Family Resources

Family Resources Page Index

Two Pillars of A Christ Centered Family
1. Family Worship
2. Family Catechism

Parents
Voddie Baucham: Audio Messages
Ted Tripp: 5 Part Seminar on Biblical Parenting
John MacArthur: The Fulfilled Family
John Piper: Marriage, Christ, and Covenant & Selections from Sermonaudio.com
What Should I/we as parents read?
What Should We Read As Husband & Wife?

Children
Songs for Saplings
Hymns for A Kid’s Heart
Steve Green Hide “Em In Your Heart
Seeds Family Worship
Getty Kids Hymnal
What should my children read for the summer?
What should my children read to build character and perspective?

Young Adults
What is Success When Parenting Teens?
Secular and Christian Music Comparison
Raising Young Adults
Teens and Their Parents
Disciplining Teens
64 Other Sermons on Teens
What Should my teens read?

Schooling Resources
Elementary Homeschool Options
Homeschool Groups in Massachusetts
Online Christian Academy Ideas
Private born-again Christian Schools in Berkshire County
Online Public School
Public School Resources

 

The Two Pillars of A Christ Centered Family

1.  Family Worship is crucial for nurturing young souls towards a Christ glorifying life. What is it?  How does it work?  Is it biblical?  What are the benefits?  Find out more:

Video:  Leading Family Worship 2011 by Joel Beeke at Desiring God Conference

Blog:  11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family at the Gospel Coalition site.

Blog:  The What, When, and Where of Family Worship (Helpful Tips)

Book:  Family Worship Guide, 35 pages, FREE by Joel Beeke

Book:  Valley of Vision:  A Collection Of Puritan Prayers

Book:  Book Of Common Prayer

2.  Family Catechism is a lost art, yet it is most likely how Jesus was trained, how Paul the Apostle as a rabbinical Jew would have been trained, and the primary method used by the early church to raise godly children into godly men and women after God’s own heart.  It was revived during the Reformation and utilized by the Puritans to preserve and protect the family unit and is presently being revived again to counter the carnal culture of lust that has laid siege to the modern Christian family.  On his eightieth birthday, defender of the faith J.I. Packer said the greates challenge for the twenty-first-century church was to re-catechize and disciple believers.  If you do not know what catechism is, it’s time for you to learn!

The term itself might conjure up images of a cold and distant faith, but it is in fact a biblical term that simply means “to be instructed” in the faith (Luke 1:4).  Catechism is a question and answer method used to teach basic Christian doctrines and create a framework for interacting with God’s holy and infallible Word.  Remember, Paul told Timothy “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16).

Sunday Sermon Catechism – Here the parents job, both mother and father, are responsible to filter the message for their children and young adults so that throughout the week they can ask them questions and receive biblical answers.  In a series on worry a parent might ask, “What is the cure to chronic worry?”  To which the child answers, “The cure to worry is trusting our heavenly Father.”  A parent might press, “How do we trust?”  Looking for an answer like, “We trust by surrendering our control to His Will.”  Like squeezing an orange, parents who do this weekly will gain the most for their children to satisfy their spiritual thirst.

Family Worship Catechism – Family Worship is a great time to dwell on the deeper truths of the Christian faith by focusing on one question a week (or every few days) and spending time memorizing the salient Bible verses.

 •For Younger Children (2-9) try the Songs for Sapplings CD, a fantastic resource to sing the questions and answers together as a family and then explore the Scriptures together.  Big Truths For Little Kids by Susan Huntis also a simple but helpful book to read during family worship as a devotional.

•For Older Children ages 10-18 move to something more advanced such as The Westminster Shorter Catechism pdf online.

Life Catechism – This is the essence of Deuteronomy 6:6-12 to “Impress them [the commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (6:7).  We must constantly and persistently and daily drill our children and young adults about the faith at breakfast, in the car, on the way back from school, in the home, outside of the home, up, down, and everywhere.  The goal of asking questions of our children in this venue is to empty the cup of their knowledge by pressing with questions, playing devil’s advocate, raising objections, etc.  By doing so, we will train them not only what to think, but just as importantly how to think.  See resources below for more on how to do this.

Resources: 

  1. Family Driven Faith:  Doing What It Takes To Raise Sons And Daughters Who Walk With God by Voddie Baucham.
  2. Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Instructing A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Age of Opportunity:  A Biblical Guide to parenting Teens by Tedd Tripp.
  3. Grounded in the Gospel:  Building Believers The Old-Fashioned Way by J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett.
  4. Rediscovering Catechism:  The Art of Equipping Covenant Children by Donal Van Dyken.
  5. Teach Them Diligently:  How To Use Scriptures In Child Training by Lou Priolo.
  6. How to Bring Your Children To Christ & Keep Them There:  Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion by Ray Comfort.

Parents

Voddie Baucham – You don’t get anymore hardcore than this.  Love him, hate him, he’s on fire for Christ and speaking words like grenades to demolish the stronghold Satan and this world has on the mind of Christian parents (from Monergism.com).

Tedd Tripp Seminar on Biblical Parenting (author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, audio/video options)

John MacArthur, The Fulfilled Family (11 hour long sermons). Listen to one of MacArthur’s most popular studies and get firmly rooted with a deep biblical theology and practical application for your bringing your family under the authority of God’s Wisdom. Follow the link and click “listen.”

John Piper Series, Marriage, Christ, and Covenant: One Flesh for the Glory of God. 13, 40 minute sermons. Exhaustive and impacting, a must listen. Sample below:

Selections from Sermonaudio.com

Biblical Parenting from the Second Presbyterian Church. 6 Sermons
Leadership in the Home from Covenant Reformed Baptist. 25 Sermons

What Should I/we as parents read?

1.   Shepherding a Child’s Heart (#1 for a reason)

2.  Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters
Who Walk With God

After these two, the rest are icing on the cake!

Instructing a Child’s Heart

Age of Opportunity

Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls

Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes

What He Must Be: …If He Wants to Marry My Daughter

What Should We Read As Husband & Wife?

1.  This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper (after 50 years of marriage)

2.  The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective (amazing, buy anything Scott writes!)

3.  The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective

4. For Women Only, Revised Edition: What You Need to Know About
the Inner Lives of Men

5. For Men Only, Revised and Updated Edition: A Straightforward Guide
to the Inner Lives of Women

6.  Fall in Love, Stay in Love (Practical to the core, penetrating wisdom)

7.  Love Busters: Protecting Your Marriage from Habits That Destroy Romantic Love

8.  A Husband After God’s Own Heart: 12 Things That Really Matter in Your Marriage

9.  A Wife After God’s Own Heart: 12 Things That Really Matter in Your Marriage

10.  The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

Children

How can I CATECHIZE my young children in the faith?

Songsforsaplings.com – Preview these wonderful songs to help children grow in the fundamental truths of God’s holy and righteous word using a tried and proven method utilized for over 5,000 years, catechism.

Hymns for A Kid’s Heart (FREE DOWNLOAD) – Do not cotton ball those old hymns just yet. Hymns often have more depth and insight and based more solidly on Scripture than the modern day songs we sing. Grow your children as strong oaks of faith, use that car time to the store, or ride on vacation and sing, sing, sing, to the LORD God Almighty!

Steve Green Hide ‘Em In Your Heart. What is better to be playing than God’s holy all transforming Word, and teaching our children to sing to it? Your young kids will love these songs which are professionally done, fun, and biblically sound.

Seeds Family Worship.  Plant the seeds of God’s word in the hearts of your children.  Seeds Family Worship has put scripture to music making it fun and easy to memorize. These songs are great for the whole family! You can listen to all the songs online and watch a few music videos on their website. They offer free chord sheets for those of you who play instruments and memory verse cards and checklists.

Getty Kids Hymnal.  A collection of recordings designed to help disciple children with songs to carry for life. Inspired by many world music sounds, this album was recorded by the Getty band and five different children’s choirs from Africa, America, Colombia, India, and Ireland.

What should my children read for the summer?  

A Complete Classical Christian School Reading List Grades 1-8 – Some parents will notice that these books may be particularly challenging for their children as Classical Christian school standards tend to be higher than prevailing culture.  A few tips as you compile a summer reading list:

(1) Start off with an easy book to build momentum and move to more difficult ones as the summer continues (always keep sprinkling easy ones in to give a brain break).

(2) Divide books into required reading (i.e. books you chose for them to read) and free reading (books they choose at the library they can read anytime of the day).

(3) Type/write your book list out and determine that they can earn a reward for every X books read (every 5 books say).  Choose something you know would motivate them through the challenging books.  Increase the reward as the summer goes on or as the books become more challenging.

(4) Set a daily mandatory required reading time every morning for at least 20 minutes.  Free reading for any other time.

(5) Have kids build a vocabulary bank from their required reading books each day adding to it and defining new words (hint:  If they do not need to define any words any of the time they are reading at too low of a level.  If they cannot read a single page without needing to define a word, probably too high!).

(6) Always have your kids reiterate what they read to you from beginning to end before being released from their reading time. Children often read too quick, ignore challenging words, or simply do not comprehend and cannot synthesize the story.  Ask questions about character values and biblical truth.  A parent does not need to have read everything their children read as long as they can ask good questions (though always a good idea to get the cliff notes online!).  This is a proven technique for growing sharp thinkers called the Charlotte Mason Method and it emphasizes recitation and memory work.

(7) If books have accompanying movies that have been made, make sure you watch the movie as a family and talk about the differences and similarities with them.  Every time they watch the movie they will be reminded of the book (think Wizard of Oz which is actually a series in book form, or the Jungle Book, The Incredible Journey, or Charlotte’s Web).

What should my children read to build character and perspective?

Ten Girls Box Set – Each volume is different such as Ten Girls Who Didn’t Give In, Ten Girls Who Change the World, etc.  We really love these little books.  My only critique is that we want to know more!  Each story begins when the girls are little and is told in an engaging story style.  Many of the people we have never heard of before.  We recently just sat down to read about Ann Askew in the 10 Girls Who Didn’t Give In series.  We hadn’t read it in a while and Adara was begging to hear more.  Ann Askew lived right after the Reformation (1545) when Protestant and Catholic tensions were high.  She lived in an age when her father made the decision whom she would marry and he didn’t care much about how great a husband the man was, just that he had $ and social standing.  Despite this, she valiantly gave her heart to the Lord, honored the wishes of her father, and dedicated herself to being the best wife for the Lord she could be.  As she grew in the marriage she began to study the Bible on her own and that brought conflict with Catholic authorities who told her to just believe the church and never mind this ‘read the Bible on your own business.’  But she would not relent.  She questioned the priest about purgatory, the treasury of merit, praying to the saints, etc. and asked him to show her where in the Bible these things were.  In March of 1545 she was arrested on the charge of being a Protestant and scheduled to stand trial.  She was hammered during trial but stood her ground that the Bible is the Word of God and all authority from teaching must derive from God’s Holy Word.  It was a long trial and she was eventually released.  A year later Catholic authorities came back for her for another two days of questioning before the courts.  Eventually she was sent to the Tower of London to be racked. Her arms and legs stretched out until her legs were slowly pulled out of their sockets.  Excruciating doesn’t even begin to describe the procedure which is focused on stretching your tendons and messing with your nerves.  On July 16, 1546 a crowd gathered to watch four Protestants burned at the stake.  Anne, being now crippled and unable to walk, was dragged there and thrown on the pyre and set ablaze.

Ten Boys Box Set – Same as above.  These two sets leave us wanting more.  We find that we can read about one person but then need to take a few days to find out more about them because the chapters just go so fast.

Christian Heroes:  Then & Now – Over 30 different books here to move through.  Each one a chapter book great for young readers but again also great for family and couples devotional.  Easy to read though they include geography and vocabulary that must be looked up (in talking about Hudson Taylor they explain the ship terms without definition…but then again that’s why google exists).  The stories are impacting, convincing, encouraging, and inspiring.  You won’t go wrong here.

Chronicles of the Medieval Church 5 Volumes
 
– The stories here begin at 550AD-1500AD for the first volume and tell the stories of significant people in church history.  They are not focused on martyrs per se, but giving an overview of Church history to young people.  More than just an author telling you about someone though, the characters are presented in a narrative style where they talk and dialogue within the story.  Each chapter is about 10-12 pages and provide a good introduction to people in history.

Moody Press also has a series much like the Christian Heroes:  Then & Now called Heroes of the Faith, 37 Volumes.  This includes both men and women.  The books are set up in chapters that cover their life.  Easy to read and well presented.

Torchlighters has a great DVD set called Heroes of the Faith animated series.

Christian classics (e.g. Pilgrim’s Progress)

Solid theological books such as (special recommendations from Pastor Corey):

Raising a Girl After God’s Own Heart (*Parents*)

A Little Girl After God’s Own Heart

A Little Boy After God’s Own Heart

A Girl After God’s Own Heart: A Tween Adventure with Jesus

A Boy After God’s Own Heart: Your Awesome Adventure with Jesus

Grace & Truth Books offers every good book you could possibly want for you child or young adult or teenager to read from a conservative Evangelical perspective.  Note the categories, fiction, parenting, catechism, youth, character building collection, Christian biography including great introductions into the lives of C.S. Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom, and more for littler kids.  Also, illustrated readers for those slightly older on great men and women of faith such as John Calvin, Augustine, John Owen and more.

Young Adults

What is success when parenting teens? By Paul David Tripp

Compare secular music to its Christian counterpart (Comparison Graph (A), Comparison Graph (B)).

Raising Young Adults, 7 Part series from Chalcedon Presbyterian Church. (Sermonaudio.com)

Teens and Their Parents, 12 sermons from Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church. (Sermonaudio.com)

Disciplining Teens, 2 sermons from Grace Community International. (Sermonaudio.com)

64 Other Sermons on Teens (Sermonaudio.com)

What Should my teens read?

Christian biographies

Christian classics (such as the Goodreads list)

Solid theological books such as (special recommendations from Pastor Corey):

Not A Fan:  Teen Edition

Crazy Love

Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation

Every Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World

A Young Women After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George (anything by her for ladies)

A Young Women’s Walk with God

A Young Women’s Guide to Making Right Choices

A Young Man After God’s Own Heart: Turn Your Life into an Extreme Adventure

A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Decisions

Grace & Truth Books offers every good book you could possibly want for you child or young adult or teenager to read from a conservative Evangelical perspective.  Note the categories, fiction, parenting, catechism, youth, character building collection, Christian biography including great introductions into the lives of C.S. Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom, and more for littler kids.  Also, illustrated readers for those slightly older on great men and women of faith such as John Calvin, Augustine, John Owen and more.

Schooling Resources

Elementary Homeschool Options

First time homeschoolers get very overwhelmed and even more so once they talk to other homeschoolers and hear how they pick and chose between curriculum.  So do yourself a favor, keep it simple until you have your grounding.

1.      Sonlight Curriculum – This is a full curriculum from beginning to end.  It’s on point, organized, widely used, and gives you everything you need for your first time.  After running it for a year you may consider adapting it, but it will provide the training wheels necessary to keep you stable all year long.  The reviews are always high though as the grades increase the price tag can become an issue if you have more than one child.  Here is a glowing blog review followed by links at the bottom of the page for how to research curriculum and how to make it work for you.

2.      Veritas Press Homeschool resources  – Here is a curriculum for the serious homeschooler (or so they say), rigorous and challenging, with a proven track record and a reputation for robust resources.  Though many of the same books are used as Sonlight, a careful eye will see that Veritas often introduces those books at young ages pushing the envelope a bit more than other curriculums.  They get 2nd graders adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, subtracting fractions with common denominators, etc.  Many who use Sonlight often supplement with Veritas in areas they want to add extra challenge for their kids.

3.      Alpha and Omega Curriculum – This all in one curriculum is diverse, coming in book form, CD software do it all from the comfort of your computer (Switched On Schoolhouse) or one that is entirely online (Monarch Series), or even as a private Christian school called Alpha Omega Academy Online.  And that’s not all the options!  Just check out the homepage and follow the “Find A Curriculum” guide to help navigate the sea of diversity here.

4.      A Bekah book resources for homeschooling – A notable and recognized name for both homeschoolers and Christian schools for decades, ABeka’s resources won’t steer you wrong and work as a good supplement for public school (a Christian perspective on history for example).

5.      The Proven Charlotte Mason Method:  This is less of a home school curriculum and more of a methodology of how to build and create a creative, challenging, and phenomenal home school curriculum for yourself using her principles and guidelines.  Check out “What is the Charlotte Mason Method”, or read a simple blog by one mother who was convinced this literature based model was superior to others.  One author writes, “The end result of a Charlotte Mason education, is the children find knowledge so delightful that it becomes a pursuit and source of happiness for a lifetime.”  If you love learning yourself and want to design your own curriculum for your children check out the 10 best websites for the Mason Method.  Or visit the Ambelside Online Curriculum based on the Charlotte Mason Method for materials.  Looking for book resources for each grade?  You can compile them yourself or visit Living Books Curriculum and search by grade.

6.      Bob Jones University Press – Conservative, colorful, dynamic, easy to teach and provides hands on learning with plenty of rave reviews especially for grades 1-6.

7.      The Puritan’s Homeschool Curriculum and all books needed (FREE online) – Here is a rigorous program that requires the parent to have a good understanding of Scripture and how to use the books.  It’s very helpful as long as the parent adapts it to the needs of their child.  Unlike the other options, the parent must assimilate and determine the best use and course of action.  It’s advantage is that it’s free and may work great as a primer or to add depth to other curriculum.

Supplemental for Math and Science

Answers In Genesis – This young earth creation-centered curriculum offers CDs, DVDs, software, and online courses that fills in the gaps in some programs by answering science questions. It is designed in correlation with the philosophies and teachings of Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter.

Apologia – This young earth creation-centered science curriculum, which is geared toward grades 7 to 12, is available on CD-ROM. It takes the textbook and puts it onto a CD-ROM, adding video and pronunciations. The CD-ROMs include individual topics of General Science, Biology, Physical Science, Chemistry, Marine Biology, and Advanced Biology. They also offer an Apologia Academy.

DIVE – Digital Interactive Video Education (DIVE) is a K to 12 math and science curriculum, which is taught from a Christian world-view. Students can learn Saxon Math (Math 54 through Calculus) and Apologia presented in CD-ROM format. They also offers a College level Examination Program (CLEP) in Math and Science.
Reasons to Believe – Everyone is not convinced that a Young Earth Cosmology fits the biblical data.  They believe the earth is old, ancient, and the universe too, but that evolution is still false.  Where do they turn for science based curriculum that is in line with their belief?  This Old Earth site provides some suggestions to get you started.

Homeschool Groups in Massachusetts

Mass Hope (Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators) – Christian organization
Massachusetts Home Learning Association – Non-Christian organization Homeschool Liason for South County: Kerry Burke. Her email address is kburke@sbrsd.org and her phone number is 413-229-8734, ext. 107.

HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) – If you are considering Homeschool do it right! Sign up to be a member and print forms like the Letter of Withdrawal from Public School, Notice of Intent Form, Notice of Intent to Continue Homeschooling, including various resources on the laws for each state and personal answers to your questions, etc.

Online Christian Academy Ideas ($2000-3000 year)

Alpha and Omega Academy
Christian Educators Academy
Liberty University Online Academy

Private born-again Christian Schools in Berkshire County

Berkshire Christian School K-12, Lenox, MA. ($4950.00, financial assistance available)

Online Public School (FREE)

Massachusetts Virtual School at Greenfield K-8. The curriculum meets all state standards and is taught virtually (no video feeds just posting of online lessons) by Massachusetts Certified teachers. Everything (including science supplies and text books as well as a lap top for those who qualify) is shipped free with a return postage for shipping them back without cost at the end of the year. Children log on for 4 1/2 hours a day and complete assignments in all subjects while parents act as learning coaches walking them through the assignments (allowing those who learn quickly to move through the curriculum and those that are slower to have more time). The curriculum is not Christian though it is rigorous compared to a typical public school and requires mastery of the material before moving on to other lessons (students must earn at least an 80 or keep trying until they do). Teacher and students meet up once a month for field trips. This is an interesting alternative for those that would like to oversee what their child is learning and interpret their lessons within a Christian worldview while supplementing their own Bible lessons.

Monson Innovation High School: For Grades 9-12, Curriculum by K-12, Full-time Only, Online Public School, Tuition Free.  Please contact Mr. Bob Bardwell, Director of Guidance at 413.267.4589 x 1107 or at bardwellr@monsonschools.com to obtain your application and enrollment packet and set up an Admissions conference.

TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School (TECCA) in Massachusetts for K-12 (free tuition and all supplies provided).

Public School Resources:

Going Public:  Your Child Can Thrive in Public School – The faithful Christian in public school can begin to feel all alone in a sea of faces.  David and Kelli Pritchard, who together have raised 8 children, all of whom attended public schools.  Here is a quick review from a Christian blogger, “This is not a book that is anti-homeschool or anti-Christian school. The purpose is not to convince you that you ought to place your children in the local public school. Instead it seeks first, to show that your children can thrive at public school and second, to provide a parent’s field guide for helping them do just that. In this way it fills an important niche…The most valuable lesson of all, at least in my view, is that public schooling is a family affair. The decision to place children in the public education system is a decision to have the whole family involved in this system. They say, “We should not think in terms of sending our child off by himself to ‘the mission field.’ We go there together. This is a family expedition. When we show up each August to enroll our kids for another school year, we are enrolling our family into the life of this institution. This is a joint venture.” This means that mom and dad are involved not just with the children, but with the school and teachers and leaders.”