Sunday, August 2, 2015

Teaching Them Diligently - Notes from My First Homeschool Conference

Here is a quick synopsis of a few of the sessions I attended and the VERY best things I took away.  (I could have written them all out, but then this post would have lasted for daysssss.) Don't feel like you have to read it all... but it's sooooo goooood if you do! ;)  And just to keep things interesting, I added a few oldies-but-goodies to the mix..

1.  "Flourish"
Elizabeth Elliott said, "The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowds.  He will not allow quietness."  Satan knows where to hit us, how to keep us busy.  He knows where we find our strength.  May he not rob us.

Saying yes to one thing means saying no to everything else going on at the same time.  Make sure whatever you are doing is meeting your top goals and priorities.  Make a "stop doing" list in order to be more productive at the things that really matter.

Organization promotes peace. Satan loves to get us worked up and frazzled, creating chaos and allowing no time to ask and follow the Lord's guidance.  {Never thought about this, but it's so true!!  If there's no time for personal quiet time with the Lord, I am too busy!  If there's no time to do what He has called me to do as a wife and mother, I am too busy!}

Sadie and Rylie 5 years ago:

2. "How To Be Happily Married While Homeschooling"
Homeschooling impacts everything.  We get an extra 35 hours a week to disciple our kids by not sending them to public school.  And Satan knows it!!  It will be a spiritual battle, so be prepared!!  The gospel is the foundation of our family; this time together should bind and bond us together.
The whole family is homeschooling, dad included!

Alma Mater is Latin for "Nourishing Mother!"
Your alma mater = the one who discipled you, taught you, nourished you as a mother would!
{I loved, loved, loved this!!  So interesting that the one who educates you, disciples you!}

Submission is a GIFT we get to give our husbands!
As wives and mothers, we must learn to protect our time.  Put your family first - they are ALWAYS to be your first line of ministry.  Learn to say no.. because some things are for later.  
{We can do it all... just not all right NOW.}

Lastly, recognize that perfection is not possible any more.  Kids don't remember the house, they remember the stories you read and the time you spent together. Enjoy them.  They are your legacy..

3. Surviving and Appreciating Boys
There is a crisis in manhood!!  We want to raise "men of iron with hearts of gold!"
The image of manhood has been marred and our society has been feminized.  God has made our sons to be providers and protectors!

Many virtues, such as courage, honor, persistence, adventurous, and boldness, appear in immature forms in our young boys.  They are wonderful qualities, but rarely are they QUIET! Ha!

Leadership OR rebellion??
Ask yourself this when you are dealing with situations with your son..  there is a difference between childishness and foolishness.  Childishness is immaturity, whereas foolishness is sinful behavior.  Be sure to recognize the difference!

Give your sons a chance to practice their natural leadership traits, through chores, field trips, etc.
We are raising up the next generations of heroes - real men who lay down their lives for the weak and innocent.  Real men who take responsibility.
Real men who proclaim that Jesus is the Christ and lead their wives, children, and community closer to Him.

4. Training Our Boys to Be Men
Train your sons to walk with God.  Train them to work hard and be readily independent!  Let them camp, run, fish, and LIVE LIFE to the glory of God!

We only get this day once.  Live your lives TOGETHER!
Don't just send them out to wash the car - wash it with them.
Don't just send them to take out the trash - walk it out with them.

Build your relationship with your sons!  You must know your sons' hearts..
Train them to live, work and play, for God's glory!

5. Preschoolers and Peace (My favorite!!)
Start your day with prayer. (Daniel 6:10)
Remember Who's you are and teach your children to focus on the gospel every morning!  Pray together and preach the gospel to yourselves every day.  This will help you to remember your identity as Christ's, instead of just a wife, mother, and home-keeper.

Teach your little ones to: {5 fingers on hand to help them remember!}
1. Get Dressed
2. Make Bed
3. Brush Teeth
4. Tidy Room
5. Pray for the Day 

Do all this before breakfast and it will help you ALL be better prepared to start the day!
Pair up your kids.. "It's your turn to play with the baby for 15 min!"  Sweet relationships come from this!!

Don't be afraid to toss schedules that aren't working!
Start with 5 min of containment for your toddlers - they may cry, but let them and celebrate when they get through it!!  Train them and be encouraged! 5 min will lead to 10, 20, and 30!  Kids CAN be trained to entertain themselves.

Try group teaching time or "circle time."  Don't always be pushing your babies away.  Include them in the things you want all of your children to memorize, like Scripture, states, continents, plagues, Greek flashcards!!  This is a great time to include your littles!!

Teach your toddlers how to work!  We are a community!!  Preschoolers can be taught to do many simple jobs, like vacuuming out a drawer, setting the table, folding rags, picking up, wiping down the toilet, etc... and they should work "cheerfully as unto the Lord!"

If you are moving from catastrophe to catastrophe, this will undermine your homeschool in a minute! We must be shepherds.. our children NEED training!

Remember the 3 P's:
1. Pace Yourself - This is a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Pause - Take breaks. You don't have to sacrifice yourself to homeschool.
3. Play with your kids - ask specifically each child to do one thing just with you.  Even if it's walking to the mailbox or peeling carrots, asking them individually teaches them they are important to you!!  This will help you form real relationships with your kids!

6. The Benham Brothers
We are conduits, not cul-de-sacs..  We should be sharing and channeling God's love to others, not letting it just sit and stop with us!  We are shovels - you don't praise the shovel for digging the hole.  You praise the One who is using the shovel! (LOVE THAT!!)

God loves all people, but not all ideas.  We stand true to the Word while showing compassion to those who hold those bad ideas, which really only works through and with the Holy Spirit!  Boldness without brokenness just makes you a bully!  Speak truth in love.  Jesus is both love AND truth.

Be a warrior and stand for Jesus!!

7. Daring Daughters
What makes you come alive??  What talents do you have??  What stirs your heart??
Galations 2:20.."I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me..."

Train your girls to:
1. Love their husband
2. Love their children

Care for what is right in front of you, not just those far, far away.  Overseas missions can sound so romantic and dramatic, but let's start with loving those in our local community!  Acts 1:8
 As we have a heart for the nations, we can and will have an impact in the home, too.

Our emotions are God-given.  We need to grieve for the sins and injustices of the world!  We need to be concerned about things that matter, not petty and small injustices, like who didn't talk to us at church this morning.  We can find ourselves caught up in such silly things, can't we?

There are different women who have different cares of the world, whether it's for promoting the pro-life movement or ending sex-trafficking.  Expose your daughters to skillful women of God who care about issues of the world!  Mentor your girls about missions TO the world!
We are stewards of our hearts; when you are burdened about something, DO SOMETHING!  You don't have to wait for a booming voice from heaven.  Take steps of obedience!

Get in position and dare to obey!  God is strong in our weakness!!
We need only to be willing.

"Why should anyone hear the gospel twice before everyone has heard it once??" - Oswald Smith
"I will go, and if I perish, I perish." - Esther
"Be it unto me according to Your word.." - Mary

Betty Scott Stam, a martyred missionary to the Chinese who watched her husband be murdered before Communists killed her, wrote this prayer of surrender:
"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever.  Fill me and seal me with your Holy Spirit.  Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

She wrote this prayer out in the front of her Bible.. at the age of 10.

8. The First Five Years
Deut 6 says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

Homeschooling is the best way to invest, disciple, and fulfill Deut 6.  How are you waking your children up??  Be intentional about your going to bed and waking up routines.  Constantly be teaching your children about Him! 

Lesson #1 - Love the Lord your God with all your Heart
Your kids' faith will only be as deep and wide as Mom and Dad's!  Children will usually only love God as much as they see Mom and Dad loving God!

Lesson #2 - Jesus Loves Me
Memorize John 3:16 - this should be the fundamental bedrock in our children's hearts - not math, writing or reading.
Do we believe that the knowledge of Christ is enough??
Your curriculum for the first five years should be this: LOVE JESUS!

Lesson #3 - Obey and Honor
"Children, obey your parents.."  Ephesians 6:1 
 This is the first commandment that comes with a promise - "long days on the Earth!"

Lesson #4 - Responsibilities
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.." Col 3:23
Teach your children how to work.  Train them to help around the house.  Work together.  This will show the value you place on your relationships with them.. be patient and build the relationship up.  It will pay off!

Lesson #5 - Bible Stories
Read the entire Bible as a whole!  It is incredibly important to understand the chronology of Biblical events..  because it shows the whole picture!  (List that the author gave is below!)
Creation, Fall, Flood
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
Moses, Passover
United Kingdom
Divided Kingdom
Church, Paul, Letters

Lesson #6 - Bible Memory
Drill your kids!!  Take a month or two and go over each verse, over and over.  Build upon these verses as they grow. Pour these truths into them!  The brain will soak these in; it's amazing how God built children's brains to easily memorize Scripture!!  (The verses this author recommended are below!)
Gen 1:1   Deut 6:6-7    Eph 6:1-4
John 1:1    John 1:29   John 3:16
Eph 2:8-10   Rom 1:17   Rom 3:23
Rom 5:8   John 14:1-6   Ps 23

Lesson #7 - Bible Doctrine
What do we believe??  Make sure your children know! 
 "Who is God??  Who am I?? Who is my neighbor??" 
{"Catechism is merely basic instruction in Christian doctrine using questions and answers.  The goal of catechism is to impart biblical theology.. It lays the foundation for the discipleship that is to follow.  Without catechism our discipleship is reduced to a list of moralisms.  Failure to catechize our children is tantamount to surrendering to the culture."  Voddie Bachaum in his book, Family Driven Faith.  I could not recommend this book more highly!!  It's been incredible in deepening my desire for multi-generational faithfulness in my family!!}

Lesson #8 - Snuggle and Read
Practice this.  Read aloud their whole lives.  This is a bonding experience and it is SO important!  It will be a major foundation in your schooling and for your family!

Lesson #9 - Sing and Dance
Keep the routine, change up the times!  Start with a positive wake-up, tidy up, and have breakfast together.  Build forts.  Take hikes. Get walkie-talkies.  Try to OUT LAST your kids during play!  Swing them until you can swing no more...

Lesson #10 - Explore Creation Outdoors
Teach your children that outside is where the fun is!!  Climb trees, play in mud, chase butterflies.  From baby to 5 years old, be outside!! 
The first 1-3 years are the hardest of homeschooling.  Let's just take control and OWN the school. ;))

Whew.  If you made it this far, I am impressed!!  I have much more detailed notes if anyone needs them, but this is the heart of the sessions I attended.  If I had to condense the whole conference into one solid thought, it would be this:

Love your family as Christ loves the church.
Without hesitation.  Without reservation.  Without distraction.

Your family is your very own gift sent from Creator God.  Don't squander your time being so busy doing everything else with everybody else.  Only your children will carry on the legacy that you leave.  May it be one that is filled with Jesus, snuggles, and quality time spent together.  After all, God knew what He was doing when He placed each individual together in your intimate community and called it "family."  It's a gift beyond measure.  Don't waste it.


  1. Melissa, I am simply breathless and speechless after reading your blog. How can we print this out? So many profound truths over and over again. I looked up the exact word for "make disciples" in the Greek and this is what it said:

    3100 μαθητεύω [matheteuo /math·ayt·yoo·o/] v. From 3101; TDNT 4:461; TDNTA 552; GK 3411; Four occurrences; AV translates as “teach” twice, “instruct” once, and “be disciple” once. 1 to be a disciple of one. 1A to follow his precepts and instructions. 2 to make a disciple. 2A to teach, .

    That means "making disciples" is "teaching" them! That means school! The greatest way to fulfill the great commission is to teach our little ones about Jesus! When they make a profession of faith, then they are "baptized" in our church and these two things that Jesus commanded us to do in MAKING DISCIPLES - "teaching and then baptizing" them - fulfills the great commission. It's all about Jesus and He gives us little children to bring up in the Nurture and Admonition of the LORD. It's all about HIM!
    Love you and loved the blog! MOM

    Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

  2. Melissa, thank you so much for sharing this! I too plan to print this out even though Mac is just 2 months!!!!!

  3. Awwwwww, Alice'!!!! That makes me so, so happy!!!!!! I am so glad you liked it!!


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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.