Hey, I Didn't Sign Up to Home School!


By Gil Thomas

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Our hats go off to parents who have the education, commitment, and/or courage to teach their children at home. I know one mom who has eight children she is homeschooling! However, we’re not all cut out of the same cloth, nor do we all feel equipped to teach our children. But with Covid-19 social distancing restrictions put on us today, many parents are having to do something for which they did not sign up. Many are thrust into this responsibility, and signed up or not, they are doing their best.

The leadership of Grace Baptist Church wanted to help those parents. Pastor Calvin thought, “While the kids are studying at home (and missing out on Sunday School and other church-run children’s programs), why don’t we give Mom and Dad some help with their Bible Class?” It is true, many churches are having virtual worship services, but in most cases, the children are missing out on their Bible learning.

So, the church leadership is providing just that: curriculum, help, and encouragement to teach their children the Bible as one of their classes while at home during this time of social distancing. How are they doing it?

Home School 1

A Bible Curriculum Designed for Kids

The church arranged to purchase and deliver The Story of Hope Kids for every student (ages 5-12) who is at home studying. Some of the books were drop shipped. Others were hand delivered by interns while being careful to observe required social distancing. The books were taken directly to the homes of members and dropped off on the porch. Then the interns called or texted the church members to let them know the books had arrived.

Amy has been excited about the curriculum. “As a mom, I am loving The Story of Hope Kids for my 6-year-old son, John. The Facebook live sessions have been interactive and engaging, and John loves to shout out the answers to the review questions. We listen to The Audio Experience together, and it captures his attention and imagination as he hears the dramatized Bible stories. He is understanding even more than I expected and remembering what he has learned.

Each family also receives Reflections The Audio Experience as an aid in telling the stories and the links for free downloads of the Leader’s Guide to The Story of Hope Kids and Adventures in the Story of Hope.

The parents are able to choose the teaching aid (or both!) they deem best based on the time they will devote to their Bible class and their perceived ability. While the Adventures curriculum guide provides ideas for a full hour or more of class (including Bible learning activities, memory verse activities, songs, coloring pages, and more), the Leader’s Guide is a simpler format and requires only 15-20 minutes of class time. Amber, one of the parents, states, “I find the leader’s guide easy to follow and I think the audio adds a lot to the lessons being learned. I enjoy having something we can do together each day to help the kids grow in their understanding of God and His Word. It is very clear and simply put so that the children are able to do it with ease while still understand Big truths.”

Homeschool 2

Ashley adds, “These stories are familiar to my children, but studying them again strengthens their knowledge and faith, and ultimately, their testimony to others. The kids love it because it helps them learn new things about familiar stories. They think the lessons are interesting and fun, and they are always happy when it’s time for our study!”

Help Provided for the Parent-Teachers

Each Monday and Thursday, I, a member of the church whose day job is working with Good Soil Ministries, post a live chat on the church Facebook page. The post has several purposes:

  1. During the chat, I lead the study for that day, giving the parents a day off!
  2. This also serves as a model for the parents to follow as they teach the other sessions throughout the week.
  3. I also give a summary of what the kids will be covering throughout the week of studies,
  4. and host two game quizzes—at the beginning of the session to review past events and the at the end of the session to review material just covered.
Homeschool 3

Encouragement for Both Parents and Kids

These weekly posts serve to encourage both parents and kids to keep up their studies in The Story of Hope Kids. Many of the students have had me as a teacher at church in the past. As everyone is stuck at home, seeing my familiar face and touching base with me helps to provide some sanity and peace during unsettled times.

Some children have to be in a virtual class at the hour we’re live. And even though we tried to accommodate everyone, some parents just can’t make it happen at the hour we’ve chosen. But that’s okay because the Facebook Live posts stay on the site after the live session. Parents and kids can get on later that evening or even the next day.

Homeschool 4

The staff at the church also keep in touch with families, providing needed encouragement as they seek to provide Bible training the GenC.1 And it's working! Listen to what some of the parents are saying:

“I think The Story of Hope Kids is very engaging for both parents and kids. It’s fun to do together, and the lessons are just the right size and move along at a good pace. We love reading the stories right from the Bible and discussing the questions. We also enjoy the story narrative, which gives us another interesting layer of learning.”

“The kids say they really like the material especially right now because they aren’t able to go to their Sunday School class. So this is a great way to keep learning about the Bible!”

You might say, “Well, that’s fine, the parents are happy, but what about the kids? Are they learning? Are they having fun? Here’s what some of the kids are saying:

Esence – “I think it’s cool because you get to learn about the whole Bible in one place and I can do it from home, too!”

Karis – “I think this is great because the pictures help you put it together in your mind.”

Caden – “I like that we can learn about God and if we don’t already know something I will get to learn it.”

Isaac – “I like that we can do it from home and I like how the audio goes along with it.”

Allan – “I like getting to learn more about God.”

Chloe – “I love learning the Hebrew words for God, like Elohim - Strong One.”

James – “I think everything about it is awesome!”

Curriculum. Help. Encouragement.

Grace Baptist Church parents and kids are getting it during this time when they are all homeschooling—by choice or not! You may be teaching your kids, too. If you need a curriculum, if you’d like some help, (and everyone needs encouragement!), then maybe you could participate, too. The Story of Hope Kids and The Audio Experience are available from Good Soil as well as the free download of the free curriculum guide(s), and, if you are interested, write to me (gthomas@abwe.org) to be invited to the Facebook Live page. We already have people watching each session from as far away as Asia!

1. See Seth Godin's, March 30, 2020. Blog Post

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