Last week, someone asked me what I liked the most about homeschooling. It took a little bit of thought on my part, but I would have to say that I like being able to prioritize whatever I want. I also enjoy being able to teach the different subjects around a particular theme. Some folks call them unit studies, but I have never tried those in the traditional sense. Nope. What I am talking about is taking a Christ-centered approach to homeschooling. I have gotten a lot more serious about this over the summer, since Ian revealed to me his desire to be a missionary. All of a sudden, I’m in panic mode. I only have seven years left to train him!! I feel like I’m very far behind.
In an effort to help him learn as much about the Bible as he can, without sacrificing his other studies, we have been trying to come up with some creative ways to incorporate the skills he will need as a missionary into his daily homework. Here’s what Ian and I have come up with so far:
For writing and spelling practice, I use a dictation method. If you’re interested, you can read about it here. However, this year, instead of reading to him from literature books, he has asked me to read from the Bible. He can practice his handwriting and his spelling this way. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, so I agreed.
In an effort to get him to write even more, I have begun to show him what sermon notes would look like. I wrote down a few notes from the Bible chapter we had read together earlier that day, and I let him practice giving the tiny sermon (more like a Sunday School lesson at this point) to me and Jesse. I’m going to get him to the point where he can write his own outline as he reads through a chapter, and then expand it to draw from other passages to support his main idea. He’ll be using cross references (thanks for the idea, Pastor Mike!) and a topical index (I still have to purchase one though), and he’ll also be learning how to deliver a speech.
Science always makes us think about God, no matter what we’re studying. I’ve always told Ian that science is the study of the way God thinks. I read a great quote in a chemistry book a couple of years ago. It said: “Human beings, especially scientists, but also philosophers and theologians, are always suspicious. They have a deep down feeling that things are not just put together randomly, a strange intuition that, underneath it all, there is a conspiracy going on, a great conspiracy of order. That is why chemists started to wonder, and wonder (as Aristotle said long ago) is the beginning of all science.”
For Bible right now, we are reading Begin, a book for new believers that has key passages from Genesis, Exodus, John, Romans, and Revelation. We read a chapter each day and discuss. We are also reading a biography written by a man who (along with his family) was a missionary to the Philippines. This man also happens to be our pastor! (Thanks for the great stories, Pastor Doug!)
So those are the Christ-centered ideas that I have so far.
Here are a couple of extra things I am thinking about to prepare him for his future: Eventually, when I can afford a Rosetta Stone program, he wants to learn Urdu. It’s nice being homeschoolers because his options are so much better. I don’t think Spanish or French or German would serve him well in the mission field he has chosen.
The last idea I have had is to get him tabla lessons. Indian raga have always been fascinating to me, so I was thrilled when I discovered that Pakistan uses the same ones as Northern India.
Do you all have any more ideas? Either for creating Christ-centered studies or for preparing for missions?
What about writing letters to missionaries? Real letter writing has seemed to go by the wayside, but can be extremely useful. This would give him a chance to work on spelling, grammar, proper letter format, plus hopefully correspondence with the missionaries might give him some insight into what he can expect.
I had a missionary pen pal as a child and loved writing and receiving letters.
Oh, Jana, I really like your idea! I was praying for God to give us a way to make writing more meaningful to him, and this may just hit the nail on the head! Thanks for the idea.
I recently reached out to CMML (Christian Missions in Many Lands) to see if there are names/addresses available that my kids could write to. I’ll let you know what i hear.
Cool, thank you so much! I have been trying to find something online, but don’t know how to go about getting actual addresses.
CMML emailed me back. They have a handbook with all the address, including email addresses, kids name, ages, etc. I ordered a copy today on their website by searching Missionary handbook. It was $5. Happy to share it with you once I get it.
Oh, thank you so much, Jana!