Category Archives: Family Life

What Age Should You Buy Your Teen a Phone? Here’s What I Did.

Editor’s Note: When do you buy your teen a smartphone? Sean McDowell shares his experience around buying his son a phone. He shared this on his blog, where he regularly writes on Christianity, Culture, Ethics and Apologetics.

Teen holding a phone at the kitchen table

Some of you may think I’m crazy for waiting so long to allow my son to have a smartphone. I teach part time at a Christian school and my 11-year old daughter is one of the only kids in her 6th grade class who does not have a phone. So, why would I first give my son a phone as a freshman in high school? You may think I need to “get with the program.”

I have two big reasons for waiting this long. And the second is the most important. Read more

The Easiest Way to Memorize the Bible: What I Learned from Dr. John Mitchell

Author’s Note: Today I’m excited to share with you a piece that I wrote a number of years ago about how to memorize the Bible. This little article — which you can read on my blog, Kindle Afresh — has probably been read by more people than anything else I’ve written in my life. I hope that it will increase your desire and confidence to keep hiding God’s Word in your heart.

Girl looking over the top of her Bible – Memorize the Bible – BYA blog

One of my professors in college was really old. I can hear everyone asking: “How old was he?” (No, his social security number wasn’t 7…). Let’s put it this way: he was the founder of the college at which I was studying (Multnomah in Portland, Oregon), and the school was celebrating the half century mark of its founding while I was there! In fact, Dr. John Mitchell was over the age of 90 when he taught the two classes I took from him. He continued to teach well into his mid-90s. Not surprisingly, he was getting forgetful about some things by the time I had him as a teacher, but what he definitely was not forgetting were the Bible verses he had memorized. His ability to recall Bible verses was astounding.  I do not know this for a fact, but I would guess that he had all of the New Testament and large sections of the Old Testament committed to memory. All of his students were profoundly impacted by his immersion in the Scriptures. Read more

Raising Tiny Disciples at Home

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. –

Matthew 28:19-20

Two young girls read the Bible together - Raising Tiny Disciples blog

While on a Sunday morning walk, I noticed a vehicle with cartoon figures of a mother, father, and children on the back window along with vinyl words which read, “Raising Tiny Disciples.” Those words struck a chord, as they are so descriptive of Christians’ homeschooled family life. As I sat at the kitchen table of my niece and nephew and their five homeschooled children, with Scripture and a cup of tea, I saw much evidence of a home centered on raising tiny disciples: their Bibles, a hymnal, Sonlight curriculum, children’s artwork of God’s creation, a large children’s library, and Bible storybooks. Read more

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: Read more

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

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

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

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

Hospitality Table: The Unseen Guest at Every Meal

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post, “Hospitality Table: The Unseen Guest at Every Meal,” is written by Vic and Christine, who serve with Medical Ambassadors International at the California headquarters office. Vic is a medical doctor who coordinates MAI’s international ministry in holistic community development. Christine is a former Fulbright Scholar and health educator who served in Africa and then later in Asia with her husband. They homeschool their two girls, Selah and Rinnah.

Brunch at the Hospitality Table

If this table could talk… It might seem strange to ask for prayer for our dining room table. It’s a long, heavy, big black table that my husband’s brother gave us when we returned from Asia and moved to California’s Central Valley. Sometimes, the table gets covered in mail and butterfly crafts and piano lesson books, and it’s seen its share of spills and scratches. But, in our family priorities, its main role is to be the gathering place for our guests. Read more

Resolutions for Change: Conducting Teacher Evaluations for Homeschoolers

Woman holding up a shiny January Calendar for resolutions - BYA's Teacher Evaluation blogHappy New Year! When January 1st rolls around, homeschoolers have the opportunity to hit the reset button, and get a fresh start by creating resolutions together. Doing this well takes intention, motivation and careful conversation with your children.

Now that you are half-way through the homeschooling year, take inventory of how things are going. Carve out time in your busy schedule to pause, reflect, and pray about the last few months. Ask God to highlight the strengths of your family and homeschooling—and to graciously point out areas to improve in the coming year. Read more

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