Word Study Wednesday: REST

This week’s word I chose a definition of:

REST: Quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God.

Key word definitions

Repose: To lay; to rest, as the mind, in confidence or trust; as, to repose trust or confidence in a person’s veracity.

State: Condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time. These circumstances may be internal, constitutional or peculiar to the being, or they may have relation to other beings.

Reconciliation: Agreement of things seemingly opposite, different or inconsistent.


If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Heb. 4:3 MSG

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Rom. 5:11 NKJV

Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever. Ps.  136:23 NKJV

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called. 1 Cor. 7:23, 24

Personal Application

My natural, lowly state is not rest. I cannot strive for salvation so I must continue in this rest and allow God to work on my behalf. His wisdom is much more valuable to my life’s plans than mine is. My reconciliation with God is complete in my quiet rest.

This is definitely not easy for me, this resting. Ceasing from my labors is totally foreign to my natural flesh. There’s got to be some way I can strive to obtain, work to get, labor to achieve. But as long as I do this I am frustrated and exhausted. What I need done I cannot do and that is the hardest struggle of all.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30 NKJV

He has completed. I can rest. All is well.

Why teach from Biblical Principles?

It’s the way Jesus taught.The Pharisees didn’t like his approach much. They wanted facts, rules. He got to the heart of the matter. He was able to sum up the 10 commandments in two principles. His approach frustrates the flesh but gives life to the spirit. There are more examples of His teaching methods than I can list here but I recommend the book Teaching Techniques of Jesus by Herman Horne.

It’s good to begin at the beginning. You must get to the foundation of a subject in order to master it. Beginning with principles is the first step toward subject mastery.

You can teach multiple levels because you are teaching the seeds of the subjects , so you can easily adjust it for different ages. More seed for older children, little bites of kernels for  younger ones.

There is proven success teaching from Biblical principles. America’s founding fathers were educated by principles and were able to reason from God’s word. Their excellent reasoning and ability to form our constitution were a result of their Biblical education.

The subjects are alive in His word and it makes each subject exciting and important when you see how it fits into His Story.

You learn how to learn by beginning with the foundation of a subject. The steps to discovering Biblical principles apply to any subject at any time and carry across the curriculum.

Gentle BPA

With all the trappings of Biblical Principle Approach–word studies, 4-Ring, notebooks, the Red Books, Rudiments, etc., you can easily get overwhelmed and frustrated. Your idea of home education is not caught up in books and all that research, but in being with your children, learning alongside them. There is a way to do both.

  • Ease into the whole BPA mindset. It takes time and effort to reformulate your ideas of American Christian education, to get a handle on the terminology and to reflect on what you are learning. Give yourself time. How much time? As much as it takes.
  • Take one subject and deal with that. Don’t take the whole homeschooling elephant in one bite. You’ll just pull something and you’ll still be hungry.
  • Don’t make everything formal. You can ease into word studies and literature studies without making a big announcement. It’s okay to just fold these things into your homeschooling day. Pull out the Bible and the 1828 dictionary and just ask a few questions. The children will do the work for you.
  • Lower your expectations. That seems counter-intuitive to BPA philosophy, at least at first blush. But we are home educators, not classroom Master Teachers. We [probably] teach multiple grades with many subjects and to expect to become a Master Teacher in every subject is asking for a breakdown. Just keep ahead of your students. Learn alongside them. Discover things together as you dig into the Word. It’s amazing how lowered expectations can set you free and actually produce better results in the long run.
  • Think of teaching deep, not broad. The principles expand through the grades, so you get deeper and deeper, as Ms. Dang says, going 20 years deep. It’s not a smattering of learning but more like digging a well. A well your children can draw from as they learn to teach themselves.
  • Take one principle per subject per day. No need to overwhelm baby birds with too much food. It will just fall to the ground. One idea to reflect on and discuss will lead to exciting results.

What challenges do you encounter with the Biblical Principle Approach? If you are new to this methodology, what questions do you have?

We have a winner!

And the Freedom & Simplicity on the R Road to Biblical Wisdom ebook goes to…



Thanks to everyone for playing. I love giveaways and hope to have another one soon. Tricia let me know where to email your book!

R Road book giveaway

I haven’t had a contest in a long time and I love this book, so I thought I would give away a copy to a fortunate reader.rroadcover

Lisa Hodgen’s new book Freedom & Simplicity on the R Road to Biblical Wisdom: A “How to” Guide to Biblical Learning in Home Education is one of new favorite books. I reviewed it at The Curriculum Choice so I won’t rehash it here. Just know that I think this book gets you where you want to go in your home education journey–Wisdom’s house.

How do you win? Leave a comment about something related to Biblical wisdom–a scripture, a question or just a comment. And please read the review before you enter so you have a good idea of what the book is about. One entry per person please. I will draw randomly from all entries stamped by 9pm CST on August 31, 2009. If the winner does not claim the prize within 7 days another winner will be chosen.

Reasoning with young children (part 3)

In the final part of this series I wanted to end with some practical application, because that’s what I enjoy.

Imagine the classical music playing in the background as you gather your little chicks for a day of lessons. As you finish your opening prayer your little cherub-faced angel is looking up at you longingly for some words of inspiration. You pontificate as your child sits at your feet, enraptured by your wisdom. Yea, right. Let’s get real…

Reasoning with yound children is a little like swimming for the first time. It’s scary but you can’t wait to do it again. You don’t have all the answers (who does??) and you don’t feel fully prepared (you probably never will, honey). The phone rings, the littlest ones get into stuff they shouldn’t and you sometimes have a bad day. How do you manage to carve out some time to reason with your kids?

  1. Reasoning takes place anywhere, anytime. It can be with a simple discussion about grasshoppers or a memory verse from church. Next time your little one asks you a question, I challenge you to ask them some questions back. See if they can answer their own question, at a basic level.
  2. Also you must pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you instant in season and out of season. Kids come up with conversations at the strangest times and you would hate to miss out on a wonderful opportunity.
  3. Build time to reason into your daily plans. Don’t fill up with facts and activities and leave no time to ponder things. Give them time to respond with their own thoughts, even if they must take a day to do it. Let them think and get back to you. But don’t forget to get back to it!
  4. Get rid of notebooks with fill-in-the-blank answers. They will never learn to reason that way. Ask your own open-ended questions. When they are young it is very easy to do.
  5. Take time, as you can, to prepare beforehand. I know this can be a struggle sometimes but when you read the lesson ahead and write some points out to reason together it will boost your confidence and you will be more porductive.
  6. Keep your Bible and 1828 dictionary close. They will be invauable to your family as you reason together.

Reasoning with young children (part 2)

Another benefit of reasoning from God’s Word with young children is that it really takes the pressure off me. I have one job to do, and it is up to God and my child to do the rest.

Mustard_treeMy job is simply that of planting seeds. I am to make sure my children have the rudiments, the seeds of every subject. It is not my job to freak out about how they will ever learn all they need to know to “make it in the real world.” No child, no matter how “well educated,” learns everything before they reach the magic age of 18. That’s what living is for, to continue learning and growing.

This quote may help you, as it has me:

When we teach the principles of God’s Word, the rudiments or “bare grain” of any subject, we do not know how the individual will mature or how the body of wisdom and knowledge implanted will be expressed by future generations. But, we are assured if we teach whole, complete principles, and “sow” them in the good ground of a diligent student, that these seeds—will produce fruit ofeter their own kind, and God will give them a body—and identity and individuality—that pleases Him. Careful sowing, watering and weeding cultivated the Truth sown. (A Guide to American Christian Education p. 127)

I do not know what my children will need when they are grown. I don’t even know what I will need tomorrow. But with prayerful preparation, diligence and faithfulness I know I can prepare my children as God would have me to. And that preparation includes reasoning with them from the time they are very young.

It is important to allow your children to reason. These are their property, their own thoughts that they have discovered. When they discover that ability your school time will never be the same. When my children are able to reason, however simple it is, I make a point to remind then that that thought belongs to them. I didn’t gove it to them, they did it on their own. Intellectual property is a powerful force. Any insight they gain through reasoning for themselves can never be taken from them. This will strengthen their faith and their ability to reason affectively with others as they grow up.

Reasoning with young children (part 1)

There is a philosophy of education that takes the perspective that reasoning is for older children. Younger children are to be filled with facts and enticed to learn with interesting topics and presentation. I don’t happen to agree.

On the surface, this sounds reasonable enough. How on earth can you reason when you have nothing to reason with? You need a certain amount of knowledge to be able to reason, to think things through. So what about reasoning with a second grader? A kindergartener? Is that even possible? I exhuberantly shout YES!!

Mustard SeedsThe beautiful thing about reasoning from God’s Word is that it is God’s Word. It is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. It is not head knowledge. It speaks to the heart, to the spirit.  A child can hear the voice of God, just as adults can.

In A Guide to American Christian Education, Mr. Rose discusses the seed principle, that is, when you use the Principle Approach you plant the seeds of the whole subject in principles, notdisseminating facts in an evolutionary, fact-based method. You can see in the salvation message that a child and a full-grown adult hear the same Gospel, feel the tugging of the same Holy Spirit and receive the same salvation. It is only the expansion of the idea that is different. It is the same with math, science, HisStory or English. When you are reasoning those subjects from God’s Word then your child, even a young child, can reason at a rudimentary level. The principles are planted and God can grow them into mature plants for His glory.

The most powerful thing I can really say is that I do it every day in my own home. I know that I would have missed out on some wonderful discussions with my children if I had simply been filling their minds with facts and fun. Since we are looking for principles and reasoning together, I cannot imagine doing anything else. And it gets better each year, because they are able to reason deeper and we can take the discussion into uncharted waters. God is good!

and another thing…

…about that game show bothers me. To see a grown man looking pitiful, not knowing the answer and hoping a kid does, just didn’t sit well with me. Grown-ups looking to children for answers isn’t my idea of good television. Or good family harmony.

And this thing of having lots of facts at your fingertips. Einstein didn’t do that. Don’t keep in your head things you can easily look up. The goal is not to raise an encyclopedia, but a child who can look things up in one, and then skillfully apply the knowledge he finds there.

Disjointed, useless facts held together with jokes and smarty pants kids isn’t my idea of a good time. Butthen again, what do I know. I’m not a 5th grader.

critical thinking

Last week I had some coveted down time and sat down with the remote (mistake #1).  As I flipped through the channels I came across the game show “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?” (mistake #2). I admit I really knew nothing about the show but it seemd cute and my third grade daughter thought we should check it out. As I listened to the questions from the pre-tween set, I found myself growing uneasy. Some of the first and second grade questions my darling daughter didn’t know the answer to. Since I’m the educator around here I took that personally.

I slowly started thinking about the questions and allowed my inner critic to speak to my inadequacy and it rattled off an impressively long list of my shortcomings. But then something rose up inside me. I refuse to compare my success as a teacher to a game show, and a lame one at that. Facts (especially useless ones) are not a gauge of learning. My children may not know silly facts but they are learning to reason, learning to hear the voice of God, learning to love their neighbor.  And those are things facts can’t do.

I turned off the TV and read a book, satisfied that I am doing right by my kids. They are right on track in every way. Thanks to Jeff Foxworthy for reminding me of that.