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Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 1

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The Boyer Blog: Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 1

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Preschoolers: Shaping Little Hearts- Part 1

I have eight boys and six girls, and we’ve been homeschooling for over 30 years now. I figured out that when I’m finished homeschooling my six-year-old we’ll have been doing this for thirty-six years…maybe by then we’ll know what we’re doing!

When I started homeschooling, my oldest was in kindergarten, I had two preschool children, an infant, and I was pregnant with number five. (Incidentally, I figured out that I’ve been pregnant for eleven years!) I’ve always had one or two toddlers and a baby until now—now my “baby” is six! It’s definitely a challenge; I know what you guys are going through. And some children are more of a challenge than others. My twenty-year-old, Laura, was a very hyperactive child. I have a picture of her sitting at the kitchen table during school time with markers she was supposed to be coloring with; she was tearing the lids off and throwing the markers all over the kitchen! Yes, some are more challenging than others. And yet you’ll see that those challenging kids will be the ones with people skills when they’re older, so God is working it all together into great and mighty things.

I’ve found out that the way I handle my toddlers and babies determines the degree of success I will achieve in homeschooling. They definitely require a major time involvement. If you have taught your kids to be self-directed learners, once they get to high school it will really be a piece of cake. For my older kids I feel like I’m their coach: I assign the schoolwork, they do it, and come to me with problems. This is why the colleges are working to attract home-educated kids—because they know how to work alone, and they are self-directed learners. But tt’s the tough part you’re in right now. I tell people it was hardest for me when I had three or four little guys, because I had to do all the housecleaning, cooking, laundry, and the teaching—everything—you’re doing everything. And you think you’re going to be there forever. It’s hard to see beyond where you are now and see how much it will change a few years from now. Let me tell you from experience that time goes by so fast, and it really helps when your kids get a little bit of age on them. Right now I hardly ever handle cooking—one daughter does supper, one does lunch, and we always have plenty of kids who want to bake and make sweets!

Each day of the week my kids have a different chore assigned to them. I don’t do very many of the house chores anymore either! I do teach them how to do a particular job, make sure they do it, and stay while they’re learning. So things will change—hang in there! You’re at the toughest part now. I’m going to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

Build a Heart for the Things of the Lord

I emphasize this because you’re probably thinking about academics: what math program should I use? What do I need to teach my kids? What do they need to know? But the very most important thing you can do with your kids is point them to Jesus. It has been said that a child’s first five years go a long way in determining their direction in life. Even in Scripture, Moses was taught by his own mother until weaning age, which, back then, was between ages four and five; and yet he had a sense of destiny—he knew he needed to lead his people. When I started out, I had the wrong focus. I was going to build a superkid. At the time we lived in a trailer, and Ricky was about eighteen months old. I had ABC’s plastered all over the walls, and so he learned his ABC’s at a really young age. But about that time I attended a Sunday school class that changed the focus for my whole life, and my family’s life. The teacher talked about internalizing Scripture—taking the truths in Scripture and using them to change our lives so that we become more like Jesus. And that totally changed my focus. I wanted to teach my little boy how to internalize Scripture and make it a practical part of his everyday life. We’ve found that if you will do that in the early years—if you will focus on Scripture and teach your children God’s word—when you get to academics later it comes so much more easily, because Scripture is a purifier. With Scripture internalized, teaching them their ABC’s and their numbers will come much more easily. With this goal in mind we saturated our home with Scripture.

One of the things we created was a Jesus plaque. It shows a photo of one of my children with Jesus’ hands around them. Each of my children has made one of these, and we hang it by their bed. The last thing they see before going to sleep at night is a visual picture that Jesus loves them and cares about them. I have a dear friend, who is now in heaven, who wrote this song to the tune of Jesus Loves Me. My children sang that every night, looking at their Jesus plaque. The words go like this:

I am special, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

God knew me before my birth and planned each day of my life on earth.

I am wonderfully made; I am fashioned by God’s hand unto good works throughout the land.

For in Him I’ll learn to be always prepared, especially for me

Even though I make mistakes, God forgives for His name’s sake.

He helps me to be kind and good and do the things I know I should.

I am precious in God’s sight, and in Him my soul delights.

He loves me and died for me that I might live eternally.

When Carrie and Christa were little, we sang this song and inserted their names: “Even though Carrie makes mistakes.” When Carrie got to that part she would say, “Even though Sissy makes mistakes”—she didn’t want to put her own name there!

Build A Proper Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We teach our kids the verse, “Thou God seest me.” We ask them, “if you were in a dark, dark closet, and you couldn’t see anyone, and no one could see you, is there someone who would know what you’re doing? We tell them, “God sees all that you do, and He knows what you’re thinking, and greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” We teach our kids that God will give them the power to do right. His power is available for their asking. Even if Mom and Dad aren’t right with them, God is there, and He will help them to do what’s right.

Teach your little ones the Ten Commandments early. Our Ten Commandments are under attack in our country. We have them posted in our house, and we teach them to our children. There’s a very neat tape put out by Thy Word Productions with a song of the Ten Commandments and a coloring book the kids can personalize. Your little ones, two and three years old, can walk around the house singing the Ten Commandments. Don’t underestimate what little guys can learn!

We created something called a head-to-foot Bible verse. In Romans 12:1-2 it says that we are to give our bodies as a spiritual sacrifice unto God. I looked up verses in Scripture about how to use your body, from head to foot, for Jesus. We enlarged a picture of each child to life-size, put it on a board, and put these verses around it. We used that every day to teach our two-, three-, four-, five- or six-year-old Scriptures. We would say, “What verse would you like to do today?” And they would choose their ears, or their eyes for the verse they wanted to learn. Most of our Scriptures are in the King James Version, but we found this wonderful verse in another translation that says, “Defer to one another and wear the overalls of humility.” So we always took their picture for this project in overalls! (this project can be found in Hands-On Character Building)

~more to come next week

this is excerpted from Home Educating with Babies and Toddlers and Loving it

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Blogger mommy of Five said...

thank you so much for this, i too homeschool. but it's our first year. it's been a challenge since we had our 5th baby in December. my husband wants to send the two oldest to a charter school, and so i'm being an "Ester" and following him. praying that we can get back into it the following year. once we move, we will go back to homeschooling....

June 4, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger robesofmajesty said...

Thanks for the wisdom Marilyn! I LOVE the idea of the large picture with scripture next to each body part that it coincides with. I think my soon to be 5 yr old will too!

June 4, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this!! I have been homeschooling my oldest and now have another preschooler and this is a wonderful resource!!! I love all your stuff and it gives me great focus, Biblical truth and inspiration!!! Thank you!!!

June 23, 2010 at 10:03 PM  

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