Learning to Homeschool from a Leader of the Church in Bethlehem

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One of the things I loved about homeschooling was what I was learning. Several months after we began, I took a test in Readers’ Digest and was positive that I scored better on it than I would have done before we started homeschooling. That was a nice perk.

Another good way to learn is to write. Sometimes people think that because we write history, we must have all those facts roaming around in our noggins! I suppose we do have more history in our noggins than the average Joe and Jane. How could we not when that is what we live and breathe day in and day out? But, know it all? Not a chance. To write, you have to research and thereby learn what other people already know.

I was outside trying to take some nighttime photos recently — that is definitely something I don’t know about yet — and on my way inside I snapped this one of Ray. He is in the room we like to call the library doing what he does often — looking something up in a real book made out of paper.

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Ray in the Library Doing Research

I get excited about stories and pictures we find. We always publish a book of original documents from many time periods in history that go along with our half- and full-year curriculum sets. John and Bethany are working together to find those documents for From Adam to Us. When Ray and I were proofreading the lessons in the curriculum that cover from 101 AD to 1300 AD recently, we got to see one of the treasures they found. I immediately wanted to share it with you because I know you will enjoy this portion of a letter from Jerome, a church leader in Bethlehem. He wrote it to Toxotius and Laeta in 403 about how to educate their daughter Paula.

Thus must a soul be trained which is to be a temple of God. . . . It must have no comprehension of foul words, . . . and its childish tongue must be imbued with the sweet music of the psalms. . . . let even her maids and attendants hold aloof from association with the worldly, lest they render their evil knowledge worse by teaching it to her.

Have a set of letters made for her, of boxwood or of ivory, and tell her their names. Let her play with them, making play a road to learning, and let her not only grasp the right order of the letters and remember their names in a simple song, but also frequently upset their order and mix the last letters with the middle ones, the middle with the first. Thus she will know them all by sight as well as by sound.

When she begins with uncertain hand to use the pen, either let another hand be put over hers to guide her baby fingers, or else have the letters marked on the tablet so that her writing may follow their outlines and keep to their limits without straying away.

Offer her prizes for spelling, tempting her with such trifling gifts as please young children. . . . You must not scold her if she is somewhat slow; praise is the best sharpener of wits. . . . Above all take care not to make her lessons distasteful; a childish dislike often lasts longer than childhood.

You, however, continue in the things
you have learned and become convinced of,
knowing from whom you have learned them,
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings
which are able to give you the wisdom
that leads to salvation through faith
which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15

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  1. What a wonderful picture of Ray in the library!! And such an amazing quote!! The words seem so fresh with love and concern. Your original document books are fascinating! Excellent selections!!