Five Spiritual Survival Tools for Homeschool Family Vacation – What to do When the Car Breaks Down

Editor’s Note: Has car trouble ever dampened a homeschool family vacation? Too often, it’s not just the breakdown of the family van, but the breakdown of the family spirit, and communication, that defeats us. In this post, Kenneth Berding, professor of New Testament at Talbot Theological Seminary and homeschool dad, writes about the car troubles that he and his family have experienced on summer vacations. We’re grateful he’s shared his reflection with us. Read it here, or visit his blog, Kindle Afresh.

Kid in SUV pointing down a mountainside – Spiritual Tools for Homeschool Family Vacation Blog

Just Another Homeschool Family Vacation

“It wouldn’t be a Berding vacation without car trouble!”

So remarked one of my adult daughters two days ago just after her tire shredded on the California freeway on our way to a family vacation at Lake Arrowhead. Unbelievably, this is family vacation seven (yes, #7!) in which we’ve found ourselves in an auto shop. A blown tire in New Mexico…a wiped out transmission near Klamath Falls, Oregon…then again in Central California…then again on a different vacation at Lake Tahoe (whereby I promptly sold the car to a mechanic)…a complete electrical failure on the California-Nevada border (towed all the way to Las Vegas)…another blown tire on the road to San Luis Obispo for a wedding…and finally, my daughter’s shredded tire two days ago. Maybe my cars are just demon-possessed (joking, of course). But along the way, I’ve learned a few things about how God might want us to respond in such situations. Here are five that come immediately to mind:

Five Spiritual Survival Tools for Car Trouble 

  1. Immediately remind yourself that you aren’t in charge; God is. Despite all your pre-vacation planning, God may have other purposes for your vacation than you do. Let me repeat this: God is in control, you aren’t.
  2. Remember that spiritual warfare might be involved. I can’t tell you how to know for certain that evil spirits are involved. But it is helpful to remember that car troubles aren’t always only about tires, transmissions, and tow trucks; at least occasionally you might get harassed by evil spirits. Stand strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, as the Apostle Paul instructs us.
  3. Remember that car problems are a wonderful opportunity to teach your children how to trust in the Lord. How are your children going to learn how to lean into the Spirit and depend upon Christ when they face something truly difficult in the future? Unexpected car problems are a wonderful opportunity to model for your children what it looks like to trust the Lord during trying times.
  4. Don’t forget to stop and thank the Lord for his protection. I’m aware as I write this that some of you have actually lost loved ones through car accidents (driving is, after all, the most dangerous daily activity most of us engage in). I’m as thankful as I can be that no one has been hurt during any of our vacation car mishaps. If that’s the case for you during a car misadventure, stop and thank the Lord. Be sure to pray no matter what circumstance you find yourself.
  5. Remind yourself to treat service people (upon whom you must depend) with grace, patience, and appreciation. They didn’t cause your problem. They’re trying to do their jobs. They are people God loves and for whom Jesus died for. Be sure to treat them with respect.

More Helpful Insights for Homeschool Family Vacation

I just walked in the cabin where we’re staying and asked Trudi (wife), Grace (daughter driving the shredded-tire car), and Ana (passenger in the shredded-tire car) what they would add to my list. Here are a few of their comments:

“Stay calm.”

“Don’t get mad or blame other people in the car.”

“Pout for a few minutes, then move on.”

“Laugh about it.”

“Take pictures and post them online so everyone feels sorry for you.”

“Eat burgers and fries at an In-N-Out while your car is in the shop. No one likes to be around someone who is hangry (=hungry + angry).”

“Don’t let it ruin your entire vacation. In fact, incorporate it into your vacation memories. It can become a precious family memory for years to come if you’ll respond in a God-honoring way.”

I hope you remember a few of these thoughts if you ever find yourself in an auto shop during a homeschool family vacation.

At least you’ll know that the Berdings understand.

 

How Technology Challenges Our Teens and 3 Resources to Help

Editor’s Note: This week’s blog, How Technology Challenges Teens and 3 Resources to Help, is shared with us by Brett Kunkle. Brett is founder and president of MAVEN, a homeschool dad, and keynote of the 2018 Biola Homeschool Expo. For more from Brett, pick up the book he co-authored, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

Teen girl kneeling on bed typing on laptop - technology challenges teens faith - BYA blog by Brett Kunkle

Certainly, the host of intellectual challenges our young people face are a threat to their faith. The arguments of an atheist professor. The objections of a skeptical friend. But how often does the typical evangelical kid actually encounter skeptical arguments? Not all that often. In fact, most kids—Christian or non-Christian—don’t talk much about religion with their peers or even their family.

Now, don’t misread me. I think Christians must equip their kids with good apologetics, evidence for the faith and the ability to deal with skeptical challenges and objections to Christianity, because our youth will encounter them at some point. Read more

5 Practical Ways to Communicate Love to Your Teens — Even When It’s Difficult

Two African American teen girls in yellow dresses sitting on a bench smiling at each other - communicate love blog

We love our teens. But, if we’re not intentional in how we communicate love to our teens, those relationships can strain. A parent’s love is never-ending. Sometimes, though, our teens test our patience, our wills and our limits. Our call as Christian parents is to love our teens even, and maybe especially, when they’re hard to love. Here are five practical and important ways to communicate love to your teens. Read more

Enriching Your Child’s Soul Through Homeschool Discipline

Editor’s Note: This blog post on biblical models of homeschool discipline is written by Victoria Smith and Luciano Cid, Ed.D. Victoria Smith is an education major in her third year at Biola University, a member of the Torrey Honors Institute and a homeschool educator. Luciano Cid is Assistant Professor of Education at Biola University, and has contributed to The Inspired Home Educator before, on the ABCDs of writing objectives and altering student perspectives through cognitive dissonance.

Father and son look at each other, smiling - homeschool discipline blogHow should homeschooling parents discipline their children? It is our belief that discipline, either in the classroom or at home, should be carried out by an adult who is trying to “train up a child in the way [he/she] should go [and] even when [that child] is old … [he/she will] not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Consequently, the disciplining of any child has an inherent philosophical and theological responsibility embedded within it, a responsibility that lies with the adult — hopefully one who continually strives to be virtuous — rather than with the child. Therefore, when discipline is carried out, either in a traditional school environment or in a homeschool one, it is imperative for the adult to recognize that whatever is being employed to do so is either training the child to see the love, mercy, justice, freedom, and perfection of God’s discipline or the anger, vengeance, injustice, control and imperfection inherited in man’s ways. Read more

“But … what about their social life?” The question all new homeschool families hear

three girls wearing sweaters - social life for new homeschool families blog

The perennial question — posed to anyone who ever whispered the idea of homeschooling out loud — is, you guessed it, “What about their social life?” But, as many homeschoolers will tell you, there’s little cause for concern when it comes to socializing the home educated.

As founder of the National Home Education Research Institute, Brian Ray, told PBS, “Research shows that in terms of self-concept, self-esteem and the ability to get along in groups, homeschoolers do just as well as their public school peers.”

If your students are not at school from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — with 3 hours of homework afterwards — it’s often the case that they’ll have more time for socialization. Read more

Announcing the 2018 Biola Scholarship Essay Award Winner

Young man standing under large tree beneath a stary skyEach year, Biola Youth Academics sponsors a scholarship for incoming Biola University freshmen through an essay contest. This year, we awarded Samantha Salanga with the first place, $2000 scholarship prize.

Samantha is a part of BYA’s Yorba Linda campus, is enrolled in Torrey Academy and is a member of the BYA PSP. In the fall, she will begin her journey at Biola University, majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders and will become a member of Torrey Honors Institute. Congratulations, Samantha! Biola Youth Academics is honored to play a brief role in your scholastic accomplishments. Read her essay below! Read more

Playdough, Jesus, and Stress Management: The Effect of Stress on Children at Home

Girl laying on grass looking at the sky - Stress on Children blog

My nephew’s wife asked her three-year-old daughter what she learned in Sunday School, and she replied, “Playdough and Jesus!” We all had a good chuckle over that response, but in all seriousness (smile), learning ought to be fun!

For example, in my commute in this morning, Dr. Denise Reid, Associate Professor, told me how she and her daughter took her grandson to Tanaka Farms in Irvine (South Orange County). They rode a tractor, sat on bales of hay, were taught how to properly harvest strawberries, and then had the special opportunity of receiving a basket, harvesting the strawberries, and eating to their heart’s delight. Additionally, they enjoyed taste testing of many fresh vegetables from the field, including fresh green onions, cilantro, and carrots. What would you rather do . . . a book assignment or a field trip? Which is more memorable? Which adds the most fun? Which reduces stress on children at home? Read more

Does it matter what homeschool curriculum I use?

young girl sitting at her desk with homeschool curriculum in background

In the past 20 years at Biola Youth Academics, we often get asked, “Does it matter what homeschool curriculum I use?”

Curriculum does matter. And, there’s a lot of it to choose from. Curriculum can be Christian or secular, biased or well-balanced in its presentation, classical, or cutting-edge. How does one family find the right curriculum for each of their kids—with all their God-given talents, interests, strengths and individualities?

Christian parents often ask, “Does my entire curriculum need to come from a Christian publisher?” At BYA, we think not. Frankly speaking, not all textbooks are created equal. While there are some fantastic Christian resources out there, there are others that have been tested and found wanting.

At Biola Youth Academics, we partner with expert educators and homeschool veterans to curate engaging, Christ-centered curriculum for all of our K–12 programs. In the course curriculum for our homeschool programs, we sometimes use Christian curriculum, sometimes supplement Christian curriculum with non faith-based sources and other times opt for a stand-out, seminal textbook and find other ways to integrate our faith and values.

Read more

A Christian Faith that Endures — Fostering Spiritual Health in Your Homeschooled Children

Girl reading her Bible - Spiritual Health blogMost Christian parents who homeschool hope their children will flourish into adulthood with their faith intact. In an increasingly post-Christian society, it bears reflecting on what practices help youth grow into Christian adults with with strong spiritual health.

Have you ever considered what are the habits I can help my kids practice today that will keep them close to the Lord in the future? Read more

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