Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Enrollment in the public school (and most private schools) model would have you believe that education can only take place Monday through Friday between the hours of roughly 8:00 AM until roughly 3:00 PM. In fact, when many families begin homeschooling, they often try to follow that very model and wind up simply “doing school at home”, in a traditional school system kind of way.
The good news is that homeschooling gives you far more freedom than that! You’ll be able to build a schedule that truly meets the needs of your homeschool family, whether on a daily basis or for the school year as a whole. Once you realize how liberating this educational journey can be, you’ll settle in well. And, if you have someone in your family with special needs, you'll find that homeschooling with Sunday activities might fit even better.
Most Homeschooling Families Overlook Sunday Learning
As Christian homeschoolers, we often view Sunday only as a day of rest. And rightly so. But learning can still take place on this day. If you attend a church service, there are plenty of opportunities to rack up some experiences and information that will count for grades or credits towards the subjects you are teaching. On the other hand, you could count the whole experience as a religious instruction homeschool program.
One of the best things about allowing Sunday to count towards homeschooling is that it’s a relaxed day and the learning comes naturally. There’s no rush to beat the clock, no lesson plans to complete, no grades to be averaged or recorded, and no homeschool curriculum to plan from or keep up with. It’s simply the natural learning process that occurs when one hears information and retains it.
In addition to a great time to gather things studied as part of your homeschool learning, Sunday also provides a way for you to prove to naysayers that your children DO in fact, get much in the way of socialization. This topic is a hot one for many outside of the homeschooling circle, and they can often find it easy to say that your children don't get enough in this arena.
Today, we’re going to delve into some ways to take advantage of Sunday for everything that it is to your family and everything that it can be to your homeschooled children. After all, it is your homeschool! What you make of this day can actually impact the rest of your week, as well as your homeschool schedule overall. So, let’s find out a little more about what you can do to take advantage of this often-forgotten homeschooling day.
Sunday Homeschooling for Young Children
In some cases, homeschooling on Sunday might be easiest with young children, from PreK through elementary school. Thanks to Sunday school, they get a lesson tailor-made for their age level and often with materials that can be brought home and placed in their portfolio. If you know upfront what their lesson is going to include, you can discuss the details on the way to church. If not, you can ask them questions about what they learned after the service is over. This lets you know how much of the information they actually comprehended, and, if you happen to be adhering to the Charlotte Mason Method, this can even count towards narration.
You can also take special advantage of Vacation Bible School for your homeschooled children at this age. It’s a great way to track even more learning and maybe even utilize those summer months to get a few hours of instruction out of the way. If you’re doing year-round schooling, it should fit right in.
Sunday Homeschooling for Middle School Children
Middle school children, from late elementary school through grade nine, are also in a great place to still benefit from Sunday school, youth Bible class, youth groups, and field trips, and sometimes, even regular services. Just as with the younger children, you can use any materials they bring home from these classes while also employing conversation and narration as a part of the comprehension portion.
As children get older, they might be transitioning from the Vacation Bible School setting to something like camps, youth groups, and group activities such as skate night, bowling, movie night, games, or trivia teams. Again, these are excellent opportunities to really take advantage of the learning that takes place during these activities and count it in your home education. It’s also a great time to introduce your child to his or her very own study Bible and, if they’re interested, you could include a journal or devotional for their quiet time as they learn how to flesh out their own relationship with God. The Bible calls it growing in grace.
Sunday Homeschooling for High School Children
The older your child gets, the more likely they are to do much of their Sunday reflection on their own. This may be the time he or she decides to start attending regular services with you, and could benefit from a personal study Bible, journaling Bible, or even just a regular Bible and a notebook. Your child's education will benefit from allowing them to take their own sermon notes, as you take yours as well. Once you are back home, you can compare notes and let them tell you all about what they learned and what specific Scriptures might have meant to them.
At this age, it’s not uncommon for youth groups to gather more frequently for a variety of activities and study time, and faith-based camps are always a great idea in the summertime. In fact, camp is a great opportunity to let them try out some of their newfound freedom as well as a few life skills, which you can always add to a report card or even a transcript. In everything that they do, as an educator, look for learning opportunities you can capitalize on to make sure they’re getting the most out of their time as homeschooled kids.
Homeschooling Using the Bible as a Textbook
Many homeschooling parents use the Bible for more than just faith-based topics. Some homeschool curriculum providers even use it as the text for their Bible curriculums. For instance, it can easily be used as a historical text. These days, archaeologists continue to cite the Bible as one of the most accurate historical documents in the world, offering much information that goes along with what they are finding in their work. Locations, dates, and descriptions go a long way in their line of work and work well in the homeschooling curriculum.
It can be a great companion as well, from a literary standpoint, especially when attempting to understand the Old English style of writing and speaking. The King James Version can not only offer insight into word meanings and usages, but it can be an excellent example of how people spoke to one another in those days. Exploring the books of poetry, such as the Psalms, can be an entire Unit Study all to itself as well.
Bible Homeschooling Resources
When you’re ready to put together a lesson plan, or even plan your entire year, be sure to consider all your resources and homeschool curriculum offers. Most curriculum providers offer an excellent Bible curriculum with all the necessary components such as lesson plans, grade schedules, and everything necessary to teach the subject. If you purchase from one of these curriculum providers, you’ll even have someone to call if you ever need assistance or have questions about the materials. It will be easy to use these curriculums to look at last year and see where you need to advance to for the coming year.
If your budget does not allow for a full curriculum like the one just mentioned, there are vast options, which you can find through a simple Google search, for free resources, texts, lessons, worksheets, and activity ideas, all based on age or grade level. You can also find resources through homeschool co-ops and homeschool support groups.
A search on social media platforms may allow you to connect with like-minded parents through groups specifically geared towards faith-based learning or using the Bible as a textbook. Don’t forget to make use of Pinterest to search for great ideas and while you’re there, you can create a Pinterest board specifically for Bible classes, resources, activities, or anything else you might find useful, interesting, or engaging for this specific field of study.
To some, homeschooling on Sunday might sound a little over the top. For others, it might sound like a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the full-time learning that’s already taking place. No matter how old your child, or how much they already know about the Bible, there is always more to be learned. For instance, moving from the basics into a more theological or apologetic direction could be an excellent way to renew your child’s interest in the Bible. But as I stated at the beginning of this post, it’s your homeschool. Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace as you homeschool your child and do it your way.