Monthly Archives: March 2009
Though I know many of you are already following this, I wanted to be sure you are aware that John Holzmann has uploaded part two on his series of discussions on the homeschooling leadership summit that was held in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. Very insightful.
Continuing in my series of interviews on the educational philosophies of Raymond and Dorothy Moore, I am pleased to be welcoming their daughter, Kathie Kordenbrock, to my podcast. Beginning on April 3, Kathie will be sharing her own insights on her parents’ teachings, her experiences as a homeschooling mom, and how to implement the Moore Formula.
If you haven’t yet listened to the series of podcasts with Ellen Dana from the Moore Academy, I hope you will do so. Ellen was the right hand assistant to Dr. Raymond Moore during the early years when our rights as homeschoolers we being assured from state to state. Ellen’s expertise as a reading specialist as well as her own experiences being both homeschooled as a child and homeschooling her own children will be a blessing to anyone listening.
This week’s podcast features part four in my series on the Raymond and Dorothy Moore educational philosophies. On today’s podcast we discuss some of the history of the Moores’ involvement with homeschooling as well the work of the Moore Academy.
From the advertisement for the Homeschooling Leadership Summit:
“Another objective for the leadership summit will be the development of a Christian Education Manifesto statement. After 1000 years of a secular, Greek education model first taking the university, then later capturing K-12 childhood education, home educators are recovering the biblical discipleship paradigm. The 2009 Summit will include discussion on this Manifesto.”
Manifesto: “ A manifesto is a public declaration of the purpose, principles, or plan of action of a group or individual.”
Summit: “the highest point, part, or elevation; top or apex, the highest degree or state; acme; the highest level of officials; specif., in connection with diplomatic negotiations, the level restricted to heads of government a meeting at the summit; a conference at the summit.” (The advertisement for the Homeschooling Leadership Summit had the tall peak of a mountain as its logo.)
This document was passed on to me by John Holzmann and as I understand him, was handed out by Kevin Swanson at the end of the homeschooling leadership summit weekend with his apologies for not having done more work on it. He also referred to it as a “draft outline.” There was no organized discussion of it during the “summit” and Kevin asked for feedback to be sent to him.
A MANIFESTO FOR CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
The Basic Elements
The beginning of wisdom and knowledge in the education of our children is the fear of God.
All education assumes and presents a basic worldview, and Christian education is based on a biblical, God-centered worldview.
The primary purpose of education is to equip our children to live to the glory of God.
It is the family – not the state or the church – whom God has assigned the responsibility and attendant rights to educate their children.
Parents are the principal and primary instructors for their children.
The training in humility -and fear, faith and character is preeminent and inseparably integrated in the intellectual development of a child.
The Core Curriculum
The Word of God is the primary textbook for our children’s education.
Therefore, we affirm that education is discipleship, and Christian Education is Deuteronomy 6:7. 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, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
So, I am left confused and somewhat in awe of this. Any thoughts? My first one is that I think they NEEDED the moms!
“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” ~ Matthew 15:1-14
Seven years ago when our oldest homeschooled son graduated from law school, I searched for an appropriate gift, one that could convey the high calling and responsibility the Lord had placed upon him as both a Christian and an attorney. I had remembered seeing the wonderful painting “The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind” by Flemish painter Peter Bruegel the Elder and had a print of it made and framed for him.
Inspired by the passage in Matthew 15, Bruegel’s work rightly portrays the folly of putting your trust in a blind man, literally and figuratively.
These blind men were those who “taught as doctrine the commandments of men.” I cannot think of a more apropos passage of Scripture to describe what has been happening within the homeschooling community and at the hands of its self-appointed leadership.
For many years, there have been homeschooling moms who have been sounding a warning about these same leaders and have worked tirelessly to help homeschooling families out of the patriocentric ditch into which they have been lead. Kathryn Joyce, though she has gotten some things right, (a book review of Quiverfull will be posted here soon) still hasn’t quite grasped the impact of this movement on real homeschooling mothers who have not only fallen into the ditch but who are still trapped there.
This morning I am crying tears of joy that a well-respected man and publisher of Christian homeschooling curriculum has come forward to address these same concerns. Not only has John Holzmann from Sonlight done his research but he is bravely going where no other man has gone. He is an answer to many years of prayer on behalf of the homeschooling families who are either in the ditch or precariously near the edge.
Let’s continue to pray that his voice will be heard.
Spring is most certainly here. Not only have the daffodils started to bloom in central Illinois, but this week brings in the anticipation of our local homeschooling convention. Clay and I are playing it by ear this year, trying to work in our attendance around his really busy work schedule.
A year ago I thought about the good, bad, and ugly of homeschooling conventions and shared my words of warning here. I thought it would be a great idea to bring back those essays once again for those preparing to attend their local conventions.
In part one, I talked about the threat to our own sense of reality that might occur the minute you walk in the door of the convention center. In part two, I address the threat to a mom’s contentment that can come when an extra-biblical agenda for dad is promoted. And in part three, I talk about the threat that homeschooling conventions can become to your relationship with Jesus Christ and with others. I hope you will take the time to read through those articles.
Also, my friend Deanne has re-posted her good article about preparing for conventions that I think would be helpful to you. Deanne has spent years working tirelessly in our local APACHE group and has been such a source of blessing and encouragement to thousands of homeschooling families over the years.
“Exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13
Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream “Yeah, you can do it.”
When we think of exhortation, probably all of these characteristics come to mind. How important it is for mom to set the tone, give the orders, cheering both up close and from a distance, and to keep things running as per the rules. It is interesting that the word exhort in the Biblical sense embodies all of these tasks and I believe it is one of the most important acts that a mom must do on a daily basis, especially as we prepare our children for the future.
The Greek word for exhort is “parakaleo” and is found 16 times in the New Testament, the only word translated as such. It comes from two root words, “para” and “kaleo.” “Para” means close proximity, joined, alongside of and suggests encouraging both by strengthening and comforting. “Kaleo” which means “to call” is the same word used by Christ to call certain ones to be his disciples and also to invite people by the preaching of the Gospel. The word given to the Holy Spirit, “paraclete” means one who consoles, one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate (an attorney) and comes from the same root words.
As I have been thinking about the application of obeying the one anothering commands with our children, knowing that they are our own brothers and sister in Christ, I have thought of several ways we can exhort our children, coming alongside them and comforting and encouraging them. Here are a few of them:
1. We need to exhort our children, helping them understand that there is no such thing as a secular calling. All callings from the Lord are sacred, no matter what field of study or work they do. I love the story Os Guiness tells about his great great grandmother. Widowed at a young age and overwhelmed with her responsibilities of caring for little ones, she decided she was going to jump off of a bridge into the fast moving current of the river below. As she stood at the railing’s edge, she looked up and happened to see a farm boy plowing his field into meticulous rows, each one in perfect parallel to the one before. As she watched him, mesmerized by his work, it occurred to her that if this young man could take such care and pride in such a simple task, she could certainly do the same in the important job of raising her children. She left the bridge and eventually remarried a man who would later become the great great grandfather of Os Guiness. Though the farmer never knew it, his work was, indeed, a sacred act.
2. As parents, we are the first to recognize the natural gifts and abilities that the Lord has given to our children and our encouragement of those gifts can grow into a lifelong pursuit of study and learning. When our daughter was quite young, she became fascinated with the piano in my parent’s home. She would often make a beeline for the piano at church and pulled herself up on the piano bench to play. When she was old enough for piano lessons we bought a piano and from the very first days never had to remind her to practice. As her pieces became more difficult to learn, she would sometimes have weeks of discouragement when challenging passages challenged her to tears. My husband always seemed to recognize those times and would stop at a music store after work to bring home a new CD that he knew she would enjoy. Without fail, his small gesture of encouragement made all the difference to her and communicated in a very tangible way that he believed in her gifts.
3. We can exhort our children best when we learn their love languages and use them to comfort and inspire them. Coming alongside our children and spending lots of time with them, we learn to know which ways we can best express our love to them. The same is true when it comes to exhorting our children. Gary Chapman, in his famous Love Language books, describes the 5 ways we can communicate love to our kids: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. When we see an area of life where our children are struggling, discussing it with them and working through it alongside of them can be accompanied by their love language, making the impact of our efforts much more effective. Perhaps your son is struggling with the desire to be involved in sports but is also at an awkward stage of physical development. If his love language is receiving gifts, maybe a DVD the shows the special techniques used by his favorite professional athlete would encourage him. If he responds to physical touch, giving him a back rub as he shares his struggles with you conveys to him your comfort and care of him.
4. We must be careful to never superimpose our own desires and preferences for their callings in life on our children, instead trusting that the Lord has a very special plan for each child and that it doesn’t have to reflect or be the same as ours. One of the most insidious teachings that is coming out of the patriocentric movement within homeschooling circles today is Doug Phillips’ and Geoff Botkin’s 200 year plan. Rather than encouraging young people to seek the Lord and to fulfill God’s calling in their lives, young people are taught that they are created to fulfill their fathers’ callings, ones that are predetermined for them, presumably the very ones Geoff Botkin has outlined for them. In contrast to this, while I agree that God does call out and work through families, each of us is accountable before the Lord for fulfilling the callings God gives to us as individuals. Luke 12:48 exhorts us that “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Those of us who have been given the awesome responsibility of parenthood would do well to remember that much will be required of us as it will be of our children to whom this verse is also written.
5. We should exhort our children by word and deed that their callings are not for their own profit but are both for the good of their neighbor and for the glory of God. It is so tempting to glory in the successes of our homeschooled children. There are typically many in which to be proud and our children need to know that we ARE proud of them. But more importantly, they need to understand that God does not give them abilities and gifts nor does He call them into His service in order to benefit them personally. Their callings are to bring God alone glory and they are to bless others so that the testimonies of the Lord may be known. In his book The Call, Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, Os Guiness asks these questions: “Do you want the best and most wonderful gifts God has given you to decay, spent on your own self? Or do you want them to be set free to come into their own as you link your profoundest abilities with your neighbor’s need and the glory of God?” As parents, we should be asking those questions and coming alongside our children as they seek to answer them by God’s grace.
6. The sense of personal calling on the lives of our children will keep them going during those times of discouragement and difficulty that are certain to come to them and we would do well to prepare them for those times and to come alongside them during them. Early on our children must embrace the truth that God has no plan B for their lives, only a plan A, and that He is bringing that plan to pass in spite of our best efforts or worst mistakes. Sometimes our children sin miserably and, lost in our own grief and disappointment, we forget this truth ourselves. But it is during these very times that we need to fulfill the calling God gave to us as parents to comfort, exhort, admonish, strengthen, and encourage our children, affirming God’s forgiveness and watch care. I love reading the story of Jonah, of his refusal to obey the Lord, his recognition that he was in the belly of the fish, the biggest mess of his life, because of his disobedience and that it was God who placed him there. In the second chapter he cries out to the Lord for mercy and deliverance and then makes this profound statement: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” How well Jonah summed up the loss experienced by following other life plans than the one God has for each believer. If our children fail and try to run away from the Lord by sinning against God through disobedience, especially by following a call He has not placed on their lives, they need to know that God may use amazing and painful ways to bring them back to him. They need to understand that God is also a merciful and gracious God who is swift to forgive. We should do likewise.
“Oh Lord, being an exhorter of children is hard work and it is sometimes painful. It always requires diligence and perseverance. Mostly it requires Your grace. Today, please pour it out on me, in full measure. Amen.”
This week’s podcast features Ellen Dana from the Moore Academy in part three of my series on the educational philosophies of Raymond and Dorothy Moore. This week Ellen and I discuss some of the concerns Dr. Moore had about the exclusivity homeschoolers practice in regards to both those in government schools and other homeschoolers who have differing convictions.
This week, as I have studied through the book of 2 Timothy, I have been considering the difference between instruction and exhortation. Paul, as the older, spiritual father to Timothy, has many words of wisdom for the younger man and shares his concerns, admonitions, and warnings. In some instances he states directly what he expects Timothy to do. In other verses he encourages Timothy to make wise decisions that come from an inward depth of character as he goes about fulfilling his role as the young pastor.
As I have looked at this passage of Scripture, I believe Paul’s relationship with Timothy and his methods of mentoring are a good example for parenting as we seek to exhort and instruct our own children. I also think that one of the secrets of parenting our children by grace is to understand the difference between the two, particularly as we help them embrace their purpose in life as well as the individual callings the Lord gives to them.
From the very earliest days of toddlerhood, we must instill in our children the truth that they are created for one purpose alone, to bring glory to God. The children’s catechism states so sweetly “Who made you? God made me. What else did God make? God made me and all things. Why did God make you and all things? For His own glory.” These words should be on the lips of little ones early and often. (Baptist catechism and Presbyterian catechism)
As our children become older and their understanding of God grows, it is our job to show them, both in word and in deed, what this means. We read to them Psalm 139, showing them how perfectly and mysteriously they were knit together in the womb, reminding them that God created them in his image (Genesis 1) and were chosen to be His before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1)
We take them through the pages of the Old Testament, introducing them to the heroes of the faith who were committed to bringing glory to God, not omitting their failures but rather instructing our children in God’s grace and mercy. And as we do this, how important it is to share with them our own failures and struggles along our own faith journey.
As we spend time with them reading the Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament, we can begin to lead them into a deeper understanding of discipleship and what it means for them to love God and their neighbors, how their choices in life will reflects their one purpose of glorifying God.
Our curriculum for this is Isaiah 46: 9-10; “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” and Psalm 33:10- 11: “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Our children can have the sure promise that God will accomplish that purpose.”
In commenting on a child’s purpose in life, author Tim Kimmel reminds parents that their children have only two choices, to follow Christ or not, to be Christians or not. Because they are spiritual by nature, being created in God’s image, they will seek to serve someone or something. Here are his thoughts:
“ Children are spiritual…Yet some parents, through their ignorance or denial of its existence, (or thatmom adds, through bad theology or following manmade teachings) leave their children starved, illiterate, and unhealthy when it comes to spiritual matters. “Bob Dylan summed up this point in a song he wrote:
“You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
“We’ve got to make sure we get Dylan’s point. Your children have two choices and only two choices….Neutrality is not an option. No one is the captain of his or her own fate.” (Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting)
Instructing your children that their purpose is to spend their lives glorifying God is the first half of two sides of the coin. Tomorrow I will talk about the other side, that of exhorting our children as they discover their individual callings from the Lord.
Here is a delicious bread that is good for breakfast, as dessert, or for tea, which is how we will be enjoying it now that my new order from Stash Tea has arrived. I was nearly out of Lady Londonderry so when I placed my order, I decided to try a couple other new types. At the recommendation of my British friend, Sophie, we have brewed PG Tips and I also thought it would be fun to experiment with an apple flavored variety, which my mom really likes.
Spiced Apple Raisin Walnut Bread
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup milk warmed and with 1 tsp. lemon juice added afterward (can use buttermilk but I never have it on hand)
1 TBS. vanilla
1 cup softened butter
1 ½ cup white sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups peeled and chopped apple
1 cup raisins
1 cup broken walnuts
1 TBS powdered sugar if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom, sidesw, and center tube of a tube pan. Lightly dust pan with additional flour, shaking out the excess. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In mixture, cream butter with sugar and add eggs one at a time. Mix in dry ingredients and soured milk. Stir in apples, raisins, and walnuts. With spatula, pour into prepared pan , smoothing until even. Bake for about 80 minutes, covering with foil if your oven runs hot. Test with chop stick or knife and remove when done. Allow to cool on rack for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool completely; dust with powdered sugar. Can also drizzle with powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla icing. Makes 12-15 slices. Freezes well.