May 9, 2021

Sanctifying Our Sons and Daughters-part 1

Sanctifying Our Sons and Daughters

by Craig Smith
Listen Dads: we know our society today is saturated in
sex and sensuality. It is simply evil. We need a wellthought
strategy to help ourselves and our children survive
with anything like a healthy sexual outlook.
Sex education in schools has become little more than
pornographic how-to sessions. It is totally unacceptable.
Actually, “sex” education in NZ has been supplanted
in the schools by “sexuality” education. It is
equally pornographic but with perversions added.
Rather than being strictly “how-to,” this new stuff
helps children work out what gender they want to be.
On page 22 of the NZ Curriculum (published in November
2007), you will read that sexuality education is
one of “the seven key areas of learning…to be included
in teaching and learning programmes at both primary
and secondary levels” right along side things like
“physical activity, sport studies and outdoor education.”
See that? Exploring one’s sexuality is now considered
by our government educational gurus to be just
another recreational activity. Morality has gone completely
out the window. I Thessalonians 4:3 says that
the will of God for us and our children is our sanctification,
that we abstain from sexual immorality. Apart
from the marvelous efforts of Christians and other
moral people teaching in the government schools, the
NZ Curriculum will guide young people into all kinds
of perverted immorality. Government schools are no
longer suitable places for Christians to leave their children.
That’s why we’re home educating.
Let’s first try to get the Big Picture, a fuller context of
what we’re trying to do. Here in our culture, what you
might call the Western Christian Civilisation, we have
copied the classical Greek way of thinking. That is, we
take a logical, compartmentalised approach to knowledge.
But we need to realise that life is, in fact, an integrated
whole. Conventional schooling follows the logical
approach: we study maths, put it aside, pick up
English grammar, then lay that aside to concentrate on
History. But you never hear anyone point out the connections
and interrelationships among all the academic
disciplines of maths, English, History and all the rest.
Such a wholistic, knowledge-is-integrated approach is
more in line with the Hebrew or Biblical way of thinking:
after all, we do live in a Universe, God and His
word being the unifying factor. We do not live in a
multi-verse of many different truths, many different
realities.
In communicating with our children, therefore, it makes
a lot more sense not to deal with such things as sex in
isolation, as if it could be dealt with quite adequately all
by itself as a standalone, separate subject. We would be
better to consider sex, and all things else, in a much
wider context in our discussions. In addition, we need
to model for our children – as well as instruct them in –
every day morality; modesty in dress and speech;
decency; how men are wired up; how women are wired
up; what constitutes proper social intercourse, politeness
and manners; the purpose and roles of marriage, child-
rearing, etc., etc. These and many other factors of life, all
being interrelated, provide the wider context in which
we can then more properly understand and discuss, as
appropriate, sexual issues with our children. The
instruction starts from day one, not all of a sudden when
they reach the preteen years.
Perhaps we should also first of all lay to rest some of
our most cherished cultural fairy tales. The idea of
“falling in love” is deceitful. We cannot allow ideas
such as “falling in love and then seeing where that will
lead” to take root in our children’s minds. One of the
obvious problems is that our sexualised culture puts no
restrictions on where “falling in love” might lead. This
fairy tale concept of love is seen as one of the highest
forms of good one can pursue in life. You’ve heard the
ridiculous ways in which this idea is lionised: “It is
better to have loved and lost than never to have loved
at all.” “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” To
begin with, these ideas are totally at odds with Biblical
“agape” love, which is a unilateral and disciplined decision
to rest your best actions, attentions and intentions
upon another no matter what, no matter how the
other responds. Those fairy-tale ideas about love are
expressions of purely selfish erotic love and have no
thought for the welfare of the other person.
This “falling in love” idea wreaks havoc with the
hearts and emotions of an ever-widening set of people.
Look again at I Thessalonians 4, at verses 3-6 this
time. It implies very strongly that not only are we parents
to play our part in sanctifying our children, helping
them to abstain from sexual immorality, but that
we should teach them how to take a spouse for themselves
or control their own bodies (depending on your
translation) in holiness and honour. We certainly do
not get this kind of coaching from TV or billboard
advertisements. In addition, it says we are not to chase
after a spouse “in the passion of lust like the heathen
who do not know God.” Wow! Messing around sexually,
presented to our young people from all sides by
the worldly culture around us as nothing more than another
form of physical recreation, is referred to here in
Scripture as a characteristic of those who are heathen.
We and our children’s lives must stand out as clearly
different to that kind of thing. And verse 6 says something
interesting: “that no man transgress and wrong
his brother in this matter.” So how does one wrong a
brother in this matter? Well, apart from the obvious
one of defiling another man’s wife or daughter (or another
woman’s husband or anyone’s child), one can
wrong a brother by flirting with a girl’s emotions,
breaking her heart, damaging her in other ways, then
moving on. She and her future husband are both
wronged by such behaviour. My wife has been counselling
a woman who has fallen in love with a string of
men, producing a total of six children to four of them.
Some of the children have identity problems, wondering
who to attach to, the biological or day-time parents.
The abortion she had was quite traumatic for some of
the children, for the murdered child was their sibling,
and it was traumatic for the family with whom the children
lived. I’ve talked to guys who have sired so many
so-called “love” children over the years, they cannot
help but wonder at times if the pretty young thing
they’re currently chasing isn’t in fact their own daughter…
that they might be close to committing incest.
This is where “falling in love” leads to right here in
New Zealand. It’s a total disaster. We need to thoroughly
repudiate the whole concept.
When young people do come to an age to consider
marriage, the young man and the young woman need
to review carefully how they might fit together culturally,
theologically, doctrinally; how committed they
each are to Scripture; how close they are in their concepts
of family, child bearing, child rearing, education,
roles within the home, finances, incurring debt, insurance
issues, commitment to aging parents, etc., etc.
Plenty of people have “fallen in love” and married…
only to find themselves married to near strangers with
a whole head full of foreign and even ugly ideas about
how things should be.
Draw up a time-line for each of your children with an
80-year life span. Mark off the halfway point, 40, and
the half-way point of that, 20. Point out that by the time
they reach the customary entrance to adulthood, age
20, a full quarter of their allotted years are gone.
Most of that last quarter of their lives, from 60 to death
at around 80, is usually thought of as “retirement”,
though both you and they should be re-thinking that
entirely, for at age 65, unless your health is really failing,
you should be an expert in your field, your calling,
full of wisdom and incredible life experiences, and you
should also be well along the road of sanctification and
growth in godliness, bearing the fruit of the Spirit: love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). You should
be an incredibly valuable asset to your family, your
church, your community…I’d say there is a very good
argument that only such men qualify as Elders in the
church since only they are actually elder. Oopps, I’ve
digressed again.
Point out on the timeline that your children have a
mere 10 years from around age 11 or so when they are
just starting to think straight, until entering into
adulthood at 20 to get their act together. If they (or you
as parents) mentally “write-off” the years from 13 to 17
as those wild, hormone-raging teenaged years when
you can’t expect much out of them except grunts and
rebellious attitudes, you have grievously undermined
your child’s primetime for setting the stage for the rest
of their lives. But look at the timeline again: straight
away you can see that there are unavoidable seasons:
childhood, young adult, married, career building, family
building, empty nest years, growing old. Until age 20
you and your children simply need to be concentrating
on getting the foundations solidly laid in their lives:
basic education, character training, work ethic and all
forms of home economics. A 20-year-old should be
able to do all the family budgeting, menu planning,
shopping, meal preparation and balance the cheque-
book. These are nothing more than basic survival skills…
and note that I didn’t even mention earning the income
to balance the chequebook…the boys for certain will
have to add that one on later. The early- and mid-20s
seem to be given over these days to gaining requisite
training: a university degree, trade certificate…
establishing some kind of career path qualifications.
If your sons get married at 25, have 5 children by age
38, then the youngest one (your grandchild) will turn
16 when your sons turn 54. The oldest one (of your
grandchildren) by then will be around 27…so in fact,
by then, your child could be a grandparent and you a
great-grandparent. So your child is 54, still has a teen
at home, has a married child and a grandchild, maybe a
couple of children at trade school or university, is at or
nearing the top rung of his career path, and you, the
parent of this powerhouse of a child now aged 54, are
over 75 and may be in declining health. What do you
want to be doing at age 75? Are you planning for it?
Draw up your own timeline of your own life. You may
be stunned to see how, as the work responsibilities
started to increase, so did your family and child rearing
and mortgage and other responsibilities. That period
between roughly 30 and 55 on your timeline should be
bulging with responsibility, while the earlier years look
slim and carefree.
Can you see the huge pile of responsibility your child
will have at this point if he has 5 children, a mortgage
and a career? More importantly, with the help of that
timeline, can your child see it and that it will require
that he be made of stern stuff? Where does your 14-
year-old want to be at age 54, in 40 years? He/she
needs to start planning for that now, planning for it, not
just hoping it will happen. Those few single years from
when our children’s rational minds start coming together,
until they can establish their own households,
are so vital, so crucial to how well they’ll be able to
handle the responsibilities, we simply cannot let them
slip by.
If they have not been regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit
until sometime late in their teens, it is going to be a real
challenge to get them to do all for the glory of God,
including the planning for their career paths, until then.
We don’t assume they are regenerate because they are
born into our Christian family, although clearly the
Scriptures indicate our children are “holy” by their believing
parentage alone (I Corinthians 7:14). But we do
have every reason to hope that they will be regenerated,
and so we train them up in the nurture and admonition
of the Lord, inculcating the one true worldview,
that Jesus Christ is Lord of all (Ephesians 1:21-23, Philippians
2:9-11) and commands all men every where to
repent (Acts 17:30). We do not train them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord, with family devotions
every day, Scripture memory several times a
week, involvement and commitment to the Church,
training them to acknowledge the supreme authority of
and to live every area of life according to the Scriptures…
to think that they can then choose to go their
own way. No. Jesus Christ is the Way and the Truth
and the Life. End of story.
We have a lot to do to prepare our children for all of
life, and they have a lot to do to get prepared for life…
and we just don’t have time to mess around. Make
every day count. I’ve seen my oldest three leave home,
and I am embarrassed at how woefully little I did to
prepare them. I had always planned to take my sons
fishing. I’ve got most of the gear. But I never did…in
all those 20 years they were at home, I never did. I
mean, how hard could it have been? I am here to tell
you: 20 years slips by mighty fast.
However, by God’s grace, these three are doing well.
And again by God’s grace, we have two more adopted
sons…I have another shot at it. Pray that I don’t miss
or squander those many daily opportunities this time
around.

From Keystone Magazine

July 2008, Vol. XIV No. 75
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig@hef.org.nz

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A Home Educator’s Commentary on Finishing (the First Leg of) the Race

A Home Educator’s Commentary

on Finishing (the First Leg of)

the Race

By Craig Smith
The Growing Smith Clan of Home Educators. L to R: Jeremiah Smith; Zach & Megan (nee Schneider) Smith
holding Cheyenh Smith; Pete & Genevieve (nee Smith) de Deugd; Alanson Smith; Kaitlyn Smith; Barbara Smith;
Jedediah Smith; Grace Timmins (our foster daughter) being held by Craig Smith; Charmagne Smith.
Click on photo to enlarge image
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This is the kind of thing home education leads to!
Friends, it doesn’t get much better than this. All I can
say is, give me more of it!
Our two eldest, Genevieve (born March 1980) and
Zach (born December 1981) have married. Both now
live overseas. Both married into pioneer home educating
families in their respective countries who have a
passion for seeing Christian families strengthened and
the Lord glorified by parents taking the government of
their own children back away from the secular state
and educating the children in the safe and secure haven
of home.
Our dreams have been realised. In spite of all the mistakes
and inconsistencies in our lives, the Lord has
blessed us more than we can express. What are the
blessings you hope and pray and wish for your
chidren? Our two and their spouses each have a:
• Solid walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Exemplary Christian character qualities.
• Great interpersonal relationships with us and with
their siblings.
• Emotional and physical purity before marriage,
which sets them up for emotional and physical
purity throughout marriage.
• Total commitment to marriage until death.
• Desire for as many children as the Lord will bless
them with…8 being a good round number for
starters!!
• Passion for and commitment to home educating
their own children.
• A work ethic that leaves us huffing and puffing in
their dust and marvelling at their exceptionally
high standards of quality and service.
• Academic acumen which may or may not include
academic qualifications.
Zach & Megan live near Peoria in central Illinois and
work for Megan’s parents, Bob & Linda Schneider,
founders and owners of Rainbow Resource Center, a
mail-order book company that grew up catering specifically
for home educators. The Lord convinced Bob
& Linda of home education long before it was much
heard of, and they helped pioneer the movement in
their state. Not only so, but as their business was being
blessed by the Lord with exponential growth, all the
Schneider children became vital assets to its personalised
service and continued success. Christian discipleship,
entrepreneurial apprenticeship, service to others
and academic education were all rolled into one nonstop
home education lifestyle. Exhibitors and speakers
at Christian home education conferences from one side
of the USA to the other would tell different members
of the Smith family who were working at the Rainbow
Exhibits that Megan was their favourite out of all those
outstanding Schneider girls. Zach’s record-breaking
work standards and ever-dependable, never-flagging
character and personality attracted everyone’s attention:
and soon the Schneiders were offering Zach a permanent
job, and he was proposing to their daughter —
after first getting the blessing to proceed from both Bob
Schneider and me! No sooner were they engaged than
a husband and wife from work asked them to be the
guardians of their children (should anything happen to
the parents), for Zach & Megan formed the perfect
couple they’d been looking for as guardians. They’ve
also produced a daughter, pushing Barbara & I into the
grandparent category for the first time!
Pete & Genevieve live near Ballarat, an hour and a bit
outside of Melbourne, where Pete has been working on
the family farm and building up his own saw milling,
timber working and tool making business on debt-free
principles since he was 14. When we visited his home
town and family before he and Genevieve were engaged,
his extended family members, his clients, his
suppliers, his friends and the folks at his church were
pulling Genevieve aside to tell her that this guy was
pure gold! While Megan has one or two university degrees
(including Hippotherapy) and Genevieve has a
Legal Executive qualification and Zach aced the only
university course he ever took, Pete has a trade certificate
in cabinet making and was offered, but turned
down, a lecturer’s position at a local university specialising
in arboriculture. Pete & Genevieve shunned the
cultural norms around them in order to be as holy and
pure as possible for each other.

So what’s the secret? What did Barbara and I do to
bring down the Lord’s blessings in this way?
It is all of God: His unmerited Grace toward us in Jesus
Christ is more than we ever had any right to hope for.
Honestly, we are bunglers. We were from pretty typical
unbelieving families: decent folks with solid middleclass
values. But we were thoroughly defiled and corrupted
by the peers surrounding us at the state schools
we attended and the social environment of work and
play completely away from any kind of parental guidance
or oversight. Plus the TV and Rock & Roll culture
of the radio. The Lord converted us and put us through
an accelerated sanctification programme with The
Navigators…we needed something drastic, for we were
starting from a below-zero position. I think our greatest
asset is that we have no illusions as to what we have
been saved from. Personal experience and the heightened
conscience of the Holy Spirit causes us to hate
and fear sin. Yes, of course we still have weaknesses
and inconsistencies…but we do identify with Paul in
Philippians 3:13-14: “Forgetting what lies behind and
straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus.”
The only consistent thing about us, I believe, is the fact
that the Lord will not allow us to rest on our laurels, to
cruise along smoothly at any higher level of sanctification,
to turn aside and rest for a while…we are driven to
push on, to raise the bar, to explore that virgin territory
described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such
there is no law.” We can go hog-wild in the areas of
love, joy, peace, goodness…boldly go where no man
has gone before…and never fear that we’ll break any
law! We cannot abandon ourselves to anything but
these things without getting into trouble. We find this
compelling and exciting…only because the Lord has
reformed our attitudes and desires by His Holy Spirit.
The Open Brethren used to say, “To get the Lord’s
blessing, put yourself in the way of blessing.” To get
squashed, put yourself in the way of a freight train. To
get a new heart and a new mind, put yourself in the
way of the Lord’s spiritual weapons: listen to preaching,
fellowship with keen believers, read and memorise
and meditate upon and apply the Scriptures, share your
faith with unbelievers, love one another, love your
neighbours, love your enemies. In short, love the Lord
more by obeying Him more (I John 5:2-3).

Specific things I believe the Lord led us to do: I
thought back to those places I’d robbed by shoplifting
and the people I’d robbed by gambling. I visited them
with money or posted cheques with added amounts for
interest and inflation. We fostered dozens of children
and ended up adopting three. We agonised in front of
the children about all these things as well as personal
confrontational issues with workmates and clients…and
the children watched as we drove off to apologise to
someone and come back rejoicing. The children have
seen us lending out our car again and again; and giving
groceries to probable con-artists begging for cash; and
getting total victory over the TV (we now never watch
it); and gaining increasing victory over rock music; and
being 99.9% consistently and vehemently opposed to
any flirtation with sexual sins be it pornography in
public or private, immodesty in dress to where we’ve
even told visitors to go away as there was too much
cleavage showing, and we now avoid swimming at any
public place. We guard our minds so our emotions are
fixed where they should be and not floating around.
We are not prayer warriors. I am conscious of the Lord
all day, but I cannot say I specifically pray to Him all
the time. Perhaps the number one family priority is taking
time over every meal to pray, read the Scriptures,
sing at least two hymns or Psalms and make an effort
to discuss issues of the day or those raised in the reading
and singing. Those discussions around the meal
table and the ones that happen as we read good books
aloud around the fire at night…those times of spiritual
and emotional and intellectual interaction have been
the key to a cohesive family. And we have been un-
apologetically strict in limiting the children’s socialisation
outside the family. In all the areas that count, we
assume we know better than they do…so we give them
no choice: they can choose their socks, but not close
friends; they can choose a shower or a bath, but not
which of His commands to obey.

An Approach to the Teaching of Reading — Part 2

An Approach to the Teaching of Reading — Part 2

by Craig Smith
To review briefly: teaching reading is not like teaching
a subject. Reading is a skill one must master thoroughly,
whereas subjects such as history and geography
and science are academic disciplines or bodies of
knowledge that do not need to be mastered in order to
grow as a Christian and fulfil both the Dominion Mandate
of Genesis 1:28 and the companion Great Commission
of Matthew 28:18-20. Let me just restate that
for clarity: if one does not have the skill to read, he
cannot even read the Scriptures. Such a person generally
will be greatly hampered in his grasp of God’s
Word as well as its availability to him. Having no
knowledge of science or history is tragic, but not
nearly as tragic as not being able to read. One can master
the skill of reading, but one can never master more
than a small area of science or history or geography,
for these bodies of knowledge are just too big and are
growing all the time.
Last time we also said that the prerequisites for teaching
reading are: be a reader yourself and read aloud to
your children. After that we covered teaching the alphabet
and then began a discussion on teaching the letter
sounds.
Because I’m not a purist in this area of letter sounds,
my system is fairly simple. It has made good readers
out of my children, and in fact they shot way ahead of
me as I was teaching them, so I have never actually
finished going through it ever.
Just as we had flash cards to teach the children to recognise
each of the letters and their names, so now we
have a different set of flash cards to teach them the letter
sounds. But before we start working with this new
set, get the children to thoroughly master the recognition
of the vowels and the consonants, in both capital
and lower-case letters, using the old set. The vowels
are: A/a, E/e, I/i, O/o, U/u and sometimes Y/y. The
consonants are all the others. The letter Y/y can be in
either camp.
Each vowel makes more than one sound in English. In
some of the other common languages we are likely to
learn (Maori, Spanish, German, etc.) the vowels only
make one sound or will have some kind of mark on the
vowel to indicate how it is to be pronounced. This is
not like English where you have to work out the pronunciation
of the vowels by their position in the word
in relation to other letters. This is why some say English
is very hard to learn. While most of the consonants
in English have only one sound each, there are some
significant exceptions. And again, the pronunciation
rules of these consonants are based on where they are
in the word and how they relate to other letters in the
word.
To teach the sounds of the letters, start with some of
the most common consonants first: B/b, D/d, F/d, K/k,
L/l, M/m, N/n, P/p, R/r, S/s, T/t. Ooops, maybe most of
you native Kiwis better set that letter R/r off to one
side just now, for you pronounce it differently depending
on where it is in a word or what the word is…not
like Southlanders who more consistently roll their Rs.
Most pronounce the Rs in “Arrow” and “spruce” but
leave them out entirely in “Car” or “Far”.
Anyway, get the children to learn the consonant sound
for each of these few consonants using both the capital
and lower case flash cards.
And now for the vowel sounds flash cards. These are
different than the ones for the names in that we’ll have
some marks above the letters to indicate what sound
we want them to learn. For the long sounds, we’ll put a
straight line above each letter, both caps and lower
case:

Long Vowel Sounds:

A/a = ay (as in say, may, play);
E/e = ee (as in see, me, meal);
I/i = eye (as in sigh, kite, mine);
O/o = oh (as in soap, rainbow, go);
U/u = you (as in uniform, cute, use).
Y/y never actually says its name, but it comes close in
words like myopia, sky, trying.
There’s a reason we call these “Long Vowel Sounds”.
It is because each of these is a diphthong; that is, to say
the sound, we actually start with one sound and glide
over to a different sound. We count the starting sound,
the glide across and the finishing sound all as one
sound. For example, say I/i as in “eye”: notice how
your tongue moves — that is a diphthong.
For the short sounds of the vowels, use the little smile
above each letter:

Short Vowel Sounds:

A/a ~ (as in cat, fan, crab);
A/a ~ as in car or father
E/e ~ (as in bed, step, elephant);
I/i ~ (as in sin, in, grim);
O/o ~ (as in hot, slot, ostrich);
U/u ~ (as in run, under, cuddle);
Y/y ~ (as in silly, simply).
Notice I used one more symbol, a wee dot above, for a
third sound of the letter A/a. Dictionaries will show a
lot more sounds and symbols for the vowels, but as I
say, I’m not a purist, and my objective here is to teach
reading, not Kiwi or Australian or American or South
African accented English pronunciation.
Drill these sounds with your children using this second
set of letter sounds flash cards. Again, full mastery of
the sounds and instantaneous, unthinking response
times are what we’re aiming for here.
Some people will start getting the children to sound out
words at this point, having learned just enough
consonant and vowel sounds to form simple words. Be
careful here: some children simply are not ready to do
this yet. If they are, go for it! But others will not have
the brain development to handle it as yet.
We found that this step, blending the sounds of several
letters together from left to right, was the most difficult
aspect of learning to readfor our children. If they
couldn’t get it, we’d just leave it until they’d aged a
wee bit more and then try it again. This particular
ability seems to be a function of brain development and
physical maturity, something I don’t think you can
hurry along to suit your own convenience. This is
probably why so many children, especially boys, get
labeled as dummies at school: they struggle with
reading for the simple reason that they are being
expected to do something they physically cannot do:
decode and blend the individual sounds of several
letters in order from left to right into words. It is more
of a boy problem because girls develop and mature
faster than boys in this area, yet the prison/school
system insists on herding them according to age.
Parents will also find that some children quickly
memorise many words by sight, especially as you read
to them and they follow along in the text. This is how
the state prisons/schools teach reading: look-say or
whole-word it is sometimes called. This is treating
English as if it were not a phonetic language, which it
most definitely is. Chinese is not a phonetic language,
and one must simply memorise thousands of unique
symbols in order to read a text. Because English is
phonetic, one need only learn around 50 sound/symbol
combinations and can then read virtually any text.
Don’t discourage your children from memorising
words by sight, but keep in mind and definitely let
them know that you will require them to master the
technique of reading letters from left to right, blending
the sounds into words, and then reading the words
from left to right to read sentences and thereby gain the
meaning of the text. It could be that reading problems
such as dyslexia are caused by faulty training: when
children memorise words in a child’s reader, they
memorise it using all sorts of cues: the picture that
goes with it, the familiar flow of the words just before
its turn to come up, its position on the page, the general
shape of the word, the first letter, any bits that stick up
higher than the rest, any bits that hang down lower than
the rest. So their eyes are scanning each word as a
whole — not from left to right — and scanning further
afield to work out what the word is. This is not, not,
NOT how they must learn to read! It is absolutely
essential, in learning to read English phonetically, that
they train their eyes to scan each word systematically
from left to right, blending each letter in a set sequence
from left to right to get the individual words, and then
setting each word in a set sequence from left to right to
understand what the text is saying.
Our children learned this technique and went straight
onto the King James Bible; the archaic language
simply did not present a problem in reading. They were
somewhat unfamiliar with the vocabulary…until we read
more from the KJV and until we read Gulliver’s
Travels and Pilgrim’s Progress in the Old English.
So finish off the rest of the alphabet sounds on flash
cards. We’ve dealt with the vowels. The following
consonants should present no trouble, so they have no
symbol above: B/b, D/d, F/f, H/h, J/j, K/k, L/l, M/m,
N/n, P/p, R/r, S/s, T/t, V/v, W/w, X/x, Z/z as each has
only one sound. OK, the S/s in “this” and “sing” is
different from the S/s in “these” and “is”, but your
children will figure that out. You could indicate the
buzzing S/s with S/s as I do with th below.
Then there are some slighly awkward consonants: the
ones with no symbol above have a sound similar to
their name.

Awkward Consonant Sounds:

C/c ~ (as in centigrade, scene, mice);
?/? ~ (as in cake, crumb, micro);
G/g ~ (as in gem, hinge, hedge);
?/? ~ (as in go, gate, haggle);
Q/q is always followed by U/u and pronounced as in
“queen”;
Y/y ~ (as in yellow or yak).
And add in a few common special blends (sounds like
coffee time, eh?), using underlines to identify them:

Special Blends:

ch ~ (as in church);
ph ~ (F/f sound as in photo, graph);
sh ~ (as in shoe, mash);
th ~ (softly as in with or thistle);
th ~ (buzzing as in these or other);
wh ~ (as in whale or whistle and not like an F/f as in
Whanganui, which isn’t an English word, and
which I suspect was originally pronounced as in
which” or “whale” since the wh was assigned by
English speaking missionaries, evidently
approximating the beginning sound of
Whanganui” with the beginning sound of “whale”,
when they first put Te Reo into writing. In the
meantime, English speakers have stopped pushing
extra air through when we pronounce “wh” words).
ing ~ (as in sing, hammering);
ong ~ (as in song, belong);
ind ~ (as in kind, find);
ough ~ (?ff as in tough, enough. This awkward group
of letters also has weird pronunciations such as in
“through” and “though” and “cough.” You just
have to memorise these odd-balls separately).
Have your children thoroughly master all of these on
flash cards. Then by reviewing a few rules to go with
these, which we’ll look at next time, they’re ready to
start reading.
(To be continued.)
Craig was born and grew up in Sanger (near Fresno), California,
came to New Zealand as a 21-year-old in 1973 and
has lived here ever since. He has a BA in Social Policy from
Massey University. He and Barbara have four natural children,
three by adoption and one permanently fostered, aged
from 28 down to two, all being exclusively home educated
from day one. Craig & Barbara established Christian Home
Schoolers of NZ in 1986 which later became the Home
Education Foundation.

From Keystone Magazine

April 2008, Vol. XIV No. 74
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig@hef.org.nz

To order a subscription to Keystone Magazine do one of the following:

send email to sales@hef.org.nz with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North, New Zealand

fax: 06 357-4389

phone: 06 357-4399

Trademe (fees added):  http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=2366144

Sella (No added fees):  http://www.sella.co.nz/store/4ym9qg/home-education-foundation/display-100

Shepherding Our Families as Trustees for God

Shepherding Our Families as Trustees for God

by Craig Smith
There is a vision which, to the extent that this vision
is thoroughly Biblical, we men must learn to see and
then learn to embrace. Read on and see what you think.
We are trustees, put on this earth to look after and be
stewards of everything God has created, and more
specifically, those things which He has Providentially
placed into our hands and under our roofs. Being a
trustee is different from being a creator or an owner or
an employee or a slave. Ultimate owners and all creators
have total control over those things they totally
own or totally created. All decisions they make, even
when consulting only themselves, in regard to how
these things they own or created are allowed to exist,
utilised or destroyed – including human life – are perfectly
valid and proper. Employees and slaves have
only a minimum of responsibility toward those things
in their care: their daily activities consist overwhelmingly
in doing as they are told.
Being a trustee is different. We have a lot of responsibility,
nearly total responsibility, over those things of
which we are trustees or stewards. When the owner of
these things returns, He will require of us an accounting
as to how we looked after His goods. You’ve heard
all this before. Re-read the parable of the ten pounds or
ten minas in Luke 19:11-27.
Being trustees means we don’t ultimately own anything:
not our properties, our families, our health: these
are all rightly the property of Almighty God. He gives
us both commands and guidelines as to how to steward
these things, but He also leaves us in the dark as to
much of their final disposition. However, the Lord
does give us also the ultimate purposes for which we
are to be stewarding all these things He delivers into
our trustee care: to bring praise and glory to His Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 10:31; Colossians
3:17), seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness
(Matthew 6:33).
The Lord God has peculiarly supplied His people with
the authority and the tools we will need to accomplish
our stewardship successfully. In I Peter 2:9 we are told
that we are “A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the
wonderful deeds of Him Who called you out of darkness
into His marvellous light.” There’s the idea of
praising Him again. And also that we are commissioned
as a royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s own people,
etc., giving one the impression that we should be easy
to identify. If we are declaring His marvellous deeds all
the time, that will set us apart. And in Matthew 28:18-20,
the Great Commission, our Lord Jesus tells us to go and
make disciples of all nations, baptising them in His Triune
Name and teaching them to obey all His commands.
II Corinthians 3:18 says we who have had the veil lifted
“are being changed into His likeness from one degree
of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord Who is
the Spirit.” Paul sets us an example to follow, I believe,
when he says in Philippians 3:13-14, “But one thing I
do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to
what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We are being changed by His Spirit into His likeness,
straining ever onward and upward. I dare say, this will
certainly set us apart and attract attention. As a city set
on a hill cannot be hidden or a lamp not hidden away
but set on a stand (Matthew 5:14-15), as “children of
God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse
generation, among whom you shine as lights in
the world, holding fast the word of life” (Philippians
2:15-16), we will not only attract attention and be a
beacon in the night…we’ll be pretty obvious targets for
the enemy as well!
You know, if we are doing all this as we are supposed
to be doing it, our lives will start to resemble that of the
Lord Jesus: always telling others of His Father in
heaven, emphasising the difference between worldly
ways and God’s right ways and showing even some of
the religious folks up as hypocrites. And worst of all,
making enemies and catching flak because, just like
Christ, we become such a big, easy-to-identify target.
Hey, I think we’re on to something here. Aren’t we
promised persecution and suffering as Christians?
Plenty of times! See II Timothy 3:12, I Peter 5:9, Acts
14:22, Romans 8:17. The Apostles rejoiced in that they
were counted worthy to suffer for the Name of Christ
(Acts 5:41). So, to summarize: it seems that we are expected
to do a job or fulfil a role on earth, whatever our
daily vocation might be, that closely parallels the job
our Lord did on earth. And if we are doing the same
job as He did , we can expect the same working conditions.
So how does this relate to being trustees? Trustees are
acting in the place of the true owner/creator. Jesus,
while in the appearance of a mere man, was the Creator
and Sustainer of the Universe, the King of kings and
Lord of lords. Yet He caught flak and was hounded and
persecuted when He was on this earth. If we’re doing
the same job as He did, representing the interests of our
Lord and our God, as apparently we’re called to do,
we’ll catch flak too. Yes, He drew adoring crowds
(though they had mixed motives which He did not
trust – John 2:23-25 & 6:15), but whether we draw
such crowds or not, we have been promised that we’ll
draw flak. Why? Because of this aspect of being a trustee:
we represent God’s claim to rule over every square
inch of the earth and to reign over every human institution
ever established. If we were just doing our own
thing, like all the unbelievers around us; if we were just
engaged in a hobby religion, like so many others; if we
were managing our possessions and families and careers
and sports involvements as our peers do, for their
own personal enjoyment or personal objectives, there
would be no hassle. But as representatives of Christ,
we are making it clear that every square inch of dirt we
manage, every relationship we have, every ounce of
influence we carry in every sphere we inhabit is done
for Christ’s glory (not for my personal reasons) and to
proclaim that He is Lord of that dirt, those relationships
and spheres of influence. This is offensive, because
if Christ is Lord over all these things, it means
He has claim over all those people who share those
things, and as Lord, He can and will call them to account
for their involvement with His property. That is
the prerogative of Lordship.
We rarely think of this aspect of Jesus being Lord: that
He is the unrivalled Sovereign, Lord and Master over
everything; but that’s what it means.
When our lives are lived in such a way that He is
clearly proclaimed Lord over all we do, it is a reproach
and offensive to those around us in precisely the same
way that declaring we are home educators is a reproach
and offensive to many of the non-home educating parents
we meet. They know a home educator’s investment
in his children is generally vastly superior to their
own, and the implication that they really should be doing
the same is a reproach, and the further implication
that they need to sacrifice their current lifestyle for the
sake of their children makes them feel so guilty they
get angry.
It appears these days to be particularly offensive if, as
trustees of our families, we men shepherd and guide
our wives and children into the same regimen of obedience
and conformity to Christ’s requirements as we
adopt for ourselves. We do this because our lives are
not our own, we were bought with a price (I Corinthians
6:19-20), and so we are now mere trustees of our
lives which are now to be lived for Christ (Galatians
2:20, Romans 12:1). Our wives and children are not
our own but belong likewise to God, Who has given
them into our care that we might shepherd and steward
and husband them for Christ. “For the husband is the
head of the wife as Christ is the head of the
church,” (Ephesians 5:23). It is our duty, men, to direct
the lives of our wives and children in the manner indicated
by the Scriptures.
Two big areas of offence are presented by this. First,
that a husband dare direct his wife. Whatever we may
personally think about it, the Scriptures are clear about
the different roles of husband and wife, so we all need
to submit to what the Lord’s Bible tells us to do. It
seems to me that husbands have a far greater problem
with assuming their responsibility as heads of the
household than wives do of submitting to their husbands’
authority. Ever since the Lord pronounced the
curse upon the ground and that we men would have to earn
our living by the sweat of our brows, we’ve been
looking for ways to dodge the work, get out of or minimise
every responsibility we can. We are very susceptible
to the temptation to see our life’s task as the fulfilment
of personal peace, pleasure and prosperity. And
how could we be criticised for providing our wives and
children with peace, pleasure and prosperity? How?
This is how: because God does not direct us to seek
these things, but to seek first His Kingdom and His
Righteousness (Matthew 6:33)…lead on, men.
The second area of offence is that either mums or dads
would dare direct their children so closely. Children
are today assumed to be autonomous (self-ruling) and
that they should have the same “rights” as adults, subject
to considerations of appropriate maturity. As soon
as parents give their children over to the state school
system, the children are taught this. Sadly many home
educating parents treat their children the same way,
since they too have imbibed this notion. Christian parents
should have none of it: “Children, obey your parents
in the Lord, for this is right,” we are told in Ephesians
6:1. Which means parents must be laying down
the law for their children’s guidance and instruction.
There is a fact of life that we parents need to come to
grips with: our children will be brainwashed by somebody
or something: that is, their developing minds will
be biased in this way or that way by the attitudes and
values and instruction given them as they grow and
develop. We parents have the responsibility to direct
who and what does this to our children, and as Christian
home educators it seems to me we should unapologetically
ensure that we parents establish in our children’s
hearts and minds the presuppositions and biases,
the attitudes and values the Scriptures tell us they need
to have. I never gave my children the idea that they had
a choice to obey God or not, to do as the Bible and
their parents required of them or not, to be honest or
not, to steal or not. No. They had the same duty as their
mum and dad, I told them: to whole-heartedly and consistently
obey God in an ever-increasingly faithful
manner. Yes, we will fail now and then, but it is a
moral weakness, a sin, when we do, for it shows that
we listened to and sinfully yielded to the voice of the
tempter. When we do what we know is wrong or neglect
to do what we know is right, it is not an autonomous
choice: it is a moral failure, a falling into slavery
to sin, acting unfaithfully toward God. Such a thing is
so abominable, the Scriptures compare it to adultery.
So we shouldn’t copy the world and talk to our children
as the world does about “making responsible, informed
choices” in life: we train our children and ourselves
to perform our duties to God.
As trustees of ourselves and our families and of our
family name, reputation and the heritage we have received
from the Lord – just like the fellows in the parable
who received the pounds or talents, men – we are
expected to do our best to improve and purify and
sanctify these things entrusted to us by God. He will
call us to account. And we will eventually pass all
these things on to our heirs. They too must be trained
up – by us – to steward and husband these things as a
trustee for the same Lord God. We must be done with
the “do your own thing” mentality we most likely grew
up with and hear all around us. We keep our family
close and hand-craft our family unit into a team of
workers committed to helping one another achieve the
common Biblical vision, shared by every member of
the family, as imparted by us, the fathers. God Himself
appointed us to be the heads of households. We are to
ensure our families enhance the vision and extend the
borders of the Christian heritage delivered to us
(through family growth and evangelism) and to pass it
on for the next generation for them to increase it even
further. And so on until Christ returns to receive from
our descendants’ hands that which is His, that over
which we were trustees for Him during our tenure on
earth.
(Craig & Barbara Smith have been home educating their 8
children in Palmerston North, NZ, since the first was born in
1980. They helped establish local support groups, published
materials, spoke at conferences and ran several national
Christian home education conferences before going to work
full time for the Home Education Foundation in 1998.)

From Keystone Magazine

April 2008, Vol. XIV No. 74
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig@hef.org.nz

To order a subscription to Keystone Magazine do one of the following:

send email to sales@hef.org.nz with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North, New Zealand

fax: 06 357-4389

phone: 06 357-4399

Trademe (fees added):  http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=2366144

Sella (No added fees):  http://www.sella.co.nz/store/4ym9qg/home-education-foundation/display-100

An Approach to the Teaching of Reading – part 1

An Approach to the Teaching of Reading

by Craig Smith
This skill is absolutely basic and foundational. It is not
a “subject” one might choose to teach, such as the subjects
of Science or History. It is more foundational than
either of these subjects, for it is a skill that must be
mastered. It is not a negotiable item on your home education
curriculum. Why?
First, the Lord reveals Himself, His glory and wisdom
specifically and especially in the written Word, the Bible.
It is far superior to His general revelation of Himself
in the creation. It is different also from how He
reveals Himself in His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ. It is obvious and clear to all that our God expects
us to be readers so that we can read of His works,
His wisdom, His character, His intructions, ordinances,
precepts, laws, commands and love letters to us, for
unless we do, He will remain mostly a mystery to us.
Second, one who cannot read is not just limited, he is
positively crippled. He or she is cut off from so much
useful and pleasurable information that our Lord in His
Providence has provided for us: factual, fictional, instructional,
devotional, inspirational, technical, historical,
biographical, poetical, documentary and more
kinds of literature are denied to the one who cannot
read.
Third, reading is one of the Three Rs of Reading, wRiting
and aRithmetic, acknowledged for centuries as the
starting foundation blocks of education. (It is interesting
to note that in the brand-new, 2007 New Zealand
Curriculum statement, the one replacing the previous
7-volume version, the word “reading” only appears
twice in the entire 49-page document. In addition writing
and arithmetic are also downgraded. Reading is
now one of the “receptive skills of listening, reading
and viewing” and writing is now one of “the productive
skills of speaking, writing and presenting or performing.”
“Arithmetic” does not appear at all in the
New Zealand Curriculum. “Mathematics” is the term
used. It appears 14 times, 13 of which in the same
phrase “mathematics and statistics”. The 14th time is
the following definition: “Mathematics is the exploration
and use of patterns and relationships in quantities,
space, and time.” It is no longer even a skill.)
So how do we parents go about teaching this essential
skill of reading to our little children?

1. Read to your children.

This immediately opens their minds to the fact that lots
of good things are locked up on the printed page. It
increases their listen-ing vocabulary. This becomes
evident later on when they become able to incorporate
these words into their spoken vocabulary. This means
that our children will have a listening vocabulary, that
is, the ability to mostly comprehend what is read and
spoken to them, far above the level of their speaking
vocabulary. It means they take in far more than we
normally expect for one of their age.
This also means we need not be afraid of reading to
them books which one might think at first are way beyond
their “level”. We read “Pilgrim’s Progress” and
Gulliver’s Travels” to our older children when they
were only aged 4 to 8. It was in the Old English, King
James kind of thing, which we found personally really
difficult to read at first. But the children loved it! We
never told them it would be difficult to understand;
they didn’t know it was supposed to be way beyond
them according to some opinions; they just figured it
was part of the way life was, that it was important or
worth something since it was Mum and Dad who were
feeding it to them. It was simply accepted and enjoyed.
There are many other good bonding and instructional
benefits that accompany reading aloud to your children
which have been addressed in earlier articles in Keystone.
But note that I am not talking about reading with
my finger under each word and expecting the child to
follow along that he or she will learn to read in that
way. This is akin to the “look-say” or “look-guess”
method which, in my opinion, has caused the epidemic
of 25% of primary children in state schools ending up
in reading recovery programmes. It is expecting children
to memorise the look and shape of words, as if
English was not a phonetic language but a pictogram
language such as Chinese. Don’t go this route, folks.

2. Be readers yourselves.

You want your children to be so convinced about the
importance and the pleasure of reading that they will
never question its value. If they grow up in a home
environment where reading was just part of the
wallpaper, an integral, everyday activity like breathing,
you won’t have to lecture them on it.

3. Teach them the alphabet.

Make up your own flash cards with the capital letters on
one side and the lower case ones on the other side.
Teach your children the proper names of the letters, not
just the sounds the letters make. That comes later. I’ve
heard some say we should not unnecessarily confuse our
children by teaching them the names, such as “double u”
for W, “aitch” for H or “why” for Y since these names bear
no resemblance to the sounds they make, and it is just
clogging up their minds with extraneous information.
Not so. Why do we underestimate the intellectual capabilities
of our children? They are created in the likeness
of the Omniscient God, remember. Certainly none will
come within a million miles of God’s wisdom, and certainly
some children seem brighter than others, but virtually
all have intellectual capacities and potentials
which few of us even imagine possible.
Teach the letter names! Then they can clearly communicate
with you and others as to which letter is being
asked about when they have questions. Teach the capitals
first because, since these are the first they will
learn, they will never forget them. This is important
because later on when they come across rarely used or
seen capital letters in their reading and writing — such
as Y or Q or Z — they will not be stumped nor have to
ask you to tell them but will effortlessly remember
them. Because they will see and use the lower case letters
far more often, they will be thoroughly learned by
repetition anyway.
Drill them with the flash cards in various ways until
they know both capitals and lower case inside-out,
backwards and forwards and upside down. Start by doing
them in alphabetical order. Then do them randomly.
Make it a game: you hold the cards, and when
they get it right (first time, without any wrong guesses),
you hand the card to them to hold. If they get it wrong,
it goes to the back of the pile to come up again. Once
they’re pretty good at this, time them to see how fast
they can do the whole pack, this time giving only one
shot at each card, keeping track of how many were
done right and how many were done wrong. Our children
loved to see their progress in getting fewer wrong
and more right in less time. Do this with the capitals
first and then do it with the lower case letters until they
know them all thoroughly.

4. Teach the letter sounds.

I am not a purist here. Near enough is probably good
enough, I reckon. Hey, I speak with an American accent
(even after my 35 years of immersion in Kiwi-speak).
My wife Barbara speaks with a Kiwi South Island accent.
We are required to listen to and understand a multitude
of other accents on a daily basis. OK, maybe I’m just lazy.
But when I see the multitude of sounds assigned to each
vowel in some dictionaries, I simply shudder and shut down.
English spelling and pronunciation do have rules. Yes,
there are exceptions, and we should endeavour to teach
the exceptions. But I’m not going to strain every word
in our huge vocabulary for every single rule, every single
exception, every single variation of pronunciation.
This is especially true with the many words of foreign
origin which emphatically do not follow English rules
of pronunciation. So if you can simply point out that
“police” does not rhyme with “lice” or “ice” because
police has a foreign origin (Greek) and that there appears
to be no comprehensible link between the spelling
and pronunciation of both “beautiful” and “beau”
because they come from the French language, well,
that should suffice as an explanation for your children.
And “one”, “two”, “done”, “come”, “some” and other
such common words don’t follow the spelling rules
most probably because of laziness in constant, common
use (it being easier to say “too” for “two” instead of
“twoe” as normal pronunciation rules would require).
(To be continued.)
Craig was born and grew up in Sanger (near Fresno), California,
came to New Zealand as a 21-year-old in 1973 and
has lived here ever since. He has a BA in Social Policy from
Massey University. He and Barbara have four natural children,
three by adoption and one permanently fostered, aged
from 27 down to two, all being exclusively home educated
from day one. Craig & Barbara established Christian Home
Schoolers of NZ in 1986 which later became the Home Education
Foundation.

From Keystone Magazine

January 2008, Vol. XIV No. 73
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig@hef.org.nz

To order a subscription to Keystone Magazine do one of the following:

send email to sales@hef.org.nz with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North, New Zealand

fax: 06 357-4389

phone: 06 357-4399

Trademe (fees added):  http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Listings.aspx?member=2366144

Sella (No added fees):  http://www.sella.co.nz/store/4ym9qg/home-education-foundation/display-100

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