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Opportunties to teach the Heart - Issue 201
May 20, 2011
Hi there! ....

This week As many of you would know I divide our year up into different focus seasons – each season of family life has its own goals and activities. This week we started a short season of study – we have about three weeks before our life takes another turn. So this week was about math, writing, reading, history, science, and keeping focused on doing the right thing at the right time! We finished our current Bible study and started a new one; we also started a new science study and began writing lessons again. I also had lessons that we simply didn’t get to – they’ll be taught next week! Overall it was a good week: we had interruptions, and we were flexible and yet maintained a degree of consistency. It is good to reflect back on your goals for a week and to see how you went, and use that information to set goals for the coming week.

Live life with your kids!

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Opportunities to teach the Heart

Many years ago the local homeschool mums were having a weekend retreat which started with breakfast at a local café. Once we were done there, we moved to one of the family homes (the rest of the family vacated for us which was a blessing). We spent the day – and most the night talking and sharing and learning together about homeschooling and being a mum in general. As we drove from café to the house we all had an assignment: each of us was to drive via a different route and we were to keep our eyes open for an object lesson that we could teach our children (should they have been with us).

An object lesson is where you take something you can see, touch, smell, or taste and draw a lesson from that. The lesson can be moral, spiritual, physical, or academic. I’m probably struggling to remember the lessons that those mums saw that day but I remember a few –

  • One drove past the police station and thought that it would be a good time to talk to her children about their role in our community, and about the laws of the community.

  • One drove past community health buildings and thought that just like we have medicines and needles to help us keep physically healthy that there are things we need to do to keep ourselves spiritually healthy.

  • One drove past a tree that had been staked, and thought to share with her children that we need guidance as we grow, that the Word of God is like a stake we are tied to, and it will help us grow tall and straight.

Just this week Daniel asked me a question about a sign he had seen while driving around town. He didn’t know what that sign meant. It was a traffic give way sign. It dawned on me it was a great time for a lesson, beyond the question he was asking. I told him it was a give way sign and I asked him what did he think it meant. He knew it would mean that one lot of cars needed to give way to the other cars. We had a short conversation imagining what it would look like on the roads if there were no signs reminding us to give way. I then asked him if we could learn anything from that sign in our own lives. He immediately said, “We need to give way to other people instead of always wanting our own way.” Isn’t that the truth! We then reflected on and compared the cars not giving way with what it looks like in our hearts and in our relationships when we don’t give way. Messy. Dangerous. People will get hurt.

Now isn’t that a powerful lesson? And it all happened just because Daniel noticed something, and I took the time to draw some parallels from the physical world to the heart world.

Object lessons are a powerful way to teach our children because they start with a concrete object and concrete thought. It is only after the children are connected with the truth of the concrete that we then move them to the more abstract.

Jesus used object lessons – each time he taught with a parable – he took something that the listeners understood – the actions of a farmer, a shepherd, a poor woman saving her pennies, and drew spiritual lessons for them to think about.

Another word for object lessons is an analogy or metaphors. An analogy is where there is a similarity, a parallel or connection of one thing with another. Metaphors is the literary tool where we say “A is like B” – is like is the key. To be able to think with analogies is a powerful communication tool and one that not only do we use to teach our children but we need to teach our children to think that way for themselves (such as Daniel did in coming up with the lesson of the give way sign.)

We can ask our children questions which will develop their thinking:

  • Does this remind you of something? What else does it look like, act like, smell like?
  • What are the principles that are true for this object? Are those principles true for anything else?
  • Does God’s Word have anything to say to us about that idea?

Object lessons, thinking with analogies and metaphors require us to start thinking this way ourselves. We need to start seeing the things around us, and start thinking about the truths that those things illustrate and how they can encourage our children’s hearts. We won’t find these opportunities in books, but rather as we live life with our kids, with our own eyes and hearts open.

The greatest thing by far,
is to be a master of the metaphor
– Aristotle

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Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
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