The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXIII
No. 4
Cover
July/August
2007

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By MaryAnn Gaver
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Be a Blessing
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MaryAnn Gaver

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bone.s” Proverbs 16:24

Our family has made Ephesians 4:32 the focus for our homeschool: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” To put this goal into practice, we spend each day working on a character trait. These traits might include thankfulness, obedience, diligence, or cheerfulness. And the list goes on. Every morning, we identify the areas we wish to improve. Then we pray, specifically asking God to cultivate these traits in our lives, depending fully on Him for change.

Share Your Tips

This new column is designed to feature the imaginative ways you’ve discovered to spark learning in your children.

Our topic for the Nov./Dec. issue is outreach. Have you found a creative way to involve your kids in reaching out to others? Send us a brief description (250 words or less). Mail submissions to:

Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134

Or email us (include ’Parent to Parent” in the subject line) at: ComDept@hslda.org

Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is September, 19, 2007.

Your family can brainstorm creative ways to reinforce these character traits. For example, putting Bible verses on the fridge may be helpful. Also, Dad and Mom can give verbal reminders such as, “Let’s encourage one another in our words today.” You may enjoy singing hymns or songs that will inspire you and your family.

On showing kindness, for instance, remember that a pleasant voice, an approving nod, or a sincere smile can be simple ways to reflect the love of Christ to those in our home and those we meet. Before going on an errand or outing, or to an appointment, I give a short briefing to Austin and Justin (my twins) as to my expectations. I tell them that if we run into friends, or make a new acquaintance, I expect them to be friendly and pleasant in word and action. I make it a point to let them know that I’m working on this right along with them!

In the rush of the day, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the “things to do” and forget to simply show love to the people that God brings across our path. As Emerson said so well, “Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.”

MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for six years.

Ways You Can Keep Character Training at the Forefront

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In the School of Character

To me, homeschooling is all about character development. Academics are simply the fertile field of opportunity where we can sow seeds of godly character. Teaching character naturally flows from the homeschool lifestyle. Consciously seeking God’s help to see and understand the greater truths in our daily lives is the key to the rich character curriculum every homeschool possesses. Here are some examples:

  • Stewardship of time and resources are natural results of planning and discipline. For example, we involve our children in understanding their overall education plan. As we make progress and adjustments throughout the year, the children learn to maximize their time; consider their desires, strengths, and weaknesses while they set goals; establish priorities; and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from disciplined effort.
  • Consistent effort and perseverance are tremendous benefits of learning mathematics, as are attention to detail and neatness.
  • Compassion and respect for others permeates the homeschool day as these traits are modeled first in the home and then in our relationship with others. Discussing the needs and desires of those we know, and seeking to meet those needs with our resources, instills in our children the value of others and our responsibility to them.

If we embrace God and see our days with His eyes, our children’s character education will bear great fruit!

—Billie Jo Y. / Port Crane, N.Y.