Well, last week ended with a bit of a health crisis. This week started with more of the same. Monday morning began with an ER visit and a one day admittance to the hospital. Fun start to the week, right? A lot of unknowns and more tests needed, so we did our best to do what we could with school for the rest of the week. I was weak and tired, and really wanted to do nothing. But that would not have been best for me or my fantastic and energetic 3! So, we persevere. Week 12 is completed!

Highlights for the week include:

C started reading! We had to try three phonics programs to find one that fit, so this was no small feat. We finished All About Reading Pre-Level last week, and this week used the Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading and Bob Books while we waited on AAR level One to arrive. The light bulb finally switched on and C was able to start blending CVC words! He was oh so excited, as was I!

Fun Friday! We try to keep Fridays light as J has a music class in the morning and we like to do history projects on Fridays and get in lots of read alouds. This Friday was not exception. E did her independent work while we were at music, and C played the Wii with daddy. :) When we got back we read the Usborne Castle Jigsaw Puzzle book. They loved it!

We also read The Making of A Knight, and all week have been reading The Minstrel in the Tower. 

Friday is project day and we made a Rice Krispie Treat castle. So fun!

I love the flexibility of homeschooling. We were able to slow down a little this week because of my health, but yet we were able to continue forward anyway. We were even able to redeem a challenging week by having a great fun Friday. Friday afternoon is upon us . . . with dollar store snacks and a Netflix movie!

Week 12 highlights!

by on 3:34 PM
Well, last week ended with a bit of a health crisis. This week started with more of the same. Monday morning began with an ER visit and a on...
Continuing our study of the Middle Ages, this week we entered the era of knights and castles. I have really been looking forward to this because of all the great books and projects available. Today we made a Rice Krispie Treat Castle! I originally saw the idea from this blog. We tweaked it a bit, and simplified it. I like simple! We made a double batch of the traditional Rice Krispie Treat recipe and added a bag of mini m&m's, because really, when doesn't chocolate make everything better? :)

We used a sand castle mold for the sides and 4 plastic cups for the towers. (It's what we had on hand).

First time I allowed E near the stove. She did great!

The final product:

And of course the castle needed a little action . . .

History is fun and yummy!

Rice Krispie Treat Castle

by on 2:50 PM
Continuing our study of the Middle Ages, this week we entered the era of knights and castles. I have really been looking forward to this bec...
Biblioplan, Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, and Story of the World are all fantastic options. This really is a personal choice. However, knowing how challenging choosing history is, I thought I would share a little about why we chose BP over SL, TOG, or straight SOTW this year.

Why Biblioplan over Sonlight?
(My experience is only with Core C.) 
  • Chronology. I like how BP uses the 4 year Classical cycle. For years 3 and 4 of the cycle, I appreciate that BP offers a focus on American history but does not isolate it completely. Using BP as a base for years 3 and 4 I can still use the great SL books, but in a different order, one that takes into account the rest of the world. 
  • There was so MUCH to Sonlight. Too many nonconnecting books going on at once. Too many snippets of poems or Aesop's Fables. I love those things, but to take out a book for a paragraph was annoying. 
  • I did not feel the flow of history and was getting bogged down by all the different books each day. 
  • In Core C there was so much great literature and "other" components, I didn't feel like the "history" portion was getting as much engagement as I wanted. The books we were reading were great, but I wanted to delve into the history of what we were reading. Nothing wrong with that but it left less time for what we were "on" in history. This made things seem disjointed to me. 
  • SL uses CHOW as a spine for Core C, and I preferred Story of the World. 
  • BP has more books that fit the time frame. It has classtime reading (which I would compare to the history portion of SL), but then a reader which ties into history, and a read aloud as a family. It is just as much reading (if not more) it is just more focused on history. 
  • Especially for medieval times (what we are studying this year) there were so many read alouds set in this setting that I felt we were missing out on in order to read other read alouds scheduled. Those books are great, but I don't want to miss out on the historical books either. 
  • I needed more hands on and had added so much to it that I wasn't sure I was even doing Sonlight anymore. Then adding the components I wanted made it "more" to do. 
  • I knew I needed to streamline to have more time to do what we wanted and eliminate the unnecessary components (for us).  Sonlight is still a fantastic program, but it works better for us to add Sonlight components to Biblioplan. Sonlight books are fantastic! 
Sonlight over BP:
Sonlight does have some components you will not get in Biblioplan, and these will make a difference for some.  
  • Sonlight has comprehension questions for the literature as well as vocabulary built in. 
  • Sonlight has page numbers to read daily whereas BP just tells you what to read that week, or if it is to be spread of 2 or 3 weeks. If it is to be spread over several weeks they will say something like (read pages 1-60 this week).
  • The books are great! Historical fiction and other just wonderful books! Even using BP this year, we still are working at getting those great SL books in. 

Why Biblioplan over Tapestry of Grace?
Now, I must preface this with "I have never used Tapestry of Grace."  However, I do have year 2 and am pretty familiar with it. I chose Biblioplan over TOG for several reasons. My sister uses TOG and is thrilled with it. 
  • TOG is SO MUCH. It is wonderful, but as I sit down with the 4 huge binders for the year, it can seem overwhelming. 
  • I like the presentation of Biblioplan options better. Both programs offer many "choices" but BP has them all on one grid for each week. This works for my mind. 
  • One thing TOG has that I would like is discussion questions for the literature. However, this would make BP book specific, taking away the flexibility that I so love in being able to swap out books. 
  • TOG does not use a spine. It is just many books.While this appeals to me, I like at least having the Companion to tie things in. The Companion gives me a spine without tying me down. I can read as much or as little as we want. 
  • Price: TOG is a lot more money. Actually, the digital versions are only about $50 different. However, that is only the price of the TOG curriculum, not including maps and extras where BP has everything in that price. Because each component of BP is in a separate PDF, it makes using the e-version on an iPad or e-reader easy, but I don't think I could do TOG as purely digital-- there is just too much flipping to be done. Also, the amount of books needed for TOG makes buying the books beyond our abilities. And the library and I are not friends...so buying is necessary!
  • BP digital can be used on the iPad. This was a big reason for me to NOT use TOG this year. I hate having to break out the laptop when schooling. I love having everything easily accessible on the iPad. 
  • While both TOG and BP both have all students on the same topic, I still feel like you are almost running two different history programs for two age groups. The spines, books, discussion and everything are different. With BP all are using the Companion and read alouds. Older students read MORE of the Companion, and then each age group has their own reader. 
  • There are so many additional components of TOG. It is a fantastic choice for many. I don't need all of that right now and don't foresee needing it for some time. Biblioplan is right for us at this time. I do love the literature student pages from TOG, and I can see wanting to create something like that for BP in the near future. 
TOG over BP:
There are plenty of advantages of Tapestry of Grace that make it the right choice for many. 
Comprehension and discussion questions (I have often heard the discussions for dialectic and rhetoric are outstanding. 
There are so many components for older students and provides a full breadth of history, geography, Bible, government, and worldview. 
Literary analysis is built in.
Vocabulary is built in. 
Literature pages/student pages-- if you like worksheets, TOG does offer this component that. (BP does have worksheets and tests for middles and advanced). 

Why not JUST Story of the World?
I often see this asked at the Well Trained Mind Forums. Why use BP? Why the extra expense when Story of the World and activity book is plenty? My answer to that is, if it is plenty for you and working, you do not need Biblioplan. However, for me, it was not enough and it was not working. 

  • Being strictly chronological made it seem jumpy to me. A week in Egypt, head to China, back to Egypt, on to India, back to China, Egypt again, etc. For my younger kids, I felt a little more continuity was needed. I didn't want to abandon chronological history, but the organization of BP was what I was looking for. 
  • Story of the World was often so much information and so much breadth that I felt we were missing out on some depth. BP and specifically the Companion allows me to pick and choose what to go more in depth with, without me having to look elsewhere for the material.
  • Church history. There were a parts of SOTW that I did not agree with Biblically. Also, I want a deep Biblical worldview and understanding of Biblical and church history for my children. Biblioplan provides this Biblical history in year one, church history in year two, and missionary studies in year three and four. There are "giants of the faith" each week highlighting a person from these areas. BP's timeline also shows where Biblical and church history tie into the rest of the world. Sure you could read the Bible or Trial and Triumph along with Story of the World and infuse church history, but I appreciate the succinctness BP gives to these areas in conjunction with the rest of the world. 
  • Crafts: Story of the World tends to not have as many boy friendly crafts as BP, which tends to offer more "real" projects and less paper crafts.
  • The book lists can be challenging in Story of the World, there are so many suggestions and picking those that will be great can be a challenge. I like using the BP and SL booklists because I know they will be great! 
Straight SOTW over BP:
  • It really is plenty for many.
  • Price. 
  • It keeps it simple
  • The Activity guide offers questions and narration and summarization helps. Of course you could use this along BP but it would be an additional purchase.  
In Conclusion....
Choosing history can be so confusing, what finally helped me decide was to think of what I wanted in a history curriculum. If we could study history any way I wanted, what would a week look like? Then move backwards.  Which curriculum is closest to that end? Biblioplan serves that purpose for us. It requires the least amount of tweaking to be just what we want. 

In the end it came down to which did I want to be my "spine", my starting point. I am not locked in, I can adjust as needed. Adding Sonlight books to Biblioplan has been perfect. I love the Bibloplan scope and sequence and all the extras. The Companion ties it together in "my mind," and having that connection helps me to better teach my kids.

All of these are fantastic programs, and choosing one will be very individual to your families needs. I hope sharing how and why we chose has been helpful! Only a few years into this homeschooling journey I have already seen how needs and wants in curriculum change, and I cannot make a long term commitment to a curriculum, but I can take each year as we go and make the best decision for this year now. Next year may bring a new wishlist and maybe a change. I will continue to regularly assess our needs and meet them.

Looking for more? Check out these other posts about Biblioplan!
A Week with Biblioplan (Coming Soon)

We are new to Biblioplan this year, and I am loving it so much! I debated history curriculum for this year like a crazy person, going so far as to buy almost 2 complete literature based history curricula. We started with another and quickly realized it was not the perfect fit for us for this year. We switched to using Biblioplan as a spine adding in some Sonlight components and I am thrilled with the results. Last year E often cried that she hated history. :( Not what a mama wants to hear! This year I hear often "I LOVE history now!" Yes! Mission accomplished!

What is Biblioplan?
 It is a literature based history curriculum based on the 4 year cycle of the Well Trained Mind. While it was originally created to go alongside Story of the World, that is now only one of many spine options available.

What are the components of Biblioplan?
Family Guide: This is the heart of the program. It is the schedule and book list. BP schedules Story of the World, Mystery of History, Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, Trial and Triumph, Veritas Press timeline cards, Classical Conversation timeline cards, and more as optional spines. This makes it easy to use no matter what spine you want to use or what components you want to include.

Companion: This is the "text." If you are using another spine you don't have to have it, but this is where all the church history is found. This text can be a spine for your youngest and oldest, you simply read different parts for different ages. The sections are in color boxes showing what should be read to the younger BP users. You can pick and choose from the colored sections for the younger students, choosing what you find most important or interesting. The most applicable parts that age group are listed in a yellow box at the top of the Cool Histories pages.

Cool Histories: For littles (k-2) it consists of a list of sections to read for this age group from the Companion, review questions, and a geography section. It also tells you which coloring sheet and giant of the faith (hero from church history or missionary) coordinates with that week. For middles and advanced the Cool Histories serve almost like a worksheet .

Timeline and Maps: There are color timeline figures to go with each year, and hands on maps for different levels.

Coloring book and Craft book: Each year has its own coloring and craft books to enhance the experience for younger students who want a more hands-on component.

Why I love BP:
  • It follows the 4 year cycle.
  • It is 3 days a week. I simply could not fit history in 5 days a week. 
  • There are so many options I can pick and choose and really make it fit without feeling like I have "destroyed" the curriculum.
  • Love the church history component. The church history/biblical worldview component feels like it flows so much better than some other history curricula. I love how integrated it is. 
  • The Companion provides the "flow of history" I thought was lacking in other programs. I can see the bigger picture even when I don't share all of it with my children.
  • It is so easy to combine ages. This was very important to me. I need to have everyone in the same place in content areas. 
  • The order. BP is chronological for the most part but it is organized in a more "unit" style approach. I appreciate this as purely chronological history can seem very disjointed and jumpy.
  • Easy to substitute literature choices. Since BP is not "book specific" it is easy to swap out another book of choice or even just something your library has. 
  • It is so flexible. Biblioplan can be as much or as little as you want, and that choice can be flexible week to week. 
  • I love the "extras". The timeline, maps, cool histories, coloring pages, and crafts really make learning history fun and comprehensive. I have pulled it together before, but having all of this ready is so much easier! 
How I have tweaked it:
OK, yes. Even though I love it and could have used it as is, I tweaked a little. We are using the Companion, Story of the World 2 on audio, coloring pages, Family Guide, and Cool Histories, (and adding the timeline and craft book next week), but I have added and changed a little.  I added Window on the World as an extra geography component. We had it from starting the year with Sonlight and really loved it. We added notebooking pages and flag stickers from Rainbow Resources and the kids love using it to make a "prayer book" of countries around the world. Also I am not using most of the BP "read alouds" since many of them are more than we need for this age. I chose to save them for the next cycle. Instead  I chose a 3+ or 5+ reader as a read aloud or supplement with Sonlight books.

Choosing history can be so confusing. What finally helped me decide was to think of what I wanted in a history curriculum. If we could study history any way I wanted (which we can!), what would a week look like? Then move backwards. Which curriculum is closest to that end? Biblioplan serves that purpose for us. It requires the least amount of tweaking to be just what we want. I love that Bibloplan is helping us to love history this year! 

If you are looking for more information check out these posts:
Why Biblioplan over Sonlight and Tapestry of Grace?
How we use it (a week with Biblioplan in our home)(Coming Soon!)

Biblioplan: A Review

by on 9:57 AM
We are new to Biblioplan this year, and I am loving it so much! I debated history curriculum for this year like a crazy person, going so fa...
I love the sound of my children. No, not screaming, crying, whining, or complaining... Yes those sounds are present (all too) often, but yesterday as I had a few hours to myself, it was quiet. Too quiet. As parents we often long for quiet. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But the moment the garage door opened and the sound of running feet and giggles filled the house, I couldn't help but smile.

All day long I tell them to be quiet, no screaming, and hush. Whining is like nails on a chalkboard and I cannot put a number on how many times a day I say, "I will hear you when your voice sounds like mine." But the truth is those are the sounds of being little, and those sounds just won't last long enough.

As J and I cuddled up this morning and the daddy tickle monster caught us hiding under the covers... These are the sounds of joy. The sounds of giggles and laughter. I want these to be the sounds of my home. Laughter not tears. Giggles not shouts, affirmation not criticism. Feet running towards me, not away. These are the sounds of littles.

I want our home to be filled with the sounds of joy. I know life happens. Children cry and whine, and discipline is necessary. But I want to choose to laugh more. Put down the phone and iPad and choose to play, tickle, and chase. Choose to call them close and not send them off to play. Hold them a little longer, a little tighter. Smile more, laugh more, choose joy more. Because the sounds of littles will be gone before I know it.
"I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

The Sounds of Little

by on 9:44 AM
I love the sound of my children. No, not screaming, crying, whining, or complaining... Yes those sounds are present (all too) often, but yes...
I hear that all the time from non homeschoolers. Or I don't have the patience. How do you do it? I am not sure why nonhomeschoolers think homeschool moms get an extra dose of patience or love or grace. We don't. I don't think we love our children any more, are any more prepared, or have secret superpowers. We have good days and we have bad days. We have great weeks and we have terrible ones.

Sometimes I think blogging has a way of making homeschooling look unreal. All fun and no tears. This is just not truth, and ANY homeschool mom will attest to that! We do have plenty of great days, plenty of fun. We get to be flexible, follow interests, go on tons of field trips, do projects, play games...and yet, we are talking about real life humans doing these things. When a game day ends in tears because someone got arrogant or sensitive. When math or writing seems so overwhelming tears are unleashed. Days when someone is just having a bad day. We have plenty of those.

In the interest of keeping this blog real, and not letting it look like we have it all together...I want to share about our week. The good, the bad, and the ugly right? Buckle up for some ugly!

(In all fairness, this face is in response to being told he had completed his All About Reading Level. :)
I assured him the next level was on its way!)

Monday: got up early to school at my sister's who is sick and needed help homeschoolong her girls, Lego class, and then back to my sisters to finish school. Took E to the gym.

J and her friend at Lego class.

Tuesday: got off to a rough start, I was irritable and that trickled down to the kids. I managed to get C's school done before heading to my parents to meet my sister to school. Afternoon field trip to the Locks and nature center.

Family dinner at my parents. Late night debate led to getting home late which led to . . .

A tired Wednesday: we managed to do "school" but I sent this text to my husband in the early afternoon--

Ugh. Exhausted. Procrastinating. Unmotivated. Did I mention exhausted? Way too much time wasted and now we still have so much to do. Consider this my confession. Did I mention I was exhausted?

Continued plugging along and then before I knew it, yup, time to take E to the gym, Crazily throw sandwiches together so we can eat before church. Church night so another late night.

Thursday: downward spirals rarely turn up by themselves, and somewhere around Tuesday, if not then SURELY Wednesday I should have realized it was time to back off and switch gears. Apparently I am dense this week and as Thursday got underway ... well, lets just say I didn't switch gears as I should have. Somewhere after lunch my FB status was-

One of those days I swear someone paid my children to act like this. . . Seriously, who hates me enough and what did you give them?!? I surrender! Ready to enter negotiations!

Several other homeschool moms were quick to commiserate! ;)

Ugh yes, this was my fault. We were all exhausted, grumpy, and I was plowing through the to do list like it mattered. Which it doesn't. As if the yelling and critical spirit wasn't enough I lost the homeschool mom of the year award somewhere between making C cry over math and telling E to "get her freakin' head in the game". :( Yeah, not my shining moments. (Lest anyone freak I overwhelmingly apologized to them and they to me, and all is right in our world again!) Started dinner only to hear screams from the children I just sent outside informing me there was a toad on the playground.

ummm, this was a frog on steroids ... uninvitingly squatting on our playground. And he was less than thrilled with my eviction procedures. After about 20 very frustrating minutes of throwing soccer balls, soccer nets, and using a broom to shoo this Hulk frog away, all I got him to do was jump off. No amount of pleading got him to leave. I abandoned my sad attempts much to the disappointment of some children.

THEN my phone (i.e. GPS) froze on the way to taking dinner to a family with a new baby.  I got snippy with my poor husband as he pulled over in his car to help me navigate where I was going... <shaking my head in frustration at myself>

What a disaster of the week. But wait, it's not over. Remember where I said we were all exhausted? A family birthday had us out late again, and on top of that I had some work to get done and stayed up until 3 am (and I still didn't finish! ugh.)

Friday: woke up late (hmmm wonder why?!) jumped in the shower to take J to music class only to almost pass out. I have this strange heart arythmea that acts up about very few years and decided to rear its ugly head this morning. So for an hour and a half I was on the bathroom floor struggling to breathe and get my heart regulated with my husband wanting to call 911 and me trying to convince myself it will be over soon as it has every other time. (This has been happening since I was young).

Well, all week the hints to slow down were there but I barged right through them with my own task oriented self at the helm. <shaking head again>.

So today, the littles are at work with their grandfather, E and I are having a relaxing day at home while a housekeeper cleans my house. (Thanks to my fantastic hubby!)

So, after a week like this, I should be printing school enrollment papers! But no, the truth is, I am human and we will have days and yes, even weeks like this one. But at the end of the day (or week!), I don't have any more patience than anyone else, or better kids, or more energy, or superpowers. I am just a mom. A mom in love with these three precious kids God has given her. I mess up, sometimes worse than others...At times I frustrate myself and my kids, lose sight of the goal, and rely on my strength not God's, but that's ok. I am not a perfect mom, I am a forgiven mom. A mom who has been called to stay home and educate her three amazing children who will one day make an amazing impact on the kingdom of God. A mom so grateful for grace. I can do this, not because of me, but because of Him.

Finally getting around to a 52.4.Him update! This was our September family ministry project.

I originally saw the idea for Blessing Bags on a blog here and listed it in ideas for family ministry as a part of our 52.4.Him focus this year. We decided to take the Blessing Bag idea and have a Blessing Bag party.

Each year our homeschool group gets together and usually everyone brings a school supply and every child gets to go around and collect a bag of new school supplies for the year. Instead of doing it the same this year, (I know we don't need anymore notebooks or pencils!), we asked everyone to bring an item from the Blessing Bag list and the kids went around and each made two blessing bags for their family to give out. We used Sign up genius, listed items in about $10-$12 groupings and people signed up to bring them. (For example: 10 deoderants, 30 toothbrushes (3 individually wrapped to a pack), 30 combs (3 to a pack). We priced items at the dollar store and then grouped accordingly. We planned for enough items for each family to bring home 2 blessing bags to distribute.

It was a great experience, and knowing that this would bring about another great opportunity (handing out the blessing bag and getting to minister) was awesome! The kids had fun, and we got an opportunity to teach them about service.

Blessing bag parties can be done anytime, great for church get togethers, homeschool get togethers, or youth activities. It provides an opportunity to make any get together into a ministry focus.What a great way to put the focus on someone else and have a great time in the process.

 Each family filled their bags and then were given some suggestions of things to add such as a Bible or New Testament, and gift cards to McDonalds or Chik Fil A. We are looking forward to handing ours out!

Blessing Bag Party!

by on 8:47 AM
Finally getting around to a 52.4.Him update! This was our September family ministry project. I originally saw the idea for Blessing Bags o...
  We studied the Vikings this week in history, and the kids had a blast!

We colored a Viking ship (from the Biblioplan coloring pages) while listening to Story of the World audio CD's.

Read Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky.

Made Viking paper dolls.

Colored Viking masks (farm girl, man).

And made a Viking ship! I got the idea from this blog and we just used what we had lying around in the garage to make ours. A completely free project!

A cardboard box and a few cardboard sheets for the boat

Dowel rods for the oars, Paper plates in tin foil for the shields, and paper on a mop handle for the sail.

I have no artistic ability (as in I can't draw or cut a straight line) but even I was impressed with my dragon head. :)

So much fun! These Viking adventurers were off as Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky to discover Greenland and Vinland!

We also started reading Sticks Across the Chimney this week to tie into our Viking studies. E read Imagination Station: Voyage with the Vikings last week and is reading Viking Adventure this week. Some great Viking fun!


Fun with Vikings!

by on 6:30 PM
  We studied the Vikings this week in history, and the kids had a blast! We colored a Viking ship (from the Biblioplan coloring pages) ...
We have had a rather hectic week. You know the kind of week when all your commitments catch up with you? Arriving home from NY Sunday afternoon, Monday morning came all too quickly! Monday morning flew by and it was time to head to our first Lego engineering class. The kids have been so excited about this and they were not disappointed! They are looking forward to the next 7 weeks.

The first week back to "normal" never feels very "normal." It was hectic, hard to stay focused, and I was unmotivated! (Yes me not them!) We managed to eek through our week including our Spanish immersion class with our homeschool group on Thursday. (A definite highlight of our week always!)

We try to keep Fridays light, except this week we had some catching up to do. After taking J to music class I was dragging. I just could not motivate myself to do another math or phonics lesson. E had already completed all of her independent work and I did math with her. As I sent C to the school room for his math and phonics lesson, I called an audible. To get out of the funk I decided we could either drag ourselves thought the basics or we could dive into something fun. I am not one to put off academics, and relaxed is not usually a part of my vocabulary, but love of learning IS a major goal here. Drudgery is not.

Enter Viking Fun!

So I put on our SOTW CD's that we had yet to get to this week and the kids colored Viking boats, masks, and paper dolls.

We finished reading Eric the Red and Lief the Lucky and then threw ourselves into creating a Viking ship. I had been planning this but was doubting it would get done. (Yeah, sad, but true).

Fun is the perfect cure for a blah day! Blah day redeemed!

"Do you have to teach Bible?"
Now while I know what people are really asking when they pose this question is do we have to have Bible as a "subject"? I am always amazed and slighty perplexed when I read or hear the question  More than being perplexed by the question, I am astonished at how often I hear the answer "No, reading the Bible is enough. You don't want to do too much or be overwhelmed." Really? Would you consider just reading your history book? Science book? Grammar book? Of course not. While there is much to be gleaned from just "reading" we must interact and engage the material to really ingest and apply it.

Should you teach Bible as a "school" subject?
I think this is the wrong question. What else do you have to teach that is more important?

As a Christian a Biblical worldview and Biblical literacy is THE most important thing I teach my children. While I desire to pursue academics hand in hand with Biblical literacy and deep character training, the truth is, in my mind, my One Magnificent Obsession in life is not teaching my children the 3 R's but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want them to be passionately in love with Jesus and following Him with their whole heart and mind. It is to that end I teach math, reading, and writing.

I am so very passionate about this topic. We live in a culture of Christianity that is Biblically illiterate, and the church is evidence of this. 80% of churched teenagers leave the church at eighteen and never come back. We as Christian parents need to step up and say my child will not be a statistic. By God's grace I will do all I can to assure my children are firmly founded in the Word of God and that the Bible plays not just a role in our homes, but a central role. It is the foundation by which we do all things: make decisions, choose curriculum, choose friends, organize our time, spend our money, choose careers, colleges, and spouses. If the Bible is the basis for such life altering decisions, we should KNOW the Bible, right? Not just stories but the intricacies and doctrines, the people whose lives are offered as examples, and the message of the Gospel on which we hinge everything in our lives.

I had a very wise homeschool mom tell me once when I was tearing my hair out choosing curriculum, that as she looked back on those early years with her kids, the one thing she got right was making Bible the most important thing she did. Even if nothing else got done that day, the teaching of the Bible was the most important thing. I have adapted this mentality. Does that mean we only teach Bible? No, but if I had to choose one thing to do, that would be it.

Does Family Worship replace the need for Bible as a class?
No. Family worship is important but for our family we delineate between family worship and Bible study. During family worship we do our catechism questions, read a portion of Scripture, sing a song and pray. It is more devotional in nature whereas deep Bible study happens during Bible as a subject time.

How do you have time for all of it?
Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” This is how I feel about studying the Bible. How can we fully grasp the truth of anything without the Truth? You make time for what you prioritize, and in our home we prioritize the study of the Bible. 

What about if my kids are in Christian school?
So, we are not all homeschoolers. What if your kids attend Christian school? They have Bible class already, so should you do more? Christian schools and churches are to come alongside you as parents to teach the Bible, not substitute you. Do you know what your children are learning in Bible class? That teacher is just a another person, be sure you are checking in on the doctrine and interpretations being offered your child. On the day of judgment it will be your responsibility not your child's Bible teacher or Sunday school teacher. Discuss with your kids what they are learning about the Bible and be sure they are founded in Truth. Be sure to be practicing family worship and prioritizing the Word in your home.

What about if my kids are in public school?
If you have made the choice to put your child in public school, consider this quote by Voddie Baucham.  If we send our children to public school "we shouldn't be surprised when they come home wearing the enemy's uniform and charging the hill of our home waving the enemy flag." Now I do not say this to say no one should put their child in public school, I quote this so you see the urgency of establishing a Biblical worldview and Biblical literacy in your children. The teaching of God's Word to your children is the responsibility of the parent no matter where they go to school.

If it is that important why don't we do it?
This section is not going to win me any brownie points because I plan to be rather blunt. If you were to assess and compare two solid moral families today, one Christian, one not, what would you find? One attends church, prays before meals, and before bed. There would hopefully be some accidental conversation about Jesus, God, and the righteous life at some point, but most of the time it is not intentional.

This is not enough. We spend too much time on everything else that is temporal, and not a fraction of what we should on the eternal. We need to be intentional. Every day we must get up and intentionally build a foundation of Truth in our children, establish a worldview in them in which they will filter truth and stand firm even when they leave our care.

Does this mean we never just READ the Bible?
Certainly not. In my own personal Bible study time sometimes I do deep study surrounded by commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other study tools, and other times I just read so that the Holy Spirit can furrow His Word into my heart. There is a time to simply read and meditate on God's Word, but meditation always takes deeper root when it falls upon tilled soil.

Be intentional 
Model a love for God's Word in your own heart. Be a lover of the Word and allow your kids to catch your excitement. Read it, study it, memorize it. Feast on it. Treat God's Word with more care than your math book. Give it more time and attention. Establish the role of the Bible in your home knowing that the fruit of it is eternal.
On the road again! We had the opportunity to drive to New York this week to see my sister and her family. My other sister, her son, and my parents all went as well and it was quite the adventure! Crazy traffic made it a much too long trip, but ring pops and caramel apples made the car ride just a little better.

We actually got quite a bit of "school" done, while their cousins were in school, but we left spelling and science at home. We completed all of our language arts and math, a full week of Biblioplan history, and made good progress in TRUTH 66 Bible Drill. We took Monday mostly off for travel, played hard with cousins all week, and we took "off" (along with their public school cousins) on Friday to go to Harbes Farm.
We had a blast! We went through a corn maze that had a Wizard of Oz theme and you had to find Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Wizards balloon in order before you find the exit.

Got stuck in a huge spider web...
Played in miniature houses...

Had an adventure in the Secret Garden...

Drove peddle cars
Roped cows of hay...

Saw ducks, goats, cows, ponies, bees making honey, rabbits and more!
We had such a great week. We drove past the Statue of Liberty on the way, and stayed at a lake house with awesome space to roam. A man hunt and hide and seek dream! We were all exhausted as we drove the 21 hours home!
We have had a bunch of trips lately and will be glad for some home time! But we are so very grateful for the flexibility of homeschooling so that our school days are filled with weeks like these!

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