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4/15/2010 2:32:50 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter--April 2010

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HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter -- April 2010
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Deliberate Devotions

In a Christian homeschool family, God's Word is the foundation of all
other study, so our biblical worldview impacts all learning in subtle
ways. But there are also times we want that impact to be more
deliberate. How can a busy homeschool family incorporate Bible study,
everyday-life application of Biblical principles, and prayer in their
day?

Some fathers' work schedules allow them to open the day in prayer or
Bible reading with their families. If not, dad may encourage mom to
begin with a godly focus later in the morning, and he may lead family
worship or study at another time. In our household, Dad had weekly,
interactive, devotional lessons springboarding from the "Heritage
Builders Family Tool Chest" series
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8048 . No time to prepare, or fresh
out of ideas? Phil Downer's "One-Inch Bible Study"
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8049 is a guide for impromptu,
quick, and relevant lessons.

To begin our school day, I would put on some music that would help us
focus on the Lord, and the children would either sing along or listen
quietly (and hopefully reverently!). Then we would have a brief
devotional lesson, followed by a short time of prayer. This 15 minutes
gave us a deliberate start to our day and helped us to begin with
cheerful hearts.

Your time can be as simple as reading a Bible passage and praying
together. Some parents find it helpful to use a book such as "Little
Visits with God," which gives a short faith- and character-based
story, a Bible verse to look up, a "moral of the story," and a sample
prayer. When the older girls were more "school age," we used guides
like "Bible Study for All Ages" or "Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament
History" for age-integrated chronological studies of scripture, while
resources such as "Character Building for Families" helped us focus on
specific spiritual issues within our family. Our children learned some
practical applications of prayer along with the fictional Ryan as we
read the chapter book, Adventure at Hidden Haven Ranch,
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8050 . By upper elementary or early
middle school, they were ready for basic, individual, inductive Bible
studies.

Church-based programs such as AWANA, Missionettes, or Royal Rangers
include substantial Bible memorization and catechism as well as
hands-on application in service projects. Even clubs such as Keepers
of the Faith http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8051 and Kids with a
Purpose http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8052 incorporate a biblical
worldview into everyday service.

During quiet times, play times, or in the car, the Bible (or a
children's Bible storybook http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8053 )
on CD can be used to help children hide God's Word in their hearts.
(By the way: Even the most well-meaning children have trouble sitting
still sometimes; a coloring page or a squeeze ball can help them focus
their energy quietly and still absorb the lesson. Adapt to their
learning styles as needed!)

For some of you, incorporating these ideas can feel overwhelming. If
you wonder how you can fit even a brief moment of quiet time or prayer
into your day, I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by the
insights shared by another time-challenged homeschool mom:

------------------------------
Practical Prayer

by Tricia Hodges (from Habits for a Happy Home
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8054 ; used with permission)

The community helpers puzzle. Its pieces dumped in the floor, again. I
find myself frustrated, again.

Frustrated to pick up the pieces and frustrated we were all sick.
Frustrated we couldn't get out and help the victims of recent
flooding.

But the Lord calmly gave me an answer, in His patient way. As I was
picking up each puzzle piece, He said, "Pray."

The ambulance piece--pray for ambulance workers. The police car--pray
for our police force rescuing flood victims. The tow truck--wow. I
hadn't even thought about all those cars needing to be towed away. And
look, the school bus.

I adore practical answers.

As a young mother, I thought I was supposed to get off in my little
corner and have my quiet time. More and more that became a hard thing
to do. I didn't quite understand how I was supposed to pray without
ceasing.

I imagined myself, face down, in the middle of the floor trying to
pray and acting oblivious to children running all around me,
hollering, "Mama!" "Mama!" Me, answering, "Quiet now children; I'm
praying."

The Lord has gently taught me that prayer should be the foundation of
our day. Not a separate practice, always apart from the children.
Though there certainly is a time for formal prayer, the praying habit
is to be passed on. It's a way of life.

I once heard prayer compared to breathing. Breathe out... send a
prayer up... Breathe in...soak up His wisdom, give thanks. It's a
conversation. It's easy. Something you don't even have to put effort
into.

Pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

Guess what? I've found freedom in praying out loud while driving my
homeschool bus to activities. "Lord, help us to be safe. Help children
to obey. Help us to be polite and have a good time."

Yes, I enjoy quiet time before the children wake. But the children
should also catch me with my Bible when they come down the steps, all
sleepy-eyed, in the morning. "Here, child, bring that warm blanket and
snuggle with me. Let's have some quiet time with Jesus."

Other practical prayers as you go about your day:
When you hear a siren, stop and pray with the children. Pray not only
for those that might be hurting but also for those that are responding
to the emergency. Pray for healing. Siren prayers usually prompt us to
pray for others we know with urgent needs.

When that airplane flies overhead, pray: "God, please bless the people
in the airplane." My mother taught us this simple prayer. The youngest
girl thought an airplane's name was "bless" for the longest time.

Can't find something? Pray. The simple act of stopping and praying for
wisdom helps calm everybody down. "Mama, shouldn't we pray?" the
seven-year-old reminds. We do. And then I find my keys.

Simple, anytime prayers:

"Help!"

"Please give me wisdom!"

"Allow me to show love."

And finally, I pause at my kitchen sink often to reread the quote I
printed out from Everyday Homemaking:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8055

"You can't change what you have or haven't done over the past year.
Just start where you are, ask the Lord to make you a "joyful mother of
children," pray for grace and wisdom (and strength and patience), and
move forward."

Just pray. All day.
------------------------------

Praying for you today,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator


More Bible curriculum and character training resources:

Bible Study Guide for All Ages--Age-integrated study for families or
small groups
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8056

Book by Book from Walk thru the Bible Ministries--Multi-sensory
approach to teaching the major themes of all 66 books of the Bible
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8057

Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmermam--Hands-on study of the
Jewish feasts, from a Christian perspective
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8058

Character Building for Families (Volumes I and II) by Lee Ann
Rubsam--Age-integrated, interactive, scriptural studies of character
qualities/spiritual fruit
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8059

Character Sketches from the Pages of Scripture, Illustrated in the
World of Nature, Vol I, II, and III (Institute for Basic Youth
Conflicts)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8060

Children's Inductive Bible Studies "Know and Grow" series--Inductive
Bible studies for children who can read on their own; primary through
middle school
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8061

Deeper Roots Publications Bible curriculum: Firm Foundations
(elementary), Discovering ... series (junior high),. God's Got Stuff
to Do...series for K-5th with a missions focus
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8062

Discover 4 Yourself series--Inductive Bible studies for elementary
through junior high; from Precept Ministries
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8063

Doorposts--Bible study and character training/devotional materials for
all ages, including Polished Cornerstones (for girls) and Plants Grown
Up (for boys)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8064

Explorers Bible Studies--Inductive studies for preschool through adult
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8065

A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin
Sampson--Comprehensive guide to Jewish holidays for Christian families
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8066

Family Tool Chest series from Heritage Builders--Hands-on, active
devotional guide for all ages
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8067

Fun Projects for Hands-On Character Building by Marilyn
Boyer--Practical ideas to immerse your child in a biblical worldview
and character training through his physical environment.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8068

Grapevine studies--Old Testament and New Testament overviews utilizing
stick-figure drawing; for kindergarten through high school (child
should be able to control a pencil)
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8069

Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History--Age-integrated study for all
ages
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8070

Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland--Classic devotional
guide to teaching young children about God; conversational style
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8071

Memlok / PC Memlok Bible Memory System--Uses word pictures on cards or
the computer to help memorize scripture; available in several
translations.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8072

Memory Books from Scripture Memory Fellowship--Scripture songs
(including reference), picture books; for preschool through adult
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8073

The Narrow Way Character Curriculum--Bible study and character
training curriculum for the whole family; 150 daily lessons
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8074

Our 24 Family Ways by Clay and Sally Clarkson--Devotional guide for
families.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8075

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter
Catechism by Starr Meade--Devotions based on the Westminster Shorter
Catechism. http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8076


A month of prayers for your children (and yourself!)--A 31-day chart
of character-focused prayers based on scripture (free download). Great
to print out for the refrigerator door.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=8077

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and foreign countries.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1106

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