My wife and oldest son enjoy gardening. For the past few years they have dedicated a corner of our backyard to growing tomatoes, zucchini, peas, sunflowers, and a few other things. It’s a small garden project, but one that brings them much pleasure.

They started a compost pile and get excited to see the black soil formed from their efforts. My wife had a friend from church over for a composting party. They turned the compost, filtered the soil, and prepared the garden area. I didn’t know such “parties” existed. But they seemed delighted.

Today I was looking for Calvin inside the house. I didn’t find him, so I looked in the yard. He wasn’t in sight. I called out for him and he answered from around the corner of the house. He was in the garden.

“What are you doing? Oh, I see. You’re weeding.”

He nodded.

“It’s a lot of work, isn’t it?”

He nodded again.

“Tell me what you are growing here,” I said.

My son proceeded to tell me about the different varieties of tomatoes and other plants he was raising. I saw a sign for lettuce but nothing had sprouted there.

“The slugs ate the lettuce,” he told me.

I don’t know much about gardening but I’m happy my son and wife enjoy it. I like to listen as they discuss what to plant and where to plant it. They are happy when a plant does well. And I am happy when they are happy.

Although I don’t know how to plant a pumpkin, I do know it’s important to plant things. One of the things I want to plant is not something which gets put into the soil in a garden. I want to plant convictions into my children.

I suppose there is an analogy to gardening which might work. In order to plant conviction successfully, one needs to consider many factors.

First, what is the condition of the soil. Before attempting to form convictions in my children, it’s necessary for the soil of their souls to be prepared. Salvation, regeneration, the new birth, this is the first and most important factor. My children are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2) until the Lord works by His Spirit to give them life. Once they have this life, they will be able to hear and understand Biblical teaching leading to proper convictions in a way they could not prior to salvation. My first priority in the formation of convictions is to proclaim the Gospel, to tell them of their need of a Savior, to press upon them the necessity of coming to Christ.

Second, water, sun, and food are important. Plants need food and water and so do the souls of my children. Photosynthesis takes place inside plants and turns light energy into chemical energy. Without water, and without sunlight, plants will die. My children, made alive in Christ, will shrivel inside if not constantly fed from the Word (I Peter 2:2). God has promised to sanctify those who belong to Him. In this work, He uses a variety of means.. One of the things God uses to cause young people to grow and mature is the instruction of parents. It’s my job to give them water from the work, to feed them daily from Scripture, and to put them in the path of life giving light. The light they need is light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (I Corinthians 4:1-6).

Third, planting isn’t enough. Gardens take maintenance and continuous weed management. The work isn’t done when my children profess faith and I’ve taught them a few things from God’s Word. There will always be work to do, things to teach, prayers to pray.

The analogy breaks down at some point. Gardens die and are replanted, but not children. They continue to grow spiritually. They will continue to need God’s Word, our advice, and our prayers as long as they live on earth. The Apostle Paul preached in order to present everyone mature in Christ. For this same purpose I desire to plant Biblical convictions in my children.

Our oldest child was still an infant as we walked the aisles of the department store that day. My wife pointed to some adorable girls’ dresses. I don’t recall if they were Christmas dresses or Easter dresses, but they were cute.

My little girl was certain to grow up and fit into one of those dresses, but I didn’t want to believe it. I denied the inevitable and told my wife, “She’ll never be that big, so we don’t need to look at those dresses.”

Those words have become a joke between my wife and I. When one of our children grows and does something new, we look at each other and say, “She’ll never be that big.”


But she is that big. She’s graduating this year. By the time you read this article her years of homeschooling will be complete. She’ll be finished with the academic courses we’ve outlined for her and ready for the next phase of life.

Long ago we said goodbye to the infant, and hello to the toddler. Then, we said goodbye to the toddler, and hello to the young girl. After that, we said goodbye to the young girl and hello to the young woman. Now we say goodbye to the high school student and hello to the high school graduate.

Our oldest is graduating and our youngest is still 3 years old. Many of you can relate to this. We’ve got a long road ahead of us in our homeschooling journey. A long, wearisome, frustrating, joyous, memory-filled, glorious road.

Homeschooling isn’t easy. The daily grind falls on the moms, but dads also feel the burden. Even when I’m not involved in the daily lesson planning and teaching, I seek to raise children who are prepared for the world outside our own doors. It’s a big responsibility and it can start to worry me.

Have I done all I can do to prepare my children? Is my graduate ready for the temptations she will face? Is she strong in the Lord? Did I fulfill my duty to raise her in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

Lydia senior

In these moments I ask where the time went. One day I walked department store aisle with her in my arms, the next day I watched her walk down the aisle at graduation rehearsal. I didn’t get everything right in the days between those dates, but I can rest assured that the most important thing was accomplished. I proclaimed Christ to my child and she confessed Him as Lord.

Time races by; the inevitable happened. She grew and eventually wore some of those cute toddler dresses. Then she grew some more, and then some more. But sometimes, when I’m with her, a picture jumps into my mind’s eye. In the picture I’m holding a little girl and saying, “She’ll never be that big.”

In my last post I shared the importance of staying connected to God while homeschooling. He is our source of life, fruit, peace, hope, and strength. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. If you missed part one of this series, click here. Today, I will be focusing on staying connected to the church, or the body of believers. As homeschoolers, we spend a good majority of our days isolated in our homes. While we get quality time with our family, we can’t neglect staying connected to the extended body of believers. It’s not just a good idea, it’s an exhortation!

Staying Connected to the Church Body, an Exhortation

The author of Hebrews exhorts, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Staying connected to fellow believers in your local church can be vital to your relationship with the Lord and to the teaching of your children. None of us is at our best when we are separated from the body. Being connected can help override your feelings of being isolated and lonely as you commit to educating your kids at home. It can bring encouragement and refreshment that we all need, including prayer support. And, you have a role to play in the body too, encouraging other believers as they endeavor to follow Jesus in their lives.

It Takes Time and Effort

While none of us has “extra” time in our days, make an effort to carve out time as a family to be involved in your local church. You won’t be disappointed! And I don’t mean just showing up on Sundays to a worship service. While that is important, don’t stop there. I have personally seen the difference in our lives when we are truly connected to the body of Christ in our local church rather than when we are just church attenders.

As I have shared a little before, when we first decided to home school our kids, we were well connected to our church body – we were a part of a life group that had been meeting for many years, actively involved in ministry, and I was in a mid-week Bible study. Our church truly felt like our extended family. We shared life’s joys and hardships, meals, kids’ clothing, prayer requests, and just life. Then we moved 400 miles away to an area in which we knew no one in the local area. And it was just a few weeks before school started.

We easily found a church we enjoyed. But, we quickly realized that getting truly connected takes time, stepping out of your comfort zone, and a good deal of effort. Getting connected was not easy. During our first several months in our new area, we were left feeling alone. It made us realize the importance of being truly connected to a church body. And then 9 months later, we moved 100 miles further away, again!

Three Ways to Get and Stay Connected

Because of our various moves, I was forced to take a look at how to get connected to a local body and the importance of staying connected. That which I may have taken for granted before, became a life-source that I realized I needed to pursue.

Small Group Community

While joining a small group at your church may seem like just one more thing to add to your already full calendar (believe me, I have felt this way before!), it can really be so valuable. Look at the early church in Acts 2. Believers met together, broke bread, prayed, and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. They truly shared life with each other. Having your family connected with other families at your church:

  • takes away feelings of isolation
  • provides a sense of community within your local church
  • enables your kids to feel more connected
  • models for your kids that you value getting into the Word with other believers
  • offers a safe community that can support and love you through life’s ups and downs, and
  • gives a space to pray for and encourage other believers, fulfilling your role as a member of the body of Christ

Look for a small group that has child care or allows kids to be included. It can be hard with little ones, I know! Be flexible and find one that works for you, even if it means your kids have to stay up past their regular bedtime. It’s worth the crankiness the next day! You never know, you may form friendships that last a lifetime.


Over my 20 plus years of following Jesus, probably the number one way that I have gone deeper with other believers is serving alongside them. There is just something special about doing ministry with other believers that can make you feel connected with them. Again, this isn’t something to just check off the list or to make your already full schedule, that much fuller. But, if you can find some way in which your family can serve at your church, you will feel that much more connected. Some examples include:

  • monthly homeless feedings
  • a summer mission trip
  • a local outreach
  • serving during weekend services

In the last year and a half that we have been in our new area, my family has served in various ways at our church. It makes us not only more connected as a family but also feel like we are part of something bigger than we are. As a homeschool family, being connected through serving has helped us overcome feelings of loneliness as well as grow spiritually.

Mid-Week Bible Study

This may not be possible for many homeschool families, especially those with older kids. However, take advantage of mid-week Bible studies if you can while your kids are young. Some churches offer mid-week children’s ministry through kindergarten, and others may have a homeschool room in which your kids can go to read or do school work. Our church even had a science co-op that met during the women’s Bible study so that homeschool moms could rotate teaching and attending Bible study. Meeting with other women in your church to study God’s Word together can bring life to your week. If you can afford the time, make it happen!

Take Steps Today

If you are not feeling connected to your church body, or are feeling isolated because you are homeschooling, take steps today to get connected. Don’t feel like you have to do it all. Pick one thing that will make your family more connected. It may mean you have to step out of your comfort zone or rearrange your schedule. Make the adjustments. You will be blessed as you follow the exhortation to meet together with other believers to encourage and stir others up to love and good deeds. The benefits far outweigh the costs.



My 10 year old son is playing youth baseball this spring. The team’s regular practice day and time is Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock. After church our family heads home and eats lunch together. Then I take my son to his practice. It’s a relaxing time for me. I sit with book in hand, looking up once in awhile to watch my son field a ball or swing as the coach pitches to him. The sound of balls being hit, boys running bases, and balls popping into gloves, provide background noise for my reading.

I catch enough of the coaches lessons to reinforce them to my son on our way back home.

“When you’re playing second base, and the ball is hit to third base with no runners on, what are you to do?”

“Make sure to watch the third base coach for signs when you reach first base.”

There are other lessons, much more important, which the coach isn’t teaching my son. Reinforcing the baseball lessons is fun for me to do, and hopefully helpful for my son, but not urgent or necessary. Other lessons I teach my son are urgent and necessary. An opportunity to teach one such lesson came recently when I read an email from his coach.

The baseball league scheduled team pictures to be taken on a Sunday. The assigned time slot for our team was 10 a.m. Our church service starts at 10:15 a.m. and is on the other side of town. Besides, we attend the Sunday School hour which starts at 9 a.m. Joining the team for pictures at 10 a.m. would mean my son would miss church. He wouldn’t just be late to church, it would mean missing the church service altogether that day.

I read the email and paused for a moment, but only for a moment. That’s all it took. My decision was made. If I skipped church and took my son to have his picture taken, what lesson would I be teaching him? The lesson wouldn’t be good. I would be saying that youth sports are more important than fellowship with the saints. I’d be teaching my son to weigh sport’s pictures against listening to the preaching of God’s Word.

That wasn’t going to happen in my home.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a sin to take a day off from church on a Sunday morning. We all need rest and Sunday afternoon is often a good time for it. But it’s not a command we need to keep under the new covenant.

So then, what’s wrong with sports activities which cause one to miss church once in awhile? Maybe nothing. Then again, maybe everything. After all, we are commanded not to neglect meeting together with the local church (Hebrews 10:25). This is a command we should not ignore.

Dads need to take the lead in teaching the importance of the local church in the life of the believer. How can we teach our sons and daughters to love the church, the bride of Christ, if any other trivial event takes precedence on our calendars?

The league actually did me a favor by scheduling pictures on a Sunday morning. They gave me an opportunity to stand on my convictions and to let my son see me do it. They gave me an opportunity to teach my son a lesson more important that anything his coach is teaching him about baseball. I was given the chance to teach the importance of the local church, the bride of Christ.

I didn’t give my son a long lecture on the importance of the church. I didn’t complain about the league scheduling pictures on Sunday morning. I kept the lesson simple, “Lincoln, church is more important the team photos. I’m sorry you won’t be able to participate but we are not going to miss church in order to take pictures. I hope you understand.”

He didn’t say much and didn’t seem disappointed. Our habit of attending church had created an expectation for him. He’s learning about the importance of the local church by our actions as a family.

Maybe thirty years from now he will be looking back at old photos. And maybe he’ll find a picture of his baseball team in a shoe box and his own son will ask, “Dad, where are you in this picture?”

That’s the day I’m looking forward to. That’s the day the lesson I’m teaching my son today about the importance of the church will be passed on to his children. That’s the day when my son will tell my grandson, “I didn’t join the team for pictures that morning. Let me tell you why?”

Israel Wayne has been a keynote speaker for SCOPE events in the past. I reached out to him about his latest book and he was kind enough to answer my questions. His new book can be purchased here and here.

Question #1: Can you summarize your latest book in just a few sentences?

Education: Does God Have an Opinion? — A Biblical Apologetic for Christian Education & Homeschooling, is a new book that endeavors to provide an answer to what God’s view of education would be, using the Scripture as our starting point. Suppose you were on a deserted island, and all you had was a Bible, what would you determine education should look like, based on what you see contained in Scripture?
Question #2: What, Biblically, is the aim of education? Do you see Christian homeschool families hitting the mark?
The true aim of education is the same as our purpose for life: to know, love, and serve God, and love and serve others. For the most part, I believe most parents are homeschooling to prepare their children to make money and pay bills. That totally misses the big picture.
Question #3: Does the Bible speak to homeschooling methodologies? Is one better than the other?
The Bible speak extensively, in principle, to the concept of methodology. It is imperative that we teach not only WHAT God requires, but HOW as well. Both the content and form are important to God. Think about what happened when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant, or when Aaron’s sons offered “strange fire” before the Lord. They were killed for their presumption that God didn’t care about form or method. He does.
Question #4: As a leader in the homeschooling movement, what positive trends do you see on the horizon for homeschooling?
The most positive trend is numeric growth. We are still seeing the modern-day homeschooling movement grow at about a 6-8% annual growth rate in the United States. More families result in more resources, and greater cultural acceptance, both of which are welcome trends.
Question #5: What temptations, or pitfalls, do you see for homeschooling families today?
The biggest temptation I see is for parents to seek after government money to home educate their children. It is always easier for us to teach our children at our neighbor’s expense, but we should seek to finance, and thereby control, the education of our own children.
Question #6: All subjects are under the authority of Christ and should be taught from a Biblical worldview, but do Christian parents have a Biblical obligation to teach certain subjects, even to the neglect of other subjects if necessary? If so, what are those subjects?
Every child has a different course or direction that God has planned for their life. My mother allowed me to skip certain subjects that she knew I would never use (Trigonometry and Calculus, for example). I have never missed them. However, some students may need those skills for their life, so I think it really varies based on the future of that student. The main thing is to teach students how to study, because they can go back and learn anything they missed, if a need arises later.
Question #7: How should homeschool parents prepare children to face the moral revolution which is bearing down upon us in America?
We need to teach our children what to believe, why their beliefs are true, and then help them to learn to communicate their convictions effectively to a hostile world. If they have Biblical convictions, can communicate them through sound written and verbal communication, and if they live our their convictions consistently, they will have a great opportunity for influence in this world.
Question #8: Most homeschool teaching is done by mothers. How can fathers best participate in both the academic and spiritual education of their children?
I talk extensively in my new book about the role of fathers in the homeschooling process. They are the “General Contractors,” so to speak of the building process. Even though they may not do the bulk of the everyday teaching, they are the ones who God ultimately holds accountable for the teaching and training of their children. There are more verses in the Bible commanding fathers to teach than mothers. My book helps them to discover what God teaches, and gives them the equipment they need to fulfill that call.
Israel Wayne is a homeschooled graduate, husband and father of nine, and the Director of Family Renewal. He is an author and conference speaker, and has written books including, Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship, Pitchin’ A Fit! — Overcoming Angry & Stressed Out Parenting, Questions God Asks, Questions Jesus Asks, and Education: Does God Have an Opinion?

On March 16th, our family joined other SCOPE families for a great field trip to the Aerospace Museum of California.  The museum is located at McClellan Airbase.

The current exhibit is “Experience Genius in Motion – Leonardo da Vinci”.  Once we got in, we watched an 8-minute documentary on the man, Leonardo da Vinci.

It was so interesting! From there, we were given two options: check out the exhibit indoors or head outside and tour the planes.  We started indoors. Some of the featured exhibits were visionary inventions: flying machines, drive transmissions, parachutes, an armored tank,  a robot— and more. There were 40 machines that my kids and I were encouraged to study by turning levers and simply working the machines.  After we finished up inside, we headed outdoors to check out the planes.  We were given a tour by a wonderful docent who was a retired aeronautical engineer. Because I have aeronautical enthusiasts in my family, we were treated to a great experience with lots of great conversation!  He shared so much information with my family.  Better yet, he showed how various inventions of da Vinci’s were utilized in the planes we saw. We spent the rest of the day with him!  What a wonderful experience!  I highly recommend this field trip to families!  There’s so much to learn and this is a very “hands-on” experience!

Here’s a little bit more info for you to consider for planning your family field trip:

  • Da Vinci On Tour: February 6, 2017 – September 4, 2017
  • Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest minds of all time, and Machines in Motion brings his ideas to life!
  • The exhibit features a dramatic hands-on display of 40 full-size machine replicas made directly from Leonardo’s innovative designs and drawings.

Happy learning,

Zivanka McRae



Staying Connected While Homeschooling, a 3 Part Series

Everything in life has pros and cons. You just can’t avoid it. The trick is knowing what you need to shore up, so that nothing falls through the cracks. With homeschooling, one thing you need to make sure you do is stay connected. Most of our time is spent isolated at home and we rarely have free minutes to ourselves. Thus, one of our challenges is staying connected.

From my perspective, there are three main areas in which we as homeschool moms (or dads/grandparents) must remember to stay connected: God, our church/community, and homeschool support groups. I will take a look at each of these areas in depth in consecutive posts. The first one I will focus on is staying connected to God.

Abiding Leads to Fruit

I’m in the middle of a study called “Follow” in which all new members of our church go through a 6-8 week series with another member of the church. I am so grateful that I have been paired with an amazing homeschooling mom of four kids. This past week we were talking about John 15:1-11, and the purpose of remaining with Jesus. As most of you probably know, this passage describes God as the gardener, Jesus as the vine, and we, His people, as the branches.

Fruit Vines Wine Vine Grapes

In verse 5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in Him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

The Greek word for abide in this passage is hupomeno, or “to remain through or persevere.”  So, if we persevere with Jesus, staying connected with Him, we will bear fruit. And I think that is what most of us desire and need in every aspect of our lives. Staying connected to Him will make us better spouses, parents, teachers, co-workers, and friends. When we truly remain with Him, our families and friends will notice and be grateful! Be committed to making time with the Lord a priority.

He is Our Peace, Strength, Hope, and Foundation

When we remain connected with the Lord, not only will be bear fruit, but our days and lives will be transformed. The little frustrations that occur daily, won’t seem as frustrating; for we will be grounded in truth and the love and grace of the Lord. Our hearts will be at peace. We will sense His presence and strength, and we all need that to get through each day. We will have hope and joy, knowing He is a big God who loves us. And thankfully, we will be able to cast our cares on the Lord much more easily.

There are so many things that can weigh us down in this world. If we are not regularly spending time in the Word and saturating ourselves with truth, our foundations can be shaken and our cares can consume us. We desperately need Him as our foundation in life to keep us grounded in peace, strength, and hope.

We are A Model

When we stay connected to God, we model it to our kids. Of course we want our kids to have a thriving and daily walk with the Lord. When they see it modeled in us, or know we are getting up early to make our relationship with the Lord a priority, they will emulate us. We are building a legacy our kids will follow.










Staying Connected is Not Easy or Natural

In the busyness of life, we all at times know how hard it is to be still and sit with the Lord, whether we homeschool or not. I know for me, sitting still does not come naturally. There are so many things that pull at our hearts and minds, and we can get so easily distracted. Family members, friendships, jobs, educating our kids, emails, phone calls, dirty houses, laundry, errands, extracurricular activities, church commitments, all compete for our time. Not to mention the distractions of social media and the tug to keep up with Joneses!

None of these in and of themselves is inherently wrong – in fact, we have to do most of them each and every day. The problem comes when we don’t prioritize our time and our relationship with the Lord gets pushed to the side. And for most of us, it usually doesn’t happen intentionally – something comes up unexpectedly, there is a change in schedule, or our kids get sick and our routine is thrown off.

What to do When We Become Disconnected

Distractions and detours will happen, so what are we to do when we find ourselves disconnected from the Lord?

  1. Know interruptions will come. They may throw you off for a few days and that’s okay. Just get back to your regular routine when you can.
  2. Be flexible. Your quiet times may not look the same as when you were single, without kids, not homeschooling, or fill in the blank to your unique situation. Give yourself grace and don’t make it legalistic. Adjust your expectations in certain seasons. For those tough seasons will Start with just 5 minutes each day.
  3. Make small changes. Get up earlier, use nap times, keep a Bible open on your kitchen counter, place note cards with Scripture throughout your house. I’ve even written Bible verses on the bathroom mirror to meditate on while brushing my teeth! Find creative ways to fit in time in the Word.
  4. Sometimes it’s just about being obedient. There will be times when you just don’t feel like getting into the Word. In those moments, just do it anyway. Not to just go through the motions or because you will lose your salvation if you don’t. But, because you WILL be blessed by it. In time, the Lord in His sweetness will meet you, reveal Himself to you, and your heart will change.
  5. Make it a part of your daily routine. Sometimes the hardest part is just starting. Like anything else that requires discipline, the hardest part can be making the initial changes in schedule, mindset, or routine. Find a time that works for you, and it will become a natural rhythm of your day just like eating, sleeping, or anything else.

I hope this has been encouraging to you! In my next article, I will discuss the importance of staying connected to the church body and community.

*Katie Landers is a SCOPE member, homeschooling mother of 2 precious kids ages 7 and 5, married to her wonderful husband for almost ten years. Katie recently started her own website to encourage others on their journey of homeschooling so that together we can raise up a godly generation who love and serve the Lord. In her free time she loves to be outdoors and active with her family. More of her writing can be found at



SCOPE Field Trip to the Aerospace Museum of California

On March 16th, our family joined other SCOPE families for a great field trip to the Aerospace Museum of California.  It’s located at McClellan Airbase.

The current exhibit is: “Experience Genius in Motion – Leonardo da Vinci”.

Once we got in, we watched an 8-minute documentary on the man, Leonardo da Vinci.  It was so interesting! From there, we were given two options: check out the exhibit indoors or head outside and tour the planes.  We started indoors.

Some of the featured exhibits were visionary inventions: Flying machines, drive transmissions, parachutes, armored tanks, robots— and more. There were 40 machines that my kids and I were encouraged to study by turning levers and simply working the machines.  After we finished up inside, we headed outdoors to check out the planes.

We were given a tour by a wonderful docent who was a retired aeronautical engineer. Because I have aeronautical enthusiasts in my family, we were treated to a great experience with lots of great conversation!  He shared so much information with my family.  Better yet, he showed how various inventions of da Vinci’s were utilized in the planes we saw. We spent the rest of the day with him!

What a wonderful experience!  I highly recommend this fieldtrip to families!  There’s so much to learn and this is a very “hands-on” experience!  Here’s a little bit more info for you to consider for planning your family field trip:

  • Da Vinci On Tour: February 6, 2017 – September 4, 2017
  • Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest minds of all time, and Machines in Motion brings his ideas to life!
  • Dramatic hands-on display of 40 full-size machine replicas made directly from Leonardo’s innovative designs and drawings.

Happy learning!

Zivanka McRae

If you’ve ever traveled by airplane you have heard this announcement:

“In case of emergency, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Please pull the mask down toward your face and place the mask over your mouth and nose. If you are traveling with a child, please attend to yourself first, then the child.”

At first, this advice seems backward. A child in the midst of an emergency is vulnerable. A child in an emergency would be scared and disoriented and would need attention. A concerned parent would need to fight their natural inclinations in order to follow this emergency protocol.

But tending to the child’s needs first could be disastrous.

Why? Why would our natural instincts be wrong in a case like this? Why would taking care of the child first do harm to the child?

The answer is this: if the adult becomes disoriented, or loses consciousness, the child is left to tend to themselves. The adult must be alert, breathing, thinking, and acting, in order to properly tend to the child through the duration of the emergency. If the mask is given to the child first, all might seem well for a short time. But all’s not well. The responsible person in the child’s life is left gasping for air like a fish on dry land. If no oxygen is given to the adult, in the end both the adult and the child will suffer the consequences.

How does this apply to our homeschooling?

Parents must tend to ourselves in order to best serve and care for our children. Unlike the airplane announcement, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. It’s better to implement this protocol before an emergency rather than during one of life’s emergencies. There are things we need to do in order to care for ourselves that will ultimately benefit our children.

What things? What do I mean when I speak of caring for ourselves so that we can better care for our children? What air must we breath before we can put the oxygen mask on our children?

I’m not speaking about healthy eating or habits of exercise (although healthy parents are certainly a benefit to their children). And I’m not thinking of caring for our intellect by means of academia (although this can benefit our children also).

When I speak of caring for ourselves first I mean to say that we need to care for our souls. The oxygen we need, before we are able to care for our children, is the life giving power of God’s Word.

As Christian homeschool parents we desire to give our children a Biblical worldview. But do we have one ourselves? If not, what are we doing to grow in this area? How can we raise the next generation to think Biblically if we aren’t continually breathing in the air of Biblical thinking ourselves? Have we created the habits in our own lives that we desire to see in our children’s lives?

  • Are we reading God’s Word daily?
  • Are we meditating on God’s Word constantly?
  • Are we in fellowship with other believers who encourage and exhort us?
  • Are we sitting under godly leadership, Biblical teaching, and faithful preaching?

We need to be filled with the Spirit, filled with the Word, and filled with the knowledge of Christ. It will be difficult to put our children in a place to receive these things if we aren’t filled with them first.

Just as the child and the adult in an airplane both need oxygen, so the parent and the student both need the same life giving Spirit. Both are desperate for God; both are like fish on dry land. And both need to gasp for more of God’s Word, drinking it in like it was life itself. The wise parent will recognize the situation and make certain they tend to their own souls as the best means of also tending to the souls of the next generation.

My wife follows the blog of a Christian school teacher from which she gets curriculum help and tips. This teacher published a post about an average day in the classroom. My wife took journal notes for one day to show what an average homeschool day was like in our home. She sent it to the teacher who then posted it on his blog. My wife gave me permission to lightly edit her journal entry and share with SCOPE. Just for fun, here it is.

-David West


8:30 am

I remind L10 (first initial and age) to get started on school work while I finish getting myself ready and dressing J3.

9:00 am

I find L10 still in his room. I remind him to go NOW to the school room and get started. He says, “Dad told me to put away my baseball cards.” I clarify, “Dad said to put them away, not to sort them right now. Dad wouldn’t want you to not to do your school work. You can finish putting them away on your break.”

9:15 am

Eat my oatmeal while listening to L10 read the first page in 4 subjects. It’s the 1st week of the 3rd quarter so we had tested on several workbooks on Thursday and Friday and started new ones today.

Help J3 put her shoes on.

9:30 am

Look for C13. I find him sick in bed. No school for him today. Make N5’s oatmeal. She eats while watching a Winnie the Pooh with J3.

L17 and A16 are working at their desks.

9:45 am

S2 (the little boy I babysit) arrives. I give him a snack and he joins in watching Winnie the Pooh.

I sit with L10 as he works a page of nouns and pronouns.  He goes to correct his work at the kitchen table then brings me four answer keys that he’s finished with.  I get the test keys out of my binder and go to the garage to my file cabinet.  I file the old answer keys and pull his new ones. Brrr it’s cold out there. I give him his new answer keys and put the new test keys in my binder.

I clear and wipe the counters and table from breakfast while L10 is working on Science and calling out facts about Benjamin Franklin and electricity. “How does a lightning rod work?” “It says to NEVER try the kite and key experiment.”

Check on C13. He’s reading Swiss Family Robison in bed.

Made myself some hot tea and created today’s school plan for N5.

A16 is humming a choir song at her desk.

S2 comes in wanting a drink. I discover the refrigerator water is frozen up again. I’ll have to defrost it later.

L10 is checking his Science workbook. He’s done with that and is back to work on English. The dog is sleeping between the desks.

Fold the laundry in the dryer and start a new load. On my way back to the kitchen I met L10 who needs help with adjectives. Before I answer J3 needs help folding her baby blanket. She is obsessed with folding right now. I help L10 with his question then J3 needs help going potty. While there I check on C13 who has moved on to a bird watching book.

Back to the kitchen/school room and L10 is finishing English and pulling out his Literature.

Where is A16? I find her in her room working on a writing project.

Wipe up water on the floor from S2’s spilled sippy cup.

Sit by L10 and answer text from Sister-in-law and check email on phone.

L10 scores and finishes Literature and takes a bathroom break.

10:43 am

L17 working on Civics Self Test.

C5, J3, and S2 are still watching Winnie the Pooh.

L10 pulls out Reading and I encourage him to do a Math page first.

10:47 am

N5 wanders in and I snag her to start her school work. She chooses Social Studies first. I move over by her desk to listen to her read.

J3 brings me a dog leash. Ok?

S2 is crawling under A16’s desk with a crochet hook. Then he crawls along under N5, C13, and L10’s desks.

L10 is fussing with S2 who runs to me and pushes the binder off my lap so I can hold him. He cuddles for a minute while I listen to N5 read. She thinks “Baba” is a good name for a little sheep. She is still in her jammies.

L17 is correcting schoolwork at the kitchen counter.

L10 needs help on his Math crossword puzzle.

S2 grabs the leash and runs off.

N5 tries to leave but I call her back.

L17 checks on J3 since Winnie the Pooh is over and starts a new show for her. She plays with S2 and his leash for a minute. L10 tries to join in and I send him back to work.

I leave N5 to answer questions and see what L10 is working on.

11:03 am

Answer a text from my husband.

L17 asks a question about her Civics.

S2 crawls by with a Minnie Mouse car attached to the dog leash.

L10 is still working on his Math crossword puzzle while humming a choir song.

I remind A16 to start fixing lunch soon.

When I come back N5 has left her desk and joined the toddlers in the living room who are watching Super Why. I call her back to finish last question in Social Studies. She picks up her English and is excited to see the cover matches the English L10 is in.  She decides to do Math instead.

L10 is answering a question related to character building and asks, “When was I observant?”  I offer the suggestion of noticing when the dog’s water needed to be refilled.

A16 puts water on to make butter noodles and stands over it reading her library book.

L10 runs out onto the back porch and feeds and waters the dog.  Hmmmmm?

N5 “Five take away ‘Free’ is two.”

L10 finished his 15th page for the day and gets a break.

J3 walks in kitchen with the dog leash.  N5, J3 & I start singing our “I Will Obey My Mama” song.  

J3 crawls up onto my lap.

I remind N5 to start on her next page.

S2 walks in with a play shopping cart. J3 jumps off my lap to claim her property. J2 abandons it and runs to claim my lap.

Redirect N5.

Check on L10 sorting his baseball cards.

C13 has finished Swiss Family Robinson and says he will come out for lunch.

Super Why is playing in the living room with no one in there watching it.

L17 reminds A16 to make a veggie to go with the butter noodles. A16 asks “Broccoli or corn?”

S2 is hovering in the kitchen anxious for his lunch.

N5 finishes her math goal. I check it and she has to correct a couple where she subtracted instead of adding. She’s finished with Math and starts on English.

I shut off the TV.

J3 is playing with a Noah’s Ark toy in the hallway.

N5 reads me words in her English with the “a” sound.

S2 is dragging the high chair to the table. I think he’s hungry. J3 hears the noise and comes to sit in her booster seat.

A16 is slicing bread to have with lunch.

N5 reads another page of words.

A16 sets the table and places my book at my place. For the past six years I read a chapter while the children eat. We call it “Lunchtime Books”.

N5 reads a page of silly sentences to me and is done with her English for today.

A16 calls everyone to lunch.

We pray and the children eat while I read. We finished our book today. I instruct the children where to put the sticker on their schoolwork tracking chart.

Everyone goes to take a break while I eat my lunch and read my own book.

I take S2 to take a nap. I have to lay down with him until he falls asleep.

1:15 pm

I get up and take J3 potty then return a call to my mom.

My husband comes home unexpectedly. He heats up some lunch then sits at the table to work from home.

N5 reads a Science page to him while I clean the kitchen. It would normally be C13’s job.

L10 is getting back to work. He wanted to work in his room but I asked him to come out and work at his desk.

A16 is studying her Physical Science in the living room.

C13 has moved to the couch.

L17 folds a load of laundry and starts a new one.

N5 finishes her Science and is done for the day. She gets her 20 merits (rewards used to purchase items I supply) out of the “school drawer”.

L17 takes N5 and J3 to her room to make a letter to sent to their cousins.

S2 wakes up WAY too early.  He’s sitting on my lap.

A16 catches J3 writing on the wall.

L10 finishes Math and only has two pages of dictionary work in Word Building left.

I’m sitting near L10 and he tells me about some crazy natural/weather stories he saw on a nature show then gets back to the dictionary.

Meanwhile, S2 is bringing me a beanbag. He wants me to put it on his head then he walks away until it falls off. Repeat several times while reading a couple pages in my book.

I remember to take chicken out of the freezer for dinner.

L10 “Mom, one of the definitions in here for the word ‘grub’ is ‘a type of food.”

S2 now has the bean bag in the toy grocery cart and is running around the kitchen with it.

3:00 pm

J3 knows it is snack time and asks for a yogurt.

C13 comes out and makes himself a banana-berry smoothie.

L10 is done and school wrapped up for the day.