Category Archives: Copywork

Farming in Faith… Teaching Character in Our Homeshcool

“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice,   even mine.”  

Proverbs 23:15

Before I tell you about all of the stacks of curriculum and books we are using this year in our homeschool, I want to about the most important thing we are learning…

“…if you love your children, let the simple Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all other books go down and take the second place.”

“No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests.  No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die.”

– J. C. Ryle,  The Duties of Parents

lessons in character hs

My husband is a farmer, and our house is smack-dab in the middle of cotton, corn, soybean, and milo fields.   No matter which direction I look, from nearly every window, I can see crops in the field, nearly ripe for harvest.  What a gift!  From every window of my house, I have evidence of God’s provision and promises and faithfulness smiling back at me!  Each spring, my husband readies the fields and drops those teeny, tiny seeds in the dirt in hope, expectancy, faith of what is to be.   He spends long, hot summers tending to the tender plants, all the while anticipating with confidence the harvest he will reap in due season.

But it’s the crop of olive shoots around the table that are the most important!

olive shoots

Raising children, godly seed, is a lot like farming.  We plow the tough ground so that the seed can take root and grow.  We plant and water in faith— faith that we will see FRUIT!  We prune the fruitful vines so that they will bear more fruit.  We weed (hopefully before those weeds are too big and hard to pull!).    We do it all in faith that we will reap if we do not grow weary in doing good, faith in our God and His promises!  When I think about reaping the harvest, it’s a harvest of righteousness, good character, wisdom, and fear of the Lord that is most valuable to me.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth!”  3 John 1:4

In our homeschool, I spend a lot of time planting seeds of Biblical character.  If you are a homeschooling mama, I know you do, too!  Whew!  From the formal character lessons to the everyday opportunities that just present themselves in life, we teach character A LOT!   We talk about delighting in the ways of the Lord and loving Him with all our hearts, souls, and might.  We talk about it when are home during the day, when we’re out, before bed at night,  and again when we get up in the mornings– all of the time!  (Deut 6:7)  🙂

I want to share some of the things we are doing to teach our children godly character, Christlikeness, that it may go well with them!  And while there are many times I fail, God does not.  His faithfulness is great, and He uses ME in His plans!

1.  Formal Character-Training Lessons

We are enjoying 2 easy-to-use resources that make it quick and simple for me to introduce character qualities without a lot of searching or planning!  All of the books coordinate so well together!

  • A Child’s Book of Character Building — I have volumes 1 and 2.  They each contain character qualities, definitions, Bible verses, and stories from the Bible or life that illustrate the character quality.
  • Little Lads & Ladies of Virtue —  I got this e-book through an online curriculum sale, and I love it!  Each week there is a character quality along with a definition, Bible memory verse, activities, 3 “I will…”s, and a coloring page.   At the end of the week, after the children recite the definition, verse, and I wills, they can put a badge on their charts!  Fun!

character curriculum

  • My big kids have used character definitions and verses as copy work.  You can download a chart of 49 Character Qualities and cursive or print copy work from my Character Training post from last school year.  Just click the pic…

copy-work-cursive-1-2

 

2.  Informal Character Lessons… AKA:  Life!  😉

Whew!  Isn’t this a tough one?  I think a great way to encourage wise choices and good character is to recognize it and praise it!  That goes a long way!   But then… there are those unwise, foolish choices.   I sometimes feel like I say the same things over and over!  What about you?  Does the soil seem a little tough, like maybe it needs some extra plowing sometimes?  (I need some extra plowing and weeding and pruning, too!)

  • “Count others more significant than yourself.”
  • “Be a good steward.  A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”
  • “Yes?  Yes what?  Yes ma’am.  Honor your father and your mother.”
  • “Is that good manners?”
  • “Are you being a peacemaker?”
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
  • “Why did God make you?  For His own glory.  Does that glorify God?”
  • … and on and on…. 🙂

Another thing that I find myself saying over and over is “Our actions have consequences; you reap what you sow.”  Yet, instead of giving consequences, I remind, and as a good friend reminded 😉 me, I am not teaching them to think for themselves.

We talk a lot about taking off training wheels in our house.  When the training wheels are off, when Mom and Dad aren’t around, do you ride on your own or fall over?  The training wheels have to come off one day, and my kiddos have to be able to ride.  Are they hearers or doers?

In an effort to have easy-for-mom consequences, I made this chart.  I’ll be the first to admit, it needs some tweaking.  I am already planning to change the consequences!

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(My inspiration for this cart can be found here.)

 The Lord gives us so many opportunities each day to disciple our children, and something else that we try to teach through everyday opportunities is dying to self and serving others.  Elisabeth Elliot said love means sacrifice.  Isn’t that part of being in a family or a church, knowing that you are part of something bigger than yourself?

“Love means sacrifice.  Each member of the family has to learn to give in, give up, and give over for the sake of the rest…  Give up.  Give in.  Give way.  Give thanks.  Be ye kind.  Wait your turn.  Serve one another in love.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot

Don’t you love that?  😉

3.  Planning and Praying for Each Child

I had grand plans to spend one morning each week of vacation at the beach this year praying and planning and praying and setting goals and praying some more for each child.  (I got the idea from this great post on Hodgepodge… one of my very favorite blogs!)….

word in morn

However, there’s something  about vacation that makes my kiddos want to get up earlier than usual.  Here are my girlies playing on the deck in their pi’s!  Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!….

girls on deck

I’ve had to find nuggets of time other places, and that’s okay!  I always turn back to this book time and time again to help with my prayers and goals for each child.

TAKING A SPIRITUAL INVENTORY FOR EACH CHILD– CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

  • STRENGTHS — physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, socially
  • WEAKNESSES — that enable God to later use us and Him to receive glory
  • OBSERVATIONS — become students of our children
  • APPLICATION — something I can do to help my child develop into the person God wants him to become… a strength to enhance or a weakness to overcome

When I find or make (!) the time to do this and really pray for each child, I see the Spirit working in their little hearts.

How is the farming going in your home this year?  How are you planting seeds of character?  Are you harvesting lots of fruit?  🙂

Last night, as I was thinking about this post, one of my kiddos said, “Oh look!  Look at the moon!”  It was a HARVEST MOON… a big, bright, harvest moon.  It’s like God was saying to me, “Trust me.  I’ve got this.  You will reap, my daughter!”  I snapped this pic, and you can see the cotton and milo and that big moon smiling at us!

harvest moon

“He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him!”  Psalm 126:6   (I’m not weeping, by the way.)

I just love Proverbs 23:15.  “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.”

I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on the verse…

“The wisdom of children will be the joy of their parents and teachers, who have no greater joy than to see them walk in the truth…
Children, if you be wise and good, devout and conscientious, God will be pleased with you, and that will be our joy:  we shall think our labour in instructing you well bestowed; it will be a comfortable answer for the many prayers we have put up for you; we shall be eased of a great deal of care, shall not need to be so strict and severe in watching over you, and shall consequently be the easier both to you and to ourselves.  We shall rejoice in hope that you will be a credit and comfort to us, if we should live to be old, and

that you will bear up the name of Christ in your generation, and that you will live comfortably in this world and happily in another.

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Happy Farming, friends!

Oh, and soon I’d like to share how we are learning to be little ants!  🙂

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Memory Verses, Character Building, Notebooking Pages

mem verses big

One thing I love about homeschool is that learning never stops.  Math takes place when we have to figure out how many library books we still need to find or how many calories are in the entire can of spray whipped cream if a serving has 15 calories.  (not my idea) Science goes on when we find a worm or a cicada shell outside.  The boys are learning to pull out their sisters’ chairs and open doors for them at snack.  Home ec goes on quite often during chores.  We are reading all the time, and Bible happens nearly every minute around here!

And character training?  There seem to be opportunities for that quite often, too.  “Be a good steward and take care of the things the Lord has blessed you with.”  “Sometimes work isn’t fun, but we should show perseverance and work heartily for the Lord.”  “I know it is hard to choose joy, but this situation is from the Lord and being thankful is what brings God glory.”  I find myself smack dab in the middle of character training moments throughout the day.  However, even with all of those opportunities, I decided to do a little more intentional character training this year using the perfect textbook… the Bible.

I’ve always enjoyed the Duggar’s character qualities chart with definitions.   I bet almost every mom has a copy of this somewhere.  (If you don’t, you can click it and print it!)   (OOOPS!  Thank you to a reader for letting me know that this chart is from IBLP/ATI, the curriculum the  Duggar’s use to homeschool.  When you click the image, you will go to the Duggar’s site to print.)

characterqualities-1

Click image to download and print from the Duggar’s site.

I studied the 49 character qualities chart and chose 25 for us to learn this year with the Bible verses to be used as our memory verses.  I made copywork / notebooking pages to go in our notebooks.  (You can see our notebooks here.)  I add the memory verse for the week to the top of the kids’ weekly checklists.

charac qual study 3

Whew!  Mom needs to do some character training, too– right along with the children!  Availability-  making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving… “I can help you NOW.  I want to listen to you NOW.  I am here for you NOW. ”  Flexibility-  not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others...  and  Security-  structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away…  and  Joyfulness-  the spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord …  and  on and on and on… 🙂

lev and ms wagon summer

Do you remember when I explained that I’d been reading a lot of Charlotte Mason?  Well, I’ve also been reading a lot of Ruth Beechick.  The two seem to agree on doing daily copywork from selections of beautiful literature and doing dictation often.  So, these verses will also serve as dictation work / spelling tests for us this year, along with other passages from books and poems we read.

“This is the key to simplifying homeschooling:  Practice language skills in the content subjects and not in isolation separately in a language course.”  Ruth Beechick, A Biblical Home Education

Not have an English book?  Not have a weekly spelling list?  Does that sound a little scary to you?  It does to me, too, but we are going to try it.  My third graders will be practicing skills — spelling, grammar, reading, thinking– in their history, science, Bible, and character building– and not in isolation… for now.  🙂  I am going to give it a try and see how it goes.  The character copywork pages I made using the Bible verses have already afforded us opportunities to practice compound sentences, several kinds of punctuation, parts of speech, the spelling of lots of great words, AND we are reading God’s Word!  I am using the shorter verses first.  Writing in our notebooks is great skills practice, as well.

If you are interested in reading more about this, you may like The Three R’s by Ruth Beechick.  This post was also very helpful:  Back to the Basics this School Year at Teaching with TLC.

I am including the Bible verse notebooking pages below.  Click the images if you’d like to download.  🙂  There are extra blank lined pages included, too.

  • cursive part 1
  • cursive part 2
  • print part 1
  • print part 2

copy work cursive 1-2

cursive copywork part 2-2

character print part 1 1

char copywork part 2 print 2

I also use Handwriting Worksheets .com to make quick, easy copywork pages from poems, passages of books, or Scripture. Really, it takes seconds!

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You can read about our preschool memory verses here.

We are really enjoying our school year!  Each day is a new blessing and a new adventure.  I love some of our new curriculum choices and would love to share them soon.

Happy Homeschooling!

Come, O children, listen to me;

I will teach you the fear of the LORD…

Psalm 34:11