Helping our children grow in their knowledge and relationship with God is one of our primary goals as a parent. We want our children to know God and to know him personally. To that end we have not only tried to model a life where Jesus is central, but we have also tried to show and teach our children the importance of reading God’s word, the Bible.
- We have encouraged our children, once they could read, to have personal quiet time where they read the Bible, think, memorise, and pray each day.
- During the primary school years we had family devotions at the beginning of our day, during this time we learnt to read, think and pray as a group, and it was a part of our family to think about the same Bible passage together.
- We also had Bible study as a part of our homeschool day, where we studied the Bible, both as a text and as the living word for our hearts.
So now that my kids are in highschool what happens now?
- Each of my kids – regardless of whether they are homeschooled or not – are responsible for having their personal quiet times. This is their issue, not mine, their relationship and though I remind them of the importance of this as a discipline (because sometimes it is hard to do), I leave it up to them and their desire to grow closer to Jesus.
- We don’t have family devotions – sometimes I wish we did – but it is too hard to find times when everyone can come together on a daily basis. But the word of God is central to our conversations all through the day and regularly at evening meal times.
- We also like to join with others in studying God’s word: our kids have joined in with a mid-week, evening Bible study held in our home, Jess helps lead a young girls Bible study, which Naomi goes to (and Daniel hopes a young boys Bible study is going to start this year).
- And we still have Bible study as a part of our homeschool day, 1 hour 3x week.
Even in though our two homeschool students are in highschool years, I am still teaching Bible study. Though they are independent in their other studies, this is the one subject that I maintain as a subject that I teach. Studying the Bible is more than a school subject; it is a book that will shape our children’s hearts (tweet this). It will shape their belief system, their Why I’m Still Teaching Bible (and homeschooling highschool) character, their will, their emotions and passions. Reading the Bible and knowing its contents will not change your life, it is as you respond to the truths that you are learning about that you will be changed. This is why I want to work through this with my kids – not leave them on their own. It is more than a school subject.
One of the verses that is a constant thread in our parenting is the ‘great commission’, Matthew 28:19, 20b – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Our children are our first disciples – they are the first people that I am responsible towards to teach them all that Jesus has commanded, and to teach them to obey his words.
To teach someone to obey Jesus isn’t like being in an army and learning to obey the drill sergeant. Jesus wants us to choose to follow him, to love him and out of that love to obey him. This means our role as one who makes disciples is to help our disciple-ees love and desire to obey Jesus. We tend to have this mindset with young converts outside of our family and leave our own kids to grow on osmosis. This is not right! Our kids are those God has given us to disciple.
This is why I teach Bible. It is a discipleship subject and though you can grow by reading books on various subjects and by studying the Bible by yourself, having a real life older-in-the-faith person walking along side you is so much better. This is what I want to be for my children.
What to teach:
Primary school years tended to be about the Bible story – what the Bible had to say and how it applied to them. We focused on their heart, in recognising that they were sinners, and needed a saviour. We taught how to respond to life in a way that brings glory to God. There was a mix between knowledge and heart response.
In the highschool years though, they know the story, they know the sequence of events, the key players, the outcomes, the lessons to be learnt. Not to say they know it all, but they have a general understanding. So our focus is on how to study God’s word and what tools we can use. We dig deeper into topics that are of interest to them, or we find answers to the questions that they have. We look at being able to defend our faith, and seeing how our belief in Jesus affects every area of life – not just as a child, but it also affects every area of adult life they are about to walk into.
I don’t have a set curriculum planned out for Bible study, though I carefully choose resources that are going to help me serve my objectives for my family at any given time. Though I use a book or lesson plan as the basis of our lessons it is important to be prepared enough so that I can speak into the subject matter from my own heart, from my own perspective. It is helpful for the kids to see that what we are learning about has been true in my life – or if it hasn’t been true, I am working on it. This is what it means to disciple someone – you share your love for Jesus with someone else.
When my kids were younger my goal was always to at least get our family devotions done – if interruptions happened after that then I knew we had done the important thing. These days, with the changes that happen with an older family my heart is still the same: I want to protect our Bible Study time – regardless of what else happens.