A homeschool tip from one of the early pioneers

Homeschool tip: Bible memorization

By Todd Kangas, MPE President

An old adage says, “Experience is the best teacher, but it is a lot cheaper secondhand.”

As we launched our homeschool journey, there wasn’t much secondhand advice to capture. Over 30 years ago, we were among the pioneers. I knew the academic advantages of homeschooling: my children were going to score over the top on standardized testing (great genes).

We finally got our first batch of standardized test scores, and our children all scored in the 60th percentile. I was shocked at those dismal numbers compared to my expectations. I figured it was the teacher! She thought it was the principal!

We were taking a trip out of town that day. I was still upset. Pride doesn’t die easily. Pat asked me, “What are your goals for homeschooling?” I pondered her question and figured that since our children were just above average there was no sense in planning on higher education.

Then the Holy Spirit dropped a Bible verse into my mind. Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

My new goal for homeschooling was that our family needed to memorize large portions of the Bible. We began to add the Bible to our daily homeschool routine, memorizing three verses each week.

Two years later, our children sat for their standardized tests again. They all scored over 20% higher.

We had the same bad teacher, the same bad principal, the same curriculum. We had simply added Bible memorization to our day. We were storing God’s Word in our hearts so that we would be careful to obey it. God made our testing more successful.

Those three underachievers now are college grads, with the oldest working on her doctorate in nursing, number two with an MBA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and number 3 with an MSW from Kansas University.

I don’t believe Bible memory is the only thing that led to their success, but I can’t deny that the results were remarkable over a two-year period.

We felt it was important for our children to store up God’s Word in their hearts in case hard times came to our country. We know of believers in this world who don’t have a Bible. We thought if we stored up enough Scripture, that we could encourage one another if persecuted.

We were challenged a few Sundays ago to memorize Scripture. So now, the few children remaining at home are working on memorizing again. It takes time, but I think about what I’m memorizing as I fall asleep. Memorization is the first step in meditation. This is a very important Christian discipline that all ages can participate in.

One day, our youngest was 2 years old, and wanted to quote the passage her siblings were working on. Pat took her out of the playpen and she recited Psalm 119:1-11 perfectly. She was around the memorization work and had picked it up. What a joy!

My homeschool tip is to encourage you to consider how you will integrate the Bible more thoroughly into your school curriculum this year. It should lead to a more prosperous and successful school year.

Plus, the last verse our 2-year-old quoted that day provides additional motivation to memorization: “Thy word have I stored up in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.”

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