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Homeschool Helps

    by Mike McHugh

As a home school parent caught up in the daily tasks of life, it is not often that I consider the question “What is my child’s greatest need?” More often than I would like to admit, my efforts on behalf of my children would seem to suggest that their primary need is to be equipped to succeed in the world. Modern child psychologists would often be quick to insist that the ultimate need of a child is to learn how to be happy by learning how to love himself. The topic of sin and its remedy is commonly regarded by these so-called experts as both unnecessary and detrimental…  ( Click for more )

In Psalm 51:10, David the psalmist prayed: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

This prayer was formed as God the Holy Spirit directed David to pray for a right spirit or attitude of heart to be restored to him, in the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba. David was given the spiritual insight to recognize that when his desires or attitudes are outside of God’s will, then it is certain that his spirit needed revival and reformation. In other words, David saw that if he wanted to do God’s will, then he must also walk…  ( Click for more )

Since biblical times, Hebrew culture has placed a great deal of significance upon the point in a young boy’s life when he transitions from youth to manhood. In addition to a variety of ceremonies and parties that are held to recognize this passage or milestone in a young mans life, older men or elders from the community are often asked to provide a special challenge to those who are on the verge of manhood. Such challenges or exhortations are commonly aimed at equipping young adults with the biblical and practical wisdom that they will need to escape the trails and temptations…  ( Click for more )

Nearly half of the states within the U.S. require home school students to pass standardized achievement tests each year. These testing laws were enacted several years ago by those legislators who bought into the notion that such testing was the least intrusive way for the state to monitor home taught children to ensure that they were receiving an education that was comparable to students in the public schools. Sadly, this logic is being accepted by a growing number of home educators and home school associations across the United States who are weary of haggling with state school officials…  ( Click for more )

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to read most handwritten notes or letters these days? Perhaps due to the advancing computer age in which we live, many teachers or parent educators simply do not spend sufficient time cultivating their student’s handwriting skills. In the days before laptop computers, e-mail, and mobile printers it was commonly understood that handwriting prowess was of great importance and, in fact, was one of the marks of a well-educated person. Although technology has somewhat diminished the role of penmanship, the fact still remains that quality handwriting…  ( Click for more )

There is no doubt about it. Unschooling is staking out territory in the homeschooling landscape. Homeschool magazines feature articles on unschooling and a Google search will yield plenty of reading material on the subject. In light of this development, it is worth asking, “Where does unschooling fit in the future of Christian home education?”

A colleague recently drew my attention to the current unschooling buzz when he showed me Nancy Carter’s article, Unschooling—Education Outside the Box in the Spring 2006 issue of The Old Schoolhouse (p. 80). I had…  ( Click for more )

One of the often overlooked blessings of home education is that students are free to stay engaged in the process of learning all through the day. Too often in traditional schools, young minds must endure extended periods in which there is little or nothing to do because the pace of learning is regimented to suit the needs of the class rather than the individual. Not surprisingly, students who are bored during the school day are more prone to discipline problems, for as the old saying goes, “Idle hands (or an idle mind) are the devil’s workshop.”

The God of creation…  ( Click for more )

One of the most frequently quoted portions of Holy Scripture among Christian home educators is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In these verses, the Lord gives a clear command for parents to diligently teach their children the whole of God’s precepts and commandments throughout the course of each day. In particular, verses six and seven state: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down,…  ( Click for more )

Graduates, parents, family, friends, and fellow staff members, it is an honor to deliver the 2007 Christian Liberty Academy commencement address to the class of 2007,2011. Let me begin by extending my congratulations to the parents here today. Thank you again for entrusting your son or daughter to us for a season. Congratulations also to each student! We praise the Lord for your work and achievement, and thank the Lord for your willingness to receive our instruction. Congratulations as well to the other family members and friends in the audience. Thank you for being here to support…  ( Click for more )

In addition to all those radio and cell phone signals, the air is filled these days with acronyms describing the myriad subtle variations of learning problems. They include LD (learning disabled), ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), and others. They should probably add TMS (tired mom syndrome). Is that faint applause I hear out there?

Of course, labeling an apparent learning problem does not accomplish much toward its remediation. One must take concrete steps to alter the learning environment and/or the attitude of the learner, in order…  ( Click for more )

The task of home education presents some unique challenges to parents who are involved in the teaching process. Perhaps the most difficult part of the routine of many home educators, is the daily struggle to try to be all things to everyone who is in need. Parent educators, by the very nature of their calling, must multi-task on a regular basis for when the school bell rings there is no way for them to shut themselves off from all so-called distractions.

Parent teachers can’t help the fact that during the school day babies still cry, phones ring, laundry smells, and sometimes…  ( Click for more )

May 17, 2007

My brother-in-law, Dave, and I are teachers. He once told me of an interview he had with a school superintendent. The superintendent asked him what he taught. Not recognizing the philosophical trap being set for him, he responded immediately, "Science." The superintendent repeated the question. Thinking that the superintendent had simply not heard his first answer, Dave came back again with, "Science." When the superintendent asked the question the third time, Dave finally recognized what was being required of him and responded, "Children."

That interview took place perhaps…  ( Click for more )

“…Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

“That’s it! I quit!” Precious few home educators have not made these kind of remarks, or at least had these type of thoughts, during the course of their home school endeavors. Most home school parents come to realize all too quickly that it is much easier to begin home education than to finish it well. For the Christian home educator, the ability to persevere in a noble cause must ultimately be seen as a gift from…  ( Click for more )

One of the most familiar passages in all of Scripture comes from the book of Joshua, chapter 24, and verse 15. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

How strange these words of Joshua must seem to many in the Christian church today whose only conception of the body of Christ is a bunch of individuals coming together for worship…  ( Click for more )

The seed of the best patriotism is in the love that a man has for the home he inhabits, for the soil and trees he cultivates, and for the precious family members who greet him on his doorstep. The love of home is rooted in the soul of man by the creator God who fashioned the human heart.

This love has the power to blur the eyes of the dying soldier with the vision of an old homestead amid green fields and clustering trees. The memory of home follows the busy man through the clamoring world, and at last draws his tired feet from the highway and leads him through shady lanes and…  ( Click for more )

As president of a large legal office, college, and corporation I have responsibility for about fifty employees. As I interview potential workers, I have found that there are four qualities which are becoming increasingly scarce. The remarks that follow are designed to encourage teenagers to prepare themselves for the time when they will be called into the work force. This information is also aimed at parents, with the hope that they will teach these precepts to their children with great diligence. Respect For Authority Employers want workers who will respect the…  ( Click for more )

Few home educators would deny that students need to be evaluated on at least an occasional basis to determine whether they are making adequate progress. The reality, however, is that students in a home school environment, just like children in traditional schools, seldom get evaluated in anything other than their academic development. It is as if the average home school parent believes that the only goal in a child’s training that matters is academic prowess. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. In addition to basic academic skill assessment, students should…  ( Click for more )

The first Psalm states the following in verse one, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” This verse instructs us that the pathway of blessing involves a commitment to holiness – a deliberate attempt to remain separated from anything that is not in harmony with the standards of God’s Word. Sadly, judging by the moral condition of America’s youth in the twenty-first century, it would appear that a significant number of Christian parents in the United…  ( Click for more )

February 22, 2007

Many educational institutions throughout the world claim to be non-religious or secular? Is this possible? The American College Dictionary defines a religion as a “quest for the values of the ideal life, involving three phases: the ideal, the practices for attaining the values of the ideal, and the theology or world view relating the quest to the environing universe.” Religion does not necessarily include a belief in God. Teaching is religious if it prescribes values, practices, and a world-view. In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized this fact in its official statement…  ( Click for more )

Christian home school parents are often preoccupied with the noble duty of training their children to have godly dominion in the world. Such parents commonly make great sacrifices on behalf of their children involving tremendous commitments of time, energy, and money. It is common to see Christian home educators spending time on everything from sewing and math classes, to computer clubs. No expense is spared as these parents accumulate mountains of first rate texts, videos, encyclopedias, and science equipment while setting aside a special sum for their student’s college fund.…  ( Click for more )

As students move past the primary grades and begin their elementary level studies, they will greatly benefit from a series of lessons on the fundamentals of geography. This is no less true for children who attend school at home. Parent educators should take the effort to sit down with their young children and make sure that they have a firm grasp of the basics of geography. The information that follows is designed to give home educators a series of key questions and globe exercises that they can share with their students in an effort to ensure that they are properly grounded in their…  ( Click for more )

It is easy for educators to assume that the way they frame questions for their students during the learning process is of little importance. After all, one question is about as good as another if the student or students truly know the lesson material, right? Wrong! One of the surest ways for teachers to discourage young scholars is by presenting them with vague questions that can have any number of possible answers. Even parent educators are not immune from this potential problem, and in fact may be more prone to pose frustrating questions to their children, out of a belief that their…  ( Click for more )

The following comments and recommendations will help parent educators to improve their effectiveness in the teaching process. The primary purpose for most of these observations or suggestions is to help teachers identify how their routine instructional methods can be improved. The best teachers are those that have students who are daily growing more and more capable of pursuing their studies independently, and whose pupils exhibit an irresistible desire to know more. Make good use of the power of praise when a student excels, but do so sparingly or such recognition…  ( Click for more )

January 18, 2007

The book of Proverbs states in chapter twenty-nine, verse fifteen, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” It may also safely be said that a child left to himself will bring a home school endeavor to shame and ultimate ruin. Contrary to the priorities of some home educators, God emphasizes the importance of developing households where children are submissive to righteous parental authority. The Word of God clearly informs parents of the truth that foolishness is bound up in the heart of every child and, therefore, it is incumbent upon mothers and fathers…  ( Click for more )

National studies have revealed that in spite of our nation’s preoccupation with and commitment to raising educational standards, the United States has over twenty-five million adults who are "functionally illiterate." Various educational authorities from differing backgrounds have also concluded that America is a nation at risk because we are rapidly becoming incapable of competing economically with other industrial nations due to the fact that our work force is grossly undereducated.

Most of the efforts currently under way in our nation to combat the plague of educational…  ( Click for more )

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