Paid in Full

April 21st, 2019

At the joint Good Friday service we attended this week, one message that stood out to me loud and clear was our complete and utter dependence on Jesus as our substitute.

All of our good works are nothing but garbage. I repeat: Nothing. But. Garbage.

Isaiah says that our righteous deeds are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Paul says that his impressive resume, his positions and titles, his good works — all the reasons for which he could have confidence in himself — were nothing. He counted it all loss, all rubbish. (Philippians 3:1-11).

Just imagine yourself, standing in the throne room of God, waiting your turn. Then suddenly, there you are, before the judgment seat, and all the sin and evil you committed in your life — a complete volume ten times thicker than a phone book — is presented by the accuser to the Eternal Judge. When asked to give your defense, you reach behind you and pull out some garbage bags. Yes, garbage bags. Full of all your “good works.” What a picture that would be!

Is this what we are putting our trust in? Too often I find myself biting my nails and agonizing over my sin and failure. But instead of recognizing my complete and utter inability, I start making resolutions for myself: to do better, to be better, to do more good works. I’m missing the point. No matter what I do, no matter how good I am, it’s still garbage. Rotten, stinking garbage. Everything “good” I do and say and think is so soiled by my sinful nature that it could never account for anything.

He paid it all. 100%.

JESUS PAID IT ALL.

1 I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2 Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone. [Refrain]

3 For nothing good have I
Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb. [Refrain]

4 And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat. [Refrain]

Baptist Hymnal, 1991 (Found on Hymnary.org)

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

April 21st, 2019

At the joint Good Friday service we attended this week, the Baptist pastor delivering the message spoke of the story of Sao Paulo Church in Macau, China. This Catholic church was built by Jesuits in the 1600s with the help of Chinese and Japanese craftsmen. The Sao Paulo Church, resting atop a small hill with 68 stone steps leading up to it, was an impressive structure, and was reportedly the largest church in Asia of its time.

Sadly, in January 1835, the Sao Paulo Church caught fire during a storm and the wooden structure burned to the ground. However, the granite facade of the church, with its large bronze cross at the peak, survived.

Around that same time there was a British politician named John Bowring. He was a man with a gift for language, a poet and a hymn writer. He was given political appointments in southern China, namely, Consul of Canton and later, Governor of Hong Kong.

John Bowring wrote a beautiful and profound hymn called, “In the Cross of Christ I Glory.” Some say it is based on Galatians 6:14: “Far be it for me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV).  Others claim that John Bowring saw the Sao Paulo Church and was inspired by the bronze cross atop its facade.

The Baptist pastor told a captivating story of how John Bowring was caught in a storm and shipwrecked in the sea before Macau. As he clung for dear life to a piece of the ship, Bowring was guided safely back to shore by a miraculous light shining from the bronze cross atop the ruins of the Sao Paulo Church. As wonderful as the story sounds, I’m afraid I could find no other reference to it online. Furthermore, since the hymn was written in 1825 and the Church burned down in 1835, this story is most likely fictional.

However, regardless of what may have been the real inspiration behind Bowring’s composition, both the hymn and the cross upon the peak of the Sao Paulo Church have withstood the storms of time to inspire us today.

1 In the cross of Christ I glory, 
towering o’er the wrecks of time; 
all the light of sacred story 
gathers round its head sublime. 

2 When the woes of life o’ertake me, 
hopes deceive, and fears annoy, 
never shall the cross forsake me. 
Lo! it glows with peace and joy. 

3 When the sun of bliss is beaming 
light and love upon my way, 
from the cross the radiance streaming 
adds more luster to the day. 

4 Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, 
by the cross are sanctified; 
peace is there that knows no measure, 
joys that through all time abide. 

5 In the cross of Christ I glory, 
towering o’er the wrecks of time; 
all the light of sacred story 
gathers round its head sublime. 

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 (Found on Hymnary.org)

Christmas Newsletter 2018

December 28th, 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What a year! Milestones to celebrate, challenges to face, ups and downs, lots of laughter and tears.

January found us finishing renovations on our Toronto home, February saw us hiring a realtor and staging the house, and in March we accepted an offer which closed the end of June. So grateful to have that long and difficult process behind us!

On May 19th we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary! God has been so good to us.

And much more happened this year: two family baptisms, a family wedding (in which I was a bridesmaid and Melinda and Serena were flower girls), a camping trip, family get-togethers, picnics, tea parties, crafts with the kids, skating, skiing, boating, hiking, swimming, and more. Life was very full this year.

Then, to top it all off, in mid-November we moved into our new house! Currently we are living on the main floor, using two side rooms as temporary bedrooms, and operating with one half-finished bathroom, a laundry room sink, and a stove, fridge, and a couple tables for a kitchen. It’s a little cluttered and chaotic, but it’s home, and we’re happy to be in it at last. We have an 8′ tall real Christmas tree gracing our living room, Christmas lights framing our large window, and Christmas music playing almost every day. We have a magnificent view of the snowy landscape too. We are soaking it all in and counting our blessings every day.

Speaking of blessings, we have a boat full…

Justin is 9 years old, and he continues to grow in maturity. He’s been a huge help at home, cheerfully doing chores such as hanging laundry, stacking wood, washing dishes, mopping, etc. He remains a sweet-tempered, easy-going boy, much to our joy. His passion continues to be Lego, although he has a growing interest in cross-country skiing, and he’s becoming a real bookworm too. Justin has a keen memory, and makes insightful comments during catechism and Bible reading times.

Patrick is 8, and has also been a huge help around the house. Like Justin, he’s been tackling chores such as hanging laundry, stacking wood, sweeping, washing dishes, folding laundry, etc. He has an eye for detail, and is fairly observant. The other week he was telling our dinner guests what roads he would take to Grandma’s house, demonstrating a good sense of direction as he did so. Patrick loves to build with Lego, but he also has a growing interest in drawing, reading encyclopedias and nature field guides (birds, reptiles, etc.), and spotting wildlife (turkey vultures, garder snakes, and deer being the most popular thus far).

Oliver is 5, and remains an energetic and exuberant little boy. He officially started homeschooling this year, and proved to be a quick and clever student. Like his brothers, he’s been learning some new chores, and has been growing in responsibility. He’s also been learning some new skills this year, such as swimming and cross-country skiing. Oliver can usually be found in the “Lego room” with his brothers, or playing house with his sisters, or out working with Daddy. He’s also great for a snuggle on Mommy’s lap in a cozy chair with a book.

Melinda is soon-to-be 4, and she is a sweet and snuggly little person, too. Melinda has been tagging along with Oliver’s schooling, and has already learned her alphabet sounds, counting, colors, etc. She is a little girly-girl, changing her outfit multiple times a day, and also picking out cute clothes for her little sister to wear. She loves to play house, and you can often find her and Serena setting up all their things in a cozy spot. Melinda likes to pitch in with others’ chores, and is particularly quick to help with sweeping and mopping. Her favourite colour is definitely pink, and she loves her toy cat “Kitty” and her doll, “Lucy.”

Serena is 2 1/2. She has big blue eyes, golden curls, and is full of sweet smiles. She loves to sing, or more accurately, to be part of the family’s singing after meals. She will run for the hymnals as soon as the meal starts to draw to a close. Serena loves to tag along and be a part of whatever we are doing, whether it’s playing house, building with Lego, washing dishes, doing school, or simply laughing at a joke. She is quite a talker now, and the results can be both cute and hilarious. She is our little sunshine.

Ryan has been working like a champ all year, first finishing the renovations of our old house, then tackling our construction project again with his dad faithfully helping him at almost every stage. It’s been quite a Herculian task — mudding the drywall alone took 6-8 weeks! Ryan put in 10+ hour days, 6 days a week, to get the house ready for us. This past month, since we’ve moved in, he’s been taking a well-deserved break, and the kids and I have been enjoying all the extra time with him.

As for myself, this year presented some struggles and health challenges related to chronic fatigue. But I have much to be grateful for, not least of which is my supportive family and our new home. God has shown great mercy to me this year, for which I praise and thank Him. Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

May the Lord bless and keep you all this Christmas season and in the New Year.

Kristin for the Kidds

Do Good Anyway

June 18th, 2018

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you.

Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous.

Be happy anyway. 

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway. 

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.

Give your best anyway, for you see, in the end it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway. 

– Mother Teresa

Celebrating God’s Grace

May 19th, 2018

 

 

Not My Will

January 1st, 2018

Sometimes God hands us some difficult circumstances, and if you are anything like me, you find yourself asking, “Why this? Why me? Why now?”

Three and a half years ago, I was four months pregnant with my fourth and just a couple weeks from starting the new homeschool year with my two oldest children. I was (and still am) a busy mom.

Then it happened. One morning I went to strip the sheets off the boys’ bunk bed, and as I was moving the pillow a bug crawled out onto the top of it.

A bed bug.

I was pretty sure I knew what it was, the moment I saw it. But I was in a bit of shock. A bed bug? In my house?! In my son’s bed?!?! Further investigation over the next few weeks revealed a small infestation in the boys’ room and some in our bed as well. As near as we could determine, the problem had originated from a contaminated piece of furniture we’d picked up two months before. We had detected the contamination before bringing that furniture into the house, but it was too late. They’d got us.

Over the next three months after the discovery, it was war. Ryan didn’t want to call in an exterminator, so it was us two against the bugs. Armed with large recycling bags, a clothes dryer, a silicone gun, and a spray bottle of Dawn dishsoap + water (kills them on contact instantly, by the way), we slowly but surely routed out the enemy and annihilated them.

But it wasn’t so easy emotionally. I struggled with the despair and discouragement. Just when you thought you’d seen the last of them, you would find another, and you knew you would have to keep up the weary routine of changing bedding, inspecting bedframes, spraying cracks, bagging clothing, etc., etc., for another indefinite number of weeks.

The social isolation was also difficult. We couldn’t have anyone over to our home, and our family and friends were reluctant to let us into their houses. I couldn’t blame them — I would do the same if I was in their shoes — but at the same time it was hard for me to accept.

As the weeks ticked by, I began to grow more and more worried. I was approaching my due date. How could I deal with this problem when I was in bed recovering from labour? How could I keep up this extermination routine when I had a newborn to care for?

I began to cry out to God: telling my sob story, making bargains, issuing ultimatums, you name it. “Here’s the deadline, God. Solve my problem for me by this date or…”

Or what? Slowly it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t in any position to be making demands. I wasn’t in control, and no amount of threatening or begging God was going to change my circumstances. The only thing I could change was my attitude.

And so I surrendered. If God intended for this bed bug infestation to continue, then I would simply leave the problem in His hands and continue to do what I could with the resources that I had. That could mean setting aside the extermination routine for a few weeks and picking it up again when I was strong enough, or something else. But whatever it took, I would simply do my part, and leave the rest to God.

As it was, God was gracious, and we finished off the last of our unwanted guests about 4 to 6 weeks before the baby was born. But I gleaned a valuable lesson from the experience, one that has stuck with me since then.Difficult circumstances will come and go, and they are beyond my control. But what I can control is my attitude. I can rage against the perceived injustice of God allowing this difficult circumstance in my life. Or I can accept His providence, and do my best to work through the difficult circumstance with the time, energy, and resources that I have, leaning on Him for strength in my moments of weakness. It’s a choice that confronts me daily, and one that confronts all of us at some point or another in our lives.

But I know, as Romans 8:28 says, “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” And so I can rest in this knowledge, that even though I may not understand why God has allowed a difficult circumstance in my life, yet I am assured that He will see it through and use it for my good. There is meaning and hope even in the dark and difficult moments of our life, because the Sovereign Lord of the universe sustains and directs every minute and every minute detail of our existence.

Christmas Newsletter 2017

December 20th, 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We hope this Christmas newsletter finds all our friends and family well.

This year, after many months of prayer, planning, and preparation, we made a life changing move, the upshot of which is: We are building a house! You can find a shortened version of the construction photo album here.

We are in the process of trying to sell our Toronto home, and are halfway through the construction of the new house, which is located in Markdale, ON, about a two hours’ drive northwest of Toronto, and a 20 min. drive from Ryan’s parents. Ryan has been overseeing the project and building the house largely by himself, with the generous help of his dad, a few hired hands, and the occasional volunteer hours of friends and family.

We are so grateful for all the support and encouragement from family and friends, but are especially indebted to Ryan’s parents, Michael and Marilee, who made a room in their basement for our family to live in during the construction phase, gave us free run of their house, and have contributed so many resources towards helping us. All the help from family and friends has made the transition so much easier.

The kids have been pretty resilient through the process, though they miss their home and friends in the city.

Justin is now 8, and growing in maturity and responsibility. He is sweet-tempered, easy-going, and eager to please. He’s even had a hand in the building of the new house: moving materials, fetching tools, spreading gravel, etc. Justin loves to spend time with friends and family, especially his cousins. His biggest interest continues to be Lego, and he has demonstrated a remarkable ability  in recreating objects that he has only seen in pictures (e.g. a Lego model of the submersible that discovered the sunken Titanic). His reading ability advanced by leaps and bounds this year and he is now reading books on his own.

Patrick turned 7 this year, and is also growing in maturity and responsibility. He too had a hand in building the new house. Patrick is analytical, witty, and a hard worker when he sets his mind to a task. He is quite a monkey at climbing. Patrick also has a great interest in tools and machinery, more than you would expect from a young boy. For example, when Ryan gave him a broken weed wacker for his birthday and told him they would fix it together, you wouldn’t believe the amount of excitement it generated! A chip off the old block, that one.

Oliver is at the grand age of four years and is ever the rowdy one, yet once in a while you can catch a sweet little glimpse of him playing house quietly with his sister Melinda. He is a clever little boy, he loves to tease and joke, and his smiles and giggles are contagious. Oliver is also excited about Lego and playing with his older brothers and cousins. He has a big imagination and is full of ideas of things to do and games to play.

Melinda will be turning 3 just after Christmas. She is a “kleine moeder,” that is, a “little mother.” Melinda is very observant, and can help me find things when I’ve forgotten where I placed them. She likes to help with the housework, although sometimes she will re-organize things to suit her own tastes. She has quite a vocabulary, and will tell you in no uncertain terms that she won’t eat salsa because it has “halapeenyos” in it, and is, as such, too “picy” for her. She keeps me on my toes. She loves to play with PlayDoh and her toy kitty, and loves to read books with Mommy.

Serena is 1 1/2 years old. She is our sweet little cherub with big blue eyes and wispy blonde curls. Almost everyone who sees her comments on how bright her blue eyes are and what a big beautiful smile she has. And she is fairly easy to coax a smile out of, much to our delight. You can often find Serena tagging along with her older siblings, especially Melinda and Oliver. She loves dolls, and will wrap her babies in just about any bit of clothing she can find, so after a few embarrassing incidents, we try to keep our dresser drawers tight shut and our laundry out of her sight.

Ryan and I are still happily in love–which is good because our 10th anniversary is fast approaching (in May 2018). This year has had its ups and downs for us, with the stresses of trying to sell, trying to build, trying to homeschool, and trying to find time for the kids, each other, and all our many other responsibilities. It’s been little chaotic, to say the least, but God has been good to us, and we have been growing closer together through it all.

A Blessed Christmas, from our family to yours.

The Kidds

Christmas Newsletter 2016

December 8th, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Well, the first half of this year was rather a wild ride for us, but we have a lot to praise and thank God for, as many of our friends and family already know.

Last Christmas (December 2015) we had the delightful surprise of discovering that another precious child was on the way. Then in late January we were told that an ultrasound had found a subchorionic hemorrhage, which threatened the pregnancy and the baby. Over the next three and a half months, I was in bedrest most of the time and Ryan worked from home in order to help manage the children and household chores. We had the support of family and friends during those months, through prayer, meals, childcare, etc., which meant a lot to us and helped to ease the burden. I was eventually induced and Serena Hope Kidd was born on May 17th — my 30th birthday.

Yet that was not the end of our difficulties, as shortly after her birth little Serena was laboring to breathe, and an x-ray revealed a hole in her lung. Over the next few hours her condition rapidly deteriorated, and Ryan and I began to fear for her life. Serena was transferred to Sick Kids, where she bounced back quickly, praise God, and after a week in the NICU we were able to take her home.

It was a wonderful, busy summer and fall, with Ryan at home on extended paternity leave and five little kiddos filling our home with fun and laughter.

Some of the highlights of the year include: birthdays; Serena’s baptism party; summer vacations, long weekends, and holidays spent with both sides of the family; my brother’s wedding; family time at our property up north; having a sweet new baby in the house; etc.

Justin is seven years old now. He continues to be an outgoing, active young boy with a big imagination and a heart of gold. After school is over for the day, you will often find him playing in the backyard with his cousins. If not there, he’ll be building something with Legos or filling reams of paper with action-packed drawings and pictures. I am pretty proud of him for the way he will help and care for his little siblings, even without being asked, and how reliable he is with running little errands for me.

Patrick is just over six years old. He’s a pretty strong and agile boy, and he can climb a wall or tree like a monkey. Patrick shares his father’s interest in machinery and man projects, and it’s not unusual to see him working alongside Ryan or discussing how to fix things with him. The two of them like to scheme together behind my back (or right in front of me) to buy machines like snowmobiles, tractors, and excavators. Patrick is attentive to detail and can be fairly thorough in his work.

Oliver is three, and still our little sunshine. His big blue eyes sparkle with mischief and fun, and his smile and giggle are incredibly contagious. You can’t ever miss him if he’s in a room with you, as he will always make his presence known. He loves being around people and being involved in what they are doing, and will often be found playing with his older brothers or his cousins. He adores his baby sister, as do his older brothers, and like them he attempts to smother little Serena daily with kisses.

Melinda is almost two, and she’s a busy, intelligent little girl. She already had a growing vocabulary by 16 months, and now she’s saying whole sentences, asking questions, making requests, etc. She’s got her own ideas about how to run the house, and it’s a race every day to stay ahead of her! That said, she can be very sweet, and she likes to help Mommy and her brothers with their chores. Her favourite toy is her pink kitty, which she hugs at night as she falls asleep.

Well, you’ve already seen Serena about 4 times (all of the kids wanted their picture taken with Serena, including Patrick, although in each of his photos with her he was looking at Serena and not at the camera…). However, I still wanted to include a photo of her all by herself…

Serena is our sweet little doll of a baby, with big blue eyes, long dark lashes, and plenty of chub. Now over six months old, she delights all of us with her big sweet smiles, her coos, and her laughter. She’s an irresistible little bundle of joy, and we are so privileged to have her as one of our family.

Ryan and I have our hands full — full of blessings from God. Sometimes having so many blessings proves to be quite a challenge, but overall we are thankful and happy for the wonderful life God has given us.

And we are eternally thankful for the gift of His precious Son, whom we celebrate at this time of the year. We could not have such a spirit of joy were it not for the hope that we have received through Him.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Praising God for Our Precious Child

May 19th, 2016

With deepest joy and gratitude to God for the arrival

of our precious baby, we would like to announce

the birth of our fifth child,

Serena Hope Kidd

born at 3:50 am on Tuesday, May 17, 2016

weighing 5 lbs. 7 oz. (2.4 kg.)

_________________________________________________

Baptism

Serena will be baptized at

2:45 pm, on Sunday, June 12, 2016

at the New Horizon Church in Scarborough

(Bridletowne Park Church, 2300 Bridletowne Circle)

See www.newhorizonchurch.ca/wp/map for directions.

All are welcome to attend.

_________________________

Serena, 7 days old, with brother Justin at the homecoming party

_____________________

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the baby’s birth specifications? A: weight: 5 lbs., 7 oz. (2.4 kg);  length:  19 in. (48 cm); dark hair.
  2. How long was Kristin’s labour? A: 2.5 hours from start of established labour to birth.
  3. Where was the birth? A: The baby was born at Scarborough Grace Hospital.
  4. Were there any complications? A: due to a subchorionic hemorrhage and a pregnancy-induced liver function disorder, the obstetrician considered it best to induce labour 3 weeks early. After unsuccessful attempts to induce labour with gel and breaking of the waters, labour was finally established through intravenous oxytocin.
  5. Are mother and baby well? Mother is well, however, little Serena was transferred to the NICU at Sick Kids Hospital on account of complications affecting her lungs and breathing. She made steady progress in her recovery and was sent home a week later with a clean bill of health, for which we are very thankful.
  6. How is breastfeeding? A: Serena was initially receiving fluids through IV, was then introduced to milk feedings through a nasal tube into her stomach, and is now breastfeeding exclusively and is doing well.
  7. Why did you name the baby Serena Hope?  A:  The name Serena means “serene, calm, peaceful.” The name Hope means, well, “hope.” We chose the name some months ago, long before we realized how tumultuous and difficult the day of her birth would become, and how fitting her name would prove to be. God was our Rock, giving us hope in the midst of the storm, shielding our tiny baby girl. We knew that, whatever the outcome of those first 24 hours, little Serena Hope was in His Almighty hands.
  8. What is the baby’s theme verse? A: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea (Psalm 46:1-2).
  9. Fun fact: Serena was born on Kristin’s 30th birthday. She is the best birthday gift Kristin has ever received. 🙂
  10. Why are you choosing to baptize your baby? A: We do not believe baptism will make the baby go to heaven automatically.  But just as male babies received the covenant sign of circumcision in the Old Testament, we believe that God requires us to put His mark of ownership on our children, and in baptism He promises to save our children as they grow up to receive the covenant promises, repenting of their sins personally and learning to love and obey the Lord Jesus.
  11. Do you need meals or anything else? A:  We are very thankful for all the support we have been receiving from family and friends. The other four children were in the wonderful caring hands of their grandparents for the week that Serena was in the NICU, but are now home again.
  12. Donations in honour of? If you want to give a gift in honour of Serena, we might suggest sending a donation to the Christian Blind Mission.   CBM provides eye operations and life impacting treatments to children in the third world who are truly in need.  International Justice Mission also does good work and it accepts international donations.

 

Thank you all for your love and prayers for us at this precious time!

What is Homeschooling?

March 14th, 2016

by Kristin

A lot of parents, particularly mothers, think “I could never homeschool.”

For them, the idea  of homeschooling evokes visions of perfect, smiling mothers that are divinely gifted with infinite patience, super-human intelligence, and extraordinary organizational skills. These perfect mothers run the equivalent of a high-class private school in their homes, with perfect, quiet, studious children sitting at polished desks from 7:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon, learning three languages, a dozen musical instruments, trigonometry, physics, advanced grammar, theology, early church history, and economics. After school, this perfect mother simply waves her magic wand, her perfectly obedient children run to do her bidding, and the housework is resolved in minutes while a four course dinner appears on the table at precisely 5:00pm as her husband steps in the door.

I’m half-choked with laughing.

The reality of homeschooling is so vastly different from this. Are homeschooling mothers perfect? No! Are  we infinitely patient? No! Are we super intelligent and organized? Definitely not!

So how do we succeed at this homeschooling business then? What IS homeschooling anyway?

Homeschooling is an act of faith. You read what God says in His Word about raising children, about training them to love Him and to obey His Word (Deut. 6:1-9), and you realize that God is calling you to this, calling you to disciple your children for Him. And how can you disciple them when you are separated from them for the majority of their waking hours almost every day? And how can one to two hours of Sunday school or after-supper devotions compete with 30+ hours of humanist indoctrination every week in public schools?

So you as a parent take a step of faith, and keep your children home.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle. You are not re-creating your home into an institution. Home is still home. It’s where we live, share meals, do chores, play games, laugh, and relax. Now it’s also the place where we learn.

But learning is not restricted to superficial time slots, nor is it limited to lesson plans, workbooks, and test sheets. We are raising people, not computers. Education is about lighting a fire, not filling a database. There’s so much more to life and learning than simply memorizing multiplication tables and the dates of key historical events, important as those things are.

We need to teach the whole child: mind, body, and soul. Involve them in baking to learn fractions. Let them watch a sunflower grow from a seed. Teach them to care for a younger sibling and respect their parents. Bring a tadpole or a butterfly cocoon home for them to observe over time. Give them art and craft supplies. Read them timeless storybooks and stories about real people and places like Little House on the Prairie. Read, read, READ to them. Have them sort laundry by colour and put their toys away into organized bins. Give them puzzles and blocks and other open-ended toys that involve so much imagination and creativity. Teach them to ride a bike. Help them make cookies for an elderly neighbour. Teach them about God and His love for them.

Homeschooling is a vision for the future. Homeschooling is not just a daily exercise. We are giving our time, energy, and resources for the purpose of raising a godly generation to follow after us, for the glory of God. We are laying the foundation for not just our children’s lives as servants of the King, but for, Lord willing, a whole line of faithful descendants!

Such a long-term vision will drastically affect our choices of today. It will influence what curriculum we use, what activities our children are in, what we watch on TV, what books we read to the kids, who we socialize with, etc. We will make distinctions not only between what’s good and bad for our kids, but also between what’s good and what’s excellent. There’s only so much we can do in a day to prepare for the future, and so we need to make careful decisions about what will be the best use of our time and resources, and the best use of our children’s time and resources.

Think of it as building a Cathedral. Cathedrals take decades to build. Only the best materials are chosen and incorporated into the building. The different elements are handcrafted with great care and attention to detail by skilled craftsmen. They are adorned with breathtaking frescoes by gifted artists. They are filled with costly and beautiful objects. The whole Cathedral, inside and out, stands as a monument to the glory of God for centuries.

Homeschooling children is just like that.

However, like some of those who plan, design, and begin to build a Cathedral, we may never see the full fruition of our work. We do not know what our children’s children will do with the godly heritage we are seeking to prepare for them. But we know that we are doing the work that God has called us to, and we know that God promises to bless us when we step out obediently in faith.

And so we move forward with a vision and a hope, with our children in our hearts and in our homes.

* * * * *

If you are interested in giving homeschooling a try, or understand that God is calling you to disciple your children in this way, I would encourage you to check out the books below:

Educating the Wholehearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson

A Charlotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola

Home Grown Kids, Dr. Raymond Moore

I would also mention that Montessori materials and the Montessori approach of hands-on learning are also wonderful for teaching young children. The math materials in particular, in my experience, provide a solid foundation for young minds to comprehend this abstract subject.