Saturday, October 9, 2010

J.C. Ryle on Training Your Children in Godliness


This is a thought-provoking five-part series based on J. C. Ryle’s The Duties of Parents.  It covers:

  1. Training Your Child to Love God Depends on You
  2. Training Your Child Means Watching Over Their Soul
  3. Training Your Child to Know The Bible
  4. Training Your Child to Have a Habit of Prayer
  5. Training Your Child to Love the Church and the Lord’s Supper

I suggest you read the post below first.

Husband sacrifices his life for pregnant wife

brian wood

This is a wonderful example of a man putting his family first. I have only recently explained to our children that the front passenger seat is the most dangerous seat in a car because of the driver’s natural inclination to turn a vehicle to protect themselves in the event of an accident. Yet this man willingly placed himself in danger to protect his wife and unborn child. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“It breaks my heart and it also fills me with gratefulness,” a weeping Erin Wood, 31, told NBC’s “Today” show this morning. “If it would have been a head-on crash, we both would have been killed and our baby,” she said.

Brian Wood, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene Sept. 3 after an oncoming SUV careened across the center line on Whidbey Island in Washington state, and hurtled over the roof of Wood’s 2004 Suburban. His wife was in the passenger seat. The North Vancouver, B.C., couple’s first child is due in early November.

Her husband of five years slammed on the brakes and swerved hard to the right, ensuring that he would take the brunt of the impact, his wife said. She had been dozing and woke to see the Chevy Blazer racing toward them. She suffered a banged head and a black eye, which was still visible today, but is otherwise fine. The unborn baby boy was unharmed, she said.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

The one parenting habit that changes everything


It's the way he was raised, the way his parents had been raised back in the homeland. You never leave the table without chewing the Real Bread. Even if there were cows to milk and you had to run, or you were late for prayer meeting at the church, or you had company for dinner. If you sat down to eat, you never left the table without eating Words.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is there such a thing as singleness?


I found this post at Generation Cedar to be very thought provoking. The quote from the young woman interviewed on Return of the Daughters is, indeed, a profound statement. She says, “I’m not single. I’m part of a family.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

God’s Technology

The other day we purchased and watched God’s Technology, which is a film that  outlines a Christian response to the digital revolution, in four parts:

Part 1: Four Biblical Principles
Part 2: Three Possible Responses
Part 3: Seven Step Training Program
Part 4: Example: The Seven Steps Applied to Facebook

We found the film to thought-provoking and informative, and will apply some of these things in our family. Another thing I liked is that I could download it direct, which saved a lot of time on postage :)

Here is the trailer. You can download the film at

God's Technology Trailer from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Practical Ideas for Family Worship


In this post for The Resurgence, Worship Pastor Tim Smith provides 7 practical ideas for family worship.

A Family Scripture Memory Plan

memory verse

In this blog post, Scott Brown outlines the 6 elements which form his family’ s plan for scripture memorisation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How can I make sure I am individually shepherding my children?


In this blog post, Brian Croft provides a great example of how a father can individually shepherd his children. I was challenged by the way that this role is given such a high priority, in terms of setting aside the time every night.

Scripture Memory: A Father's Perspective


Here are some great thoughts from Tyson Paoletti on leading your family in worship and using memory verses. I particularly like the verses he found, which speak about a father’s responsibility to lead his family in this area.

Comic books right way to reach boys?


Barbara Kay’s argument that comic books are a good way to encouraging boys to read is an interesting one. We certainly don’t have any problem getting our eldest son to read comic books; the challenge is finding comic books that are suitable. Got any suggestions?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The unchanging God gets a new attribute


During devotions the other night we were discussing Jonah and how futile it was for him to run away from God. I asked the kids which of God’s attributes made it impossible for us to run away from Him, and instead of Omnipresent, I got the answer Octurnal, which (apparently) means that He never sleeps :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Volumes of academic success


It’s true, we are a bit obsessed with books in our house. I like the smell of them and the way they feel. I get a kick out of ‘rescuing’ a classic from the op-shop and giving it a place on the shelf, even if I know I may not get around to reading it for a couple of years. As homeschoolers we also implement some of Charlotte Mason’s theory, and therefore use a lot of “living books”. 

I’ve got no idea how many books we’ve got…do people really count them up? Anyhow, I found this interesting - a new study has found that children from households with 500 books were 33 per cent likelier to finish year 9 compared with those with none; they were 36 per cent likelier to graduate from high school; and 19 per cent likelier to complete university.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chores for kids: the benefits

chores (1)

I tend to be a bit wary when people start quoting psychologists, but there is a tremendous amount of wisdom in this article about children and chores.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Submission and Servant Leadership


PJ and Ashleigh Smyth explain why loving headship by the husband and joyful submission by the wife are the top two keys that the Bible gives for marriage.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Large families are the new green

large family

This article, which was written for a Catholic audience, investigates those economies of scale which can make large households more environmentally friendly than their smaller counterparts.

Friday, April 30, 2010

8 year old dismantles PC

pc pull apart

When our computer died recently, my husband brought it home from the repair shop for our eight-year old son to dismantle. Tonight was THE night, so with a towel spread out to protect the dining table and  Dad’s screwdrivers in hand, he set to work.

An hour later,  just before bedtime, I went over to check on his progress. There were bits and pieces, everywhere. And his commentary went something like this: 

“I think it would have better if you had been over here.

Actually…probably not, ‘cause I had to get on top of the (dining) table a few times to get at some of it” .

Book Review: Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney & Nicole Mahaney Whitacre


The subtitle of this book “Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood” summarises the content well. I have read many excellent books about the responsibility that a mother has to pass on the legacy of biblical womanhood - what it means to be a Godly daughter, wife and mother- but this is the first one which is written for both mothers and daughters.

It is well written, with a familiarity that demonstrates the wonderful relationship that the authors, a  mother and daughter, have. They share many of their own examples and stories which made the  content very appealing to me (and I’m sure any pre-teen or teenage girl reading it) as it is realistic and  funny but thought-provoking at the same time.

The book is designed to be read by both the daughter and mother together (although not necessarily at the same time) with the intention of discussing the material together every chapter or two. They provide an appendix with discussion questions which are genuinely interesting and not too contrived. Although some chapters focus more on either the mother’s or the daughter’s role the authors encourage you to read all of the book together. I believe that this will be a useful training tool, preparing our daughters for the role they will one day, God willing, take as mothers and also encourage greater accountability (for me as the mother).

I’m looking forward to reading through this soon with our daughters!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shakespeare in chronological (historical) order


Further to my earlier post about the BBC’s Shakespeare Collection (which arrived yesterday!), I just found a handy-dandy list of the plays, in chronological order. It may not be 100% correct, but it’s close enough for me; I’m a bit of a sucker for a timeline :)

1300-1200 BC A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Two Noble Kinsmen

1300-1200 BC Troilus and Cressida

450 BC Pericles, Prince of Tyre

431-404 BC Timon of Athens

400 BC Coriolanus, The Winter's Tale

254-184 BC A Comedy of Errors

44 BC Julius Caesar

30 BC Antony and Cleopatra

40 AD Cymbeline

300-400 AD Titus Andronicus

400 AD King Lear

700 AD Hamlet

1005-1057 AD Macbeth

1199-1216 AD King John

1200s AD Love's Labors Lost, The Taming of the Shrew,
Two Gentlemen of Verona

1260-1387 AD Romeo and Juliet

1300s Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like it, Twelfth Night, All's Well that Ends Well

1327-1377 AD Edward III

1377-1399 AD Richard II

1399-1413 AD Henry IV

1413-1422 AD Henry V

1422-1471 AD Henry VI

1483-1485 AD Richard III

1509-1547 AD Henry VIII

late 1500 AD Othello, Measure for Measure

1609 AD The Tempest

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is this a dvd box set I see before me?


I have been eying off the BBC’s Shakespeare Collection for quite a while now, because it contains all 37 features from the television series which aired from 1978 to 1985. Yesterday I saw it going cheap on Ebay so I snapped it up; now all we have to do now is wait…

We both enjoy watching a bit of Shakespeare, and the plan is also to use the historical plays to complement the history curriculum that we are using. At the moment the kids are studying ancient Rome, so the first plays we watch will probably be Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. I Claudius is a bit too graphic to watch with the kids, but these plays should be ok.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stepping up to responsibility…and freedoms


In our family of 7 we are constantly on the look-out for children who are read to “step-up” to new responsibilities,  including chores.  Making these “upward” transitions happen can be  hard work,  as they  involve much training, and more often than not they also involve  shuffling multiple responsibilities around. But it is well worth it in the long run.

Recently our eldest had a sleepover at her Nanna’s house, and the next morning her younger sister offered to do her job - which is emptying the dishwasher.  We jumped at the opportunity, and she showed us that she was capable of doing it.  And so, over the next few days everyone’s dish-related duties got shuffled around. At first this caused a bit of consternation (and the odd broken plate), but now the new routine seems to be ticking along quite nicely. Phew!

When you have a “win” these transitions can serve as a good guide as to where the child could be,  in terms of their freedoms.  When they demonstrate that they can carry out a new task, which requires greater responsibility, they may also be demonstrating their readiness to be given new freedoms.

It’s often “easier” for us to keep our children’s boundaries tighter than they need to be as it keeps us, the parents, “in control”. However the frustration that results for both the child and parent is unnecessary if we remember we are working towards the goal of maturing our children in Godly character, such as dependability and responsibility. After all, we can always bring the boundaries back in if the child is not ready for the new freedom!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4 constants in family bible study from Pastor Mark Driscoll


In this post on the Mars Hill blog, Pastor Mark Driscoll answers the question, “How can we better study the Bible with our spouses and children?”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How I Pastor my family


I enjoy reading how other families do devotions and Bible study together; it is encouraging and often enlightening. In this post for The Resurgence, Pastor Justin Hyde answers some questions he is often asked, like  "What do 'family devotions' look like at your house?" or, "How do you pastor your family?" or even more simply, "Do you pray or read the Bible with your wife and children?"


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Book Review: The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood by Susan Hunt & Barbara Thompson


I was bought this book for Christmas by my dear husband Steve, as he likes to encourage me with books that can help me learn better how to put into practice the principles in God’s Word. I began reading rather arrogantly assuming that I may not be challenged or taught anything new; that it would most likely be more of what I had already read on this topic. But I was wrong, not only for my pride, but also for thinking that I have understood the full impact of God’s design for women. We have been wonderfully created to be helpers - to our husbands, family and community, and this book explains the importance of discipling women in the Biblical image of womanhood.

Mrs Hunt and Mrs Thompson begin the book with a discussion about how God intends the covenant community to be the culture in which we are equipped to live out the implications of our feminine design. I found this has given me a greater understanding of the grace and mercy of God in the helper design, which defines Biblical womanhood. I can see how the Gospel empowers and compels us to exercise our design. I was reminded again that we are called to pass on the legacy of Biblical womanhood - it is an inheritance that we must steward well and pass on to the next generation. This provides the basic framework for understanding why a “Titus 2-type” discipleship among women is so crucial.

Next they explore the glory of God’s goodness  and how we should demonstrate that in our covenant way of life. To glorify God, which is our primary purpose, we should reflect His mercy, grace, slowness to anger, steadfast love, faithfulness and forgiveness. Although, ultimately, Jesus is the full revelation of a life of God’s goodness, the example of Ruth and Naomi is explored because it demonstrates the relationships of daughter, sister, neighbour, wife, mother and pilgrim. The authors then explain how Ruth and Naomi demonstrate the principles and legacy of gratitude, unity, mercy, intimacy, life and fruitfulness and how to apply this example in our own lives and situations.

The most fascinating concept for me discussed in this book  is a covenantal philosophy of women’s ministry. As community and compassion should characterise our helper design and are characteristics of the covenant of grace it can give focus and definition to women’s ministry which should be a life-giving, supportive ministry. It should be designed to serve not only the women of the church but the whole church! Mrs Hunt and Mrs Thompson explain the core covenantal values for a women’s ministry and their application well but I hope to read more about this exciting Biblical principle.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Catechism: Grounded in the Gospel


In the latest Whitehorse Inn podcast, Michael Horton discusses catechism with J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, who are about to release a book titled Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old Fashioned Way. Like all of the WHI podcasts, it’s well worth a listen, which you can do using the player at the end of this post, or from

We were inspired to use catechism after reading Voddie Baucham’s Family Driven Faith. The one we have chosen to use is a family devotional called Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, which based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It contains 6 short devotionals for each question, and as there are 107 questions, it is going to take us a while to get through! There are often times when we miss out on doing it after dinner, for one reason or another, but we are making reasonable progress and enjoying it at the same time.

I think catechism it is an invaluable method of teaching doctrine to the whole family, including ourselves. Check out the Grounded in the Gospel podcast, it’s great!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Making a “Peace Place” (Pt II)


Our “Peace Place” file is finally made up, although I think it will be added to and changed around as needed. The only problem I have now came from one son who asked, “What are we supposed to do if more than one of us needs it at the same time?”

These are the charts and sheets I have included:

  • The Hope for Life chart showing the results of choosing to respond with either anger or love. It includes positive responses such as confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation and the resulting fruit of love, joy, peace, patience and so forth. It also shows the negative reactions of fighting, rage, revenge, self-pity and bitterness and the fruit of this anger including rebellion, stubbornness, misery, despair, fear and more. In a side column it also shows how anger is a choice based on foolishness and a focus on self, whereas reconciliation glorifies God’s desire and design.
  • A summary of Dr. S. M. Davis sermon “Anger the Destroyer” which we recently watched together as a family. I found some great visual images for the five ways anger is described in the Bible: a city without walls, an unbearable load, a flood, a poisonous snake and a fire-breathing dragon! Dr Davis also has seven points about how to defeat anger.
  • “Is it Love?” poster which is taken from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. I found this in a Facets magazine by Heather McEwan. It has a list which the offender can fill in mentally, i.e. Is ………… being patient?
  • The five A’s of Confession, the Four Promises of Forgiveness and a sample prayer which details exactly what it means and how you can confess sin and forgive others. I found these here.
  • A “Problem Solving Think Sheet” from the same Facets magazine by Heather McEwan. This is to help our older children work through a problem they have with each other, together. I am going to spend some time with the older two this week explaining the questions and probably help them out the first time they need to use it. I’m hoping though it will help them take responsibility for solving their problems together in a biblical manner.
  • “Reflective Sit Time Think Sheet” from the same Facets magazine by Heather McEwan. This will mainly be used for offences that are repeated often. I am hoping that by having to take the time to write out the answers to these questions they will really work through the issue, especially the questions “What is the evidence of heart change?” and “Am I really sorry for my actions or just regretful of having been busted?

I also plan to have a jar of simple actions that the offender can select from as a way of making restitution for offences, but that’s a post for another time!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Montaigne, on the education of children


“Let him be taught not so much the facts of history as how to judge them.”

Michel de Montaigne

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Chore Lists

 Vintage Chores

I knew it was time to update the children's chore lists when I had our ten year old daughter asking to learn how to do the washing properly, our five year old begging to use the vacuum cleaner and the almost-two year old trying to "help" with everything and anything. Here a few suggestions, which helped us make the transition smoother:

  • I have made new charts with cute graphics for the non-readers. One is for the morning, which will be kept in their bedrooms and one for the afternoon which is posted on the door of a cupboard in our living area so I can easily guide them to it.
  • We now title the lists as “Child X’s Morning Responsibilities” etc as this reflects the positive attitude we want them to have towards the duties they need to do.
  • I expect that any child assigned a new responsibility will need a period of time to learn the new skill before I can expect the task to be done to a reasonable standard. This requires my time, supervision and patience. However, I know it is worth it!
  • I am now encouraging the child who previously held the responsibility for a certain task to be part of the “training team”. The kids have got a real kick out of helping each other learn new skills and it’s cute to watch them working together.
  • While I have mostly bumped tasks down to the next child, certain kids have had to keep some tasks on their lists as they have not demonstrated that they can consistently complete the task to a standard that is acceptable. When I explained this to them I encouraged them that I am hoping that this will motivate them to demonstrate diligence in the areas they struggle.
  • Generally the easiest tasks are assigned to the youngest and so on. When I think of a new job that needs doing I try to think of the youngest child able to do it so the older children are not over-burdened.
  • Having five children able to participate in family chores I have had to plan more carefully where everyone is and what tools they will need. For the first time ever I had to make sure I hadn’t scheduled two children to vacuum at the same time!

I believe all children need to learn how to take care of the home they live in. It fosters diligence, responsibility and a sense of interdependence. As a general rule we all enjoy working together to keep our home clean and tidy. It’s so great for the kids to hear Daddy praise them for how tidy the home looks when he walks in the door!


Making History their story


The kids are now studying Ancient Greece and we will soon be reading that copy of Black Ships Before Troy which has been sitting on a shelf for a couple of years. It’s very exciting.

Now, I didn’t study history in school, but I wish I had. Learning about lives and great empires which have come and gone has a way of putting your life in perspective. In Australia, where warfare, death and the “natural” order of things is largely out of sight,  it is easy to forget that we are like the grass, destined to live for a short time before withering, dying and fading out of remembrance.

History reminds us of our mortality.

As a result, history focuses us on the important things in life: those things which are bound up in God’s plan to reconcile man to Himself. When we study history we  are following the course of that plan from the beginning to the present, watching His providential hand at work. It helps our kids understand  that they and their  family form a part of God’s plan: that they have a part to play, too.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Making a “Peace Place”

Seagrass Wingback armchair-Pottery Barn

I want to be able to teach our children to deal with anger well - especially as it is an issue I still struggle with as an adult. I love the idea I found at Kendra’s blog today, which explains how she has created a “Peace Place”. After reading the background material by Ann Voscamp here,  I understand that the aim is to provide a comfortable place, with all the material a child needs who is “feeling agitated and angry, to seek peace and pursue it.” I’m thinking that it would help our children gain some self-control and work through their conflict in a proactive way. I’m sure I’ll need to use it myself!