Learning with LEGO – Homeschool Fun

Child learning with LEGOWatching our students develop, we know that learning happens even outside of time spent in textbooks and worksheets. Even while they play, learning occurs. One of the joys of homeschooling is seeing our students grow, learn, and love doing it.

If you’re like many homeschool families, you might have a bin or two of LEGO pieces lying around. Have you considered how you might leverage the little bricks to stoke learning and creativity? Read more

Faithful Prioritization: Make a List and Check it Twice

Make a List

A lot of demands were coming at me at once and my multi-tasking skills were being pushed to their limits. I had made a “to do” list for the day and the week, but where were they? I kept on taking the interruptions . . . the phone calls, the emails, the walk-in visitors, and employee’s questions. Before I knew it the day was over and I was exhausted. I had no idea if I had met my day’s objectives because I had no idea where my “to do” list was located. A mound of papers stood on my desk.

Life without a List

With relief, the clock struck 5:00 p.m., and I packed my bag and ran to the car. Exhausted and happy to be heading home, I began to slink into my vegetative state for the 30 to 40 commute. I was happy to being going home that Wednesday afternoon and my body ached with fatigue. I was looking forward to the following day’s trip flying to Sacr amento with 12 alumni and would be getting up at 3 a.m. the next morning so I could meet the students by 5:00 a.m. at the Ontario Airport. We would get home late Thursday night and so I would take Friday off to rest, because that Saturday I needed teach eight hours in Inglewood.

I felt content that my bag was packed and I had everything I needed for the Thursday trip and for the Saturday class. I could really rest on the day in between . . . or could I?

The problem arose when about halfway through my commute home, I realized how absent-minded I had become. I had set my purchased lunch leftovers on the counter at work and had forgotten them. The chimichangas inside were to have been my husband’s and my dinner. Now, I would have to prepare dinner. Then, I realized that I had forgotten my business cards and a gift for the State official who was organizing the Sacramento Emerging Leaders’ Institute for my students. How unprofessional of me not to have my business cards! Additionally, how nice it would have been to have had a “thank you” gift. Then, finally, as I was just about to pull into my driveway at home, I realized that I had not brought home all of the materials needed for my Saturday class. Now, I would either have to go back into work on Friday or get up at 4:30 a.m. Saturday and make a special trip through La Mirada on my way to my Inglewood class.

Lord, help me!

Prayerful Reflection

It did not take me long to realize that my goals for the week and daily “to do” lists were an essential part of my accomplishing the needed tasks for the day and fulfilling God’s calling in my life in an effective, efficient manner.

I wonder if your homeschooling day could use an organizational boost by utilizing an effective, prioritized “to do” list? It’s easy to know how to write down a list and order the priorities, but it is another thing to actually carry it out in the complexity of the day. Prayerfully consider the following:

  1.     Lord, do I organize my curriculum the night before or the morning of?
  2.     Lord, do I plan short-range and long-range in my homeschooling endeavors?
  3.     Lord, do I have the organizational tools at hand to help me bring peace to the process or is my disorganization costing my children learning time?
  4.     Lord, show me if I need help and if I should find a homeschooling parent to mentor me in my organizational skills so as to maximize the learning that takes place in our home.

Lord, help me to be faithful to your calling by using my time wisely. Help me to utilize organizational tools, such as prioritized “to do” lists, in order to be a more effective homeschool parent. Most importantly, Lord, help me not to take on more tasks than I am capable of and to have wisdom as to when to say “yes” or “no” to requests from others so that I might give priority to the homeschooling of my children, as well as family responsibilities, church responsibilities, community responsibilities, and professional responsibilities. Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University


The Earth is the Lord’s – Earth Day Activities for Christian Homeschoolers


Windmill and Field of Flowers representing Earth Day Activities

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. -Psalm 24:1-2

Have you considered incorporating Earth Day Activities into your coursework this week?

This year, Earth Day is celebrated around the world on Saturday, April 22, 2017. It offers an opportunity to hone in our curriculum calendar to consider world events, stoking our students’ interest in environmental science, while cultivating a biblically-centered worldview on care for God’s creation. Check out the links below and discern if any of the activities might benefit your students if you incorporate these ideas into your curriculum this week. Read more

4 Ideas for Spring Break Homeschool Field Trips

Palm trees and sunset with text overlay 4 homeschool field trip ideas for spring break

Spring Break is upon us! Need ideas for homeschool field trips to get the family out of the house? While your students might take a break from worksheets and textbooks, there’s no reason the learning needs to stop.

As a homeschool parent, there are a number of homeschool field trips waiting for you and your family to embark upon. The following list is focused on the Los Angeles and Orange County area of Southern California, but if you’re reading from outside the area, use this as a launch pad for your own field trip research. When you go on one of these field trips, keep the conversation going with our discussion questions, below.

Read more

A Hike in Black Forest: Incorporating Beauty Amidst Busyness

Woman walking in the woods“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1 NASB

Hiking through the Black Forest near Baden-Baden, Germany, I happened upon a clearing that revealed a rustic chapel. Stepping through the unlocked door, I found myself alone, awestruck by quiet reverence. Rustic pews graced each side of the center aisle. Light gently streamed in through side windows. A single candle flickered near the altar. I sat, quietly allowing the stillness to envelope me, wondering if others would enter. They did not. I was alone. I continued to sit, taking in the stillness. Listening, I felt the arms of Jesus enfold me. Enveloped in His presence, and overwhelmed by His beauty and quiet strength, I began to weep. “Heavenly Father, in the stillness of this moment, I feel you, know You, recognize your awesome presence. Here in the middle of the Black Forest, earthly coordinates unknown, I rededicate my life to you.”

A time warp had occurred. Distractions cleared away, cluttering thoughts cast aside, clarity emerged as I removed myself from the cacophony of the rush and hubbub of the city. Like pollution washing away on a rainy day, worldly cares rushed past me. The more I allowed the beauty of the forest and the quietness of the chapel to calm my inner spirit, the farther away I was from worldly cares and the nearer I felt to Jesus.

The Psalmist knew what he was saying when he penned, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1), and “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The beauty of the Black Forest and the quietness of the chapel had enveloped me with His presence.

Prayerful Reflection: 

  1. Lord Jesus, how am I incorporating stillness, nature, and beauty amidst busyness I experience in my homeschooling routine?
  2. Lord Jesus, is place and time and quietness on our family calendar?
  3. Lord Jesus, is place and time and quietness on my personal calendar?

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have neglected to make space for You by neglecting to place myself and my family in the beauty You have created. Help me to create rhythms of beauty and quietness so that we all might be still and hear from You. And, Lord, help me not to feel guilty to pull away from everyone for quiet moments of prayer and study so that I might be filled by You and return to my family restored and filled by You. Amen. 

Sabbath Queen – the Art of Welcoming Rest

lioness welcoming rest in a tree“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” EXODUS 20:8

I don’t know about you, but I love my week-ends. I work extremely hard during the week and I work long hours. Week-ends for me are a time to catch up on my home chores. A time to get some sunshine and work in the yard. A time to sort my laundry and wash my clothes. A time to go grocery shopping and plan a menu. A time to sort my paperwork and pay my bills.

I don’t know what I would do without my week-ends.

Week-ends are also a time to get ahead. I get ahead by doing a little extra work for my job. I get a head by answering my work e-mails and phone calls over the week-end. I get ahead by doing a few extra writing projects and earning a few extra dollars.

But something has gone wrong.

Read more

“God Again” – A Reflection on Repetition

a child reading a worn bible as reflection on repetition

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NASB)

A Reflection on Repetition

Our great nephew, Kenneth, came home from Sunday School with his dad, Nathaniel. (Kenneth’s mother, Jessica, had been home sick.) When her three-year-old walked in the door with his Dad, Jessica asked Kenneth, “What did you learn in Sunday School?”

Three-year-old Kenneth responded “Um-m-m <sigh> God again!”

My husband and I laughed so hard when we read Kenneth’s childlike response on Facebook, “God again!” Read more

Understanding Students with Special Needs

Empty Desk - Understanding Students with Special Needs

“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained
will be like their teacher.” -Luke 6:40

Teaching students with special needs presents unique challenges, as well as opportunities to practice empathy, and refine our teaching—and allow the Lord to refine us. Dr. Eastman’s lecture models perspective taking, challenges presumptions, and gives practical tips on engaging and understanding students with special needs.

A homeschool dad and father of six (5 boys and 1 girl), Dr. Eastman invites his high school aged son to share from his perspective as a student with special needs.

Please enjoy Dr. Eastman’s presentation, offered by Biola University’s School of Education, and Open.Biola. Consider watching with a pen and paper nearby, and follow along with the in-lecture activities. Watch below. Read more

Walking in the Spirit

Editor’s Note: With winter thawing, today’s post, Walking in the Spirit, comes from our contributor, Ken Berding, who teaches at Biola University, and writes for the Good Book Blog. Read this, originally posted September 19, 2016, on their site. This post is an excerpt from Dr. Berding’s book, Walking in the Spirit (Crossway, 2011), which you can buy on Amazon.

Ice cream cone held against the horizon

As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen. Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well: “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” The one who walks in the Spirit will not give in to the desires of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are mutually exclusive ideas; you cannot do one at the same time as you engage in the other. Read more

Doing Ministry Together: Priorities of a Good Family Life

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week’s post on family ministry priorities comes from Talbot Seminary Professor of Bible Exposition, Dr. John Hutchison. This blog post was originally posted on the Good Book Blog, and you can read it, and other posts from Talbot Faculty, here.

Dr. Hutchison has 30 years of pastoral experience, and he is presently serving as Pastor-Elder at Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, CA. He writes this blog from the perspective of a husband and wife balancing full-time public ministry, and private family life. Whether you are engaged in ministry with your family or not, his insights are wise and relevant to busy families living and learning together.

Photo of an open Bible siting on a home end table in front of a family photo

One of the greatest assets to effective ministry is a positive message coming from the home—specifically a healthy marriage and stable relationships with children. Patterns of dysfunction here can be disastrous. Paul provided for two young pastors, Timothy and Titus, a list of qualifications for church leadership (1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9), most of which emphasize character qualities. One notable exception is the more visible factor: “He must manage his own household well . . . for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim. 3:4-5). Read more

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