Teaching Stewardship

Teaching Stewardship

“The generous will prosper, those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

A Heart of Service

I love the holidays because I love giving. I love considering what will bless people, and I love being able to give good things. Our family culture has always been one that recognizes that we have a responsibility to steward our time, treasures and talents. How do we encourage a heart of service in the lives of our kids?

Share Your Core Values

What drives your financial giving and volunteer hours? Talk to your kids about why you do what you. Have conversations about the values and passions in your life so that they connect your behavior with beliefs. They might not know that you tithe regularly to church. They might not know that you support a child in Africa financially. Include them in your giving.

Expose Your Kids to a Wider World

If you live in America, you are part of the blessed 5% in the world that has freedom, choice, and prosperity at your fingertips. The American Dream is just that; a dream, for a large percentage of the world’s population. Make sure that your kids don’t live in a bubble. Travel around the country and out of it- if you can. Talk to people wherever you go. Read extensively and study history. Donate to the food bank and serve at the shelter. The world is an amazing and beautiful place and while we should protect young minds and hearts from darkness, there is much good in going outside of our own neighborhood.

“Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” Kathy Calvin

Practicing Good Stewardship

Give your kids three jars to manage their money with: spend, save, and give. We have known millionaires who have lost everything overnight and seen the impoverished go on to make fortunes. Teach your kids that money may come and go but the values of stewardship can become part of their heart- regardless of circumstances.

Volunteer as a Family

Service organizations in your very city are seeking generous souls to serve, donate, gather, and teach. Our local hospital is always looking for kind souls to rock babies. In the far north, coat drives are an important way to ensure health. There are many places, from half-way houses to literacy programs, looking for teachers to teach basic life skills, phonics, and English as a second language.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

Create Family Rituals of Giving

What can your family realistically manage year after year? Is it putting together a few shoeboxes or hygiene packs for the homeless each Thanksgiving, or serving at a food giveaway every quarter? Find something that you can all do together and then put it on the calendar. Plan on it. Teach your kids that serving others with your time, talents and treasure is an important part of life.

Serve as a Family

There are many service organizations around the world. Find one that speaks to your heart and serve as a family. We have friends who go to South America yearly for medical missions. Our family serves with an organization that raises support for the Persecuted Church; we’ve written letters, hosted speakers, raised money and gotten the word out about this important ministry. Find an organization that you believe in and invest as a family. Your kids will see you in a new context and realize that you are living what you value. This creates opportunities to talk about what’s important and what has spoken to your heart. This also gives them a new context in which to shine, allowing them to grow.

Join an Organization With a Strong Service Component

My daughter recently joined American Heritage Girls and she has already had several opportunities to serve others in her troop and beyond. Last month her unit served dinner at a half-way house for recovering addicts. While they served, they were blessed; by the many personal thanks they received, the laughter they shared and a wonderful conversation with the staff and residents about God and the importance of faith.

”We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Donate Money to a Cause Where You Can Donate Your Time and Talents

Adam Pruzan, who teaches for our True North Homeschool Academy, recently spoke to our Orienteering course about money and investing. He strongly encouraged the kids to give generously of their money, but at the same time, to donate to a cause that would appreciate their time and talents. Investing oneself in an organization or project can often be just as important as giving money.

Encourage Empathy

Generosity starts with thinking about how others feel.  As our talented Spanish teacher, who is momma, to a beautiful, disabled daughter, told her class before Thanksgiving: “swallowing, eating on your own and the simplest movements are not a given for some people”. We should all be grateful for the freedom we have through health. This gave all the kids something to think about.

Praise Generous Deeds

Children naturally do kind and generous things for others. Praise and encourage this when you see it, promoting your values of living a life of generosity and service.

“Selfless giving is the art of living.” Frederick Lenz

How do you promote a generous heart in your kids? Is serving others part of your life curriculum? We would love to hear about it!

Join our True North Homeschool Tribe on FB and take part in the conversation! As I mentioned, we love to give- so go to the link here to download our FREE Winter Bucket List and while you are there, opt-in to get our weekly e-news. The Compass is full of homeschool inspiration and free resources that help your education go in the right direction!

Young woman's hands holding money and a quote that says make a change- Pinterest version with Bible Verse Proverbs 11 25

The Power of Habits for Parents

Last month when I was here I talked about How to Get Everything Done. Or, rather, how to reframe your ideas of “everything.” 

 

I didn’t talk much about habits. Probably because I’m much better at the philosophical assent part of habit (I think it’s important!) than the actual practice thereof (but I don’t wanna!). Habit, though, is the secret sauce to actually getting a lot of things done. 

 

As parents, habit is incredibly valuable.

It does two things – one it gets things done and two it supports the atmosphere of the home, and by extension, homeschool. 

 

When we truly follow through habitually, we get important things done. I’ve made my bed every day (except Sundays – that’s my reward) for a month now. My room does look nicer with the bed made. It also makes it so I don’t eventually steal all the covers from my husband’s side because I reset them daily. I think he appreciates that. 

 

If we have the habit of running and emptying the dishwasher twice a day, the kitchen stays more functional for the cook at the next meal. I run it at bedtime and empty it first thing in the morning while my coffee brews and the kids empty it in the afternoon. I timed it once, it takes significantly less time for me to empty the dishwasher than my coffee to brew, so I might as well get the job done. Also, the dinner cooking implement and tableware is more difficult to put away than the breakfast/lunch dishes, so this is a fair trade of labor. 

 

If I have the habit, however, of setting up the coffee the night before, I can still empty the dishwasher before drinking coffee. Better still, if I prep breakfast and can put it in the oven as it preheats, empty the dishwasher, and then drink coffee – I can face anything in the day. 

 

The most important habit is being in God’s Word daily. There are so many ways to make this happen! Read it with any of a myriad reading plans. Recently, I’ve been listening via podcast each morning as I’m slowly convincing my eyes to open. If I require of myself that I listen to the Word before anything else, this is a great way to go! 

 

Some habits are best done from time to time. We have the habit of Baking Day on our PREP week. We do school for six weeks, and then take a week off formal academics for rest, planning, and preparation of the coming term. We plan and bake all the snacks for second breakfast during that PREP Week. That habit is so helpful throughout the school term! 

 

What habits can you establish to get things done? 

 

The other way habits are important is that they are a part of the scaffolding of your home and homeschool. 

 

The idea of scaffolding is a little tricky because it can apply to little things and to big ones. You scaffold an individual lesson, yes, but you also scaffold your whole homeschool. The idea of scaffolding is to build supports so your children can learn without fear. They know what to expect, when, and how. Scaffolding in this context, is less about the physical, but emotional and intellectual supports. 

 

Kids note our emotions. How we’re feeling affects how we interact with them and respond to them. They know when we’re happy or sad, confident or worried. They respond to those emotions in many different ways, whether by imitation or sometimes by lashing out.  If we are habitually glum or habitually joyful matters in our homes. It can be sensed by all who enter. Sometimes it can be observed by all who enter because we don’t get done what we expect. 

 

Beyond that, though, our lifestyle habits and learning habits affect our homeschool. By establishing routines throughout the day of a set apart learning time or even that we “do school” day in and day out help our students to succeed. If there is no question whether it’s a school day, one battle is fought. If children are assigned a written narration daily, then there’s no argument whether there’s a narration today or later in the week. Standards of what lessons happen when passing confidence on to our kids that pay off in really important ways. 

 

Your habit of self-education, of listening to narrations, of being engaged in their schooling is just as important. 

 

What habits of learning are you working on, personally? 

 

  • If it’s your habit to read challenging books or to keep a commonplace book or book of centuries; 

  • or if it’s your habit to write letters to the editor and be active in the community; 

  • if it’s your habit to learn a new handicraft or artistic skill, kids see that. 

 

They see that learning and participating is what adults do and it helps them be excited about and want to learn themselves. Their feet follow the paths we lay down. Lifelong learning helps moms have sympathy with how much hard work the children are doing, too. 

 

Perhaps when you read the title, you thought this would be about habits for your kids, but I think it’s really important to consider how your habits as a parent, teacher, friend affect your students and their learning. Establishing your own habits will eventually trickle down — the trickling isn’t necessarily immediately apparent — but consistency on your part will breed consistency, feet will follow in your pathways, and that will be felt by all. 

Contributor

Dawn Garrett blog contributor

Dawn Garrett

Dawn Garrett lives in Central Ohio with her husband Jason and their three always-homeschooled children, ages 13, 12, and 11. In her homeschool, she and her children learn about God and His cosmos by studying the seven liberal arts in order to know Him better, imitate Him and His ways, and share about Him with others. She follows the AmblesideOnline curriculum. Her home blog – about books school and life – has been at ladydusk for more than 15 years.

She is the author of the free ebook: I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will: Charlotte Mason’s Motto Explained for Upper Elementary Students.

Education: Power tool of Character & Virtue

Education: Power tool of Character & Virtue

Scalia Speaks

I hadn’t known the late justice Antonin Scalia was an advocate of education until the cover of the recently released Scalia Speaks caught my eye at a local bookstore. Just a few moments with the book revealed his thoughts on the deterioration of American schools, the sinking standards of higher education, and the need for learning based on scripture and civic responsibility. Drawing on his experiences in law school, on the bench, and with the younger generations he mentors, he warned urgently against following the veering moral compass of our nation.

Scalia drew his opinions extensively from the words and writings of the earliest Americans, challenging me to examine my parent’s motivations in their decision to teach me at home. Each phrase directed me to the firm understanding that knowledge was worthless unless grounded in faith and virtue. An excerpt from Noah Webster’s On the Education of Youth in America impressed me so deeply that I pondered the meaning through the rest of the day. “The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”

On the Education of Youth in America

I later found a copy of Webster’s entire essay, where he outlined the subjects he believed a child must be taught in school. He emphasized a rigorous study of law, history, and ethics, seeing these studies as not merely the acquisition of knowledge, but of virtue and character.  Along with Scalia, he believed schools should place a higher importance on forming a strong character than a brilliant scholar. Furthermore, Webster did not suggest teaching these subjects to produce a successful career. He believed instead in forming citizens qualified to take their place in governing society.

Character Formation

The message resonated with me as I recalled my parents, who valued the formation of their children’s character first and foremost, guiding their decision to raise a homeschool family. They believed in education as the transmission of Christian virtues and culture to their children, and saw home education as a powerful tool in achieving this goal.

Technology, Skills, Character

In our technology driven world, a person’s knowledge and skills are incredibly important. Yet it is character that determines how those skills are put to use. A child’s moral grounding will provide the rudder to steer through career development, civic duties, and family life. My parents were confident that they could give adequate instruction in the practical skills of learning, and that they would also be in a better position to court the developing hopes, dreams, and character of their children.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.~ Luke 6:45

Sarah Frederes is a homeschool graduate and a Dakota Corps Scholarship recipient, which allowed her to attend and graduate from college debt free with a Summa Cum Laude and a BSN. She is the oldest of eleven children and has a love and passion for music, parrots, writing, gardening and photography. You can find more of her writing and lovely photography on her personal blog All That is Gold 

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