Review: Quick Answers to Tough Questions

review_quickanswersWe may have mentioned one or twice that our learning year is almost at an end. On one hand we’re winding down and preparing for a brief season of relaxation. On the other… Mom is busy planning for next year, and doing a great deal of praying over our curriculum choices. The first area of consideration is always Biblical studies and logic. While the Lord has clearly given us direction for our girls, my son’s lessons were still in question. That is until we had the privilege of reviewing Quick Answers to Tough Questions from Bryan Osborne, Bodie Hodge, and Master Books.

Quick Answers to Tough Questions provides Christians with simple, precise, quick answers to important questions we face on a frequent basis. Topics include creation, evolution, the age of the earth, Noah’s Ark, death, suffering, and more. Leading readers through six main areas of discussion, apologists Bryan and Bodie have dedicated themselves to teaching the Word of God and presenting the gospel message.

“Biblical history and a biblical worldview help us to understand the past, present, and future. Too many believers have fallen victim to those who say that the Bible’s history is false or that science has disproved it. Equip yourself to address the skeptical questions and comments of believers and unbelievers alike and successfully stand strong in your defense of the inerrancy and truth of God’s Word.”

Our family was incredibly blessed with a printed, paper-backed copy of Quick Answers to Tough Questions for review. While excited to read this book for myself, my main objective quickanswers_quicklook1was to identify whether this would be a good fit for our son’s learning adventure next year, when he will be entering sixth grade. I wished to approximate the length of our lessons and map out an organized routine. For my own reading, I progressed through several lessons a day noting any difficulty in vocabulary and possibility of deeper study. I was pleased to find I was able to read through each lesson in a matter of minutes, while most lessons provided plenty of additional study. Biblical references abound, and that is always a plus in my book!

While no specific age category has been suggested for the read, after our assessment, we believe this resource would be of benefit for those ten and up or younger students with high vocabulary skills. This will be a perfect fit for our son; slightly challenging, but not overwhelming. Each lesson was only two pages in length. Setting aside time for the possibility of additional questions our son might have or complimentary topics we wish to explore, we are planning for a twenty to thirty minute Bible study time each morning of our learning week.

Friends, we couldn’t be more pleased with this resource! We love the organized quickanswers_quicklook2progression of topics and questions being presented. Lessons are simple, yet offer so much wisdom. As we mentioned, Biblical references are many; offering not just opinion, but truth from the Word of God. We love that each question presented is one we as adults face on a regular basis, helping prepare our children for questions they too might face. As an educator, I appreciate the ability to delve deeper into many of these topical questions regarding scientific study and historic figures mentioned in the lessons. Given the bonus section, “More Answers”, at the back of the book which offers additional reading for study, we feel certain this resource will be well used during the coming year.

We love discovering new educational resources, especially those which build our faith and edify our family. Quick Answers to Tough Questions is a fantastic resource and one which we can’t wait to implement in the coming year. With Biblical studies and logic squared away, we’re excited to continue planning the rest of the coming year’s learning routine. Each season is an adventure, and we can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do next!

If you’d like to learn more about Quick Answers to Tough Questions and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview or place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: How big a role do apologetics and logic play in your learning routine?

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Review: The 10 Minute Bible Journey

10_minute_bible_journeyIf your family is anything like ours, you enjoy finding new homeschool resources which inspire further learning and build a stronger Biblical foundation in your home. We’ve recently discovered a new tool which is blessing our morning routine. The 10 Minute Bible Journey by Master Books is everything we could ask for in a Bible study, and more!

The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a fast-paced, apologetics-infused synopsis of God’s Word!

Study 52 accounts that weave the chronological, gospel-centered storyline of the most strategic and amazing events from Creation to Heaven. Filled with vibrant, full-color images, an illustrated fold-out timeline, and exciting “faith facts” that confirm the Bible is true, this book is designed to help Christians of all ages spring to a new level in their understanding of God’s Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.
~ Master Books

I had originally obtained a digital download of this resource, but immediately knew a physical copy would be desired. Within a few weeks a hardback, full-color copy arrived at our door. Not wanting to waste any time, we immediately added The 10 Minute Bible Journey to our morning routine and the adventure began.

Every weekday morning since, we have begun our day with prayer and a daily Bible Journey. Journeys contain key concepts being covered, an apologetic lesson centered on a chronologically told Bible story, primary passages for families to read, an included key verse, a prayer, and a full-color illustration. No specific age range was given for The 10 Minute Bible Journey, however we find the resource works well for all our children, ages ranging from eleven to sixteen. Our youngest is well able to understand the lessons, while even us adults are gleaning a few new facts while reading. Each day’s lesson could well be completed within the parameters of ten minutes, but our family finds the lessons are a springboard for deeper conversation. Thus, our Bible Journeys extend slightly beyond this time frame, taking anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes. And, truthfully, I couldn’t be more pleased with these results.

Included in The 10 Minute Bible Journey is a thoughtful “Creation to Forever” Timeline we’ve found very helpful while progressing through our chronological studies. In addition, a “Summary First” Bible Read-through Plan has been inserted in the back of the book. Families can follow this chronological reading plan in order to read through the Bible in one year. “Tips for Family or Small Group Studies” help make the most of this wonderful resource. And “Endnotes” – filled with additional resources, links, and thoughts on each day’s lesson – help us dig deeper into our journey.

With only fifty-two lessons one might easily complete this book within a short time frame. While our family will indeed finish our initial read-through shortly, I am looking forward to starting over from the beginning and taking each journey at a slower pace. We could easily stretch each Journey into a week’s adventure, gleaning the most out of these fantastic lessons and included resources.

Merely upon looking through The 10 Minute Bible Journey I knew the Lord would use this resource to bless our family, and I was not disappointed. Our daily journeys are being used to teach all of us important Bible lessons and help us have a deeper understanding of our Savior. Our morning routine just keeps getting better!

If you’d like to learn more about The 10 Minute Bible Journey and Master Books please visit them at their website – where you can download a preview and place your order for this incredible resource – and on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube!

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Your Turn!: On average, how much time does your family spend on Bible each morning?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

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Teens and Bible Basics

Teens_&_BibleBasicsSometimes it seems as though in our rush to advance our children’s learning we’ve lost sight of the simple things. We put aside the basics and move forward without periodically checking in to ensure our kids have a firm grasp on their foundation. Recently, the Lord has prompted our family to take a moment to review Bible basics with our kids. Key concepts we don’t want to take for granted are understood.

Setting logic and apologetics aside for a brief moment, we want to take this opportunity to review a few Biblical topics we might not have discussed in a while. We’ll brush up on these areas of focus and then resume our scheduled studies with better clarity.

What are Bible basics? When we think of Bible basics, a few things come to mind. Do our children remember the days of creation. From memory. How about the ten commandments? This is a great time to review the books of the Bible and have them memorized as well. We’ll review the “greatest” commandment; a few key passages in Psalms; The Great Commission; The Lord’s Prayer; John 3:16 and more!

This isn’t a step backward! It’s important our children understand that reviewing these basics is not a step backward. While they might think they “Know this stuff already!” these concepts are not just for children. Even we adults need to remind ourselves of these truths and ensure they are committed to memory. Then, we build upon the basics and dig deeper.

A firm foundation is key. Logic and apologetics are important. So are these basic foundational studies. All contribute to a strong Biblical foundation upon which our children’s lives should be established. From time to time it’s beneficial to take a look back, checking for areas which need a little strengthening. This ensures we’re moving forward in confidence and fully understanding what God is teaching.

Our kids aren’t as little as they used to be. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t periodically take a moment to check in with our not so little children and review these Bible basics. It’s good for them and us. Through prayer and fun family challenges, we’re brushing up and asking the Lord to grow us through these simple truths. We know God is going to do something wonderful!

“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
~ Luke 6:48

Your Turn!: How often do you review Bible basics with your kids?

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What YOUR Bible Lessons Might Be Missing!

bible_missingThey were sitting at the table, just as I asked. Our Bibles were open to the passage of the day. But, if you looked closely, you could tell something was a little off. The morning had been a rough start and hearts were hurt. We were making an attempt to put things to rights, but I could tell my children weren’t ready to receive. Then, the Lord spoke to my heart and showed me what our Bible lessons were missing…

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

~ Psalm 95:6

Worship is the expression of reverence and adoration of God; an act (rite) that makes up the formal expression of respect. One act of worship is the lifting of voices before the Lord in song.

While we had been in the habit of going before the Lord each morning in prayer and reading through our daily passage, it occurred to me we weren’t always reading with a heart of worship, but reading out of habit. At times, reading quickly because we were running late. On hard days, reading even though the kids weren’t really receiving or ready to hear from the Lord at all.

The Lord reminded me of how often worshipping in song was a comfort to my own soul, softening my heart and opening my ears to hear His Word. If worshipping in song was a blessing to me, why wouldn’t my children also be blessed in this practice. It was time to make a change!

Now, worship is a daily part of our Bible lessons. At times we play our own instruments and sing songs commonly heard at church. Other days we listen to hymns on my device. When I’m feeling adventurous, we launch Pandora and see what the Lord blesses us with. No two days are the same; each day is a new blessing.

Through the addition of worship in song to our routine my children’s hearts more readily turn toward the Lord. The Lord uses this time to fill our home with peace, quiet, and rest. Our struggles seem less important and we are readied for hearing from the Word. Our Bible time has been magnified a hundred fold.

Isn’t it amazing how after many years of homeschooling you can still learn something new; the Lord shares new wisdom we had yet to receive? After ten years of homeschooling, it finally came to my attention that what our Bible time was missing was worship! Lifting our voices before the Lord, opening our hearts to receive from His Spirit and allowing the burdens of the morning to wash away.

Even in our homeschooling – especially in our homeschooling – may we constantly kneel before the Lord our God and worship.

🔔Time to Chime In: Does worship play a part in your homeschool day?

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Curriculum 101: Bible

Curriculum101One of the biggest struggles homeschooling families battle is which curriculum is best for their children. We become overwhelmed by the amount of curriculum available, struggle to find the right fit for each of our children, proceed to doubt each choice made for at least the first several weeks, and continue to search for new ways of teaching well after we’ve already begun our year.

To this end, we thought we’d spend the month of September launching discussions on all things curriculum.

…..

I cannot begin to stress the importance of Bible time during our learning day. In fact, if you don’t start your learning day in God’s Word, may I be the first to recommend it. Acknowledging the Lord’s dominion over our time, our children’s education, and our homes is key.

That said, how do we go about encouraging our children to sit at the feet of God? Is there a particular book of the Bible we should start with? Must we read from the Bible itself? How do we keep our children engaged and make sure they understand what they are hearing?

Start Young – As early as possible, make a practice of sitting down daily with your babies and reading devotions with them. It could be as short as five minutes or as long as an hour. No matter the amount of time, make a point of opening the Bible and sharing with your children.

Include Worship – Do not dismiss the power of worship. Whether you start a CD, listen to the radio, or play your own instruments, take time to praise the Lord with your voices. Worship sets a gracious mood for your home.

Read From the Word – While we’ve used devotionals over the years, I would always recommend actually opening your Bibles and reading straight from the Word. Look up the Bible verse mentioned and show your children how to find the verse. Read it straight from the Bible itself. Start this practice young and help your children memorize where verses can be found.

Make It Hands-On – As often as possible, try to make Bible time hands-on. If there is an activity which will better help your children understand the story being told or concept being taught, go for it.

Oldies, But Goodies – It’s time to build on that earlier foundation. While younger children are content with Bible stories, older children ought to be ready for a little more ‘meat’. Encourage them to complete a Bible study or work through lessons in apologetics.

Memorization is Key – With each passing session, plan for your children to memorize Scripture. Start with simple, easy passages and build from there.

Start Here – If you’re not sure how to get started, may I humbly suggest reading through the gospel of John. If you’re looking for a great devotional, try your local Christian bookstore and ask to see their children’s selections. There are many to choose from!

Include Prayer Time – Don’t shy away from prayer time in your learning day. Allow your children to pray over their learning and your home. Encourage them to speak to God throughout their day and lay their requests before Him. Teach them how to pray. (Not using fancy words, but speaking from the heart. You could also teach them ACTS: acknowledge Him; confession of sin; thankfulness for all He provides; and supplication.) It doesn’t matter if they stumble over their words, pray for two seconds, or pray the same prayer each day; allow your children be a part of this important time and be in communication with God.

Starting our day off on the right foot should always include spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. We pray you make this a vital part of your day, choosing to put God before everything else. May He be given all glory, honor, and praise!

🔔Time to Chime In: How many times have you read the entire Bible?

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I Allowed Myself to Be Robbed

I_Allowed_Myself_to_Be_RobbedIt had been a long day. The kids were in a particularly cranky mood, which put mom in a particularly fussy mood. The house needed a little cleaning, dinner still needed to get on the table, Pop wasn’t finished with work, and, to top it all off, we needed to leave for church in one short hour. Had I been in a better mood, had I been praying as I should have been, I might have chosen differently. Instead, I chose poorly, and allowed myself to be robbed.

Making the time to read, pray, and go to church doesn’t always come easily. In fact, it can be downright hard. There are many temptations to find more ‘useful’ purposes for our time. We could be cleaning, cooking, gardening, sleeping, or running errands. But, when we choose to put other things before Christ, we are allowing ourselves to be robbed.

True, there are times when the best thing is to rest and remain at home. Going to ‘church’ is not always the answer. The Lord understands when being home is the better thing or when sleep is much-needed. But, how often is my reason for not reading or being in fellowship simply a choice made out of laziness?

Unfortunately, I allow myself to be robbed far too often. I wake up late and set aside my Bible time in order to get the day rolling. The day starts late, so we skim through Bible time in our homeschooling lessons, not digging as deeply as we should have. I’m tired at the end of the day and decide to stay home from church. I’m being robbed, I know it, and yet how often am I doing nothing about it?

I need to choose to put all these things aside and hear what my Lord has to say. I should long for His words, anxiously awaiting the wisdom He has to impart. As a parent, I ought to be setting an example for my children; modeling habits I wish to see in them. As their teacher, I need to be making Bible our first subject and the center of all we do.

Make no mistake, our enemy, the devil, wants to find ways to distract us. He will use whatever is in his power to prevent us from making time with God. He will provide obstacles, temptations, and frustrations. We will find ourselves swamped with responsibilities, surrounded by needs. Our time will appear limited and our resources few.

Spending time with our Lord might not always come easily, but it is so necessary. We need to make the time to set aside the world around us and take in His Word; rest assured the time will not come to you. We need to choose the better thing; refusing to be robbed.

“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

🔔Time to Chime In: Do you prefer doing devotions at the start of your day or the finish?

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You Are Loved

As Christian parents, we firmly believe in building a strong, Biblical foundation in our children. As home schoolers, we have the unique ability to do this throughout our entire day, in all areas of learning.

One area of study which should not be overlooked is art. Through all medium of creativity, we can bask in the glory of our God; embracing the unique and profound ways in which He has established our world.

If you are looking for a unique way to incorporate both art and Biblical studies, You Are Loved by Marsha Baker might be just what you’re looking for!

You Are Loved

You Are Loved focuses on teaching children the fundamentals of art; spacial awareness, line art, stippling, and more. It will also direct your children’s minds to the truth of God’s love. Each day’s work involves a new art project, centered around a Biblical truth; along with helpful tips on how to creatively decorate the project and a devotion to help you dig deeper into your Bibles.

You Are Loved would be perfect for those just starting to explore their artistic abilities or for those with young children. It will teach them the fundamentals of art, while helping them gain a foundation for their faith. Older children would also benefit from the creative encouragement, but would definitely be encouraged to dig deeper, using the Biblical truths as a ‘jumping point’ for further study. No matter the age, this book is tons of fun!

If you aren’t already, consider following Marsha Baker’s blog, Blessinks! She has a wealth of creative ideas and projects to discover.

Our children are really enjoying both You Are Loved and Ms. Baker’s blog! They are having so much fun exploring these projects and putting their new-found skills to work. The end results are amazing!

Marsha Baker Bio PageTime to Chime In: Here is your chance to win a FREE COPY of Ms. Baker’s book, You Are Loved!! Send in a picture, created by your child, incorporating a favorite Bible verse or a verse from a recent Bible lesson to [Cristina(at)ahomeschoolmom(dot)com]. The first drawing received will be sent a free copy of You Are Loved! We will be accepting entries through May 24th. All artwork will be displayed on ‘A Homeschool Mom’ in an upcoming post!

Bonus: Ms. Baker has graciously offered a coupon code for all our readers! For a limited time, save $5 off all purchased copies of You Are Loved! To order, visit Blessinks and enter promo code AHSM$5. This coupon expires 5/31.  

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3b

Ready, Set, Read!

It’s sitting in front of me, thick and a little daunting. I have one year to finish this baby. I know I can do it, I just need to be dedicated and make it happen.

Our family has decided we are going to read through our entire Bible in this coming year. Not as a family, necessarily, but each of us on our own. Starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation, we are going to stick to it and finally read our Bible all the way through!

I am ashamed to say, I don’t know that I’ve ever read it all the way before. I’ve read most of the Bible, that I know, but all of it… probably not. This year, and hopefully in years to come, I want to be reading through completely and committing more of the Word to memory.

Read with Me

The book of Numbers always seems to stump me, as does some of Deuteronomy. For some reason reading long lists of peoples and, well, numbers, is always a struggle. I know there is a purpose for them though. Perhaps one way I could make them more enjoyable would be do stop and do a mini-study on the importance of these books.

Reading the prophets, both major and minor, I find very enjoyable. I like history, so these are right up my alley. I also enjoy all of the New Testament. I think Song of Solomon might make me blush though. This one book I might have my kiddos skip, for obvious reasons.

The month of January is almost up! Before I know it, the year is going to be over and we are going to be decorating for Christmas all over again. It’s time to get this ball rolling and set myself up on a reading routine so I can accomplish my goal.

Do you read through your Bible once a year? What routine do you use?

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
– Romans 15:4

Kids 4 Truth

Second semester has commenced and we are back in action. All subjects have been resumed and we are in full swing. As in all previous years, we’ve made sure to start off our morning with a good foundation… Bible. For our lessons, I prefer to use Kids4Truth.

LogoI honestly don’t remember how I came across Kids4Truth. I believe it might have been through a Christian magazine I had picked up or possibly a homeschooling advertisement in a free periodical sent to our family.

No matter; this curriculum found its way into our home and influenced us for the better!

If you are at all familiar with the Awana program, Kids4Truth will sound very similar to its program. There are leveled books for each children’s age category, with activities and tips to help you through the lessons. Like Awana, Kids4Truth was created to help children better learn their Bibles.

However, Kids4Truth takes their lessons to an entirely different level. Unlike Awana, Kids4Truth is specifically designed to expose our children to worldview apologetics and logic. K4T will walk you and your child through key arguments, helping you fully understand why you believe what you believe.

The best part? K4T was designed by a pastor for his own kids and those of the people in his church. They are family friendly, homeschool friendly, and easily accessible. There are books you can purchase, but there are also a multitude of free resources available online as well.

With twelve amazing categories, consisting of ten lessons each, K4T could be used for years of learning. No matter what the age of your children, these lessons are going to increase them in wisdom.

GodsLawColoringSheets_KJV_Page_1_3CFF3AF7

Right now we are working our way through the curriculum for the second time running. The first time we were becoming acquainted with these principles, now we are learning them by heart and memorizing Scripture as well. So far this year, we have reviewed The Bible (how we can know it is the true Word of God), The Greatness of God (His characteristics/attributes), and now we are covering The Goodness of God.

Each time we go through these lessons we learn more and more! For our family this has definitely proven to be the right choice. I look forward to what the rest of the year holds.

Does your learning day include a little apologetics? Which curriculum would you recommend?

To Show Ourselves Approved

Read with MeBoth in our homeschooling and our daily living, our children have been highly encouraged to study and memorize scripture. It is not enough for them to rely on our knowledge and memory, they need to be reading for themselves.

There are several reason we believe our children should be memorizing scripture. We must study to grow in faith, joy, righteousness, discernment, and wisdom; to have prosperity in our relationships, to defend the gospel, and to have a true knowledge of Christ.

There are several ways that we can help our children to commit scripture to memory:

  • Make sure that you are mentally alert. No fuzzy heads!
  • Start off with just the first phrase and work your way to the end of the verse. No sense in tackling the whole thing in one go; start off easy!
  • Put the verse to music!
  • Use hand motions, if you can.
  • Repeat often! Don’t say the verse a few times and then leave off for the day; give a pop quiz every time you pass each other in the hall or every time you get a drink from the fridge.
  • Make it a game! See who can memorize it first or how long they can keep it committed to memory.
  • Join an Awana group. Our children were a part of this ministry for several years. In one year alone, my oldest daughter memorized 450 verses! She still knows most of them to this day!

No matter how we choose to teach our children Bible memorization, I need to make sure this area of study is not skipped over; the benefits are enormous and unending. We are seeing the advantages of this daily and love to see our children become excited over their achievements.

Is Bible memorization a part of your homeschooling day? What helps your children memorize long passages of scripture?