceful is the greatest gift a mother can give children who are now home with her. Whenever my children have dared to tell me they are bored, I quickly incorporate them in some type of work. They learn very quickly to find a means of entertaining themselves. If my children ask for anything in the store, they do not get it. I have taught them ahead of time to not ask for anything. I tell them that they can “show me” something that is neat or fun, but they must not ask for anything. I tell them that I will make a mental note of the things they like in order to buy them for their birthdays or Christmas.

As I matured and became a much wiser mother, I found that by frequenting toy stores my children became more “wanting.” It is the same with me. When I look at magazines, I find that I am discontented with my home and my life. When I see it, I want it, and if I can’t buy it, I become disheartened. Can we expect more from our children than we can from ourselves?

If you don’t see your husband because he is always working or you are constantly in a financial bind, I would challenge you to stop your magazine subscriptions and say “no thank you” to friends who want to give you their old magazines. When you go to a friend’s house, do not covet, but instead thank the Lord that He has blessed them, or see how what they have has put them in debt. Very few families own much of what they have, but are charged to the maximum, and therefore live in financial stress.

Other Specialized Groups

Some groups that are set up to train children through Bible memorization and Bible training certainly may help enhance your children’s homeschooling experience while giving them some time with other children. In the Assemblies of God they have programs called Missionnettes for girls and Royal Rangers for boys that are geared toward educating the young ladies and young men in the Word of God. Awanas is a program that my children really enjoyed when we were going to a Baptist church.

Usually you do not need to be a member of the church or denomination to have your children be part of these groups. Ask to look at their books and materials, and if they look good, talk to your husband about it or give him the material to look over and decide. Do not set your heart on it BEFORE your husband has an opportunity to share his thoughts or concerns.

Youth Groups or Adult Services

It’s a challenging decision that you and your husband must make when choosing whether to allow or encourage your son or daughter to be involved in the youth groups or to attend the adult services with you.

My husband and I have always sought the Lord by checking into each group or church service to see what they are offering. We have found that, because of the strong convictions that we have and have instilled in our children, for the most part our children do not belong, nor are they comfortable attending these groups or the events aimed at ministering to youth.

If we see no harm in a particular church function, we trust our children to relate to us their findings. Usually our children tell US that they do not belong there. Or, occasionally, they tell us there was really nothing harmful. Only once did they tell us (when they were a part of the youth choir) that it was beneficial for them to be there. Our children share our convictions. They are opposed to dating, which most young people in the youth group participate in. Therefore they feel out of place when girls are attempting to get their attention or the guys are constantly talking about their girlfriends. They do not want to appear rude or arrogant, but strongly believe that they should remain faithful to their wives before marriage as well as after marriage.

Some youth groups take a strong stand against dating; however, it is very difficult when they are bombarded with it at school for eight hours a day, not to mention through the entertainment media. Since our boys have a strong conviction in this area, we must do what we can to help them, not put them in an environment where there will be tremendous temptations.

However, as I mentioned earlier, we do what we can to help support the groups aimed at meeting the needs of children. Occasionally our older children attend a special service or function held for the youth.

Words and Labels

In an earlier lesson we spoke about labels and how powerful our words are.

James 3:6-10  “ And the tongue is a fire, the {very} world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of {our} life, and is set on fire by hell. But no one can tame the tongue; {it is} a restless evil {and} full of deadly poison. With it we bless {our} Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come {both} blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”

Specifically, when I hear someone use the term “teenager” I think of rebellion. The word connotes a time in a child’s life when they are fighting to get out from under their parents’ authority, a time when they argue and question rules, a time of irresponsibility. However, I do not see that the Scripture recommends that we encourage this type of behavior; on the contrary, I see that we are to take authority against it.

Deut. 21:18-21   “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear {of it} and fear.”

I am certainly not saying that we should stone our children, but I am saying that we should take seriously rebellion exhibited in the actions and attitudes of our children.

Instead of using the term “teenager” it may be more advantageous for your son or daughter, as well as for yourself, to use the terms young adult, young woman, or young man. With this prestigious label, not only will your son or daughter begin to see themselves in this light, but you will begin to see that these teen years are a transition from childhood to adulthood, not a period of time in their lives when you need to allow them to rebel against authority.

Let me also mention that the “teenager attitude” that is very prevalent today in and out of the church is occurring in younger and younger children — ten-year-olds and even younger! How many of you know children of 4 or 5 who are asked what kind of clothes they want to buy or wear? If they show this much rebellion and pride at this age, how can the parent hope to live with them when they are 14 or 15?

We Alone Will Bear the Shame

Prov. 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Deut. 6:6-7 “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

These verses tell me as a parent that it is MY responsibility to train and speak of God’s Word to my children. The church is not responsible; the Bible holds ME responsible.

Prov. 10:1 “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.”

Prov. 15:20 “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.”

Prov. 17:21 “He who begets a fool {does so} to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.”

Prov. 17:25 “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.”

Prov. 19:13 “A foolish son is destruction to his father...”

Prov. 29:15 “... a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”

It is clear that if we, as parents, fail to properly train our children, then only WE will be put to shame, not the church. Of course, it can ruin the testimony of a church or the church as a whole, but we parents will carry the shame.

With this enormous task laid before us, and because we do not see in Scripture that it is the church’s responsibility to train our children, we have thoughtfully and prayerfully chosen to basically keep our children with us while at church or at church functions.

All of us need to be very aware of how these groups are needed to provide support for some families. They also reach out to those who are not in the church. There are many more families in the church whose children attend public school, and thereby are exposed to evils and issues that my children are totally unaware of. These families need their children to be given the truth so that they will be able to deal with and cope with the issues that they are facing every day in school.

You can also use your church-based groups as an outreach to your neighbors or those at your husband’s workplace. You can invite the children and their parents and let your child visit the children’s church with them. Your children can act as ambassadors, until your neighbor’s or friend’s child feels comfortable going alone (going with them once or twice). This is our commission, to go out and bring the lost or hurting in. It is therefore important that you know the leaders, support them, and speak well of them.

However, since most of you homeschool your children, then your children, like mine, are not exposed to these issues and evils in their lives, since they do not attend public or private school, or watch television, or spend time with neighbors. Therefore it would be wrong for us to regularly put them in a setting that they are not prepared for or comfortable with. 

Challenge

My heart is to challenge all homeschooling families to support and encourage the pastors and leaders of your church. Very often, we have found that it is difficult to show support to the groups when you do not participate in them; however, it is our responsibility to build up the body and leaders of our church. We have found that very often the group leaders or pastors seem to take it personally when we choose not to be a part of their groups.

Can you blame them?

Maybe they feel that for some reason they or their programs are not good enough. But the truth is, we simply believe that the Lord has given us our children to train, lead, protect, nurture, etc. But once again, for most parents, these groups are a large part of the support system that they most desperately need.

We believe that by having our children with us, rather than sending them to a group function, we make room for others outside the church or relieve the church of needing to hire more help or recruit more volunteers. We hope that if this is your (and your husband’s) heart as well, you will look for opportunities to support these groups by working in them, by financial giving or by a note or word of encouragement.

In addition, we ask that you never undermine the work that they do by speaking against them. If you truly have a concern, first go directly to the teacher or leader, and then go higher, maybe to the pastor if the leader is not able to receive your concerns. Never share your concerns with others in the church or outside the church. God is pleased when the church walks in unity.

Ps. 133:1 “BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”

If you as Christian parents still have any of your children in public or private school, I would challenge you not only to find out who your child’s friends are in school and what these friends are exposing your child to, but also to look carefully into what your child is being taught in the textbooks and by his teachers. My concern is that exposure to and instruction in the evils of the world may very well destroy your child’s faith in God or turn his heart away from you as parents and annihilate your influence on your child’s life. This is just one of the many reasons why we homeschool our children.

Testimony

Years ago when I had just three small boys, I met a woman named Frankie. I was a pro-life speaker and I felt “led” to go into the office early Thanksgiving morning. The Lord knew that she would be passing by, feeling despondent since she was alone on that particular holiday, and decide to come in. Frankie was very much “with child.” She was very hard with many tattoos. She told me she was a nude dancer, her boyfriend was in prison, and she was thinking of having a late-term abortion. After we spoke for some time, I asked if she would like to meet my family. I told her that I had a baby boy that I wanted her to hold. I asked if she wanted to meet me for church on Sunday.

I didn’t really think she would show up, but we went to that church that morning. It was not our church, nor our denomination, but it was close by the center and I knew the pastor and women who went there. When we drove up, there was Frankie. She was dressed up, a bit immodestly, but she was there. When I walked toward her I held out our little blonde-haired, blue-eyed Easton. A tear was in her eyes as she held him close. She carried him to the nursery for me.

When we finally walked into the church and many women spotted Frankie, you would have thought that I had brought the Queen of England. Everyone stopped, smiled and came over to welcome her. Our pro-life director asked if she would like to sit with her and her husband as she wrapped her arm around her shoulders.

My husband and I sat on the other side of the three of them. As the pastor called the unsaved to accept the Lord, my director whispered to Frankie, “Would you like to go forward with me?” She did. She accepted the Lord, and because it was a particular Baptist church denomination, she was baptized just 10 minutes later. The church invited her to a special luncheon that day.

Frankie had her baby and became very active in the church. We kept in touch for years.

Note:  Next week - Bring unwanted or unused curriculum to exchange or give away to someone in your class! Remember: Give and it shall be given! The Lord loves a cheerful giver.

Dear Grandma Irene,

Thank you for the money you sent to me for my birthday. Do you know what I bought? I got a telescope so that I can look far away at the farms and the cows and look at the stars and the moon at night. They are so bright because we live in the country.

Love,
Cooper

“She rises while it is yet night…” Proverbs 31:15
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