real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

raising homeschooled daughters by preparing them spiritually, part eight

In the past few weeks I have really been enjoying a series of sermons that my pastor has preached on the smaller epistles in the New Testament.  So many of the things he has talked about has spurred me on to further study and reflection.  I hurry into the pew each week, my notebook and Bible in hand, anxiously ready to absorb a new truth or to remember something I have learned in the past, eager to apply it to what is currently going on in my own life right now.

Unfortunately, I haven’t always been so excited about studying Scripture or learning new spiritual truths.  Over the 45 years I have been a Christian, there have been times when I was indifferent to the Bible.  Other times I have found the study to be dry and tedious and have only read from routine.  But other times I have approached the study of God’s Word as though I was on a treasure hunt, looking for the rare and precious truths that I know are waiting for me to find.

In our earliest years of parenting I assumed that these sorts of truths were for older students and that most of it was supposed to come from Sunday school and Bible clubs.  It wasn’t until we began to really think through our responsibilities as parents and the incredible privilege we had been given, that of making disciples of Jesus, that I could understand the importance of teaching Spiritual truth to our children ourselves and to begin early.

While most of what I want to share today ought to be applied to both sons and daughters, I believe it is especially valuable to consider the importance of teaching our daughters the importance of being Bible students as they prepare for marriage and for all of life.  Often we tend to think that only the fathers in the household will be the ones teaching spiritual truth to our grandchildren.  In fact, Scripture calls us to teach them about God in this way:  “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.   Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Since moms are the ones who are spending the majority of the time with children during the course of a day, fulfilling this command, it naturally makes sense to me that our daughters, the future mothers of our grandchildren, will be prepared for the task.

As we prepare them to do this, I would identify three areas where we must prepare them for this most important service:  Bible knowledge, sound doctrine, and application of Biblical truth. Here are a few suggestions for teaching our daughters these things:

Bible knowledge
   ~   Frequent reading and memorizing Scripture is where you start gaining Bible knowledge.  Choose a version you are comfortable with and it helps if the whole family uses the same one, especially if you memorize together.  As each of our children were learning to read, family Bible reading time became another way to give them practice and to encourage them to read the Bible themselves. Awana clubs and Kids for Truth are also great places to enhance what you are teaching at home and Bible quizzing and other Scripture memory and Bible knowledge programs can also further their learning.

When my children were junior high age, I introduced them to a Strong’s Concordance and taught them how to use it, how to cross-reference, how to look at the verse in the context of the passage and how the exact words were used in other passages of Scripture.  Keeping a dictionary handy, we all increased our vocabulary and began to recognize patterns of phrases and writers’ styles and we studied the Bible text.

Sound Doctrine 
  ~   Each family will have their own beliefs regarding Bible doctrine and the non-essentials of the faith.  When our children were in high school, one of the things we added to our curriculum was reading and discussing some of the writings of R. C. Sproul Sr. and Francis Schaeffer.  Always central to whatever we presented was the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and what that means in the lives of our children.  Here are a few of those tools which we found helpful:

Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House
Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament by John H. Walton
Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament by H. Wayne House
Chronological and Background Charts of Church History by Robert C. Walton
Strong’s Concordance
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Calvin’s Institutes
Berghof’s Systematic Theology
Sermons of Charles H. Spurgeon
Westminster Confession of Faith by G.I. Williamson
Westminster Confession of Faith in Cartoons by Vic Lockman
Catechism for Children
Heidelberg Catechism
Online Resource Bible Gateway and Bible Crosswalk

Also, having them keep a personal journal of their faith walk will be a source of strength and encouragement to them in the future when they face decisions and times of crisis.  We did this by having them write down insights from daily Bible reading in a notebook and asking them to include how that passage applied to them at that particular time. Seeing how God has worked in the past will help them to face the future, even during those most difficult times when they are struggling to understand how God will make everything good in its time.

Application of Scripture   ~   This is the most important aspect of training our daughters to prepare for marriage and family life. as well as for working or volunteering. Relationship skills are crucial to living a productive life, whether it be at work or at home and I think that, frankly, this is one of the most lacking skills our children have. Most homeschoolers stress character training and that is certainly a part of applying Scripture to life.  But simply memorizing character traits isn’t enough.  Godly character can only be developed as we practice applying God’s Word to daily life and as we observe it being applied by others.  Reading biographies about men and women who were used by the Lord is one way to “observe.” Also, planning specific projects for your children will give them a training ground for applying Scripture and will purposefully give them an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak to them and through them in many ways.

Here are some of the books we have used and have found helpful for planning specific projects for each child:

The Practical Works of Richard Baxter
Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects
A Homework Manual for Biblical Living by H. Wayne Mack, 1 and 2
Suffering: A Biblical Survey to use with the book Joni
Memory Verses for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood by Doorposts
Polished Cornerstones by Doorposts
When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James
Spurgeon’s Sermons on Old Testament Women, 1 and 2
Spurgeon’s Sermons on New Testament Women, 1 and 2

As we prepare our daughters for life, building them up in the faith and giving them tools for understanding God and who He is, I pray that we moms will also be built up and encouraged, strengthened ourselves for the days ahead.  I would love to hear from any of you and the resources you have found to be helpful either when you were a young homeschooled student or now that you are training daughters (and sons)!


1 Comment»

  TulipGirl wrote @

Our women’s Bible study is currently in Judges. As you know, the pattern often was the Israelites “forgetting” God after Joshua and the elders, or the other judges died.

What stood out to me was that it seemed that it was in part the children’s generation but moreso the grandchildren’s generation which “forgot” God and went after idols.

One of the questions which came up in the study was related to what can be done to effectively communicate the Gospel to our children and grandchildren, how can we help them remember God? I think you bring up some very practical points, including the importance of teaching daughters (the mothers who will teach the grandchildren) what they need both for their walk with the Lord and helping their children “remember” the Lord.

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