Ten Principles of Education Mini Course-IV

Lesson 4- Illustrations




Matthew 19:13-15

Mark 10:13-16

Luke 18:15-17

The Desire of Ages, 511-517


Forbid Them Not

Our lesson begins with Jesus telling how He feels about children. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Two major points are covered in these verses.

1.  Children are important to God and in no way should they be discouraged from coming to Him. This includes our behavior towards them. “Never give them cause to feel that heaven will not be a pleasant place to them if you are there.” (DA 517.3)

2.  In order to receive the kingdom of God, we must be little children.

Children are never too young to be brought to Jesus. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15). “Among the Jews it was customary for children to be brought to some rabbi, that he might lay his hands upon them in blessing; but the Saviour’s disciples thought His work too important to be interrupted in this way. When the mothers came to Him with their little ones, the disciples looked on them with disfavor. They thought these children too young to be benefited by a visit to Jesus and concluded that He would be displeased at their presence. But it was the disciples with whom He was displeased. The Saviour understood the care and burden of the mothers who were seeking to train their children according to the word of God. He had heard their prayers. He Himself had drawn them into His presence.” (DA 511)

Parents are to look at children as “young members” of God’s family. We are to share with them the lessons that God is sharing with us “This the Christian home becomes a school, where the parents serve as underteachers, while Christ Himself is the chief instructor.” (DA 515)

We are to study nature for lessons that God has given. In the training of flowers we would not be harsh or rude, but gentle, giving it all that it needs. So it should be with our children. We should not speak harsh words, but instead in the beauty of holiness seek to “fashion their characters after the pattern of the character of Christ.” In order to do this, we must first have firsthand knowledge of the character of Christ.

The Education of Israel

In the Garden of Eden education was centered in the family. As the son of God, Adam learned lesson from God and them imparted that knowledge to his family. “Theirs in the truest sense was a family school.”

After the fall, the plan of education was adapted to man’s condition with Christ as the representative of the Father. “He ordained that men and women should be His representatives. The family was the school, and the parents were the teachers. (Ed 33)

In Eden, God showed the method of education that He desired to establish in Israel. He designed that men would work with their hand and be industrious and that manual labor would be a blessing to him. During the Israelites journey through the wilderness, God purposed to retrain their minds. “A pillar of fire by night, it assured them of the divine protection; and while they were locked in slumber, the bread of heaving fell gently upon the encampment. On every hand, vast, rugged heights, in their solemn grandeur, spoke of eternal endurance and majesty. “Here, by the manifestation of His glory, God sought to impress Israel with the holiness of His character and requirements, and the exceeding guilt of transgression.” (Ed 34-35)

In the training of Israel, God used the sanctuary as an object lesson to teach the plan of salvation. “Another lesson, the tabernacle, through its services of sacrifice, was to teach was the lesson of pardon of sin, and power through the Saviour for obedience unto life. “

In the education of Israel, God sought to impress upon their minds His order and organization. The Hebrew encampment itself was arranged in perfect order with the tabernacle in the midst, the tents of the priests and Levites around it and then each tribe camped according to the order laid out by God. “Thoroughgoing sanitary regulations were enforced. These were enjoined on the people, not only as necessary to health, but as the condition of retaining among them the presence of the Holy One. By divine authority Moses declared to them, ‘The Lord they God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee…therefore shall they camp by holy’ (Ed 37-38)

Hence we see that Education includes all habits and aspects of life including how we keep our homes and our person.

“True education is not the forcing of instruction on an unready and unreceptive mind. The mental powers must be awakened, the interest aroused. For this, God’s method of teaching provided.” (Ed 41)


The School of the Prophets

What was Studied in the School of the Prophets?

  • Character Development
  • Scriptures (Law of God, Mathematics, Prophecy, Sanctuary, Prayer, Faith, Holy Spirit)
  • Nature
  • Sacred Music, Poetry, Voice Training
  • Sacred History
  • Health
  • Reading
  • Practical Trades

God established to Schools of the Prophets “to serve as a barrier again the wide-spreading corruption to provide for the mental and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors.” “These schools proved to be one of the means most effective in promoting that righteousness which exalteth a nation.”

“The discipline and training that God appointed for Israel would cause them, in all their ways of life to differ from the people of God other nations. This peculiarity, which should have been regarded as a special privilege and blessing, was to them unwelcomed.”

Our homes can be individual schools of the prophets, where God’s love reigns supreme and character building is the main goal. “God does bid the youth to be less aspiring. The elements of character that make a man successful and honored among men-the irrepressible desire for some greater good, the indomitable will, the strenuous exertion, the untiring perseverance are not to be crushed out. By the grace of God they are to be directed objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth. And the education begun in this life will be continued in the life to come.”(PP 592)

The Lives of Great Men

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” Proverbs 11:30

In this section we see a list of several great men including Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Elisha and Paul. For these men, their childhood played a great role as to how their characters were formed. “In his childhood, Joseph had been taught the love and fear of God.” “A shepherd boy, tending his father’s flocks, Joseph’s pure and simple life had favored the development of both physical and mental power. By communion with God through nature and the study of the great truths handed down as a sacred trust from father to son, he had gained strength of mind and firmness of principle.” The secret of Joseph’s life Inspiration has set before us. IN words of divine power and beauty, Jacob in the blessing pronounced upon his children spoke thus of his best-loved son: Joseph is a fruitful bough, Even a fruitful bough by a well; Whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him ,and hated him: But his bow abode in strength and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob…. “ Loyalty to God, faith in the Unseen, was Joseph’s anchor. In this lay the hiding of his power.


Illustrations in Your Lives-Parents

In talking with our children, we should share with them how God has led us to educate them and how our lives will be different according to God’s will and plan for us. I know for me personally, I have had to apologize to my children for not always doing things God’s way-partly because I was ignorant of His way.

There are many ways to teach and use History in our households. One way is by simply sharing our family’s story with our children. In my home, I love to take pictures and collect pictures from older relatives. These pictures often tell a story of our families. They help me remember portions of my life to share with my children. Be sure to capture moments of your homeschool and go back and discuss and share. You will be amazed at how much you have accomplished.


Nature Lesson: Twigs


“On a grassy plain a little tree beings to grow in a bent position. As it matures, it continues to be a bent tree.

Some trees hang down over cliffs and embankments. Others grow wide and round with plenty of space, sunshine, and water.

Trees that are planted too close together grow tall and thin because they are trying to grow upward toward the light.

Trees at the coast tend to grow the direction the wind blows them.

Fruit trees are sometimes trained with their branches flat against a wall.

Trees can be kept clipped to make hedges.

Trees can have all their lower branches cut off and the top cut to form a ball.

Trees planted next to each other have had their branches twisted together so they eventually grow together and join.

Trees grow in many shapes and positions.

Make parallels between trees and children. Look up trees in the Bible such as the cedars of Lebanon and do research on these trees. Share your findings with your family.

Additional Resources:

Teresa’s video class on Lesson 3:

Part 1 : https://youtu.be/cQh225XY9p8

Part 2: http://youtu.be/Su5uV_ETkSU

Part 3: To be added soon (having techinical difficulties)

Ten Principles of Education Mini Course-Part III

Lesson 3- The Master Teacher


 In Lesson 3, we are considering the methods of the Master Teacher. Our consideration comes from the example of how He trained His disciples. This chapter is not based on one specific scripture or reading and thus we will look at the general principles outlined.

“The most complete illustration of Christ’s methods as a teacher is found in His training of the twelve first disciples. (Education 84).

“In the training of His disciples the Saviour followed the system of education established at the beginning. The twelve first chosen with a few others who through ministry to their needs were from time to time connected with them, formed the family of Jesus. They were with Him in the house, at the table, in the closet, in the field. The accompanied Him on His journeys, shared His trials and hardships, and, as much as in them was, entered into His work.” (Education 84-45)

“In the Teacher sent from God all true educational work finds its center. Of this work today as verily as of the work He established eighteen hundred years ago, the Saviour speaks in the words-

‘I am the first and the last and the Living One.’

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end’”. (Revelation 1:17-18, 21:6)

“In the presence of such a Teacher, of such opportunity for divine education, what worse than folly is it to seek an education apart from Him-to seek to be wise apart from Wisdom; to be true while rejecting Truth; to seek illumination apart from the Light, and existence without the Life; to turn from the Fountain of living waters, and hew out broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (Education 83)

Aspects of Jesus’ Methods

The very methods that Christ used are the methods to be used in true education. In true education, learning comes naturally and is a part of everyday life. Day to day activities are learning opportunities.

Prayer Preparation

Bible Study/Nature Study

Outward Appearance

Taught One, A Few , or Many

Comfortable Setting


Manner, Voice and Presentation


  • Authority and Power
  • Beauty
  • Benevolence
  • Calmness
  • Carefulness
  • Cheerfulness
  • Compassion
  • Completeness
  • Courtesy
  • Dignity
  • Earnestness
  • Friendliness
  • Gentleness
  • Holiness
  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Long Suffering
  • Love
  • Meekness
  • Patience
  • Persuasion
  • Pity
  • Pureness
  • Refinement
  • Respectfulness
  • Self-denial
  • Simplicity
  • Sweetness
  • Sympathy
  • Tactfulness
  • Tenderness
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Unassuming
  • Unobtrusive
  • Unselfishness


Quoted Scriptures

Asked Questions

Taught Truth

God the Center



Studied Countenances; Met Needs




Avoided Dissension

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Christ spent the morning in prayer and meditation. It was His custom to search the scriptures daily. His study of nature taught Him to be more sensitive to others and heightened His love for music. His outward appearance was simple. When He taught, His enthusiasm was the same when He taught one person as when He taught the multitude. He taught them in a comfortable setting often having them sit on the grassy hillside. He made good use of His time. There were several aspects to His manner, voice, and presentation. He was always calm when speaking, He spoke with authority, and always in love. His words were pure and distinct and he controlled the conversation. He answered every temptation with scripture. He taught by asking questions. He always taught truth. In every theme that He presented, God was the center. He used Illustrations to make a point and to fasten the lesson into the minds of His listeners. He repeated ideas. “He did not disdain the repetition of old and familiar truths if they would serve His purpose to inculcate ideas.” He studied the countenances of others in order to know how to meet their needs. Christ socialized. He did not exclude contact with others. He attracted others with His humility. “It was by personal contact and association that Jesus trained His disciples.”(DA 152) Jesus used the Word to give answers; He was gentle and submissive; He use silence, patience and endurance; He did not argue; He did not get involved in subjects of dissension; He did not defend Himself; and He entered into no controversy. (Ten Principles 147). The disciples longed to sit at His feet.

It is my prayer that we will learn the methods of the Master Teacher and seek the help of the Holy Spirit to add them to our daily lives. In what way will you seek to implement these methods? Please share in the comment section below.

Ten Principles of Education Mini Course-Part II

Lesson 2- The Bible the Educator

“The Textbook”

“But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name of Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16



Exodus 16; Matthew 4:1-11;

Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13

The Desire of Ages, 114-131


During Christ’s ministry, many wondered how He could know so much and teach with such power if He had not been trained in the traditional schools. Because the Bible was His textbook, His knowledge and understanding far surpassed the knowledge and understanding of the teachers who were respected in the community.

“The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of Heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother’s knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources, for God was His instructor.” (DA p70)

Because Jesus had been educated using the Bible as the basis of all His learning, He was able to use what He learned to resist Satan in the wilderness. “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

“Many look on this conflict between Christ and Satan as having no special bearing on their own life; and for them it has little interest But within the domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults of Satan.”

We see this principle in the story of the Israelites in the desert. In Exodus chapter 16 they had left Egypt and successfully fled from the presence of their oppressors. They too were in the wilderness and were hungry. Instead of relying on God’s word, that He would supply their every need, they murmured and complained.

In fact, the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness mirrors the experience of Christ in the wilderness. Where the Israelites failed, Christ succeeded.

“Satan uses these same temptations to tempt and try men today. He uses the false educational system to train the mind to worship him.” (Ten Principles p44)

For every temptation, whether under the category of provision, presumption, or pride we may use the word of God to overcome. It is for this reason that the Bible should be our primary textbook.

Bible Class

“The Word of God must be the foundation, the inspiration, and the guide in every line of study as it was to Christ. There must be perfect confidence in the Word as God’s voice to the parent and child as they learn from the Master Teacher.” (Ten Principles p49)

Suggestions on how to conduct Bible class are included in this chapter beginning on page 49 of our textbook. Our studies should be conducted outside as much as the weather permits.

  • Teaching outside will keep younger children occupied while you teach the older ones.
  • Teaching outside tends to quiet hyperactive, nervous, or restless-type students. At first there may be moments of distraction, like watching every bug, or turning away at every sound, but these moments will pass as the student becomes accustomed to being outside. Even these distractions can often be turned into lessons.
  • Teaching outside opens to the students what should have been their very first lesson book-the lesson book of nature-the wonders of God’s creativity in land, water, and sky!
  • Teaching outside will improve the five senses. Students will become more sensitive to seeing detail, hearing quiet sounds, smelling fragrances, feeling breezes and changes in temperature, and tasting nature through the smells. This will help develop in them sensitivity to people, their needs, their loneliness, and their fears. It will also help them develop a discernment of people’s faces as they pay attention to details in nature. In their time of trouble it will be the little things that will help them to know how to respond to a friend or an enemy.
  • Teaching outside offers time for personal prayer, thoughts, and meditation. It offers opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak gently to students through nature. (Ten Principles)


“Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40)

“Order is heaven’s first law” (CT 174.3)

“As we copy the divine example, let us also have order in our home-school. Order begins by starting school at the appointed time. Allow no interruptions to divert you from this most important task.”

We need to have Order of time, our person, our place and or character. All of these items are discussed in further detail towards the end of Lesson 2.

“Before God met with Israel on Mount Sinai to give them the law, the children of Israel were required to have clean clothing (Exodus 19:10). The children of Israel were to do all within their power to cleanse themselves from inward and outward defilement. It may be a struggle for us to come up to God’s high standard of inward and outward cleansing, but our human efforts united with God’s divine power will succeed. An early start each day in our schedule is sometimes a problem because of lack of order and discipline. Children many times have no rules as to when to go to bed and when to arise. The birds of nature teach us when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to rise. When the precious habits of order are broken and time thus wasted in the early mornings, things are set out of course for the whole day. Remember, God wills us to bring ourselves into order. Let us go to bed early and use the fresh hours of the morning to form habits of regularity and order. We will improve in health, spirit, memory, and disposition.”

Keeping Records

It is very important for us to keep records, even in states where there is no requirement to communicate with the government about your homeschool. Keep a record of how many days you have school and keep your child’s work in a file. A suggested daily schedule and record sheet are included at the end of chapter 2 in the lesson book.

Teaching Academic Subjects by Christ’s Method

When we use Christ’s methods to teach academic subjects, the Bible will be the primary textbook. All studies will begin with considering what the Bible has to say, or what principles can be found that relate to what we are studying.

It is important for us to be with our children while they are working on their academics. This helps us to understand the child’s level of understanding and work ethic. It makes us aware when the child is frustrated. “Being in the presence of the student also enables you to observe his physical needs. Is he sitting correctly, is he sleepy because he needs more fresh air or to take a break, etc.?”

“Remember Christ’s ideal method of teaching is to exhibit the principles of truth and duty one by one as they occur in connection with the ordinary incidents and events of life.”

We want to use every day events to teach our children. When the children are not getting along, or do something wrong whether it be bad behavior or not completing a chore, we can turn these into teaching moments and tie them in with the current lesson/character quality.

With the Bible as our textbook, we will learn God’s word and be prepared for trial and temptations. We will learn habits or order and every day we will become more and more like Jesus.

Additional Resources:

Ten Principles of Education Mini Course-Part I

Lesson 1- Character Building

“The Purpose of True Education”

 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 2:5

“Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now.” (Ed 225)

“The change from earth to heaven will not change men’s characters; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the characters formed in this life, after the image of Christ.”( 6BC 1072)

“In every generation and in every land the true foundation for character building has been the same-the principles contained in the word of God. The only safe and sure rule is to do what God says. ‘The statutes of the Lord are right, and he that doeth these things shall never be moved’ (Psalm 19:8;15:5) It was with the word of God that the apostles met the false theories of their day, saying ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is ‘ (I Corinthians 3:11)” (AA 475)


Matthew chapter 5, 6 and 7

The Desire of Ages pages 298-314

Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing

 The Beatitudes

Our study begins in Matthew chapter 5 with what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount opens with what is known as the Beatitudes. It is important to know the backdrop upon which these words were spoken.

“Understanding what the words of Jesus meant to those who heard them, we may discern in them a new vividness and beauty, and may also gather for ourselves their deeper lessons. When the Savior began His ministry, the popular conception of the Messiah and His work was such as wholly unfitted the people to receive Him. The spirit of true devotion had been lost in tradition and ceremonialism, and the prophecies were interpreted at the dictate of proud, world-loving hearts. The Jews looked for the coming One, not as a Savior from sin, but as a great prince who should bring all nations under the supremacy of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” (MB 2)

With this misconception of His ministry, Jesus spoke to the disciples in the hearing of the multitude. He began the sermon with these words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:2,3. This teaching was contrary to all the teachings the disciples or those in the multitude had ever heard from any priest or rabbi. They had been taught to honor and covet positions and rankings.

“In the days of Christ the religious leaders of the people felt that they were rich in spiritual treasure. The prayer of the Pharisee, ‘God I thank Thee, that I am not as the rest of men’ (Luke 18:11 R.V.) expressed the feeling of his class and, to a great degree of the whole nation. But in the throng that surrounded Jesus there were some who had a sense of their spiritual poverty.”

Christ’s very first lesson to the multitude was that they needed to recognize their spiritual poverty. This is the first lesson for those who would become students in the school of Christ and teach others. In classical education the opposite is taught. Students are encouraged to be the best, to be prideful, to choose careers based on how much money can be made.

Christ continues, stringing together important principles of true education.

“Throughout the Beatitudes there is an advancing line of Christian experience. Those who have felt their need of Christ, those who have mourned because of sin and have sat with Christ in the school of affliction, will learn meekness from the divine Teacher.”

We feel our need for Christ, we mourn because of our sins, and we learn meekness from the divine Teacher. This meekness creates in us a hunger and thirst for righteousness, as the hunger and thirst are filled we learn of the mercy of God which creates in us a desire to be pure in heart. Because of the purity that is now within, we desire to be peacemakers. This change within us stirs our enemies and we begin to be persecuted. We count the persecutions a blessing because Christ was persecuted in the same way and we can now rejoice knowing that our reward is in heaven. Within the Beatitudes, we have a beautiful picture of the progression of the Christian walk.

The Spirituality of the Law

The sermon continues. “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” Matthew 5:17

Christ knew that His teachings were not only revolutionary, but contrary to anything those in the crowd had ever heard. He knew that some would accuse Him of doing away with the law and teaching His own thoughts and ways. Addressing this reasoning within their hearts, He declared that He had not come to destroy the law, but yet to fulfill it.

“But Israel had not perceived the spiritual nature of the law, and too often their professed obedience was but an observance of forms and ceremonies, rather than a surrender of the heart to the sovereignty of love.

What is the main objective of True Education-that our hearts and minds would be completely surrendered to the heart of God. We want our children/students to obey, but we want them to do it out of love and not as an observance of forms and ceremonies.

The True Motive in Service

“The words of Christ on the mount were an expression of that which had been the unspoken teaching of His life, but which the people had failed to comprehend. They could not understand how, having such great power, He neglected to use it in securing what they regarded as the chief good. Their spirit and motives and methods were the opposite of His. While they claimed to be very jealous for the honor of the law, self-glory was the real object which they sought; and Christ would make it manifest to them that the lover of self is a transgressor of the law. “

In True Education, the motive for service is never selfish. We never seek to help others so that we may be benefited. We may be and often are benefited by helping others, but this should never be our focus. Service is an integral part of true education

The Lord’s Prayer

“The disciples had come to connect His hours of prayer with the power of His words and works (MB 103).

Christ gives the Lord’s Prayer twice. Once to the multitude in the Sermon on the Mount and then again while with His disciples alone. This repeating of the prayer shows just how important it is. As important as this prayer may be, it serves only as a model of how we should pray to the Father.

First we address Him as “Our Father”. Not my Father, or your Father, but Our Father signifying that we all are a part of His family. He is not ours alone. He died for the entire world. And though He would have died if there were just one individual needing to be saved, He died for all.

“The very first step in approaching God is to know and believe the love that He has to us (I John 4:16); for it is through the drawing of His love that we are led to come to Him. The perception of God’s love works the renunciation of selfishness. In calling God our Father, we recognize all His children as our brethren.” (MB 105)

We recognize that His name is holy.

“We are never in any manner to treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity.”

We pray for His kingdom to come.

Christ promised the disciples that He was going away to prepare a place for them and that He would return to take them home. “His kingdom will not come until the good tidings of His grace have been carried to all the earth. Hence, as we give ourselves to God (character building), and win other souls to Him, we hasten the coming of His kingdom.”

We pray that His will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

“…In heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality.”

“There is perfect unity between them (the angels) and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His word are re-echoed, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yeah Thy law is within My heart’” Psalm 40:8 (MB 109)

We pray that daily Christ will give us bread.

“The first half of the prayer Jesus has taught us is in regard to the name and kingdom and will of God-that His name may be honored, His kingdom established, His will performed. When you have thus made God’s service your first interest, you may ask with confidence that your own needs may be supplied. If you have renounced self and given yourself to Christ you are a member of the family of God, and everything in the Father’s house is for you.” (MB 110)

Just as we pray “Our Father”, we pray to give “us” our daily bread. In this prayer we are asking not only for ourselves, but for others. “And we acknowledge that what God gives us is not for ourselves alone.”

“The prayer for daily bread includes not only food to sustain the body, but that spiritual bread which will nourish the soul unto life everlasting.

“We receive Christ through His work, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our soul for the day’s need.” (MB 113)

We pray for forgiveness.

“Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others.” “He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God.” (MB 113)

“God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.”(MB 114)

This is the essence of character of building. As we experience the forgiveness of God, that forgiveness will automatically flow out to others.

“The one thing essential for us in order that we may receive and impart the forgiving love of God is to know and believe the love that He has to us.”I John 4:16

“Forgiveness, reconciliation with God, comes to us, not as a reward for our works, it is not bestowed because of the merit of sinful men, but it is a gift unto us, having in the spotless righteousness of Christ its foundation for bestowal. (MB 115)

We pray to be delivered from temptation and from the evil one.

“Temptation is enticement to sin, and this does not proceed from God, but from Satan and from the evil of our own hearts. ‘God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempteth no man’. James 1:13 R.V (MB 116)

“God in His great love is seeking to develop in us the precious graces of His Spirit. He permits us to encounter obstacles, persecution, and hardships, not as a curse, but as the greatest blessing of our lives. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, give us a new experience and advances us in the work of character building. The soul that through divine power resists temptations reveals to the world and to the heavenly universe the efficiency of the grace of Christ.

“But while we are not to be dismayed by trial, bitter though it be, we should pray that God will not permit us to be brought where we shall be drawn away by the desires of our own evil hearts. In offering ourselves to the guidance of God, asking Him to lead us in safe paths. We cannot offer this prayer in sincerity, and yet decide to walk in any way of our own evil hearts. In offering the prayer that Christ has given, we surrender ourselves to the guidance of God, asking Him to lead us in safe paths. We cannot offer this prayer in sincerity, and yet decide to walk in any way of our own choosing. We shall wait for His hand to lead us; we shall listen to His voice, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it” Isaiah 30:21 (MB 117)

God allows us to be tempted so that our characters may be strengthened. When we patiently bear these trials and teach our children to do so, we will experience victory.

We affirm that the kingdom, power and glory belong to God.

“The last like the first sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, points to our Father as above all power and authority and every name that is named. “In the prayer that breathes their daily wants, the disciples of Christ were directed to look above all the power and dominion of evil, unto their Father and everlasting Friend.”

As we look unto God, our characters will become more and more like the one we are beholding.

Not Judging, but Doing

As we allow Christ to transform our character, we will have sympathy for those who are not in Christ and the spirit we manifest toward them will be gently and not one of judgment.

“The effort to earn salvation by one’s own works inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. For, seeing that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. All this turns the mind away from God to self. His love dies out of the heart, and with it perishes love for his fellow men. A system of human invention, with it multitudinous exactions, will lead its advocated to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard. The atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism stifles the noble and generous emotion and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies.” (MB 123)

“Those who have never experienced the contrition of an entire surrender to Christ do not in their life make manifest the softening influence of the Savior’s love. They misrepresent the gentle, courteous spirit of the gospel and wound precious souls for whom Christ died.” (MB 125)

“When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, are manifest in our lives; when the joy of right doing is in our hearts; when we exalt Christ, and not self, we may know that our faith is of the right order.”

Nature Lesson

Each chapter has a nature lesson that ties in with the theme that is being studied. The objects for our consideration are rock and sand.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ refers to the wise man who built his house upon the rock and the foolish man that built his house upon the sand. In our lesson, we are given a definition for both rock and sand and shown how this applies to our lives and character building.

Rock Sand
You can be a wise man! You, hopefully, are not a foolish man
The Word/Jesus is the rock. Self if the sand.
“We build on Christ by obeying His words.” (MB 149) “But every building erected on other foundation than God’s word will fall.” (MB 150)
Character is the house being built. Character is the house


“There are five areas of disharmony with the Word of God in educational theories and practices. These are only a few examples of disobedience; there are others, such as: social structure and codes agriculture as part of the curriculum, ostentation in place of simplicity, and character of entertainment.”

  1. Incentive Motivation
  2. Literature
  3. Recreation
  4. Nature Study and Occupation
  5. Parent Education

We will cover these in greater detail in our future studies.


“Never for all our alarms and challenges and calls to repentance and prayer and revival efforts, never shall we effect a reform, till we go to the roots of the matter. We need to face up, as Christian men and women, to the stark facts, repent of our folly and indifference and neglect, and turn with all our heart to God. May the Lord so direct and control you that your homeschool shall become more like God’s Eden school than like the Greek school of the past.”


Additional Resources for further study:

Ten Principles Training Course (pdf)

Sonlight Education Ministry YouTube Channel

Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing

The Desire of Ages

Living Fountains and Broken Cisterns

Studies in Christian Education


We want to hear from you! Please let us know in the comment section below:

How have you  used SonLight materials to teach Character Building and how have they benefited you and your family?

What resources do you use to your family in the area of Character Building?

Please let us know what we can do to help make this training better and more practical.  We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.

A Lifestyle of Learning

This is the time of year when everyone’s talking about “back to school”. Even though every homeschool family is different, this is the time of year when homeschool forums and lists tend to ask the question “when does your school year start?”. One of the groups I’m on asked this, and when I replied that we school year round, I mentioned that we have a “lifestyle of learning”. I honestly don’t know where I learned that terminology, or if I made it up, but it fits our family beautifully. Someone asked what I meant by that, and how we accomplish that, and I answered her, but off-list (because it was too long an answer for the format of that list). And then someone else asked if I’d write it up as a blog post so she could see it too, and so . . . here I am . . . I didn’t really want to clean the kitchen this afternoon anyway LOL . . .

So, what is a lifestyle of learning? How does it look in our family? And how did we get here?

(I’d suggest getting yourself a nice big glass of sweet tea (or your beverage of choice) and settling in, because I can pretty much guarantee this is going to be a book . . . you know me!)

When we first made the tentative decision to homeschool, back when Sassy & MiniMe were about the age that Little Bit is now, I honestly didn’t realize that homeschool could be anything other than “school at home”.  I looked into the future and saw us getting cute little desks for the girls, setting up the spare room like a “school room”, or us all gathered around the dining room table doing workbooks and reading textbooks. I expected us to have set “school hours” and . . . the whole nine yards. And then I started researching homeschooling, and a whole new world was opened up to me . . . gradually, I came to realize that homeschool didn’t have to mean sitting at desks (or the table) doing workbooks. And I began to realize that we were ALREADY homeschooling our children, and could do more by just shifting our thinking a little bit. I started listening to my children’s questions, and trying to really answer them . . . when they asked “why”, if I knew the answer, I told them, in terms a preschooler could understand. If I didn’t know, sometimes, if we were home, we’d go look it up. Somewhere in there, they also learned that their Papa (my dad) is a treasure trove of information, especially about mechanical things and how things work. MiniMe is my “how does it work?” child (that part is NOT “MiniME”, it’s “MiniPAPA”) and by the time she was 3 or 4, she’d ask me how something worked, I’d tell her I didn’t know, and she’d say “I’ll ask Papa” . . .

Learning to HEAR your child’s questions, and help them to learn the answers is a huge step toward developing a lifestyle of learning.

Something that goes hand-in-hand with this is developing (or maintaining, because young children are born with this) a natural curiosity in your child. I’ll never forget when a friend of mine took her son to “get your child ready for kindergarten” parents’ meeting at their local public school. It was a wealthy area, and I guess it was not uncommon for a few children each year to have attended a Montessori preschool prior to going to the public school for kindergarten.  As a part of the meeting, this came up and the school personnel “jokingly” (I think?) said that they could always tell which children had attended a Montessori preschool because they were the ones wandering around the room touching everything and asking questions, “but we cure them of that” ha ha  . . . when my friend related this to me, I was appalled! Why would you want to CURE children of that natural curiosity and love of learning?!?!?!? On one level, I DO understand that in a classroom setting there’s a need for order and quiet and . . . sameness, but still, it’s so sad . . . GOD gave our children a love of learning. A curiosity to learn and know and figure things out, and the way we, as a society, for the last howevermany generations, “do school” SQUELCHES that! How sad!!!

And so, if your child is still young, and has the curiosity, ENCOURAGE it!! Take time to answer his millions of questions on a side note, I found, as my children were in the 4-5 age range, that they would ask questions over and over again, sometimes, if I thought they knew the answer, or if I didn’t know the answer, or if there wasn’t ONE answer, I’d push the questions back at them, “Why do YOU think it does that?” or “You tell me.” when they’d ask a question. Often they’d know the answer, or think about it and come up with a good answer, if there was a right/wrong answer and they were wrong, we’d discuss it further and I’d answer it. Sometimes we’d still end up looking things up if we didn’t know the answer.

So, how does this work for “school”? Now that they are older, we do “do school” to some extent. I wrote yesterday about our curriculum choices for this year, so right now our mornings are mostly spent doing Bible, History, Spanish, etc. Some days we sit at the dining room table, some days we sit around the family room. Some days (not right now when it’s a gazillion degrees outside, or rainy like it is today) we go out on the patio. . .  But I also recognize that learning happens other times.  It happens when we are at the grocery store and I let them figure out whether it’s cheaper to buy the prepackaged lettuce or a head of lettuce, or, alternately, which brand of tomato sauce is healthier. It happens when we drive and listen to Jonathan Park  or Your Story Hour. It happens when we have dinner with an old friend who mentions that she recently started keeping bees, and the girls proceed to bombard her with questions about beekeeping . . .

But another aspect of a lifestyle of learning is to recognize that, since learning happens all the time, it’s ok to NOT do the “schoolwork” part of our day sometimes.  If I only counted the things I listed in my curriculum post as “school” then we didn’t do much school last week when we were in Pittsburgh. But as you can probably tell from my blog posts about the trip, we DID do alot of learning. Since we don’t take a “summer break” from the schoolwork part of our day, it gives us freedom to skip it when we have better things to do. In the spring and fall when the weather is gorgeous I’ll often send the girls outside for the whole day. In the winter when we have a perfect sledding snow, or snowman snow, they play in the snow. But last winter when the snow was here forever and icy and no fun to play in, we certainly didn’t take “snow days” just to be taking snow days, we did school then, and took “sunshine days” when the sun came back.  When it’s a gazillion degrees outside we stay inside in the air conditioning and do our schoolwork. When we get a chance to go fun places and do fun things, we jump at them, that’s all learning too.

One thing that the question of “how do you have a lifestyle of learning” made me think about is how the girls take advantage of opportunities to learn. At Erie Zoo, when there was a zoo employee with some “props” near the Zebras, the girls went over and got to feel a zebra pelt, learn about how the stripes on different types of zebras are different. See a model of a zebra skull and learn how they use their teeth and tongue and stuff. The girls actively asked questions about each item, and even though this particular employee didn’t seem real thrilled to be there, the girls got alot of good information out of her. In most cases, we’ve found that employees/volunteers at zoos, museums, national parks, etc. are  thrilled to meet children who are interested in whatever the topic is. One of the employees at Williamsburg last time we were there, commented that she loved homeschool week because the homeschool children ask so many great questions. There’s always the few employees who are just there for a paycheck and try to brush off the questions, and sometimes I’ve stepped in and moved the girls along (sometimes I do that because there are other people waiting to ask questions too, although there have been some times when I’ve started to move them along and the (adults) waiting to ask questions have stopped me, they’re enjoying listening to the girls’ questions and the answers to those questions and are happy to keep listening. So it’s just a matter of being aware and figuring out what needs to happen each time).

A lifestyle of learning really boils down to adjusting your mindset. View life as a learning adventure, open your eyes to the learning that is taking place all around us. If your state requires it, DOCUMENT that learning that’s taking place everywhere (if not, just notice it and enjoy it, unless you want to document it for your own records). When your children are making up a story about when they’re grown up and ask you “Mommy, when I’m 25, how old will Little Bit be?” don’t just absentmindedly say, 19. Stop and ask them “how old were you when she was born? So What’s 25 minus 6?” and help THEM figure it out. Not only will it save you, later that day, telling them how old she’ll be when they are 30 and 40 and 50, it will also be a math lesson that is much more acceptable to a child than sitting down and doing a page of math drills. And occasionally, as needed, remind yourself that the school system does things the way they do, not because it’s the best learning environment, but because it’s the easiest way to keep a large number of children from creating total chaos given the adult/child ratios that exist there. Since you have a much smaller adult/child ratio (unless you’re the Duggars LOL. And Even then, since several of the older children are now “adults” they’re still better off than the average classroom), you don’t have to do things in the same way. You don’t have to have your child do a worksheet to “prove” that they read a book, you can just ask them, “so what did you think of that book?” chances are they’ll give you an ear-ful and you’ll certainly know if they read it or not, and probably if they understood it or not. It would be hard for a teacher to do that with each of the children in the classroom, and a “group discussion” allows the child who didn’t read to just sit quietly and the teacher might never notice. But you only have one, or a few, children who read the book, so just ask what they thought.

Similarly, I see no point in “reading books” beyond the “learn to read” stage. I make sure we have plenty of interesting looking books around and keep an eye on when/if/how much they’re reading. There’s no “assignment” to read, and they’re learning to love reading, which is the whole point. If we’re going in the car I’ll often suggest they bring a book along. Or if we’ll be somewhere that they’ll need to wait quietly for awhile. I can tell that their reading is improving by noting the difficulty of the books they read (not by using “reading books” just being aware. When Sassy recently read Eight Cousins with only minor questions about what words were or what they meant, I figure she’s doing fine for an 8 yr old. I’ll also sometimes have them read Bible texts and such aloud as part of Bible or their Sabbath School lesson, which also helps me gauge how they’re doing in reading.

So hopefully somewhere in all my babbling you learned abit about how to have a lifestyle of learning, whether you choose to send your children to public school or private school, or do school at home, or be as eclectic as us, you can still have a lifestyle of learning and help your children love learning now and for a lifetime.

Today’s post is courtesy of  LaRee .  You can read the post on her blog Broad Horizons.

Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System – Guest Post

Many thanks to Yolanda for sharing this post with us.

When I was a child I attended Pensacola Christian Academy, a private Christian School well-known for the A Beka curriculum. One thing I remember most about school is the scripture memorization. We would learn large passages of scripture and then individually stand in front of the class and recite them.

This planted a love in my heart for God’s Word. When I began homeschooling my children, I knew that I wanted to instill in them the same love for God’s Word.   I wanted to create a habit of learning scriptures and reviewing them so they would be retained.

I came across the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching scripture. In this method, scriptures are added and reviewed every day, then every other day and then once a month. I know that it is working for my family because my children beg to “do the scripture memory box”!

You can view how to set up the box HERE.  The box that we use to hold our cards can be found HERE. We use our box in the morning before breakfast during our family worship time. It literally only takes a few minutes and it’s small enough to pack up and take on any trip.

My children are ages 12 (13 next month) and 8.  We memorize longer passages such as the ten commandments and the 23rd Psalm as well as short verses such as Genesis 1:1.  Our home school curriculum includes several verses to memorize for each lesson, and I also choose verses that God may impress on my heart during my morning worship.  Once my children seemed to be having a rough time getting along and so we chose Romans 12:18.  “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

When reviewing the verses we have already memorized, I give only the scripture reference and the children recite the verse.  For my 8 year old, I may have to give the first word or two of the verse to help jog his memory.

Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System – Guest Post

Many thanks to Yolanda for sharing this post with us.

When I was a child I attended Pensacola Christian Academy, a private Christian School well-known for the A Beka curriculum. One thing I remember most about school is the scripture memorization. We would learn large passages of scripture and then individually stand in front of the class and recite them.

This planted a love in my heart for God’s Word. When I began homeschooling my children, I knew that I wanted to instill in them the same love for God’s Word.   I wanted to create a habit of learning scriptures and reviewing them so they would be retained.

I came across the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching scripture. In this method, scriptures are added and reviewed every day, then every other day and then once a month. I know that it is working for my family because my children beg to “do the scripture memory box”!

You can view how to set up the box HERE.  The box that we use to hold our cards can be found HERE. We use our box in the morning before breakfast during our family worship time. It literally only takes a few minutes and it’s small enough to pack up and take on any trip.

My children are ages 12 (13 next month) and 8.  We memorize longer passages such as the ten commandments and the 23rd Psalm as well as short verses such as Genesis 1:1.  Our home school curriculum includes several verses to memorize for each lesson, and I also choose verses that God may impress on my heart during my morning worship.  Once my children seemed to be having a rough time getting along and so we chose Romans 12:18.  “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

When reviewing the verses we have already memorized, I give only the scripture reference and the children recite the verse.  For my 8 year old, I may have to give the first word or two of the verse to help jog his memory.