I love email exchanges…the following response is quite helpful for any and all parents, anywhere. My mom did a great job in responding, but she wanted to add that it is an email and not a blog post. Enjoy!
I found your site when I was looking for resources on “Truth” and “Tolerance”. I’m assembling a CD for the high school group at our church covering truth, the reliability of the Bible, etc.
I happened to check just one of your “Awsome Agents” – “Rhetorical Response”
and found that not only you are still in high school, but Karen is as well.
My wife and I have three sons ages 11, 7, and 4. It could be because I work at a public high school, but I am amazed at the maturity both you and Karen show in the capability of your writing and the topics you both cover. One of the impressive aspects of you both is that while you both write so capably on worldview topics, I would guess that most of the high school students I see every day haven’t even heard of the word “worldview”.
Unfortunately, my wife and I are unable to homeschool our sons currently.
Considering this, can you recommend materials and/or an instruction path we can take our sons on that will help start them on the road to the capability that both you and Karen demonstrate so well.
Thank you and God bless you for your site, your writings, and for a future that will be impacted by you, Karen, and others like you both.
This is Tim’s mom. He appreciated your encouragement! He asked me to help respond to your questions.
I will tell you some of the things “we” have done, but the older our children get, the more we are conscious that all of the work & fruit are truly by God’s grace & power alone. Tim is 16 & the oldest of 5 children. The others are getting ready to have birthdays and will be 14-year-old boy, 12-year-old boy, 10-year-old girl, and a 6-year-old boy. We have found (and have observed from others) that mature, responsible young adults are the result of work done when they are toddlers, preschoolers, and “grade school” age.
Number one on our list has been to keep our children immersed in God’s Word. Until recently, we have not spent time specifically discussing “worldview.” We have focused on simply knowing & understanding the truth! As opportunities arise, we talk about how the truth of God’s Word applies to the situation…what God’s perspective is based on Biblical revelation. It is our desire to set biblical standards for our children, even if those standards seem unreasonable or unreachable to the world. Apart from Christ, His grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit, biblical standards are impossible. Knowing this helps us to focus daily on our need for the Gospel.
We have studied the Bible at home, at church, and in additional studies. We have used a wide variety of material to help us in family devotions & Bible study for school. In all of our studies, we have taken the opportunity to connect God’s Word to daily life. We are kind to others, not just because it is a nice thing to do, but because each person is made in the image of God. We treat them according to the value God has placed on them. We pick up our toys & belongings in our house out of respect for others, but also because we recognize that everything we have has been given to us by God and He has given us stewardship responsibility. We have memorized Scripture, prayed together in a variety of ways, sung hymns and worship songs together, acted stories out, etc.
A Bible study that has played a prominent role in our family is Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Our children began attending in 1st grade. This study uses the Bible itself as the textbook, and the children and adults are studying the same lessons. They have daily questions to answer, and then a group discussion and lesson that helps them with application. Along the way, they also learn how to do homiletics. We attribute much of our children’s Bible knowledge and ability to apply it to their BSF studies.
When our children are young we also focus quite a bit on studying character qualities. We also read biographies of Christian heroes that help us to see how God has worked in history and in various cultures. In our schooling, we examine God’s perspective on every subject. When our children are able to read by themselves, we begin helping them to have their own personal quiet time.
As parents, for our little ones (other than them having their needs met & feeling loved & secure which should be obvious)our goals are to instill obedience, submission to boundaries, and self-control. Those qualities pave the way for them to be willing to receive God’s instruction through us and other teachers, and for them to have the ability to stop & evaluate a decision before proceeding, hopefully choosing the way of wisdom. As they continue to grow, we continue to fill them with the knowledge of God and practical application of that knowledge. We transition to asking them questions and helping them draw conclusions rather than us always giving them the answers. I believe this is one of the elements parents miss. At the wrong seasons of our children’s lives, we fall into lecture mode instead of guiding them to think through things for themselves. Maturity is built when they learn to think biblically and take ownership of their beliefs.
We give our children chores, etc. to help them develop responsibility. We tend to avoid the passing fads & obsessions of the world. When our sons have turned 13, my husband asked men of the church to write them letters giving them advice on becoming Godly men. At that time we also have begun helping them to acquire a personal library of resources that will be profitable throughout their lives. We’ve given them books such as Bible study reference tools, books on apologetics, books on theology, classic Christian works, etc. Around this time is when Tim started making the jump into communicating the truth of God’s Word and a biblical worldview. I think the world in general expects the teen years to be years that are basically wasted, survived, or spent on earthly pleasures. We do not buy into that philosophy, because we do not see it as biblical.
We are fully aware of the potential pitfalls for young men, but these are some of the standards we hold:
1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[a]
1 John 2:14 I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
Psalm 144:12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
Psalm 71:5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”-
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Titus 2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
I am sure this is more than you wanted or needed. Here are some resources we have particularly liked. We don’t necessarily agree with everything in each book, but they all have been helpful.
Blessings to you & your family,
Agent Tim’s Mom
(Book list following)
* Big Thoughts for Little People (Taylor)
* The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes (Taylor)
* Big Truths for Little Kids (Hunt)–we don’t actually own this, but I’ve heard great things about it. It might be on my list for my 6-year-old God’s Wisdom for Little Boys (George)
* A Child’s Book of Character Building I&II (Coriell)
* What Would Jesus Do? (Mack)
* A Hive of Busy Bees (Williams)
* Wisdom & The Millers & other Miller books(Martin)–Amish perspective, we made some adjustments Leading Little Ones to God (Schoolland)
* Day by Day Bible for Kids & Day by Day Devotional (Henley)
* One Year Book of Devotions for Kids Hero Tales (Jackson)
* Searching for Treasure (Elwell)
* Family Night Tool Chest (Weidmann)
* The Original 21 Rules of This House (Harris)
* How to Study the Bible for Kids (Arthur) & other Discover 4 Yourself studies Trailblazer biographies (Jackson)
* Christian Heroes Then & Now biographies (YWAM, Benge)
* A Faith to Grow On (MacArthur)
* Know What You Believe (Little) Know Why You Believe (Little)
* Training Hearts, Teaching Minds (Meade)
* Boyhood and Beyond (Schultz)
* Growing Up Christian (Graustein, Jacobsen)
* Parenting Today’s Adolescent (Rainey)
* Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tripp)
* Don’t Make Me Count to Three (Plowman)
* For Instruction in Righteousness (Forster)
* Proverbs for Parenting (Decker)
* Changed Into His Image, Student Edition (Berg)
* Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (McDowell)
* Praying the Scriptures for your Children (Berndt)
* Plants Grown Up (Forster)
* What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (Martin)
* Parenting with Scripture (Durbin)
* Foundations of the Christian Faith (Boice)
* Don’t Waste Your Life (Piper)
* Humility: True Greatness (Mahaney)
* No Place for Truth (Wells)
* Spurgeon Gold (Comfort)
* The Cross Centered Life (Mahaney)
* Who Made God (Zacharias & Geisler)
* Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Sproul)
* Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single Income Family (Maxwell) Future Men (Wilson)
* How to Bring Your Children to Christ and Keep Them There (Comfort)
* “The Case for Kids” by Paul & David Tripp from Shepherd Press.
* “Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expecations” by Grant Layman from Covenant Life Church (available at Sovereign Grace Ministries)