Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy New Year... and Back to School

*Originally posted January 6, 2008

Hope you all had a wonderful start to the New Year! I can't believe it's already 2008 and time to go back to school!... time sure flies. :)

We started off our new year with a new family devotional: Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson. The first lesson proved beneficial (when is studying the bible with your family not going to be beneficial?) when Erich started explaining how great God's love for us in that He sacrificed His Son for us. It led to a wonderful discussion.

Erich illustrated it this way: "If somebody told me that in order for 100 people to be saved, I would have to let one of you (Caroline or Ava) die, I just couldn't do it. Especially when they told me that those 100 people hated me and were my enemies... I just couldn't imagine letting one of you die for them. But God, in His infinite mercy, compassion and grace, sent His only Son to die for ALL mankind that were His enemies (Romans 5:8) so that we would be saved. Isn't God's love for sinners awesome?!!!"

Ava surprised us by responding humbly and thoughtfully with this: "But, if I died, I'd go to heaven, and the 100 enemies wouldn't... so you'd need to let me die in order to save the others, because I'm already going to heaven."

WOW!!! We got tears in our eyes... we were so shocked that her little 5 year old heart responded with true biblical understanding of sacrifice. All Erich was trying to do was get them to understand how hard it is for us, as humans, to think about one of our children dying in order to save others... in hopes to paint the even bigger picture of how much more God loved us by sending His Son to die for His enemies. But, Ava took it a step further... Praise God that He is actively working in her heart to transform her into His image. Needless to say, we are looking forward to more studies in our new devotional! :)

Tomorrow we start back to school... the girls are excited, and honestly, so am I! As we start Term 2, we have a few "new" books to add to our curriculum as well as a new poet, composer & character from Plutarch's Lives. Caroline and Ava are excited about all the "new-ness" (you know how kids are with something new and different).

I've also prayed for discernment in adding some things into our curriculum. First off, I would like the girls to start their own quiet time with God in the morning. Time for them to pray to Him without my initiation... time for Caroline to meditate on a passage of Scripture and for Ava to look through her Bible. I want to make sure that they are learning how to have a prayer and study time with God, apart from me.

Secondly, Ava brought one of Charlotte Mason's principles to life in which prompted me to make another change. Miss Mason stresses the importance of teaching bible stories directly from the Bible itself, rather than from paraphrased children's bible storybooks. So, I was reading out of a paraphrased bible storybook, (only because it was a beginning reader book and I thought it would be good for Ava to practice reading from it) when Ava said to me, "I like it better when you read me stories out of the Bible... can you do that please?" Duh... what was I thinking?!?! :)
I was reminded of 2 key verses that prove this point. Hebrews 4:12 says: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." and 2Timothy 3:16 says: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" So, of course I should rely on God's Holy Word to reach into the girls' hearts to teach them... not a man-made altered version using "easy" words. If we reach a passage in the Bible that seems "over their heads" or if they have questions, of course I will stop down to explain or use other translations to help illustrate the passage. But, I've now decided that we will focus our daily bible studies on a verse-by-verse study of different books of the bible... and we'll start tomorrow with Genesis (good beginning, eh?).

Lastly, I'd like to add a weekly "tea time" to teach table manners. I'm thinking we'll teach things like properly setting the table, passing food around the table, serving food to others, etc. The girls also need refreshing on proper posture at the table as well as common curtesies like not talking with food in your mouth, chewing with your mouth closed, and taking small bites at a time. I want them to have fun with tea time as we'll try different flavored tea and eat sweet treats! Yum! Of course, I'll pull out my china for the tea time, too so we can be true little ladies! :)

School starts tomorrow at 8:00am and I'm prayerful that we'll start off with the right peaceful and patient heart, eager to learn and ready to do God's will! I've attached our Term 2 schedule... I'll keep you posted on how everything goes! Have a blessed day! :)

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