Homeschool To Do List, Part 3 — Wholesome Words

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Three objectives on our Homeschool To Do List were:

  • Know history.
  • Love reading.
  • Learn to communicate.

We used a variety of activities to teach each objective; and, as I mentioned recently, we often combined more than one objective into a single activity. As our girls grew older, I added an unusual requirement to the many academic requirements they needed to graduate. I required each of them to complete an embroidered sampler. The girls were free to design their own samplers with my guidance, but they had to include numbers, an alphabet, a picture, and a verse from the Bible. I believe the requirement was a good one for these reasons:

  • Preparing to do the project required planning.
  • Completing a sampler taught the importance of being precise.
  • Finishing the project required long-term commitment.
  • Creating a sampler was a traditional school activity in America’s past.

We read many books aloud as we home-educated our children. During a typical read-aloud time, Ray was reading aloud, usually from classics set in a variety of historical settings; John was sitting in the floor creating with LEGOs®; and Bethany, Mary Evelyn, and I were doing some type of needle craft, such as their samplers.

Samplers
Mary Evelyn’s sampler is on the left and Bethany’s sampler is on the right. Pictures they drew are in the center.

As our children created, wholesome words sank into their hearts, minds, and souls. Words are important to everyone, but perhaps our family has reasons to think about them more than the average person. Ray and I spend many days trying to pick out just the right words to teach children and teenagers history, and my mother is in speech therapy again in a continuing effort for her to regain more of the speech she lost as a result of her stroke in 2013.

It is common for a stroke patient to use one-word sentences. Though Mother is able to speak in paragraphs and does so in some circumstances, she often uses just one word. Last week the therapist sent her home with a list of common sayings to practice each day in an attempt to get her talking in sentences more consistently.

I was discouraged by some of the chosen sayings. They were indeed common sayings, but they made me feel discouraged or at best just kind of mediocre. I don’t want Mother to say those things over and over because that is like practicing to think that way.

One phrase for her to repeat was, “That’s the way it goes.” I don’t believe in “That’s the way it goes.” I believe in “Let’s pray about it and let’s do something about it!”

Another phrase was, “Go with the flow.” I don’t believe in going with the flow. I believe in standing out from the crowd and being heroic and going against the flow, if the “flow” isn’t going in a godly direction!

I share these thoughts today because I think we mothers need to think about the words and sayings our children hear day in and day out — those we say out of our own hearts, those they hear read aloud, those they read in books on their own, and those they hear in various forms of media. Are the words they hear fatalistic or hopeful? Are they worldly or faithful? Do they inspire giving up and giving in or getting up and doing something about it — whatever that “it” is.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth,
but only such a word as is good for edification
according to the need of the moment,
so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29

Unwholesome words are not only the kind that change the rating of a movie. Unwholesome words are also words that tear down and words that teach a worldview that is different from the worldview we read about in God’s Word. What our children hear repeated day in and day out will make up what is in their hearts.

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  1. Beautiful samplers! And super creative idea! Words and expressions are a pet peeve of mine–I am constantly analyzing the words that I–and our children–use in light of what the Bible calls edifying. Thank you for reminding us that words do matter!

  2. I appreciate your assessment of the fatalistic phrases sent by the doctor. It made me stop and think about our common phrases around the house, and I’ll be paying much closer attention in the future.