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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
Fax: 503-253-7345
Phone: 503-253-9633  

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For 31 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Homeschool Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

Your Own Spiritual Life

In Deuteronomy 6:5-7, a passage that provides a model for teaching our children, we see that parents' spiritual lives come first.


"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart."


"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

As a parent, you are to love the Lord above all and put Him first in your life.

You will grow to love the Lord more as you spend regular time alone with Him in His Word and in prayer.

 •  Pray that you will know when and how to talk to your children about salvation and that they will accept the Lord as their Savior as soon as they are able.  Also pray that your family will grow in the Lord.

 •  Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) because Satan will target the family that seeks to train their children to love, honor, and serve the Lord.

 •  Call upon our loving Lord for help.  He has promised to give you the wisdom and strength that you need for this task.  (James 1:5; Col. 1:9-11)

 •  Take a Spiritual Inventory with John Wesley's 21 Questions that the members of his spiritual accountability group at Oxford asked themselves every day in their private devotions more than 200 years ago.

Set Spiritual Goals

by Michael P. Farris, Home School Legal Defense Association Chairman and General Counsel

On Home School Heartbeat, Farris discussed how dads can act as spiritual leader on a daily basis.

What is the number-one need in a family?

Nearly every Christian woman points to the need for strong spiritual leadership from her husband.

Homeschooling is not the end goal of our child training – it's how we reach the goal.

Ultimately, we are preparing our children to love God, not just to excel academically.

And this is where we as dads can provide the most support to our wives – by being strong spiritual leaders.

Spiritual leadership can be a nebulous concept, so I've found it helpful to think of it as a three-step process.

First, set spiritual goals for your children.

Now that our youngest is 13 years old, all of our children have set goals for themselves – at least some of their goals.

But I have also my own list of goals that I want the Farris household to attain – beginning with salvation for each person and including characteristics of spiritual maturity such as self-discipline, understanding the Bible, and spending daily time with God.

Second, plan activities designed to help our family reach those goals.

Years ago, I told my children that if they read the Bible every day for a year, I would give each child $100.  They did it, and I paid up.  After a couple of years, my oldest daughter Christy said, "Dad you don't have to pay me anymore.  I can't imagine going through a day without spending time in God's word."  That was the goal.

Third, periodically assess their progress.

This means speaking to my children one-on-one about what they're learning, what they're doing.

As you set out to guide your children toward godliness, you've made your wife's job much easier.  There is nothing she wants more than to support you as you lead your family in the Lord.

Read or listen to all five Home School Heartbeat programs on "How to Help Your Helpmate."

7 Guidelines
for Child Training
and Discipline

One of the most beneficial things that you can do for your family and homeschool is to establish, or reaffirm, basic child training and discipline.

Parents who do not have their children's respect will have trouble getting their cooperation and obedience.

Gaining children's respect through proper relationships, discipline, training, and example should be a parents' top priority, whether or not they are home schooling.

Home schooling can provide the incentive and optimum setting to accomplish this training and discipline.

Here are seven basic guidelines that will help you.

1.  Get your child's attention before giving him an instruction.

2.  Your child should meet your eyes and answer, "Yes, Mother/Father."

3.  Require instant, willing obedience.

4.  Be consistent.  Your children must know you mean what you say.

5.  Affirmation should follow obedience; negative consequences are appropriate when a child disobeys or rebels.

6.  Make clear rules and consequences and require your child to remember and obey them.  (See Doorpost's "If-Then Chart and The 21 Rules of This House by Gregg Harris.")

7.  Use Scripture to show your child the principles behind your rules.  (See Doorpost's "For Instruction in Righteousness," a topical reference guide for biblical child-training.)

Child Training Resources

1.  "What the Bible Says about Child Training" by J. Richard Fugate.  Book, audio, video, and online excerpts.

2.  Videos, DVDs, and audio tapes by Dr. S.M. Davis deal with all types of family problems and biblical solutions.

3.  "Under Loving Command," formerly "Children – Fun or Frenzy?" online booklet.

4.  The Nov./Dec. 1999 Teaching Home Back Issue with a 13-page Special Section on "Family Relationships."

5.  Online Articles

 •  "Using the Word of God to Lay the Foundation for Family Relations and Child Training" by Katherine Johnson.

 •  "Rules for Maintaining Order" by Joy Marie Dunlap.  (Also see the Dunlap's Artistic Nature Magazine and homeschool curriculum online.)

 •  "Child Training," training objectives and the training process.

Family Nights

One of the best things you can do with your children to promote family unity is to have a "family night" each week.  This can create a family tradition that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

Establish a time each week to enjoy one another's company as a family.  It doesn't have to cost money or be educational, just relaxing and fun.

 •  Choose activities to do together as a family such as: walking, hiking, playing board games, doing puzzles, arts and crafts, baking something special, or reading aloud.

 •  Set aside the same night each week and schedule other activities around it.

 •  Use this time for positive activities only, not to deal with problems.

 •  Plan a special meal and/or dessert.

 •  Consider letting each member of the family take a turn selecting a meal or activity.

If you haven't already established family nights, or if they were not regularly observed during the summer, plan a family night for next week.  Your family will be glad you did!

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The Teaching Home
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Teaching Home Back Issues

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The information, inspiration, and encouragement packed into each back issue never goes out of date.  They are always relevant, applicable to your needs today.

"The Teaching Home has been a part of my continuing education since I started homeschooling, and I have kept every issue.

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Sunnyside Up

A Literal Translation

Our son was taking longer than seemed necessary on his grammar, so I checked his assignment.

The answers were all correct, but he had used his own style of ornate lettering.  Since the curriculum didn't teach calligraphy, I asked him why he had used such decorative print.

He showed me the book cover and explained eagerly, "See, it says here that I am going to learn creative writing!"

Submitted by Alice S., Georgia.

Send your humorous anecdote to

God's Plan
of Salvation

1.  God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

2.  Man was separated from God by sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

3.  The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

4.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

God's Word

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.

The Teaching Home's
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Features include:
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Search God's Word at  Options include Passage Lookup, Keyword Search, and Topical Index.

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Christian Music Online 24/7!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to these online stations:

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Copyright 2011 The Teaching Home



  Part 7

    "Homeschooling is not the end goal of our child training – it's how we reach the goal.

    "Ultimately, we are preparing our children to love God, not just to excel academically."

Michael P. Farris, HSLDA   

 •  Invite a Friend!  Encourage your friends and support group to sign up to receive these free newsletters.

 •  Use this content.  See "Free Reprint" information in sidebar.

 •  See Online Archives for Homeschool Foundations Series.

 Homeschool Foundations Series,  Part 7 

Putting First Things First –
Establishing Spiritual Priorities

1.  Daily Devotions
2.  Disciple, Train, Discipline, and Nurture Your Children
3.  Bible Study and Memorization
4.  Fellowship, Service, and Evangelism


•  Your Own Spiritual Life
•  Fathers, Set Spiritual Goals
•  7 Guidelines for Child Training and Discipline
•  Child Training Resources
•  Family Nights

 Recommended Resources 

•  Deeper Roots Publications: Bible Curriculum
•  Basic Christian Education: Bible-Based Curriculum
•  Systematic Mathematics: DVD Math Curriculum
•  Constant Contact: E-mail Newsletter Service


The most important thing you can do for your family' homeschool is to establish spiritual priorities in your home.

Don't let your many household duties, urgent physical needs, and educational activities overshadow your family's relationship with the Lord.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it.
(Psalm 127:1)

May the Lord bless your family and the coming school year for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

See Your Children Move from Bible
Knowledge . . . to Spiritual Application

Deeper Roots Unique, Life-Changing Bible Curriculum includes:
   • Inductive study with application
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To learn more and order, click links below. (Key: TG = Essential Teacher's Guide &  Free Sample portion pdf;
SW = Student Workbook;  hs = Home- school Edition)  For grades 7-12.

  7th: Discovering Our Amazing GodTG/hsSW/hs
  8th: Discovering Who I Am in ChristTG/hsSW/hs
  9th: Discovering Christ-Like HabitsTG/hsSW/hsBundle
10th: Discovering Christ-Like Character. TG/hs, SW/hs, Bundle
11th-12th: Rooted and GroundedTGSWBundle

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 1.  Daily Devotions 

1. Spend Time Together as a Family
with the Lord Every Day!

Be sure your family's schedule includes daily time with the Lord.  Family Bible time or devotions do not need to be long or complicated.  Just do it!

 •  Set aside a regularly scheduled time each day, perhaps while everyone is still at the breakfast or dinner table or before going to bed at night.

 •  You can also read, quote, or meditate on Scripture with your family throughout the day.  For example, read a Psalm at the breakfast table, work on a memory verse after lunch, and have family Devotions with Dad in the evening.

2.  Bible Reading

"And that from childhood
you have known the Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete,
thoroughly equipped for every good work."
(II Timothy 3:15-17)

Let God talk to you by reading His Word.  Reading the whole Bible through from cover to cover enables your family to hear God's complete truth and helps prevent errors in interpretation and understanding.

 •  Teach your children to love and obey the Lord by helping them get to know Him and what He tells them to do in His written Word.

 •  You can read through the Bible each year in about 15 minutes a day – and you can start at any time.  (See schedules.)

 •  Take a few minutes to discuss what you've read.  Recall facts, test comprehension by paraphrasing, and make applications.

Most importantly, show your love for God and desire to know Him and respond to His message.  Your attitude will make a life-long impression.

3.  Family Prayers

Teach your children to pray and pray with them daily.

 •  Explain the ministry of praying for others as well as the comfort of casting our own cares on the Lord in prayer.

 •  Draw up a weekly prayer list or chart to help your family to be faithful in your ministry of prayer.

 •  Pray for political leaders, issues of concern, your family's goals, friends, unsaved people, items of thanksgiving, etc.

4.  Learn Hymns and Sing Together

Music is a powerful influence in the spiritual lives of our families.  Learn and sing hymns together during family devotions, at mealtimes, in the car, or on special sing nights.

 •  Start by memorizing "Amazing Grace" or your favorite hymn.  Learn a new hymn each month, e.g., "And Can It Be," "How Great Thou Art," "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," etc.

 •  Look for hymns that contain accurate theology and/or are based on Scripture.

 •  Read the background stories of individual hymns and their authors.  This will make their messages even more meaningful, e.g., "It Is Well with My Soul."

 •  Listen to inspiring Christian music online at Old Christian Radio or Abiding Radio.

5.  Your Children's Personal Devotions

As soon as your child can read, encourage him to read from God's Word on his own at a certain time each day.  You could have him read it aloud to you for a while until he establishes the habit.

Sharing with your children what you have learned in your own personal devotions will encourage them as well!  Also teach him to:

 •  Think about what he has read.  Consider asking him to write notes in a journal.  He might look for attributes of God, instructions or good examples to follow, sins to avoid, etc.

 •  Do something about what he has read, such as share the truth with someone or change something in his own life.

 •  Pray.  Thank the Lord for what He has done; ask God for forgiveness; ask Him for what you need and to show you what He wants you to do.

Whatever else you do this school year, bring your family together to meet with the Lord each day!

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 2.  Disciple, Train, Discipline,  
      and Nurture Your Children 

1.  Disciple Your Children

You disciple (teach and train) your children through your own example, your daily time together with the Lord, and your behavior throughout the day.

Your child's salvation, spiritual growth, and right relationships with God and others give him the inner ability to display the fruits of the Spirit – character qualities we want our children to have – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

 •  Read the online article by Luis Palau, "How to Lead Your Child to Christ."

 •  Removing ungodly influences in your home will help furnish an atmosphere for godliness and diminish temptations.  Seek God's wisdom and help, as this step can require courage!

2.  Train and Discipline Your Children

You might be tempted to think that it is self-serving to teach your children to obey and honor you, but it is for their own benefit.

You do yourself, your children, and their future families a grave disservice if you do not teach and require obedience and respect.

 •  Teach your child what God commands and promises about obeying and honoring their parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20).

 •  Have your children memorize pertinent verses (see above).

 •  Discuss ways of honoring parents in word, deed, and thought.  (See "For This Is Right" from Doorposts, containing Scripture and questions to help children evaluate their honor and obedience to their parents.)

 •  Establish child discipline and training, with husband and wife in agreement.

See "7 Guidelines for Child Training and Discipline" and "Child Training Resources" in the sidebar at the left.

3.  Nurture Your Children

Be sure to show your love to each of your children (and husband!) every day in tangible ways.  (See "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.)

 •  Tell them that you love them; leave a note for them under their pillow, etc.

 •  Thank them for something they have done or that you appreciate about them.

 •  Spend one-on-one time with them for a few minutes each day, or a longer time once a week (e.g., errands).  Be sure to listen carefully to your child.

 •  Occasionally give small gifts.

 •  Acts of service define a mother's life, but sometimes a special effort can tell your child that you really love him.

 •  Physical contact, such as hugs, kisses, or pats on the back or shoulder.

A Family Night once a week does a lot to foster parent-child relations and is fun!  (See suggestions in the sidebar at the left.)

A positive atmosphere of mutual love and respect honors the Lord and helps your family grow spiritually.  It also makes teaching and learning more effective.

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 3.  Bible Study and Memorization 

1. Bible Study

In addition to your family's daily devotional time and Bible reading, you can further develop your children's Bible knowledge and Bible study skills by adding a Bible class to your school schedule.

 •  Learn Bible study skills and study on your own.  (See "How Can I Understand The Bible?" free 33-page e-book or order a printed copy from Radio Bible Class.)

 •  Order Bible curriculum from a publisher such as Deeper Roots, Judah Bible Curriculum, A Beka Book, BJU Press, or Moody Bible Institute distance learning college credit courses.

2. Bible Memory

Through Bible memorization, you can store God's Word in the hearts of your children for a lifetime.  These Scriptures will be remembered long after your children leave your influence and teaching!

Bible passages committed to memory allows us to meditate on God's Word.  This keeps us from sin and from being pressed into the World s mold (Psalm 119:11, Romans 12:2).

 •  Memorize Bible passages together by drilling verse cards, reading or reciting aloud, or writing and rewriting them.  (Read tips on "How To Memorize Scripture.")

 •  Learn verses that show the plan of salvation, or teach basic doctrines and attributes of God.

 •  Learn larger Scripture portions such as a Psalm (1, 23, 19, or 91), the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, the Armor of God, the Fruits of the Spirit, etc.

 •  Young children can learn "Be" verses – be kind, be obedient, etc. (see free 39-page e-book from Awana) and verses starting with each letter of the alphabet (see free 57-page e-book from Awana).

 •  Put together your own Bible memory and review program and make verse cards, or use a program that comes with a Bible curriculum.

 •  Take a few minutes before each meal and/or bedtime to say a Bible memory verse together.

It is easy to learn one verse each week in this manner.  This adds up to 50 per year, or a total of 650, when learned from K through 12th grade!

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 4.  Fellowship, Service, 
      and Evangelism 

1. Fellowship

"And let us consider one another
     to provoke unto love and to good works:
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
     as the manner of some is;
but exhorting one another:
     and so much the more,
     as ye see the day approaching."
(Hebrews 10:24-25)

Fellowship with like-minded, spiritual Christians is essential for our spiritual lives.

The fellowship and teaching of your local church supplies important support for your spiritual life.

When like-minded home-school families spend time together, they provide needed support and encouragement for the whole family.

2. Service

"So then, while we have opportunity,
     let us do good to all people,
and especially to those who are
     of the household of the faith."
(Galatians 6:10)

Service to others is an important part of our spiritual lives in obedience to God.

Our service helps provide for the needs of others, gets our attention off of ourselves and onto others, and can make us thankful for God's blessings to us.

Our first efforts of service are the daily chores and acts of helpfulness within our own families (see Doorposts' "Service Opportunity Chart").

Other opportunities to serve include your church, support group, rescue mission, retirement home, meals on wheels, crisis pregnancy center, animal shelter, etc.  Working together as a family ensures that your children are safe and that the family shares a unifying goal.

Besides serving others, volunteering offers an opportunity to learn new skills and explore career possibilities.

Some of the nicest things you and/or your children can do to help neighbors or church members who are elderly, busy, or physically challenged, include mowing their lawns or cooking them a meal.

3. Evangelism

"Go ye into all the world,
     and preach the gospel to every creature."
(Mark 16:15)

Our great commission to share the good news of salvation is both a command and a privilege.  It is also a natural outgrowth of our spiritual life.

 •  Pray that the Lord will direct you to a ministry and bring people into your life that you can witness to – and He will!

 •  Revolutionize your vision and methods of evangelism by listening to or reading "Hell's Best Kept Secret."

 •  Use tracts to spread the Gospel.  Read "The Use of Tracts" by R. A. Torrey.

 •  Order tracts such as "God's Simple Plan of Salvation" (available in many languages); and Gospels of John (available from the Pocket Testament League in several English translations, as well as Spanish and Chinese, all with the plan of salvation included).

 •  Pray that the seeds of God's Word you have planted will bear eternal fruit.

 •  Write out a 2-3 sentence testimony and practice saying it naturally.

 •  Teach your children about worldwide missions, the missionaries your church supports, and help them develop a heart for Missions (see suggestions in Newsletter #145).


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