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    by Mike McHugh

One of the oldest and most basic activities of man is gardening. Adam was, after all, directed by God to till the ground or tend the garden as part of his duty to exercise dominion (stewardship) over the created order. Many years have passed since the days of Adam and Eve, and yet, it is good to remember that human beings still have the duty and privilege to fulfill the creation mandate to subdue the earth and exercise dominion over it. Christian home school parents, therefore, would do well to make the effort to incorporate the task of gardening/basic horticulture into their educational…  ( Click for more )

As a homeschool dad, I have long enjoyed the hobby of collecting old schoolbooks from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was in the late 1980’s, shortly after my wife and I had begun to educate our first child at home, that my interest in older school texts began to blossom. What a thrill it was to set out on trips to dusty used bookstores and antique shops in search of buried academic treasure. More often than not in these early days of treasure hunting for old books, I was able to buy beautifully illustrated, hardbound books for only a few dollars.

What…  ( Click for more )

One of the key things that Christian home educators have in common is the desire to raise godly children who will be future leaders. In spite of this common goal, however, it is unlikely that most home school parents will invest much time trying to teach their children leadership principles. Teaching leadership principles from a biblical perspective is one of those activities that most parents think about from time-to-time (especially if they have sons) but seldom get around to doing in any deliberate manner.

The good news for any parent who is willing to make a more concerted…  ( Click for more )

June 1, 2006

The Bible, in passages such as Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 6, and Ephesians 6, exhorts fathers to become directly involved in the instruction of their children. Many parents who become personally engaged in the education of their children through home schooling are at least somewhat familiar with this exhortation to fathers. In spite of this fact, however, it is rare to find a home school family where the father spends more than a few minutes each week giving personal instruction to his youngsters. For this reason, most of the actual teaching that home school students receive is from…  ( Click for more )

Once upon a time, the two primary textbooks that were available to teachers in the United States were The Blue-Backed Speller authored by Noah Webster and the Bible. A few teachers also had copies of the first textbook that was printed in North America, entitled The New England Primer. Needless to say, a great deal has changed over the years! Now there are textbooks for teaching everything from arithmetic to geography; from art to zoology. The question for most teachers is no longer so much what to teach but rather how to teach a particular course of study effectively. The following…  ( Click for more )

One of the most frequent criticisms of home education is that it undermines a child’s social development by removing him from regular contact with other youngsters. This well- worn criticism is driven by the belief that children require extensive interaction with their peers before they can develop into well adjusted adults. The fact that most home educated children have periods each week in which they are in relative solitude is, therefore, assumed to be detrimental to their social development. But is this assumption supported by the facts of human history? More importantly,…  ( Click for more )

Home school parents have many responsibilities confronting them in the race to prepare their children both academically and spiritually for service within Christ’s kingdom. What a growing number of home educators are realizing, however, is that their task is ultimately like a type of relay race as they work toward the goal of someday handing off their children to godly marriage partners. Even home schoolers, therefore, are not spared from this paradox of parenting in that they are working hard to train and nurture their beloved children precisely so they can give them away. …  ( Click for more )

May 4, 2006

It was Jesus who stated in Matthew 22: 37, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." Have you ever thought about how the command to love God with all of your mind applies to your life and that of your children?

The Word of God makes it plain that whatsoever we do as God’s people must be done to and for God’s glory. When Christians enter into an educational pursuit of any kind, they must recognize that this exercise is both intellectual and spiritual. To elevate any subject or study to the point where it…  ( Click for more )

Home school instructors would do well to keep the following principles in mind as they approach the teaching process. Contrary to the view of some within the home school movement, even teachers at home must follow certain time-tested teaching rules. Ten key principles of learning are listed below. All students are created by God with the capacity to learn. Although abilities vary among students, and some may have more aptitude in one subject than another, every child should be challenged to reach his or her maximum potential. The surest way for any student to fail to reach his…  ( Click for more )

Over two thousand years before the birth of Christ, the word of God came to a man named Noah warning him of impending judgment and directing him to prepare an ark for the saving of his household. The Scriptures teach us that Noah, being warned of things to come, moved with fear and began to do what God had commanded even though the task was enormous and positively embarrassing.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Noah to receive the command to build an ark in the middle of a region where it had never rained? Noah obviously knew that the job of building a huge vessel…  ( Click for more )

The following suggestions can help to make the task of home education more effective and rewarding for parents. Some of these suggestions may need to be modified or adapted to the particular needs of each home school. These ideas are not listed in order of their importance.

Suggestion #1: Before you start your school day with prayer and devotions, take a few minutes to open a window and do several deep-breathing and stretching exercises in front of it with your children. This practice will air out the study area and help to ensure that everyone will be wide awake at the opening…  ( Click for more )

As the human race moves deeper into the twenty-first century, it often appears to be in a headlong pursuit to destroy itself as fast as possible. The love of many has grown cold, as families and communities struggle just to survive in the wake of fractured relationships and increasing violence. Could it be that modern Americans, with all of their sophistication and high-tech gadgets, have lost the ability to relate to each other on a personal level? If the answer to this question is yes, then it is proper to also ask, “What can be done to bring families and communities together…  ( Click for more )

March 30, 2006

How easy it is to undervalue the blessings of being able to live in a civilized society where people hold to the Golden Rule, and where the words “please” and “thank you” are commonly heard. Unless you were born in a foreign country that was devoid of Christian culture, or at least visited such a place for an extended period, you most likely take civil tranquility for granted and seldom think of its origin. The changing face of modern culture, however, with its growing lack of civility demands that we all remember that the true foundation of any polite society…  ( Click for more )

The basic needs of a Christian home do not change simply because a family chooses to home school. In fact, anyone who has home schooled his children can testify to the fact that the extra pressures that come along with the commitment of home education make it all the more critical that the foundational needs of the home be properly addressed.

If you are home schooling now, or thinking of doing so in the future, you may well be asking, “What are the fundamental things that our home needs to prosper?” The list that follows, along with the accompanying Scripture proofs,…  ( Click for more )

The best reason for parents to choose home education is because they are convicted that God’s Word and Spirit directed them to this educational alternative. Notwithstanding this fact, however, there are multiple reasons for parents to home school due to its many benefits. The following information will help to summarize some of the chief advantages of Christian home education.

1. Parents know exactly what a child is taught

When a seventh-grader began to be privately tutored in math, the mother complained that the child had been doing poorly since fourth grade.…  ( Click for more )

In the Gospel of John, chapter fifteen, Jesus made the following statement in verses one and two, "I am the true Vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

The Scripture passage listed above should be of encouragement to Christian parents who are taking the time to discipline or “purge” their children so that they will bring forth fruits fit for the Master. In the daily grind of correcting and chastening children, however,…  ( Click for more )

March 2, 2006

Martin Broadview, homeward bound from the cleaners on a Saturday morning, paused in his walk beside the white picket fence of his neighbor, Peter Sharp. Martin’s glance had hurdled the pickets and swept across the leaf-littered flower beds to light on the bent back of Peter, busy digging up his dahlia and gladiola bulbs for winter storage.

“Good morning, Peter,” he called. “Keeping your green thumb in condition?”

“Hello, Martin,” came the quick response. “No, it’s a brown thumb this time. To paraphrase the poet, the…  ( Click for more )

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