Archives for July 2013

A Reflective Reaction to the Overruling of the DOMA

Before proceeding, let it be said that I espouse a Biblical worldview. Therefore this entry may be taken with offense by some who disagree with my frame of reference. However, my intention is not to attack anyone, but to offer a perspective and opinion that I pray will be worth considering.

Wednesday morning last week, I read about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), declaring that “gay couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive.”

“The ruling means that same-sex marriage is now sanctioned in 13 states and the District of Columbia — a list representing more than a third of the population of the United States.”

(Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court/2013/06/26/f0039814-d9ab-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html“>Washington Post)

I read through news article after article in tears. It wasn’t so much the decision as it was the moral condition of our times that troubled me — how godless a society we have become, how far off course we are from any sort of moral reference point. We dangerously celebrate and applaud equal treatment but not what is good, right, and pleasing to God. And why should this matter? Because when we don’t submit to God’s design for man and woman, for marriage, for family, for personal purity and righteousness, we forfeit his blessing and set ourselves up for most certain destruction.

There really isn’t anything new about the homosexuality we see today. Back in Biblical times an entire city of men would be at the doorstep of a home trying to break down the front door to have sex with the men inside. Does Sodom and Gomorrah ring any bells? But today, we must contend with the media influences that promote homosexuality as permissible and acceptable – the new normal.

How do we raise our children in this sort of spiritually hostile climate? How do we teach them biblical truth?

Well, for starters, we can go back to God’s design for man and woman, male and female. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

And then we can talk about how, anatomically speaking, man and woman fit together. The very act of intercourse, the pinnacle of physical oneness, accommodates the anatomies of a man and woman most naturally. Our children know this. It’s nothing to be awkward about. Sex is a beautiful thing in the context of marriage between husband and wife, and that’s how we have explained it to our children.

Furthermore, the propagation of the human species is dependent on the meeting that happens between sperm and egg. A man and a man, and a woman and a woman cannot biologically have children together. They may adopt, have a surrogate, or get a donor but a sperm is required from a man and an egg from a woman. If the existence of the human race were dependent on two men to procreate we would have a big problem. This is so obvious I don’t even need to say it.

A family’s nuclear unit is the marriage — a union that is integral to the perpetuation of entire races and societies. I was quite shocked to read Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary define marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law or the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.

Homosexual marriages cannot be likened to traditional marriages. The partnering of a man and woman in marriage produces offspring who inherit the genetic make-up of both father and mother. Biologically speaking, same sex partnerships can’t do this because they were not designed to do so.

Pitirim Sorokin, the founder of sociology at Harvard University, pointed to the regulation of sexuality as the essential first mark of civilization. According to Sorokin, civilization is possible only when marriage is normative and sexual conduct is censured outside of the marital relationship. Furthermore, Sorokin traced the rise and fall of civilizations and concluded that the weakening of marriage was a first sign of civilizational collapse.

We should note that Sorokin made these arguments long before anything like homosexual marriage had been openly discussed. Sorokin’s insight was the realization that civilization requires men to take responsibility for their offspring. This was possible, he was convinced, only when marriage was held to be the unconditional expectation for sexual activity and procreation. Once individuals–especially males–are freed for sexual behavior outside of marriage, civilizational collapse becomes an inevitability. The weakening of marriage–even on heterosexual terms–has already brought a harvest of disaster to mothers and children abandoned in the name of sexual liberation.

The regulation of sexuality is thus a primary responsibility of any civilization. In their review of Western civilization, Will and Ariel Durant noted that sex is “a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints.” The primary restraint has always been the institution of marriage itself–an institution that is inescapably heterosexual and based in the monogamous union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. In postmodern America, the fires of sex are increasingly unbanked and uncooled. (Read more: The Case Against Homosexual Marriage)

Marriage has been understood and defined for centuries and throughout civilization as the union between a man and a woman, instituted for the continuance of life and to best protect and provide for children. Government and society grant benefits and protection to a man and a woman in marriage because of their biological potential to bear and effectively raise the next generation. Even childless couples or infertile couples always have the potential to procreate. Homosexual couplings always do not. If societies deviate from the standard of marriage as a child-based institution, they open the door to any kind of marriage. (Read more: Free Republic)

Think about it. If the decision to marry is treated as a right that everybody is entitled to, for as long as they love one another, then where is the line drawn? Who is to say that a father and daughter can’t be entitled to the same sort of treatment if they love each other and want to get married? Or how about one woman marrying three men? Or how about a man and his pet? It sounds ludicrous now but if equal rights is made to be such an idol then perhaps this would be allowed in the future (I really hope not!).

But others might argue that same-sex attraction and coupling is different. There is this very popular myth that a homosexual is born that way. However, there is absolutely no proof for a homosexual gene.

Homosexuality is not a genetically encoded condition. Contrary to media hype, there is no conclusive or compelling empirical evidence showing any absolute biological, genetic, or hormonal causation for homosexuality. Homosexual activist and molecular biologist Dean Hamer’s study claiming the existence of a homosexual gene has been scientifically discredited. Studies that claim to prove homosexuality is genetic have been purposefully designed from a homosexual advocacy perspective and seek to convince society that homosexuality is innate, psychologically normal, and thus socially desirable. (Read more: Free Republic)

A complexity of factors may cause a person to be predisposed to same-sex attraction but no one can use the argument, “I was born this way.”

Homosexuality is not genetically “hardwired,” according to Dr. Francis Collins, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work sequencing the human genetic code. Any genetic contribution to male homosexuality represents a predisposition, not a predetermination, he stated. If genetics were determinative, then identical twins should “virtually always” show the same pattern of same-sex attraction, said the Catholic Medical Association. But a study of the Australian Twin Registry cited by CMA showed that only 11% of identical twins with same-sex attraction had a twin brother who also experienced it. (Read more: Gay Gene Myth)

I don’t want to oversimplify a complex issue and sound cold-hearted. I do acknowledge the reality that personalities, behavior, experiences, hormones, familial backgrounds, parenting models, brain matter composition, etc may give people a predisposition toward same-sex attraction.

Don Schmierer, author of the book “An Ounce of Prevention” writes, “Same-sex attraction is a set of deficits – physical, emotional, and environmental—that set the stage for the homosexual condition. Deficits lead to tendencies and tendencies lead to attractions. The homosexual condition may involve sexual acting out, experimentation, and eventually, some involvement in the homosexual lifestyle.”[1]

According to him deficits are apparent early in a child’s life – from abuse (which may happen at infancy), physical challenges that lead to social out casting, a chronic illness, handicap or hormonal deficiencies or imbalances that are chemical in nature. Boys may seem more feminine than usual and girls more masculine. These imbalances can be treated and with the support of loving parents can help a child overcome feelings of being socially unaccepted.

Schmierer also explains the impact of parenting and the home environment on homosexuality. While these factors may not always be the direct cause, they do make children more vulnerable to homosexuality. I’ve highlighted a few here:

– A father who is absent physically or emotionally inaccessible to his children.

– A domineering, critical or controlling mother who wants to dominate and control everyone.

– Parents who unconsciously cultivate characteristics of the desired gender in their child. For example, parents who wanted to have a boy but had a girl instead.

– Estrangement between parents, providing no clear idea how healthy men and women should relate to one another. (I would like to add — no modeling for roles between husband and wife.)

– Access to pornography

– Lack of affection or inappropriate affection from parents such as sexual innuendos, incest, molestation or even rape.

In 2001, the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior published a study entitled Comparative data of childhood and adolescence molestation in heterosexual and homosexual persons. The abstract for this article states the following: In research with 942 nonclinical adult participants, gay men and lesbian women reported a significantly higher rate of childhood molestation than did heterosexual men and women. Forty-six percent of the homosexual men in contrast to 7% of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation. Twenty-two percent of lesbian women in contrast to 1% of heterosexual women reported homosexual molestation. This research is apparently the first survey that has reported substantial homosexual molestation of girls. [2]

It would not be fair to say that being sexually abused as a child always causes a person to become a homosexual. In fact, there may be no one isolated cause that leads a person to choose a homosexual lifestyle. However, the greater reality is that whatever the influential factors may be that predispose a person to same-sex attraction, they don’t have to determine a person’s destiny.

There may be a possibility of the existence of a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality, which is far different from causation. But even this possibility is far from scientifically proven. Predisposition toward something does not mean that it is inevitable, or that such a predisposition cannot or should not be resisted and overcome. Some people may have a predisposition to alcoholism, yet we do not affirm their disposition, but rather treat their condition and help them change. Current evidence suggests that environmental, familial, and personal influences contribute significantly to the development of homosexual tendencies. Seventy years of therapeutic counseling and case studies show a remarkable consistency concerning the origins of the homosexual impulse as an uncompleted gender identity seeking after its own sex to replace what was not fully developed in childhood. (NARTH.com)

I find it absolutely comforting that a person does not have to be the sum of past experiences. I have a choice. You have a choice. Isn’t this the highest compliment to the freedom we all desire?

To use a personal example, as a rape victim, I was cautioned by psychologists and counselors that I had the potential (let’s use the word predisposition) to become:

1. a bitter and angry person

2. a highly promiscuous woman

3. abusive towards others

However, I chose not to be any of those things. I believed that my life choices did not have to be defined by my life experiences…that I had the option to have faith in God’s plan for me — that he would use a bad experience for good. Fortunately, I was blessed to have a very supportive family who helped me process what I went through from a biblical perspective.

Did I still have to deal with the confusion, pain and wound of that experience? Of course, and I still do. Did I sometimes wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people? Sure…especially because there are an overwhelming number of people with stories of horrifying physical or sexual abuse…waaaay worse than my own rape story.

Because of troubling experiences that are very often beyond our control, like loss or death of a loved one, conflict, crisis, betrayal, abandonment, abuse, and marital and familial problems, we are all in danger of becoming victims of circumstance. We are all in danger of believing the lie that we don’t have the choice to turn away from destructive perspectives or behaviors. Everyone has a choice and this includes people who have developed same-sex attractions.

Although individuals who experience homosexual attractions and thoughts may not have chosen these tendencies, they do have a choice as to whether or not they will act on the feelings. It is the acting on these feelings that constitutes homosexuality. Many people have left the homosexual community and live successful heterosexual lives, which often includes marriage and raising children. (Read more: Free Republic )

But where is the saving hope for people who have been wounded, broken by past experiences or mistakes? We live in a sinful, fallen world where we have all been victimized in one way or another. And this world does not have the solution – it isn’t within ourselves, the people around us, society, institutions or the government. We need rescuing. We need a Savior.

I like how Ravi Zacharias puts it in his book, “Can Man Live Without God?”

“I am convinced that all our attempts to change the letter of the law and to reeducate people have been, and are, merely band-aid solutions for a fatal hemorrhage. The system will never change because our starting point is flawed. The secular view of man can neither give the grandeur that God alone can give, nor can it see the evil with the human heart that God alone can reveal and cure…In the economy of God’s creation, there was intended an egalitarianism among human beings; that is, each person was equal in essence and dignity. On the other hand, there was to be an elitism in ideas, meaning that not all ideas are equal—some ideas are clearly superior to others. Antitheistic thinking has inverted that economy – indeed, it is compelled to – because its starting point leads to the opposite conclusion; people have been rendered elite, and ideas are egalitarian. As a result, we foolishly argue that all ideas are equal…The scriptural teaching is that man is created in the image of God…This dignity may not be conjured up or legalized by decree. This is our essential splendor, the splendor of people of all races and colors. We all share that equal glory, but having rejected God we find that glory marred by sin, which engenders hate. The glory can only be restored by dealing with that sin. We are in need of a heart transplant, but the more we refuse to acknowledge our wretched condition, the more the solution evades us, and people continue to live undignified lives. Jesus went to the core of the problem when He said, “You refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40).” [3]

I wasn’t angry when I read about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. I just felt a great deal of sorrow. The heart ache I felt was for the inching of a great country like America towards the same historical mistakes that have brought down empires and civilizations who have rejected God.

President Barrack Obama said, “This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better…”

I could not and still don’t agree with his concept of progress. Research on the decline of civilizations through the centuries have cited the breakdown of the traditional family as catalytic to a nation’s eventual destruction.

At the “front end” of a rising civilization, men are firmly, decisively in control, sometimes to the point of true, harsh, “male dominance.” With the rise of that civilization, the male changes from strict authoritarian to a kinder, more noble man. It is in this phase of civilization that society comes to full flower, experiencing great prosperity, stability, and growth. In the third stage, the male begins to disengage from his family, losing his nobility, and abandoning his role of leadership. Females in society are therefore forced to abandon their instinctive maternal roles and step forward to assume the leadership roles that men have relinquished. It is in this stage that society begins a rapid decline, eventually resulting in its demise. (Read more: Nation In Decline )

According to noted Harvard sociologist and Historian, Dr. Carle Zimmerman, there are eight specific patterns of domestic behavior that have signaled the downward spiral and imminent demise of every culture:

1. Marriage lost its sacredness; it was frequently broken by divorce.
2. Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony was lost. Alternate forms and definitions of marriage arose, and traditional marriage vows were replaced by individual marriage contracts.
3. Feminist movements appeared, and women lost interest in child bearing and mothering, preferring to pursue power and influence.
4. Public disrespect for parents and authority in general increased.
5. Juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion accelerated
6. People with traditional marriages refused to accept family responsibilities.
7. Desire for and acceptance of adultery grew.
8. Increased tolerance for sexual perversions of all kinds, particularly homosexuality, with a resultant increase in sex-related crimes.

He wrote his book, Family and Culture back in 1947, but it sounds very much like what we are facing today.

As a sociologist and historian, Zimmerman did not offer a spiritual solution to the same problems we are confronted with at present, however, God’s Word does.

Personally, I feel that the cry to be treated with fairness and equality is at the root, a desire to be loved and accepted. And I absolutely believe that God loves all of us and takes us just as we are. That’s why he sent Jesus, his son, to die for us while we were still sinners. He knew we could not heal ourselves. But he didn’t just come to deliver us from wretchedness but to gives us a greater life – a life according to his design, lived in obedience and submission to his will and plan, where we find true joy, peace, and clarity of purpose. Like Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”

We really have only two options. Either we acknowledge and worship God as creator – a God who is personal, loving, powerful, and sovereign or we deny that he exists and have nothing to do with him. There is no middle ground. Whatever lies between these two polarities leans toward rejection. We cannot accept that there is a God and shelve him as a thought or construct, or place him in a line up of options to choose from when it is convenient to do so. Either he is and his word is true or he isn’t. Either his offer of salvation through Jesus Christ his son will redeem and restore what we cannot or it is a hoax of cosmic proportions. Either we embrace the grace he promises to give us freedom from a past that shackles us, perspectives that make us lose our way, a world that wounds us, and the sin that continually entangles us, or we subscribe to the lie that we cannot change who we are.

I don’t need to force people to believe that God is and that the best life is found in Him. God needs no defender or apologist to prove his existence, power or sovereignty. However, I cannot, in good conscience keep silent about the consequences of rejecting him, either.

Romans 1:25-27 says, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

What is happening in America convicted me to be more vigilant about teaching my children what is true and right according to God’s word, and not to be afraid to be labeled as ignorant, narrow-minded, or an enemy of equality because I do not support the choice to live a homosexual lifestyle. What I do support is the abundant life God promises which cannot be had apart from Him, and which he freely and lovingly gives to every person who would receive this gift through Jesus Christ, his son.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31, 32 NASB)



[1] Don Shcmierer with Lela Gilbert. An Ounce of Prevention. Preventing the Homosexual Condition in Today’s Youth. (Word Publishing: Nashville, 1998), pg. 9.

[2] Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. Sexual Abuse Being a Contributing Factor for Homosexuality. http://www.conservapedia.com/Sexual_abuse_being_a_contributing_factor_for_homosexuality

[3] Ravi Zacharias. Can Man Live Without God. (OMF Literature: Mandaluyong, 2006) Pg.140 – 142.

Kids Mandarin Club Program

Our Friday playgroup joined a trial mandarin class at Kids Mandarin Club. Their classes are play-based and incorporate singing, games, story-telling into their language instruction. They opened just this past June and their teachers are a good mix of personable, patient, and authoritative.

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20130705-193705.jpg According to Dr. Gao Lan who facilitated the older kids’ class, “children learn best when they are having fun and they learn effectively from each other, too.” She is from Beijing and has taught at International School Manila and European Campus, and she is also a journalist.

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If the kids’ faces were a positive indicator of whether the classes were indeed fun, I saw most of them smiling! Kind of hard to believe when you think of how difficult learning Mandarin can be. But since it was just a trial class, some of the content was breezed through a little too fast. And the younger class seemed to be more effective at engaging the kids. However, I like the club’s philosophy which is to make the learning experience more interactive and less lecture and drills-based. They don’t call themselves a school but a club because the emphasis is more on conversing in Mandarin, getting the kids to practice speaking with one another.

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Having an option like this gives parents the flexibility to enroll their kids in a school of their liking and not necessarily a Chinese school. Or, they can homeschool and still get the benefit of learning Mandarin, which is very important to Filipino-Chinese families.

Mandarin Kids Club
Unit 301 McKinley Park Residences
3rd Avenue cor 31st Street
Bonifacio Global City

Telephone no: 519-9148
Email: kidsmandarinclub@gmail.com
Facebook: KMC kidsmandarinclub

Homeschool Resources Part 1

One of my dreams is to have the best selection of homeschooling resources available to families in the Philippines. Over the many years that I have homeschooled my own kids, I have done a whole lot of research on curriculums, books, and materials. In the past, I used to consult for TMA Homeschool in this manner — developing relationships with publishers in the U.S. and suggesting titles that can be made available to parents here. TMA Homeschool already has a great selection of material that enrolled families can purchase. At present, I’m helping Homeschooling Solutions Inc. or HSI do the same so that parents (homeschoolers or not) can have access to great resources for parenting and instructing their children.

HERE ARE MY TOP PICKS (SOME OF THESE HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND OTHERS ARE NEW. THEY ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH TMA HOMESCHOOL OR HSI AT PRICES THAT AREN’T TOO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT THEY ARE SOLD FOR IN THE U.S.) I’ve also included links so you can find out more information through each publisher’s website:

 

THE MYSTERY OF HISTORY

The Mystery of History is a classical, chronological, multi-level, and bible-based approach to teaching history from creation to modern day.

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APOLOGIA PRESS

Apologia Science is a creation-based science curriculum that makes studies like astronomy, botany, zoology, biology, chemistry, and physics come alive! These aren’t written like boring textbooks. They are conversationally-written and they encourage children to appreciate and explore God’s creation.

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Elementary Science Curriculum:

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Jr. High / Sr. High Science Curriculum:

 

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Apologia Press’ Worldview Curriculum is a multi-level, student-directed, bible-based curriculum that will teach children the essential beliefs of the Christian faith. (These books are not yet available but they are coming soon!)

 

Apologia Press’ Books and Resources are designed to equip and encourage parents as they homeschool.

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TOTAL LANGUAGE PLUS

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Total Language Plus – an integrated language arts program that uses comprehensive novel studies to cover spelling, grammar and punctuation, vocabulary, analytical and critical thinking, comprehension, writing, listening, field trips and projects. It focuses on teaching thinking and communication skills using literature as the base. Children who enjoy reading will like this curriculum! (Not all the study guides and novels are available locally, but many are carried by TMA Homeschool):

Grades 3 to 4 Study Guides and Novels

Grades 5 to 8 Study Guides and Novels

 

SINGAPORE MATH

PMUSW5A-2Singapore Math – Primary Mathematics US Edition uses a Concrete> Pictorial>Abstract approach to teaching mathematics. The students are provided with the necessary learning experiences beginning with the concrete and pictorial stages, followed by the abstract stage to enable them to learn mathematics meaningfully. This approach encourages active thinking process, communication of mathematical ideas and problem solving. This helps develop the foundation students will need for more advanced mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More to follow in next post…

If you are interested to handle the materials and browse through them, you may visit HSI’s office at 2/F Fun Ranch, Tiendesitas and look for Jo Mendoza. If you found a title you liked but stocks ran out, you can inform Jo Mendoza (0917-800-8252).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hearts I Hold

Titus is a very mechanically-inclined child. He is my little “tinkerer.” When he enters a room, he will touch whatever he can get his hands on, especially if he is in a room he has never been in before. He will fiddle with objects, turn them around, pull or push at them, or even take them apart if he has enough time to.

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I remember going into my friend’s dermatology clinic and Titus made a bee-line towards all the breakable objects, trying to pick them up or shake them. There was no malice or intent to destroy. He was simply exploring. I had to ask him to stop though because there were a number of fragile decorations that could have crashed onto the floor. He listened but I could tell that his fingers were itching to grab a hold of something…anything.

As his homeschool teacher, I have to be sensitive to this learning style of his and not curtail it too much, especially at home where his personality doesn’t have to be stifled. Our house is pretty child-friendly. I am not too particular about the kids breaking things. It happens. Life goes on.

Giving him his space to grow and develop the way God designed him to has been a wonderful sort of “experiment” to help me understand how my children learn. Titus is the kind of person that thrives when he is able to observe, experiment, and practice without the pressure of outcomes.

For instance, he has been writing words lately, not because I asked him to but because he was ready to, on his own. The most recent handwriting work I asked him to do was to copy the letters I wrote down in big and small caps. I only required him to do a page a day. But, through this exercise I discovered that he already knew how to write his letters.

How did this happen? It’s really quite a mystery. I have not made him do pages and pages of handwriting work. But I do let him draw, color, paint, cut, and paste a lot which has probably strengthened his finger muscles. On occasion I give him minimal doses of penmanship practice.

So it delighted me to witness his attempts to write out everyone’s names — family, cousins, as well as words that he was trying to sound out on his own. He spelled the word “start”, for instance, on top of his drawing of a maze.

I asked him, “How did you learn how to write?” I wanted to be able to take some credit but his answer was, “I just watched Edan. I saw how he did it.”

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This really got me thinking about the blessings of having more than one child, especially because we are a homeschooling family. The younger children benefit from the older ones and their examples.

When I am concerned that I don’t get to invest the same amount of time teaching my two younger kids that I did with my two older ones, I am pleasantly delighted to discover that they teach one another, intentionally or not.

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The same thing happened with my youngest sister, Carolyn, when my mom was homeschooling us. She learned to read very early. One morning she came up to my mom and confidently said, “I know how to read, mom.” My mom was incredulous because she hadn’t really taught her to read. Carolyn was included in our homeschooling, but she was much younger than all of us so her studies were not too formal. However, when my mom asked Carolyn to demonstrate her ability to read she was able to do so.

Sometimes, as a mom, you come into the homeschooling experience with many doubts and questions. Will my kids turn out alright? Can I really do this even if I am not an educator? Is homeschooling going to give all my kids a good education? Having bought into the notion that conventional schooling will meet these needs more effectively, we tend to feel insecure about our ability to teach our children. Our preconceived ideas about how children learn and the context in which they learn is biased in favor of the institutional set-up. Yet, I am discovering more and more as my children grow and mature that they are learning all the time and in ways that often surprise me.

Without the impediment of time frames, lesson plans, leveling, same age groupings, and pressure of grades, they naturally discover, create, investigate, problem solve, interact, and imitate what you want them to.

God has designed each child with the potential to learn. And I have to trust in this innate capacity and nurture it. My greater role is to train my kids so they are disciplined, responsible, attentive, and obedient. I also need to instill in them a love for the Lord. This is the bedrock, the indispensable foundation that must be present in the hearts of my kids.

While standards and checklists are helpful as a reference, I have to remember that these should not define, box in, or ignore the uniquenesses of my kids. If Titus is not writing sentences at age 5 like school aged children might be doing, so what? He still has time to acquire that ability.

I do not doubt that he will if I constantly provide an environment that encourages the love for learning — an environment where there is joy, unconditional acceptance, generous praise, access to books, materials, and toys that stimulate creativity, and the formation of character and godliness. But what an impossible environment to have if I am not grace-filled and spirit-led. Unless the Lord is at work in my own life, I can be tyrannical, overbearing, demanding, and selfish as a teacher…all the things that can destroy my children’s desire to learn. So I have to be in continual partnership with Christ who designed and tenderly made the children he has entrusted to me. I need to be sensitive to his leading when he tells me I need to improve or modify the way I instruct my kids.

This morning, Titus climbed into bed next to me and I held him for a bit because I wasn’t fully awake. He snuggled up beside me and I wrapped my arms around him. My right hand happened to rest on the part of his chest where I felt his heart beating. I imagined that little, unique heart of his in my hand and I thought of my other children’s, too. And this was the prayer that came to me…

How fragile, Lord, are my kids. How easily wounded if I am not careful. How tender are their consciences. How opportune the season to plant your truth in them. May I not trample upon their fragility or desecrate their consciences with my own sinfulness. You have made me steward of four extraordinary treasures. I cannot be faithful to this trust if you do not supply the extraordinary help. So I look to you to teach me how to hold the hearts of my children. Let me treat motherhood as a sacred offering of love, time, and sacrifice that directs my children to you, to reflect and live for your glory. Reveal to me what I should teach and what I need not fret over, and calibrate my responses and instruction according to what pleases you so that each of my children can be redeemed and prepared for your purposes! Amen!