Simple, Frugal, and Fun Homeschooling

One of my most favorite things to do is to share with other mom’s who are considering homeschooling! I have had maybe close to 10 moms in my home to just show them what all I do and why. I have loved those times of sharing! But in case you haven’t made it over yet…

I’m not a veteran homeschooler and I have much yet to learn. BUT… I love that homeschooling can be (gasp) enjoyable and absolutely delightful!

My Motto: Behind everything I do is my homeschool motto, found in Deuteronomy 11. Love God with your whole heart. Teach your children as you sit, as you walk, when you lie down, and when you stand up. All of life is learning. If you teach your child to love learning, you’ve taught him everything he ever needs to know. Learning happens over a lifetime. It takes place all of the time… in the van, at the store, in your backyard, at the park, while making dinner, etc.

The greatest commandment is to love God with your whole heart. The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Teach these two things to your children and you’ve nearly fulfilled God’s call for you as a mother!

So practically speaking, what is our main focus then?

#1- Bible. This includes memory verses, LOTS of memory verses! Before children can even read, they can be memorizing passages of Scripture!

This also includes you reading Bible stories to your children. The actual Bible event, not fairy tales or fables or bathtub boat pictures of Noah! Also, acting out the Bible stories after you read them! Talk about these precious events at all hours of the day, looking for opportunities to live out what you have read.

#2- Character- We go through these character cards and try to do one character quality each week. Each card includes the definition and an animal that displays that quality in nature. I teach my children the names of the character qualities (even if it’s a long word like perseverance)! Throughout the following weeks and months, I’m continually using those terms to remind them of that character quality and why it’s so important (honesty, humbleness, attentiveness, self-control, etc). We act out these qualities too! And we actually practice these qualities in real-life ways.

Speaking of acting out and practicing great things… we regularly have “Manners Practice” where we practice things like greeting a guest, picking up an item for someone who dropped it, saying “coming” when Mama calls for us, taking a seat on the floor when adults need the chairs to sit on, etc. My children beg me to do “Manners Practice” time!

The third most important thing we do in homeschool is to read! It’s such an amazing thing to read out loud to your child most every day! Read about everything! If all you ever do is read to your child, he’ll surpass a level you didn’t even think he could achieve! Our read-a-loud times have brought about the most precious discussions in our home. We try and squeeze in reading time wherever we can but my children especially like me to read to them at mealtimes. You don’t have to stop filling your brain just because you’re filling your belly! Mealtimes are a great time to learn!

What do I read to them?

A)- The actual Bible, of course!

B)- Bible Stories, of course!

C)- Quality children’s books that focus on character. Not fluffy books without a point. And not about magical kingdoms and fairy tales and fables. But stories about feeding the poor, about learning humbleness, about giving yourself away. I have posted some of my favorite children’s books here and here.

D)- We also use our read-a-loud time to read history and science (you’ll see why below). Recently my boys have been crazy excited about George Washington. They’ve dressed up like him and drafted a Declaration of Independence and the whole nine yards. All from me reading to them!  We have enjoyed this book, this one, this one, and this one, to name a few.

Now on to “Academics”:

I think the greatest thing you can do for you and your child is to keep things simple and fun. Your materials and your schedule should be a blessing, NOT a burden!! I hodge podge my materials to tailor to each individual child. What fits their personality best? What sounds fun? What is simple? What is not overwhelming? What doesn’t require 30 minutes of Teacher Manual prep time the night before?! What is frugal? What did I find at a garage sale or receive as a hand-me-down? Could I use that instead of spending big bucks on something that will make me feel STRAPPED for time and energy!

I like briefly checking out used homeschool sites for easy, cheap ideas. My favorite store is Mardel’s, but I always have a coupon in hand! Or best yet… what could you use that you already own?!

One of my favorite things about homeschool is all of our homemade things! We have made homemade “Exercise Dice,” homemade money/ coin board games, homemade flashcards galore, and more!

Flashcards, flashcards, flashcards. What an incredible way to learn! Your children can do them with you while their jumping on a trampoline, doing a chore, or standing on their head (just hold them upside down so they can read them!) 🙂

Flashcards have taught my children their ABC’s, all of their phonics sounds, all of their Bible verses, synonyms/ antonyms, homophones, contractions, multiplication and lots of other math facts, music notes, and much more!

Repetition, repetition. Get out those flashcards every day! And they’re portable enough to take to the park or waiting room!

I also like to hang stuff on my walls. Well, I don’t like the cluttered wall part but I am actually totally fine with it. You know why? Because my children walk past it many times a day and they LEARN! I’ll take that over plain walls any day! Your child can make character posters or manners posters and hang them on the wall. You can write out important principles and hang them up. You can hang up your phonics words or shapes or letters, they sky is the limit! Hang up your Bible verse flashcards at the least!

Besides the walls in your home, placemats are also a great learning tool! Your child is sitting there eating and can have something of knowledge filling his spongy, absorbent brain! You can make your own and then laminate it. I’ve done this countless times for help with coins, words, letters, math facts, etc. Or buy a laminated map of the world or the USA and point out things each day! This helps your child understand there is more to the world than his little city!

I didn’t know this until my first son turned two, but children have an INCREDIBLE ability to memorize stuff! We are constantly working on memory work. The neat thing about this is that your child doesn’t even have to know how to read before memorizing all kinds of great stuff. For us, that means our favorite Bible verses, of course! But it could also mean poems, quotes from history, etc. One of the neat things about memorizing things is that you can practice reciting them when you’re in the van or out and about. It doesn’t have to take place during structured homeschool time! Make up songs, rhymes, motions, sign language, or just a particular rhythm; and repeat, repeat, repeat!

Okay, so in case you didn’t notice… I haven’t actually told you any specific homeschool “subjects” that we do. So here they are…

Reading.

And math.

End of post. 🙂

I’m partially kidding. We do other subjects like history and science and art (lots of art!), but we do those in a more passive way. Honestly, the thought of a big huge history or science book for my 7-and-under children makes my head spin. So for history we just read! We read all about history! I don’t know of a better way to learn! And for science we kind of just do it as we come across it. My husband and I have gobs of Creation resources from our college-searching days and that’s a BIG deal to us. So we read science from the Bible and study all that God made in nature, our solar system, our bodies, etc. When do we do this? As we sit, as we walk, as we lie down, and as we stand up, of course!  🙂   And on the weekends when Dada has more time for crazy science experiments!

I’m big on reading. If you teach your child to read well, they can learn endlessly! Once they learn how to read, they can practically homeschool themselves! Have you heard the quote? “In five years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Reading changes lives! Reading gives knowledge, tons and tons of knowledge!

Here is how I teach my children to read.

The Harding family wrote an e-book called “College by Age 12” and I was really curious what that looked like for them. I don’t think parents need to push for college by age 12, but after reading their book, I see that it is completely possible to have a child finish high school material FAR ahead of their non-homeschooled peers! One of the keys they mentioned was math. If your child can speed ahead in math, they could potentially be at a college freshman level by the time they’re 12. Or 14, or whatever. Now some children won’t be able to go as fast as others, but I do think children are way smarter than we give them credit for! As soon as my boys have mastered one concept, I introduce the next. I don’t care that a Kindergarten math book doesn’t introduce multiplication. If my son sees how 5 circles in 2 rows equals 10, we run with it!

Again, even with math, stick with what is fun and simple. Don’t choose a curriculum that is so extensive that it wears YOU out! Play gobs and gobs of math games! I think money spent on games is way better than money spent on elaborate curricula! Design your own flashcards, make your own worksheets! Print free worksheets online. And if your child just isn’t ready for a certain concept, back pedal and let him rest at the basics until he’s ready to move forward. But keep chugging along with math and your child might have their PhD by 21, like some of the Harding children! 🙂

Lastly. Many parents wonder, “Where should my child be?” Yes, you can check online lists of what certain grade levels learn, but as long as you’re always filling your child’s mind with knowledgeable things, you’re doing more than enough!

It’s not like you’ll hit your forehead one day and say “Oh yeah, math, I forgot about math.” You know best what your child should learn! The internet can help as long as it doesn’t burden you to do more than you both are capable of! You do have laundry and dishes and meals to tend to also! Which, having your children do chores is part of homeschool too! See, you were homeschooling and didn’t even know it! Chores are GOOD for your child, let him/her work you out of a job!

If a homeschool conference comes to your area, GO! I’m not recommending you go from booth to booth to be sold on all the best curricula (THAT is exhausting!), but go to hear the speakers and get inspired and fueled up!

You’re raising a World Changer! You can do this Mama! There is no better teacher for your child on the planet!!!

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Our Favorite Children’s Books

I’ve posted our favorite children’s books before, so some of these are a repeat, but this is our most recent “Favorites” list in case you’re looking for some new books to add to your collection!  We own lots of books and these (as well as ones on my last post!) are the best of the best!

This is the only one I’ll give with a warning.  It teaches what sex is.  I think the illustrations are so sweet and so well-done.  I think it’s worded so perfectly so that parents can start at a young age being open with their child about sex.  I really like this book but I understand that some parents want to wait until their children are older to talk about this subject.  However, I think the earlier the better and that it should be a normal, open conversation as the child grows and matures.
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The True Story of Noah’s Ark (You will be in awe of the center fold out illustration!!!) and The True Story of Adam and Eve are amazing books to teach your child the REAL accounts of Noah and Adam and Eve.  The illustrations are BEAUTIFUL!!
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Ronnie Wilson’s Gift is a sweet story about how a child can give a gift to Jesus.  Giving a gift to someone in need is the same as giving to Jesus!

Sanji’s Seed is about a boy who chose honesty over greed.  When his plant didn’t grow like the other boy’s big beautiful plants, he still just took his empty cup to the king.  The king was pleased because Sanji came and honestly presented his empty cup.  Sanji was pronounced the next king because of his honesty.

The Jingle in My Pocket is a bit long, so maybe for age 5 and up.  It’s a book in rhyme to teach about giving, saving, and spending money.  The illustrations in this book are precious (as are the illustrations of the other books in this series).

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Trusty.  Good ole’ Trusty.  He’s a train who learns to listen to his Papa’s warnings in Trusty Gets Off Track.  And he stands up for honesty and what is right in Trusty and Ingrid Fibster.  We’re also big fans of Trusty Tried and True.  These books are pricey though, but we really like them.
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God’s Wisdom for Little Boys is a great book to teach your son great character.  It walks through different character qualities with a rhyming poem for each one and has beautiful illustrations.  God’s Wisdom For Little Girls is also great!

The Story of the Empty Tomb is a great book to read about Jesus’ Resurrection!  These little “Arch Books” are good little paperback books, we own several!
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The next three books are all “Little Jewel Books” and there are dozens to choose from on their website.

This is Mohan is about a little boy that meets a missionary family and learns about Jesus.

A Truck and a Tricycle is about a little boy who learns to always pick up his things after he’s done playing so that others don’t get hurt on them.  Cleaning up your things is a way to show kindness to others.

Anthony Gets Ready for Church is just a simple book about how a little boy has to wash his hands, put on his socks and shoes, comb his hair, buckle his shirt, and grab his Bible to get ready for church.  
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Bible Memory Verses- Level Two

After our most simple verses were memorized, I started adding these one at a time.  Both my 5 and my 7-year-old now have 196 verses memorized!  Not because I’m so great or because they’re such geniuses but because we practice, we sing, we repeat over and over again, and we keep them out and handy or on our walls.  You child can do it too, one verse at a time!

Click here for 11 Tips on How to Teach Your Child to Memorize Bible Verses

Click here to see my list of Beginner Bible Verses for Age Two and Up.
Little children, keep yourself from idols. 1 John 5:21

Let us not love in word… but in deed 1 John 3:18

Give me now wisdom and knowledge… 2 Chronicles 1:10a

All unrighteousness is sin. 1John 5:17

…ye are the temple of the living God… 2 Corinthians 6:16

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8

Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Romans 12:9b

Be ye thankful . Colossians 3:15b

God is light and in him is no darkness at all 1John 1:5

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 33:5

We love him, because he first loved us. 1John 4:19

Wisdom is better than strength Ecclesiastes 9:16a

It is his (the wise man’s) glory to pass over a transgression. (to overlook someone’s wrongdoing to you) Proverbs 19:11

There is none righteous, no not one. Romans 3:10

Great is our Lord, and of great power. Psalm 147:5

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath James 1:29b

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27b

Charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8b

God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6b

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself Mark 12:31a

And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom 1 Kings 5:12

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14a

If ye love me, keep my commandments John 14:15

Abstain from all appearance of evil 1 Thessalonians 5:22

If any would not work, neither should he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10b

…let us love one another: for love is of God 1John 4:7

In God have I put my trust Psalm 56:11a

O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people. Psalm 117:1

He that hath an ear, let him hear Revelation 2:7

Be content with such things as ye have. Hebrews 13:5

Follow me, and I will make you fisthers of men Matthew 4:19

Keep they heart with all diligence Proverbs 4:23

As for God, his way is perfect 2 Samuel 22:31a

As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Psalm 55:16

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

We ought to obey God rather than men Acts 5:29b

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:16

A wise man is strong Proverbs 24:5

God is my strength and power; and he maketh my way perfect. 2 Samuel 22:33

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near Isaiah 55:6

Flashlight Hide and Seek

Want to have a blast bonding with your children!?  We have had SO much fun playing this recently!

Flashlight Hide and Seek!

Give each family member a flashlight (can rotate when it’s their turn to count).  When it gets dark outside, turn off all the lights in the house.  Have a couple of people close their eyes and count so that the other family members can hide.  Parents have to hide too!  The seekers can shine their flashlight to find the ones that are hiding.

We like to yell “Gotcha” when we find someone!  Everyone busts out laughing and smiling!

It’s also VERY fun to play this outside when it gets dark!

A side benefit of playing this is empowering your child not to be afraid of the dark.  One of my boys normally won’t go downstairs alone in the dark.  But somehow when we play this game he has absolutely no fear and will explore the whole house with his flashlight!

Beginner Bible Verses for Ages 2 and Up

Here are some simple Bible verses you can have your child start to memorize!  Start with just one at a time and keep adding as they are ready for more!

  • If sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Proverbs 1:10
  • Let all your things be done with charity. 1 Corinthians 16:14
  • He that hath the son, hath life. 1 John 5:12
  • Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Isiah 55:6
  • Hear instruction, and be wise. Proverbs 8:33
  • Honor thy father and thy mother. Deuteronomy 5:16a
  • For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. Psalm 38:18
  • The joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10b
  • Seek and ye shall find. Matthew 7:7
  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. James 1:17a
  • A wise man will hear and learn. Proverbs 1:5a
  • A wholesome tongue is a tree of life. Proverbs 15:4a
  • Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
  • And God said, let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3
  • Be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Ephesians 4:32
  • But with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26b
  • I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Romans 1:16
  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Proverbs 3:5a
  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35b
  • For whatsoever a man soeth, that shall he also reap. Galations 6:7
  • But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control). Galations 5:22-23
  • Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13b
  • Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice,… and shout for joy. Psalm 32:11a
  • And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6:8
  • O taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8a
  • Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart. Psalm 31:24a
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7
  • Depart from evil, and do good. Psalm 37:27a
  • Create in me a clean heart, O God. Psalm 51:10a
  • All things work together for good to them that love God. Romans 8:28
  • For the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. 1 Corinthians 10:26
  • In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. Genesis 1:1
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10a
  • All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6

Click here for 11 Tips on How to Teach Your Child to Memorize Bible Verses

11 Tips for Hiding God’s Word in Your Child’s Heart!

I remember the first Bible verse I gave my son to see if he could say it… “Seek, and ye shall find.” (Matthew 7:7).

It was right when he was learning to talk in phrases, right around age two. Little fella impressed me big time, he had it memorized and walked around saying it in no time.

He’s now 6 ½ years old at about 165 verses memorized! My four year old knows pretty much all those same ones also! I don’t think I ever realized the potential for young children to learn so much and memorize so much! Wow! And truth be told, it’s been a piece of cake to help them memorize all these verses! Children absorb so much if you just teach them!

How have they done it? How do you teach your children to memorize Bible verses?

1). Start when they are young! Two-year-olds can start to learn very simple, short verses/ excerpts.

2). I don’t make them memorize the location where it’s found in the Bible. That’s just not as important to me as them knowing the actual Scripture words themselves.

3). Introduce the verse by telling them it’s a brand new one, to listen well. Have them repeat it after you, only 2-3 words at a time. Once they are comfortable with that, have them repeat it after you 4-5 words at a time. Then see if you can start the verse and they finish the whole thing. Continue to say this verse over and over for the next 1-3 days or until they know it well.

4). Only add one verse at a time and each week review ones your child already knows. So there are never any “old” verses, they stay fresh in their memory from the time they learn them until the time they leave home! Keep reviewing ones they know! Never stop!

5). Make them visible. All of my children’s memory verses are on index cards taped to our wall! I know that if I put them away, we won’t say them nearly as much. You might find your child just standing at the wall one day by himself reading them without being asked! It will melt your heart!

6). Start with easy ones. (See My Post:   “Beginner Bible Verses for Ages 2 and Up”)

7). Practice them anytime, anywhere.  Say the newest verse(s) as well as a few review ones every single day, whether in the car, at the store, at bedtime, during play time, at the park, etc.

8). Make songs out of them. A LOT of my children’s memory verses have some kind of rhythm to them that we created ourselves! Singing makes them more fun and easier to remember! These ones are my children’s favorites!

9). Keep it fun. I let my boys jump on our rebounder (indoor trampoline) while saying their verses. Or I give them a jar of marbles and for each verse they say, they get to take one marble out of my jar and fill up their empty jar. Or they get to jump off the couch each time they say a verse. Make games so that practicing is fun!

10). Keep growing and adding and challenging your child to learn more and more! What a precious gift to give your child!  Before they leave your care for an adult life of their own, they can have 100 – 1,000 verses of Scripture hidden in their heart! Wow! If you do nothing else as a parent, this alone is an amazing gift to give!

11). Lastly, don’t forget to discuss the verses and what they mean. Give real examples and break them down so they understand them well. When you experience something in life that could tie in with a verse that they know, talk about it! SHOW them the application.

***An added bonus is that YOU will learn all of these incredible verses and they’ll be hidden in YOUR heart too!!  Shhhh… That’s been my most favorite part of teaching my children Bible verses!

Praying With Your Children

By reading the Bible you’ll get many ideas on things to pray for.  There are specific things the Bible tells us to pray for.  There are also many other wise things that the Bible mentions, things that would also be good to pray for.

We have a prayer wall going up our stairs where we have people’s specific names so that we remember to pray for them  (friends, family, missionaries, ministries, ministry leaders, etc).  Specific prayer requests we receive get written on an index card and added to our wall!  When I tell someone we’ll pray for them, I want to be dependable and not forget.  This is our way of remembering.  Every time we go up or down our stairs, we are reminded of who/ what to pray for.  We also have pictures and names of specific orphans so that we can pray for them.
DSCN8241Besides specific people and their needs, here are some of the things I pray with my children (we have most of these items written on paper cut-outs of hot air balloons- a fun children’s way of showing how our prayers are being lifted up!)…
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-We pray that God would help us to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, the greatest commandment of all.

-We pray that God would help us to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, the second greatest commandment of all.

-We pray for the fatherless and widows.

-We pray for wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual understanding. (Proverbs)

-We pray a prayer from one of our children’s books, Trusty Tried and True“If someone’s in need today, please send us their way.”  Praying for God to use us that day.

-We pray through the armor of God.  That we would be strong warriors for Christ.  That we would have on all of God’s armor.  (Ephesians 6:11-18)

-We pray that we would have the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (humbleness), and temperance (self-control).  Each one of these items are very important so usually we will just pray for 1-2 at a time.

-We pray that God would help us to obey.  Obedience is a big deal!

-We pray that God would help us to be content with such things as we have. (Hebrews 13:5)

-We pray that God would grow us in character (initiative, diligence, being dependable, truthful, hard working, kindness, etc).

-We pray through the Beatitudes.  We pray that we would hunger and thirst after righteousness, be merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, etc.  (Matthew 5:1-12)

-We pray through Philippians 4:8- that God would help us only think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.

-We pray that all people in all nations would learn about Jesus and the Gospel message.

-We have our children pray for their future spouse, the he or she would learn young to love God with their whole heart, that they would grow in character and be kept pure.

-We pray that we would have fruitful works.  (Colossians 1:10)

-We pray that many people would answer God’s call and be a laborer for Christ.  (Luke 10:2)

What about you?  What things do you teach your children to pray for specifically?! 

How and Why to Teach Your Children About Sex

(This is the first post of a series on how and why to teach your children about sex.  This first post will be a good summary and the other posts will be more detailed and include many quotes from the books I’ve read on the topic). 

The past couple of years I’ve really wrestled with trying to figure out how in the world to raise my boys (age 6, 4, and 3) to be sexually pure, flee lust, avoid pornography at all cost, and prepare to be a godly husband.  I mean, in today’s world, with so many images, how can I keep my son’s heart pure?

Well, seek and ye shall find!  I finally got my hands on a couple of good books and I feel completely confident and equipped now!  It really is possible!  Here is what I’ve learned…

The Short Answer:  Talk early.  Talk often.  Be completely honest.

There never needs to be some big, shocking talk at age 10-12.  Besides, all the information about sex can’t be covered in ONE talk anyway.  And who can retain a high amount of information from one talk either?  It happens 5 minutes here, 30 seconds here, 2 minutes there, 1 minute 45 seconds there.  We can answer questions as they come up.  We can be open and honest and discuss the subject of sex like we would what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Your child can learn from a young age that God created our bodies so wonderfully.  We don’t need to let the world’s messed-up opinions on sex make us feel like we can’t tell our children about how God designed their bodies.  It’s natural, it’s normal.  We can talk about sex like we do any other conversation, with a perfectly regular voice.  The best time to start is before the child is even old enough to be embarrassed about it!  It’s usually the parents that are more embarrassed about it, and that ought not be.

Some people say, “My child isn’t ready for ‘THE TALK’ yet.”  It’s most likely that the parents aren’t ready for the talk yet.  Children are ready from the earliest ages!  Here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept!

They are ready!  Little by little, you can be open and honest so there’s not this awkward mystery about it.  It can be open conversation around your house.  Your child can feel comfortable asking you all of their questions instead of running to their peers, tv, internet, or billboards.  You can be an easy, trusted source for them!  They don’t have to feel shame or embarrassment in asking you about sex.  It can be part of regular conversation!

If sex is all some big secret, some mystery that mom and dad never discuss, then the child’s natural curiosities might (will) lead them to get information from sources that will most likely be perverted or just plain wrong.

If you don’t give them honest answers, but instead cover up parts of the truth, your child will lose trust in you and you’ll no longer be the source for information, they’ll seek information elsewhere.

We can use phrases like…

“Boys grow up to be men like their Daddy’s.  They get hair on their face called a beard.  They get hair under their arms, on their chests, and around their penis area.”

“Girls grow up to be women like their Mama’s.  They also get hair under their arms and also around their vagina area.  They also grow soft breasts.  After they have a baby, they can use their soft breasts to nurse their baby, to give their baby healthy milk.”

We can explain pregnancy and how a baby grows in the womb.  Then we can explain how a baby is born.  We can tell our children that Mama’s body works to push a baby out.  “Sometimes it takes a long time, maybe a whole day.  The uterus, where the baby has been living, starts to contract to squeeze the baby out.  The baby comes out of the vagina, first the head and then the rest of the body comes out quickly.  The baby is born and everyone is so happy!”

“People say “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”  How do you think they knew?  That’s right, baby boys will have a penis and baby girls have a vagina.”

We can explain the wonderful gift of marriage and that only a Dada and a Mama together can make a baby.  We can explain to them that sex is God’s gift for you after you get married, that you have to wait until then.

Just like adoption, starting young and making those words a part of regular vocabulary around your house is way better than some shocking talk at age 10-12.  Or worse yet, letting them hear all about it from school or internet.  It’s the parents privilege to be the trusted source of information on this topic. 

I found a children’s book called “Before I Was Born” by Carolyn Nydstrom (this is where I got many of the phrases above to use to talk to your children).  If you’re not sure where to even start or how to word things, you could just read this book aloud to your child.  Read it like you would any other children’s book.  No queasy voice!  Stop after each page and discuss!  There’s also a version of this book for ages 3-5, but I don’t think it gives enough information.  You could start with that one though.

Honestly, I knew starting early and making it regular conversation was the way to go, but I’ve been so tainted by the world (ahem, public school) that I didn’t know the best godly way to word everything.  This book really opened up great conversation for us!  When I first read it, I was a little intimidated by a couple of the pages.  But after reading it a few times, I could see the benefits of including the details that they did.

Boys are going to be bombarded with images.  I want them to be fully in the know before those feelings even arise.  I’ve already taught my boys to look away from ‘nakedness’- girls showing too much chest, thigh, belly, etc.  I do this so they get in the habit of protecting their eyes, protecting their heart.  If it’s habit while they’re young, it may not be such a huge struggle when all the hormones hit, this was advice I got from another mom with grown children.  My 3-year-old (at the time) even told me, “Last night at that festival, I looked away because I saw nakedness.”  I about lost it laughing (because he was so cute telling me, but I held it in!), I had no clue, but he already knows to protect his little heart!  And he knows that it’s not good for him to see that.  The Bible says to guard our hearts, and that’s what I’m trying to teach them by looking away.

You know what, I want to be open and honest and not treat the subject like it’s taboo.  I want my children to know that they don’t have to feel shy or awkward about it, that I can be an easy, trusted source for information.  That they don’t have to seek other avenues later on to find answers to their curiosities.  The world has ruined what God meant for beauty.  God made our bodies perfectly, there’s no shame!  There’s no reason why we should feel awkward talking to our kids about it!  I’m glad I’ve opened up the discussion and we can just carry on like it’s normal business from now until they’re fully grown!  That’s how I want it.  I don’t want it to be awkward and off-limits. 

It’s just too dangerous of a subject to not have the parents fully on the offensive side.  Be open with your children and talk!  Don’t you want to be the first and most trusted source of information to your child about sex?

(I will share more in the next posts, but to give credit where credit is due, I learned the bulk of this information from “Straight Talk With Your Kids About Sex” by Josh and Dottie McDowel.  I don’t agree with everything in this book, but for someone who was kind of lost on the subject of when, what, why, and how to talk to your kids about sex, this book has really equipped me well and I’m excited about my children’s future because their Mama read this book!)

Part Two on Teaching Your Children About Sex

Encourage Your Child’s Character

I have my own personal list of things I try to remember to say to my children often.  One of my top priorities as a mom, besides teaching my children to love God with their whole heart, is to instill good character in them.  If I do nothing but the above two things, I’ve done an excellent job teaching them!

We focus on character a lot at our house and have went through IBLP’s Character Card set many times.  We also read many quality Children’s Books that focus on character Learning the actual names of the character quality (initiative, being dependable, sincere, etc) and explaining the definition so even a 3-year-old can understand has been an amazing thing at our house My children know all these big words and what they mean!

And encouragement goes a long way!  Lavish your children with praise.  If all they ever hear is mean, old Mom with a harsh tone, what does that do to their tender heart?

Here is my list of character encouragement!! 
“Always obey.  We have to obey joyfully and we have to obey right away.  If you learn to obey your Mama well when you’re young, you’ll do a great job of obeying God for your whole life.”

“Show good diligence, keep on going trooper!”

“How can you show your brother compassion since he is hurt?  Did you offer him an ice pack or help getting up?  Does he need a band-aid or some water?  Show sweet compassion.”

“Well, we can’t buy a new one because it’s important to be thrifty.  But if we see a good one at a good price at a garage sale, maybe we can buy it.”

“That was great initiative buddy, I didn’t even ask you to do that!”  (I try and notice every single time my children show initiative and I compliment them every time for it!)

“Have gentleness.  Be gentle with others and be gentle with our things, we don’t break things and we’re not destructive.”

“Always be sincere when you apologize.  Show that you care.”

“Keep your things organized so it will be easier to find them when you need them.  If we take care of our things, they will last longer and you can enjoy them more.”

“Be patient, sometimes we have to wait for things.  Patience is good for us.”

“Have a cheerful heart, be joyful.  Let me see that pretty smile!”

“Make sure you’re real thorough, do your job completely all the way to the end.”

“Let’s have enthusiasm!”

“Always pray for wisdom.  If you have wisdom, you’ll have one of the greatest treasures EVER!”

“Good job encouraging your brother, that was really good encouragement!”

“Let’s be on-time, have punctuality, it’s not polite to show up late, try real hard to be ready soon.”

“Buddy, that was so creative, what a neat thing you’ve done!”

“Let’s be cautious.  Even if we’re playing while running and throwing balls, we have to be cautious of others around us so nobody gets hurt.”  (We talk a LOT about cautiousness!)  “Be cautious with your things so you don’t break them.”

“Mama will be dependable, I’ll do what I said I was going to do.  Make sure you’re dependable also, do what you said you’d do.”

“Always be truthful.  Only say things that are true.”

“It’s really, really important to have self-control.  Even if you’re frustrated, talk calmly and be a peacemaker.  Even if you get hurt, don’t yell, keep yourself controlled.”

“Way to have endurance!  You’ve been going at that for a long time!”

“What things are you thankful for today?  Let’s go around the table and name some.”

“When our guests get here, offer them a drink, show the children where the toys are, welcome them to our home, have good hospitality.”

“Remember to be content with what you have, don’t want other people’s things.”

“Avoid arguing.  Be a peacemaker.”

“Ask your brother if he’d like to go first.  Put others before yourself.  Defer.”

“Oh, remember… we only speak things that are pure, just, true, honest, of good report…” (Phil 4:8)

“If you work, you get paid.  If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.”  -Dave Ramsey  🙂

“It’s your job to protect your sister.”

“You are a strong, tough man. Look at those muscles carrying in all those groceries!”

“Gentlemen hold open doors for ladies, you’re such a gentleman.  Thank you for running up ahead to get the door for Mama!”

“Will you pray for our family since Dada is not home?  You can pretend to be Dada.”  (This is good for teaching your son to pray over his family, one day he’ll be the father).

“You protect our family when Dada is gone.  You squash all the bugs and do the things that are dirty or heavy.  You’re growing up to be a good man like Dada!”

“You’re our brave, strong man who has good courage.  Be of good courage!”

“In our family, we’re all hard workers.  No slothfulness.  Way to do such hard work!”

“Your brothers and sisters are your best friends.  Always be very kind to them.”

“In our house, we don’t fuss or complain.  Remember how the Israelites always grumbled and complained?  We don’t want to do that.”

“We all have kind, happy hearts in our family.”

”In our family, we are all sweet to each other.”

”Do the right thing.  Choose to do the right thing.  I know you can do it!”

What kinds of things do you say to encourage your children?!