Matters of the Heart

I once asked a veteran home school mother “What is the most important thing you have learned, now that you have graduated your four children from your home school?” She pondered my question and answered thoughtfully, “Many times I focused more on my children’s behavior and character, than on their heart. So I would say learning to emphasize the importance of what is going on in the heart of my children versus trying to address only symptoms, which are behavior and character.” Her response was a golden nugget of wisdom the Lord dropped along my mothering path that I will never forget. Knowing that man can only see the outward appearance and only the Lord can truly know a person’s heart (I Samuel 16:7) – I made it a consistent and intentional part of my parenting to beseech the Lord for His wisdom. I knew I needed His wisdom to give me insight into the hearts of my children in order to best guide, teach, correct, encourage, and affirm each one. The current parenting trend is to address behavior only, or to over teach character. While these are an important part of parenting, alone they do not adequately deal with the “root” of a persistant issue a child is manifesting. The heart is where the root of any behavior and character issues lie. The responsibility of addressing such issues falls squarely on the shoulders of parents. This is a God-sized parenting assignment, and is not for the faint-hearted, or those that are easily intimidated. Jesus said that what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart. Only the...

Lucrative Literature

Do you love reading? As C.S. Lewis wrote, can you not “get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit” your reading pleasure? Many would exclaim, “Yes!” But there are those students for whom reading is a task, a chore — should they persevere in their pursuit of the classics? Again, the answer is yes! Good literature engages, enlightens and instructs the lifetime learner. First, a good book engages us. Beloved characters, whether real or fiction, take us beyond ourselves to places where we are bound by neither culture nor time. History’s places, people and plights come alive. Imaginations ignite. Learning takes place, while a heart of love and mind of wonder for all of God’s creation develops. Second, literature exposes us to ideas that we can compare and contrast against the light of Scripture. In pondering good books, our students get practice analyzing and discerning what is good and noble and true in the world verses what is evil, vain, and deceptive. The more we analyze and discuss ideas, the better able we are to see through ideas to their presuppositions, their assumptions and ultimately their worldview — biblically-based or otherwise. Finally, classic works instruct us in the arts of writing, speaking and living the Christian life. In Luke 6:45, the Bible tells us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good.” In other words, students who make a habit of reading books that are written eloquently and from a strong moral foundation will mature into thoughtful adults who speak knowledgeably, write eloquently, and...

The Mystery of Grace

But for your grace I would be lost,By your grace you paid my cost. But for your grace my heart remains hard and cold, By your grace you soften yet make me bold. But for your grace my pride would keep me blind, By your grace true humility I can find. But for your grace in holiness I would fail. By your grace you increase as I...

Ode to Essentials

EEL is like language “structure” (the building)IEW is like language “arts” (the décor) EEL teaches language building blocksIEW teaches writing and expression building blocks EEL teaches detailed analytical thinking and romance language structure.IEW teaches techniques for written expression EEL focuses on the micro level – sentences to words and to revealing the underlying vocabulary code of language building blocks – learning syntax, structure and sentence components.IEW focuses on the macro level – to topics to paragraphs to sentences – focus is on ideas and information being well expressed. EEL is more comfortable for some students – as it is more exact and structured – some students find success here more quickly than others. There is a “right answer”IEW is more comfortable for other students – as it has more room for expression, creativity – some students enjoy success here quicker than other. IEW talks about using prepositional openers, adverbs, quality adjectives…EEL defines the vocabulary used in IEW and writing techniques… EEL teaches me to thoughtfully read God’s word, to make sure I understand who or what a pronoun is referring to, what the verb tense indicates, and more – important points as I seek to apply God’s promises, instructions, and imperatives to my life…IEW teaches me how to paraphrase God’s word, and eventually retell the truths I have mediated upon … What is EEL? CC’s Language and Grammar curricullum – The Essentials of the English Language GuideWhat is IEW? This is Institute for Excellence in Writing approach to writing. EEL and IEW complement each other wonderfully… And we haven’t even spent time talking about the fun arithmetic...

Fertilizing Your Soul

Today Emily arrived home from camp. Tradition dictates that we spend a few moments “debriefing” the family on the camp days… Laughter echoes and life lessons abound… Then after lunch (and a special coffee run) the discussions take on an introspective tone, at my prompting of course :). “How do we really live out a life that glorifies the Lord?” is the question “on deck”… as we all seem to agree that this is our purpose… but how does the rubber meet the road? We discuss the classic disciplines of the christian life – prayer, service, knowing His word, … but still I probe further… “Why do we do these things?” I know that soon the answer “because you told us to” or “because it is expected of me…” won’t cut it… they need to think deeper as they mature. Their seeds of obedience must push through the soil and mature into fruit that can withstand exposure to the elements. The tumultuous but thoughtful tilling of the soil continues… “When we do the easy things… like passively taking in media or just following the culture/crowd, what is going on?” Delaying any “quick and easy” answers… I then give an example of how ideas, values, beliefs change from age to age… and ask “How do we know who is right?” Then I ask “Who is right?” THEN the more important question comes – WHY? I need my children to then think and say – well… Does the Bible have anything to say about this? Now this is gardening at its finest… unearthing God’s wisdom, principles, ways, and character. Is there...