Fruit Of The Spirit Homeschool Curriculum: Foundations

When it came time to choose a curriculum for homeschool, I wanted to make sure I picked the perfect system for my girls.  I wanted something interactive, challenging, and based on biblical concepts.

I was not prepared for the sheer amount of options available for preschoolers!

I was faced with all sorts of decisions, like whether to go with a Charlotte Mason curriculum or Montessori.  Do I want to start foreign languages?  Is the educational toy absolutely necessary, or should I go with a media set?

As soon as I made a decision, another curriculum popped up that seemed better.

Eventually, I did buy a curriculum, which I’ll review soon.

But, after a few weeks, I decided to create my own.


Train up a child in the way he should go,
[a]And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6


For those of you who like detailed, daily lessons, I’m working on them.  Right now, I’m just laying out the foundational concepts.

1.  Luke 10:27

We know from the Bible that we are to train up our children in the way they should go.

So, how should they go?IMAG0116.jpg

According to Luke 10:27, as believers, we should:

  • Love the Lord our God
    • With all our heart
    • With all our soul
    • With all our strength
    • With all our mind
  • Love our neighbor as ourselves

Ultimately, I want my children to have their own relationships with God.  Personally, I don’t think teaching kids Bible stories and memory verses is the same as teaching them to love God with every fiber of their being.

Loving God and others is not a matter of memorization, but of actions and beliefs.

2. Galations 5:22-23

I chose to use the Fruit of the Spirit for my core curriculum, because it sums up I Corinthians 13 (love is patient, love is kind…), and it’s easy for kids to digest.

I painted rocks with simple images that relate to each fruit of the Spirit, and I use them to explain how each one relates to our lives.

HeartLove: Heart

ἀγάπη:  affection, love benevolence, brotherly love

There are three main types of love in the New Testament.  Agape love is defined by faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will.  This love is also characterized by an attitude of servitude.  I Corinthians 13 defines agape love in depth.

I want to encourage this love for God in my girls, so I try to find opportunities to teach them about being faithful and obedient.  We mainly do this by watching or reading Bible stories and finding how the main character was faithful to God.

Smiley faceJoy: Smiley Face

χαρά:  joy, gladness

This word translated as joy comes from the root word χαίρω, meaning to rejoice, be well, thrive, or as a salutation.

I have always been biased against the idea of joy.  It has always seemed corny, or cheesy, or like a willful oblivion to reality.  However, this word for joy conveys the same idea as Romans 5:3, where we are told to rejoice in tribulation because it brings patience.

When I explain joy to my girls, I tell them that joy is learning to be thankful to God for all that we have, and to know that God always wins.

waves2Peace: Ocean Waves

εἰρήνη:  peace between individuals, security, the peace of knowing we are saved by Christ

Peace in this context seems more like trust in God, His promise of salvation, and our ability to live without fear in light of that assurance.

This is a big concept to teach to a child, but I explain it by telling them that when we stand with God, we are safe no matter what.  So we never have to be afraid, and we should always do what we know is right.

RocksPatience:  Rocks

μακροθυμία:  endurance, longsuffering, steadfastness, perseverance

Christ is our rock.  He is love, and love is longsuffering.  Testing produces perseverance.

A rock symbolizes permanence, strength, and a foundation that endures forever.  When I explain patience to my girls, I tell them this does not mean we ignore when people do wrong things, but that we always choose to love them and stay joyful, even if they hurt us.

Kindness:  Scalescales-of-justice

χρηστότης:  kindness, moral goodness, integrity

I believe there’s a huge difference between being nice and being kind.  Kindness in this verse is much more than niceness; it’s genuine and honest.

I teach my girls that kindness means that we love people by doing the best thing for them, which is usually hard for us somehow.  It goes beyond just being nice or polite, and requires some effort or decision to actively put the wellbeing of others first.

Goodness:  BibleBible

ἀγαθωσύνη:  uprightness of heart and life

This word comes from the root ἀγαθός, which is nearly always translated “good” in the New Testament.  It encompasses excellence, uprightness, and honor.

I want my girls to equate the Bible with the source of everything truly good, and to understand it as the ultimate authority on upright and honorable character.  I teach them that everything they are taught as good must be measured against what the Bible says is good.

CrossFaithfulness:  Cross

πίστις:  conviction of truth respecting man’s relationship to God, a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah

This word means both the saving faith we have in Christ, and also our faithfulness to Christ.

At this age, I teach my girls about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit with the underlying assumption that they are real and good.  One day, I know they will question if God really exists, if He’s good, if Christ really lived and died and rose again, etc.  For the time being, we talk about faith in terms of other people, and I explain that not everybody believes in God, and it’s our job to love them and teach them.

doveGentleness:  Dove

πραότης:  gentleness, mildness

Christ tells us to be wise as a serpent, and gentle as a dove.  While doves are gentle, meek, and innocent, they are not weak.  Doves are actually quite intelligent, and they have been used to carry messages, direct sailors to dry land (not just Noah!), and are even used in ocean rescues.

I want my girls to know the difference between being gentle and being passive.  As they grow into a Proverbs 31 woman, I want them to develop a strong, intelligent gentleness.  This concept comes up a lot when the girls fight.  When tempers and emotions get out of hand, we sit down and talk about how to problem solve in a gentle, humble, reasonable manner.

CupcakeSelf-control:  Cupcake

ἐγκράτεια:  the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions

This word relates specifically to sexual desire, but that’s not an appropriate context for us right now.

Instead, I try to teach them in terms of foods, especially desserts.  This concept is solid right up until the moment they see the dessert table in the dining hall, and then all they want for dinner is cookies.  We are working on making decisions based on what’s good long-term instead of instant gratification (and it holds me accountable, too!).

3.  Romans 2:21

This is the cornerstone of my homeschool foundation.  If I fail here, I’ve failed completely.

 

Ultimately, my kids will do what I do.

While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

As moms, we tend to focus so much on our kids and their education that we forget the importance of our own.  So, I study my Bible daily, and I make it a priority.  I can’t teach them to be faithful to Christ, and then never practice it in my own life.

This is why I believe a homeschool curriculum should be more comprehensive than a child’s education.  Children learn by imitating their parents, so it’s important that the parents continue to learn and practice the values and concepts that they want their kids to learn.

I have much, much more to say on the subject, but at the moment my garden beckons.  Check back soon for more developments in the Fruit Of The Spirit curriculum!

 

*The opinions I express on my blog are mine.

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