Under the Maple Tree

Mother Culture: Notes on A Biblical Home Education, Chapter Two: History

from November 1, 2012


Friends, even with the help of the wonderfully efficient and organized Jacki Young, I have been negligent in getting these notes to you.  If you are new to our little spot here “Under the Maple Tree” then please join our little group.  You will find details here about this actual and virtual support group and our first set of notes here.  In short, we meet as a small support group to learn from one another and a good book as well as to encourage and spur one another on in this crazy homeschooling life.  This year our book of choice is A Biblical Home Education by Dr. Ruth Beechick.  If you are interested in joining us even if only virtually, then the book is available through Maple Tree.  Contact me, Cori, for ordering information.


If you are following our little group online, or if you missed the meeting in person, or if you were here and wanted to look over the ideas and resources that we discussed then please enjoy the notes below with thanks to the great Jacki Young.




Beechick writes, “We must match history to the Bible – not only its timeline and chronology, but also the principles and the meanings we attach to it.” (p.23)


It is difficult to find resources that integrate Bible with history. Here are some suggestions:

o www.dianawaring.com – “Ancient Civilizations” curriculum and other resources for integrating Bible and History

o History resources from Simplecharlottemason.com

o A Story of the World – keep in mind that the Bible is treated as literature, not as core

o www.jonathanpark.com – Jonathan Parks CDs

o Mystery of History – in this curriculum the Bible isn’t just integrated but is the core of history


Beechick encourages us to “resist the hype” i.e. set realistic goals for history (p.39)

o Don’t try to do too many activities; rather, focus on the reading

o Notebooking and reading work well with multiple age levels


There are benefits to reading in short spurts or in longer chunks

o Good to stop before seeing the “glazed look” in their eyes

o Leave them wanting more and excited to see what happens when reading is resumed

o Reading for longer chunks allows more depth of study


There are many benefits to using extra-Biblical sources to study Ancient history:

o Helps us understand that the world is bigger than Biblical history

o Integrates Bible and History to help us see parallels – things happening at the same time in different places in world

o Helps to lend credibility to Bible

o Helps to give place in history

o Artifacts also give credibility to Bible

o Shows the contradictions between the Bible and History eg. we know from the Bible that people were made smart (no cavemen); this contradicts common “History”

o We need the whole picture to argue our point eg. To discuss evolution vs the Bible

o Enables us to stand up for our beliefs even if persecuted

o If we can stand up for our beliefs, we will “stand before kings”:

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. ” Proverbs 22:29


Today, history is not necessarily taught in society; instead, an “individual history” is emphasized

o Charlotte Mason thought history should be taught so that students could “think justly of what is occurring today” (“Home Education”, p. 169)

o Understanding history helps us to be less self-focused

Where should a homeschooling parent start with history? Some suggestions:

o My Father’s World website www.mfwbooks.com

§ Integrates Bible and “History”

§ Can be too repetitive depending on your style/taste

o Mystery of History (available through Maple Tree)

o 50 Famous Stories by James Baldwin – stories of heroes & famous men (available as a free ebook or on www.librivox.org for free audio download)

o An Island Story by H.E. Marshall (Recommended on Amblesideonline.org) (also available free online)

o “Trial and Triumph” by R. Hannula – stories of heroes of church history

Building a timeline

o Create a timeline (either on the wall or “Book of Centuries”)

– some suggested delaying timelines until grade 3 and later while others started them earlier

o Various websites can help you make one eg. Knowledgequest.com

o Cori has made a timeline book; request the file if you are interested

o Simplycharlottemason.com has 2 versions of a “book of centuries”. One is free, while the other costs but includes categories ie. Art, culture, religion, etc.

For good history book lists, refer to the following resources:

o Through the Ages by Christine Miller

o Amblesideonline.org

o Sonlight.com

o Cmhelp.com

o Greenleaf Press

o A Story of the World

o Heartofwisdom.com (Biblical history)

o Classicalhomeschooling.org
o See also great series like Our Canadian Girl, the Dear Canada diary series, and the Canadian Flyer series for Canadian history

Beechick’s categorization of history differs from most. It is not divided according to Jesus life/death:

1) Early Times (Creation – Abraham)

2) Kingdom of Israel(Father Abraham – Fall of Judah)

3) Gentile Kingdoms (Captivity of Israel & Judah – God’s kingdom on Earth)

According to Beechick, the statue from Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 “shows the whole history of the Gentile world from Babylon through to the kingdom of Christ” (p.32-33)

o This image is also studied in Precept Bible Studies for kids by Kay Arthur


We also took some time to discuss Living books and in short these are some of the notes that we had on them.


Living Books


What are living books?

o Whole books written by a single author where the subject is a “favourite” of author. We can share the author’s enthusiasm for the topic as we read. (S. Schaeffer McCauley)

o Special interest books that could be fiction or non-fiction (K. Andreola)

o A simple test of a good book is if kids are interested after reading one page (K. Andreola)

Some examples of living books:

o Apologia books

o Andrew Lang fairy books

o Trailblazer Books by Dave & Neta Jackson (unfortunately out of print) *Maple Tree has found a few of these still available new – let me know if you would like a title or two.

o Check out www.amblesideonline.orgfor excellent reading lists of living books.

o See also Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt and Books Children Love to Read by Elizabeth Wilson for excellent living book bibliographies.
Well, there are a few notes to get you started friends. :) I’m again looking forward to hearing some feedback. To those of you who were there, is there anything we missed? I’m sure there are more resources you can recommend.  If you weren’t there, what are your thoughts? What were the take away lessons that have challenged you or have helped in your home school recently? Please try to post your comments directly on the blog (rather than replying if you are receiving this as an email) so that we can all participate in the conversation.
I will try to get the notes to you for Decemeber’s meeting in the next few days and am looking forward to seeing some of you in person later this week!
Maple Tree Publications

Christmas Blessings

Dear Friends,

I have finally dusted off my laptop to send you a few words of greeting over these beautiful holidays.  First I want to send my wishes that you have had a spectacular Christmas with friends and family and to wish your New Year will be filled with God’s richest blessings.

I have to admit that I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately.  We are finally starting to see the end of a horrible bout of cold and flu that has been with us for more than three weeks.  I have been stuck in the past wishing for a White Christmas and a repeat of the idyllic holidays of many years gone by but these days Christmas has been a visit to his mom’s and then my mom’s and then my dad’s and … well you get it.  This year, it’s been a few of us visiting with one pocket of loved ones or another hoping tentatively for peace and having to leave one or more sickies at home. 

This holiday has taken an extra striving to recall the point of it all.  It is so easy to lose the sound of the still small voice of the baby in the manger.  But we have found our Christmas in the moments.  Friends, I hope you have found your moments as well. 

We loved the moments of our advent readings even if, yes, we didn’t finish them all.  I was touched by my husband’s reflections and patience when I was too stressed with lists and cards and bills to see through to the Jesus who had made it all so special.

I enjoyed discussions with my daughters about the gifts that they had for Jesus.  So neat to walk my seven year old through why Jesus didn’t take the beautiful card that she made for Him and set under the tree.  “Where does Jesus live daughter?”  “In heaven.”  “Where else?”  “With us, here in our house, in my heart.”  “So, he kept his precious gift here where he lives.  No?”  We discussed how he says that when we do for others we are doing for Him.  We discussed the gifts that we gave especially to Him when we gave to others.

Another special moment with Jesus was in a new tradition that we started last year: a cake, candles, and “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  My oldest daughter loves to bake and makes wonderful cakes.  This year she really wanted Jesus to have a cookie monster birthday cake.  We put six candles in and after singing to Him we each blew out a candle and gave him a birthday gift of words, “Thank you Jesus for giving me my family!”  “Thank you Jesus for taking care of us.”  “I am so glad, Jesus, that you are so much smarter than I am.”  Last year we chose out gifts for Jesus on Christmas day from the Samaritan’s Purse catalogue, each giving of their own money.  This year, we pooled our resources and were able to give to Jesus in another fun and creative way.  What a treat!

Still wrapped in the busyness even last night (since you can’t finish Christmas cards when everyone is sick for three weeks in December and we are finally starting to catch up on some of those visits that we cancelled) I received another sweet gift from my Saviour: a note from a friend.  It is such a blessing to have friends who are there at just the right moments.  So neat to see that Jesus is there to bless me in so many ways: through little thoughtful notes, and through the huge sacrificial gift of coming as a vulnerable boy to be my Saviour from all that I deserve.  It’s so hard to comprehend.  Perhaps that is why I can only handle it in small moments.

Friends, I hope that you have had that idyllic time of Christmas wonder and enjoyed this amazing time of reverence for our Jesus but if you have been, like me, seeking at least the little moments, may this magical time between Christmas and New Years be a time of you to rest in Him and to know His peace in a new way.

Happy New Year, Friends!


More of Fred

One thing that I have planned to do saw to try to do better at sharing new products with you and to let you know what you might find on Maple Tree’s store shelves. 

Most of you are aware that, in addition to the {spectacular} resources that we publish ourselves for the Canadian home school community, we also carry several other great resources that either we, in our little home school, have used or our customers have highly recommended.

If you are new to this little space Under the Maple Tree however, you may not know that we carry Life of Fred Math books

***If you do know about Fred, then please scroll down and take a look as there have recently been several new books added to the series that you may be interested in!***

If you are new to Fred, then let me introduce you!

As a long time math tutor and teacher (of about 20 years!) there was never a math curriculum that I really loved until I met Fred!  Life of Fred Math is so different than any other math curriculum than you will find out there. 

What makes Life of Fred special:

Life of Fred is a fun story, not a dull textbook.  Every mathematical concept is introduced and reinforced in the telling of the story – and it’s a silly, fun whimsical story.  This makes math time so much more pleasurable than it ever could be with a textbook and work book approach.  If ever there was a “living math” curriculum, this is it!

Life of Fred is relevant.  I always hated it when kids came to me for tutoring and could not understand why certain mathematical concepts were useful.  As much as we would go over them and look at the practicalities of what they were learning it just wasn’t reinforced in the teaching that most books or teachers gave.  In the Life of Fred series, Fred always encounters the concepts that the student is learning in “real life” before the concept is taught.  This helps students to know that what they are learning actually has a purpose.

Life of Fred is comprehensive.  While many families chose to use Life of Fred to supplement the curriculum that they are already using, it is also a comprehensive curriculum that can stand on its own and can teach your child all that they need to know in math right from earliest grade school on through to university level learning.

Life of Fred is easy for busy homeschooling families to use.  The books are meant to be used independently with no parental preparation.  As long as students can read, they can do their work on their own.  For younger students, they only need the story read to them, there is no other work that the parent needs to do.

– Life of Fred is cheap!  I know that many of you can relate to me on these terms: as homeschoolers we need to be very careful about where and how we spend our meager budgets.  Life of Fred books are made with hard covers and with a high quality binding.  They are non-consumable.  The prices for Life of Fred books have come down as they have become more popular and you will only ever have to buy one copy for your family.  And Maple Tree pricing is very competitive: when you take into account the cost of the books, shipping, taxes, duties and exchange, you won’t likely find Life of Fred books cheaper in Canada than you will here.  (Let me know if you do!)

Last year, around this time, I shared with you that the author had finally released the Elementary Series making the full curriculum complete.  Since then, he has received feedback that parents and students want more Fred and so he has obliged us with supplementary materials. 

(Below I will try to briefly outline what is available.  For more complete descriptions and pricing please see my website though I appreciate your patience as not all of the new materials are on my website yet.  You can check out samples here.)

Life of Fred Elementary Series
Life of Fred: Apples
Life of Fred: Butterflies
Life of Fred: Cats
Life of Fred: Dogs
Life of Fred: Edgewood
Life of Fred: Farming
Life of Fred: Goldfish
Life of Fred: Honey
Life of Fred: Ice Cream
Life of Fred: Jelly Beans

*This series is recommended for any student that is in grades one to four or who is not able to do adding, subtracting, multiplying AND long division competently.  The author recommends that all students in this category start with Apples regardless of their previous math experience. 

I agree as the way that he teaches the concepts brings a unique understanding to the topics rather than a focus on memorization and drilling.  Older students will go through these books quite a bit faster than younger ones.  As an example, I started both my middle daughters on the Apples book last year and the older one (in grade four) completed eight books while the younger one (in grade one) completed three of them in one school year.* 

***Life of Fred Intermediate Series*** NEW
Life of Fred: Kidneys
Life of Fred: Liver
Life of Fred: Mine Shaft

*When Dr. Schmidt published the Elementary Series last year he said that it was all that was needed to prepare a student to start the “Before High School” series below.  He has recently added these titles to his publications and recommends that they are used by students that need extra practice after finishing the elementary series and who aren’t quite ready for the next series (i.e. they aren’t strong enough in their adding, subtracting, multiplying and long division skills). 

Dr. Schmidt also recommends using this series if the student goes through the elementary series quickly and has not yet started grade five.*

***(If you are looking to purchase this series through Maple Tree, please email as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.  These titles will be available in early December 2012.)***
Life of Fred Before High School Series
Life of Fred: Fractions

Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents
***Life of Fred: Elementary Physics*** NEW
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology
Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics
*This series is for students that are at least in grade five though they may start the Fractions book in older grades as well.  It is recommended that all students starting this series start with the Fractions book whether they are in grade five or grade eight and that they are able to competently do adding, subtracting, multiplying and long division.*
***Recently Dr. Schmidt added the Elementary Physics book to this series and it fits right into the middle of the series.  Again, he decided that the series was complete with four titles however the rate that students were going through the books and the feedback asking for extra practice prompted him to produce this book which is meant to reinforce the learning that students have done to this point in the series.  (If you are looking to purchase this series on my website, please email me if you would like the Elementary Physics book added to your order as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.)***
Life of Fred High School Series
Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
Fred’s Home Companion: Beginning Algebra
***Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra*** NEW
Life of Fred: Advanced Algebra
Fred’s Home Companion: Advanced Algebra
Life of Fred: Geometry
City Answers: Geometry
Life of Fred: Trigonometry
Fred’s Home Companion: Trigonometry
*These titles are all at the high school level.  The companion books are available for three of the titles and are used to divide the chapters in individual lessons.  They also contain extra questions and solutions.* 
***Please note that the new title Zillions of Practice Problems… was recently added to the high school series line up when the author was asked for extra practice problems because, as he explains it, parents were saying, “We want tons of problems along with completely worked out solutions…  My kids are not crying when they read Fred—how could they be learning math without crying?”  If you are currently using Beginning Algebra and want extra practice problems for your kids then this is the book for you.  If you are planning to invest in Beginning Algebra then consider whether you might want to supplement with this book.  (If you are looking to purchase Zillions…, please email me as it has not yet been catalogued on the website.)***
Life of Fred University Series
Life of Fred: Calculus
City Answers: Calculus
Life of Fred: Statistics
City Answers: Statistics
Life of Fred: Linear Algebra
City Answers: Linear Algebra
*These are upper level high school or university level books.*
I never want to sell anyone a book that they don’t want and so I want to also let you know some of the drawbacks to this series:
– Some moms have told me that their kids don’t like to read.  If you kids don’t like to read stories then they might not enjoy Fred.
Some students don’t want fun and silly to come anywhere near their math books.  Some kids just like to work through problem sets.  Life of Fred isn’t the book for them.
– Some parents want more practice problems for their students.  Dr. Schmidt is working to produce extra practice sets for many of the books that are now available.  Other than these there are many avenues to find the extra problems that you need and many of them are free.  Hopefully, in a later post I will share a few of these resources with you.  Until then, I just like to encourage parents that it’s easy to find a few extra problems to go with your child’s Life of Fred lesson.  It isn’t easy to find fun, relevant and passionate applications to the many long problem sets that most other curriculums provide.
I hope that this {brief} description of the Life of Fred series gives you enough of an idea of what it is like and whether it would be of any use to your family.  I would be happy to answer any other questions that you might have about these books if you think that they might be helpful in your home school.
Blessings, Friends!

Mother Culture: Notes on A Biblical Home Education, Introduction and Chapter One

From our first meeting of the year…

September 20, 2012

Knowing that I didn’t do an exemplary job at sharing notes after meetings last year, Jacki Young, who is graciously co-leading our study group has also heroically offered to share her notes on the meetings.  I have cut and pasted her notes below and added a few thoughts of my own.  (The good stuff is Jacki’s writing; the muttering is mine.  Thank you for your grace in wading through my mutterings.)  Jacki has not only provided a summary of the ideas presented in the book but has also added in some of the thoughts, suggestions, ideas, and musings that we enjoyed during the evening.

General comments about the book:

          Does not have as many practical suggestions as expected.  Perhaps other Ruth Beechick books would fill in the gaps?  See for example The Three R’s (practical suggestions for kindergarten through grade 2) or You Can Teach Your Child Successfully(Grades 3 and up).  Ruth Beechick also has several other writings that would be worth looking at.  I (Cori) liked this article: http://creation.com/images/pdfs/home-school-corner/teaching-writing/6627how-not-teach-writing.pdf

          There are a number of assumptions that Dr. Beechick has made from the start of this study such as that we already feel confident in the choice to home educate and that the Bible is wholely true.  She doesn’t leave room for discussion of these ideas in this volume assumedly because she feels that the title A Biblical Home Education ensures that her readers have already grappled with these issues

          Would like more details on how to teach Bible as literature ie. Hebrew poetry

          Dr. Beechick distinguishes between language learning and content learning and encourages students to improve their language skills by using them in the content subjects

          Recent blog articles on simplycharlottemason.com might help with teaching individual subjects (17 part series).  Refer to:

o        http://simplycharlottemason.com/series/subject-by-subject/

Chapter 1 – Bible

          The Bible is essential for literacy because it is the most widely referenced book

          The Bible and Bible storybooks are important for teaching doctrine and for teaching Bible as literature; can be used as main textbook for home school.  An interesting difference from the stance that Charlotte Mason had as she wasn’t very much in favour of using Bible Storybooks.  Charlotte Mason felt that the Bible was story book enough and that any other story books pre-digested the truths for the children, and dumbed down the language.  Hmm, food for thought.

          Reading the whole Bible (not just passages) ensures that parents cannot take verses out of context eg. to manipulate children to doing right

          Old Testament stories point to Jesus (this is a “type”); this is evident in Jesus Storybook Bible and Mystery of History resources

          Put Bible readings in history.  Biblical history and the rest of history mustn’t be separated!

          Beechick says, “Chronological order does not help in the early years”.  As we teach the Bible and History over and over again, children of different ages will hear the cycle a number of times and understand the chronology.  Again, a departure from Charlotte Mason’s style and worth pondering.

          Beechick’s process of a child learning to understanding analogy:

o        Analogies of actions

o        Analogies of actors

o        The objects in the analogies

          There are parallels with the three stages of classical education:

o        Grammar (facts & stories)

o        Dialectic (why?)

o        Rhetorical (what do I think?)

          Do we censor the Bible when reading to young children?  WE use discretion as parents to ensure readings are “age appropriate”

          Other helpful Bible resources:

o        Children’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos

o        “What’s in the Bible?” DVD series by Phil Vischer

o        Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible on librivox.org

          Some considerations when choosing a version of the Bible to use:

o        Beechick’s history of modern day Bible translations is “limited” eg. King James Version was not “thrown out” when other versions written

o        Different versions had different goals in translation; some Bibles are paraphrases, not translations eg. The Message

o        Some modern day translations have truncated verses eg. In 1 Tim 2:5, studying refers to studying God’s word, not just studying in general

o        King James version is better written (quality, cadence, flow, etc.); familiarity with KJV enables students to read other difficult classic literature sooner


Wow!  Thank you Jackifor giving such thorough feedback on the book and the meeting.

I’m also looking forward to hearing some feedback.  To those of you who were there, is there anything we missed?  If you weren’t there, what are your thoughts?  What were the take away lessons that have challenged you or have helped in your home school recently?  Please try to post your comments directly on the blog (rather than replying if you are receiving this as an email) so that we can all participate in the conversation.

Looking forward to the next meeting on November 1stwhen we will look at Chapter 2: “World History to Match the Bible”!

Blessings, Friends!


Maple Tree Publications


Book Suggestions From This Meeting:

(Many of these are regularly in stock at Maple Tree.  Most of the rest can be ordered through Maple Tree.  Call or email for details as not all of our regular stock is listed on the website.)

The Three R’s

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully
A Biblical Home Education
Jesus Storybook Bible
Mystery of History
Children’s Story Bible
What’s in the Bible?
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible
The Bible: many favourite versions and paraphrases include: King James Version, New International Version, New American Standard Version, the Message, and others…


So many of you have asked about our daughter that I realize that it is time to update you. 

Just reading over my musings of a year ago, I realize how I still get so relentlessly caught up in the mundane and overwhelmed by things that are so transient.  (This week, in addition to life’s everyday blunders and the usual financial frustrations, we have been dealing with BOTH fleas and lice in the Dean household.  When will “normal” arrive, please, Lord?!)

I have been feeling sorry for myself, wishing someone would step up to this plate that I have been given and run the race for me for a little while.  My husband and I have spent the week going to bed sore and exhausted, hoping for relief the next day but finding a new set of challenges with each morning: the dog gets out of the yard AGAIN, a computer crashes and people treat us like we are carrying the plague.  I think that it is the stress of it all that made us turn our backs on the fact that that nasty cold was creeping into the house as well.  Par for the course. 

Yesterday, in the midst of it all, we were brought back to the basics.  (We will conquer the fleas and the lice.  I’ve never dealt with fleas before but have with lice, it’s a lot of work but we know how to overcome it.  The colds will move on, eventually the bills will be paid and our friends won’t be afraid to see us.)  On the other hand, there we were on the floor of the little girls’ bedroom dealing with a tantrum, not the everyday grumpiness that you occasionally encounter but a full out kicking and screaming 3 year old.  And then she went pale, her eyes rolled back and the screaming eased.  My baby nearly fainted.  Now to most this would be happy justice for a kid that had cried it out.  For us fainting can be life threatening.

Suddenly lice, fleas, colds, and harsh words from friends didn’t seem so important.  Surviving the moment was all that we had. 

Now, as soon as the spell overcame her, she started to recover.  She certainly had lost the wind in her sails but she came back to us.  The normal procedure for days like this with a girl with a heart condition like ours has been to see the doctor immediately (get to the ER!)which has resulted in one weekend stay at the hospital so far.  The thing is that our most recent visits to our local paediatric cardiologist and to Sick Kids confirmed that our prayers are working, her heart is holding out and is more stable than they had originally anticipated.  Praise the Lord!  That being the case, we are now told that the pacemaker won’t be inserted into her heart until they see some quantifiable difference in the testing that they do or until this “starts to affect her quality of life”, meaning until dizziness leads to actual fainting.  We do hope to see our doctor this week but for now are closely monitoring her and seeking your prayers.

All of this has brought back some much needed perspective: God is in control.

            “I am the LORD, and there is no other;

            apart from me there is no God.
            I will strengthen you,
            though you have not acknowledged me,
            so that from the rising of the sun
            to the place of its setting
            men may know that there is none besides me.
            I am the LORD, and there is no other.
            I form the light and create darkness,
            I bring prosperity and create disaster;
            I, the LORD, do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:5-7

He allows us to go through the things that he does because He trusts that we will come out on the other side closer to Him and more able to be all that He wants us to be.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

Friends, my family and I have so appreciated your kind words, your prayers and your inquiries about our daughter that show that you care.  They have made such a difference to us.  Please do continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as we journey along this crazy road.  It has made a difference as she had gone a full year now without need for pacemaker surgery and we hope that she will be able to go longer and grow more in order to better be ready for the hardware that is best suited to her needs.



Maple Tree Publications

On Becoming Far-Sighted

Dear Friends,

I thought I would take a {quick} break from my planning.  I’ve spent my evening getting ready to participate in an Awana Children’s Ministry conference at the end of this month.  This will be the second time that I have been to this conference and this year I will be presenting two new workshops called “What is a Biblical Education?” and “Day by Day and Side by Side”.  Even though I do get nervous and pretty perfectionist about my preparations I am really looking forward to sharing some of the new things I have been learning and pondering.

At the encouragement of our local Awana missionary, I picked up a copy of Raising  Modern Day Joseph by Larry Fowler and tonight I got to curl up with a good book to do some “work”.  (This is one of the reasons that I love my job: reading is a requirement!)  I am only part way through it but I am feeling challenged already.

The author asked this question, “What do you want to be able to say about your children when they are thirty?”  Good question…

I think that as homeschooling parents we often consider ourselves more intentional than our counterparts that don’t spend hours mulling over lessons plans and curriculum choices.  But do we often look at our children’s education with such far-sighted lenses?

This was a great reminder to me that I really do need to remember to live beyond just this moment and to think of what the long term goals are that I have when I am educating my kids.  Charlotte Mason stressed that an education was so much more than simply the cramming of much knowledge into a little mind but that equally important was the motivation for learning and the habits that were formed along the way.

Diana Waring recently reminded me in a talk that she did (Thank you Lord for seminars on CD!) that biblical education is a blend of knowledge, piety and morality.  To be truly educated we must be assimilating knowledge in accordance with our relationship with the God of the universe and our love for Him and we must apply that love and knowledge to the world around us, learning to live in a way that is fitting for a child of The King.

I still have so much to learn in this respect but my husband and I have put some thought into what we want to be able to say about these children of ours when they are thirty and, so far, it looks something like this, “It is our hope and prayer that our daughters will become lovers of God and of their families, women of strong character who are contributors to family, church and society, who are unwavering in their faith and able to share it with and defend it to others.” 

Tall order, I know.  And I do struggle with the notion of expecting something of them that I don’t always see in myself.  I guess this is better to be called a hope, a prayer, than an expectation.  But without a plan, as we know, we will never get anywhere.  I like the quote that I read in the book this evening, an excerpt from a poem by Longfellow,

            I shot an arrow into the air,

            It fell to earth, I knew not where.

Without intentionality in our efforts to rightly guide these precious treasures in the path that they should go we can only be sure that we won’t know where they will end up. 

The path is long from finished in our journey of parenting and educating but it is my hope and prayer that, with God’s help, if we keep those long term goals in mind, we will have a better chance of answering that question with confidence someday: “My daughter is 30 today and she is all that I every imagined that God would want for her to be!”

What are your hopes, Friends, for your children?  What to you want to be able to say about them when they are beyond these intensive years in your care?

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Maple Tree Publications

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