If you are staying home this spring break, you might be searching for things to do with your kids and teens that would be fun and even encourage some learning! Here are 10 fun and enriching activities you can try this spring break.
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.
Most 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?
Recently, Lifeway Kids partnered with Lifeway Research to release a study of spiritual health among young adults from Christian households. Of the 2,000 protestant, non-denominational Christian parents of adults (ages 18–30) that Lifeway interviewed, 85 percent said their young adults identify as Christians. However, when that identification was held against a measure for spiritual health, very few of those adult children showed sustaining signs of spiritual health.
Read the Bible
By far, the indicator that best predicted the spiritual health of a Christian young adult was whether or not they regularly read the Bible growing up. As a home educator, you hold the opportunity to incorporate Scripture into the rhythms of your school curriculum.
A Family that Prays Together…
Next, the researches focused on prayer. Homeschoolers understand the value of family time. But, do you ensure to consciously invite God’s presence into your family time? Pray during meals, before bed, in the morning at the start of the school day, and whenever the going gets tough.
At BYA, we want to strengthen your family’s homeschool years — academically, and spiritually. Consider using our Inspired Home Educator devotional blog posts as a prayer project with your students.
Serve the Church
Also, researched highlighted the importance of service. Families that serve together stick together. And children that serve the church, grow up to stick with the church, too. Does your kids know your family mission? Whether it’s through holiday traditions, or summer missions, help your students build the muscle memory of not just going to church, but being a part of what makes church great.
In Conclusion: Spiritual Health in the Home
For those of us who want to see our children walk the straight-and-narrow way of Jesus throughout their life, we need to consider what habits, practices, and behaviors we’re cultivating now. The researchers emphasized that when children not only practiced these spiritual practices, but saw Christ modeled at home, they were much more likely to retain their spiritual life and health well into adulthood.
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.
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.
If the table could talk, it might tell you about friends from Africa trying to use chopsticks for the first time … or neighbors hanging out drinking spiced cider at Christmas … or lots of international development workers sharing about all the things they get to do all over the world, in places like Albania and Pakistan and Europe and Central America, and even the USA. It would tell you about special visits from family, when we enjoyed meals and conversations face-to-face. And, it could tell you about refugees sharing their stories of heartbreak and their stories of hope.
This past month, we heard a Muslim man at our table talk about his journey of faith and his search for God, and it was striking how connected our stories can be, when Victor, my husband, began sharing about God’s love with this man through a story about Victor’s own parents’ journey of faith when they were new immigrants to the USA. Would you pray for this man? And would you please pray that God would continue to fill our table with people —and that He would be that “unseen Guest” at every meal?
Please take 10-15 minutes to prayerfully reflect:
- Lord, how do I use my home and my dining room table for hospitality?
- Lord, how can hospitality become the venue for sharing the gospel message?
- Abba, how am I demonstrating love of God and neighbor through how I invite and receive others into my home?
- Lord, what have I taught my children about Christian hospitality in the context of homeschooling and daily life?
- Abba, have I taught my children that you are the “unseen Guest” at every meal?
Lord Jesus, I want nothing more than to do your bidding. Help me to prayerfully invite others to sit at our table and break bread together. Help me to model for my children the meaning of Christian hospitality and invite them into the development of their own gifts in the area of hospitality. Lord, help my children become aware of the “unseen Guest” at every meal. Expand my heart to give more, hear more, see more, pray more, and love more. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Christine and Vic, Medical Ambassadors International
Have you ever been involved in the soul surgery of family or church confession to God for failure in any area? I have. I remember a time when our elders confessed their failing and when our church corporately confessed our failing in the same meeting. Members stood up, confessed their sin, and then we all prayed our confession corporately. I also remember a time when a member of our church staff confessed moral failure from the pulpit and resigned. And, I remember times in my own household when my husband and I would have to come before the Lord and confess our failure in response to a disagreement, confessing our poor responses to one another and to God. Read more
I recently took a three-day retreat. During this time, I stayed at a spiritual retreat house that included a small library with many Christian books. Among the books, I found Tom Holladay’s The Relationship Principles of Jesus (2008). I was completely struck by Tom’s second exercise on relationship which included David’s model of Emotional Prayer, based on the Psalms. Read more
In the 75th anniversary of Wycliffe’s ministry in Bible translation, I found myself absorbed in reading their history over the holidays. Obstacles, such as cross-cultural and linguistic challenges, kidnapping, and martyrdom wove throughout Wycliffe’s history.
I was particularly struck by the story of Chet Bitterman. When Chet was considering missions work, he told his wife, “I’ve only got seventy-five years on this earth at best. I want to use them to give someone the Bible.” So in obedience to their calling, this young couple joined Wycliffe (p. 103). Chet and his wife, Brenda, prepared for missions work and were to work with the Carijona people. As they prepared to move to this village in Colombia, they were at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Colombia.
Editor’s Note: Sean McDowell is an internationally known apologist, author and expert on helping youth cultivate a flourishing faith. Originally posted to SeanMcDowell.org on January 13, 2017, today’s article was the #1 post on his blog last year. Have thoughts to share about Sheltering Students? Join the conversation on Facebook.
Sheltering students from beliefs contrary to Christianity is a big mistake. Let me say it again, to be sure it sinks in: Sheltering students from arguments for other religions, or against Christianity, is a bad strategy for developing them as disciples in the faith.
In his book You Lost Me, researcher David Kinnaman argues that “protecting” kids from opposing viewpoints is ultimately detrimental to their faith. Like “helicopter parents” who “hover” over their children to keep them from any conceivable danger, many young Christians feel that the church demonizes everything outside the church, fails to expose students to the complexities of the “real” world, and is too overprotective. Read more
Happy 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
Many families choose to homeschool because they value character formation. They desire to cultivate strong virtues in their children through and alongside their academic curriculum.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”