- Should You Homeschool Your Special Needs Child?
- Becoming MomStrong
- Prayers for the Battlefield
- The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight
- The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance
- Scripture Writing Booklet
- Galatians 2:20
- Colossians 2:6-7
- Hebrews 4:14-16
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
- Philippians 4:6
- James 5:16
- James 5:17-18
- Nehemiah 4:9
- Acts 12:5
- Acts 12:12
More Like this From The Busy Mom
- Finding Reasons to Celebrate Your Special Needs Child
- In spite of circumstances that sometimes seem too difficult to handle, God can and will give you reasons to celebrate along the way.
- The Power of Prayer
- We have access to the Lord of heaven’s armies through a simple practice we call prayer. Our habit of boldness in prayer should be the marker of a strong believer. We’re finding ourselves in an increasingly secularized culture, and we’re criticized by those who have rejected the authority of the gospel. Yet we are not powerless! We have the power of the Holy Spirit and access to Him through the simplicity of prayer. Let’s talk about why we should approach the throne with confidence!
- Biblical Discernment
- We’ve been given an opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ and to represent Him to a world that’s watching. Hope and change are never found apart from Jesus, and no one can make America great again apart from Christ. We are seeking the redemptive power of the cross, whether or not we know it.
Hey everybody. This is Heidi St. John, welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, January 14th.
I’ve got so many questions that I’m going to try to answer here today at Mailbox Monday. We’re going to talk a little bit about how you can know if your children are old enough to accept salvation a couple of homeschooling questions. And if I have time, we’re going to talk about special needs kids and whether or not you can homeschool a special needs child.
Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged.
All right. So I’ve got a lot to get to today. I’m going to try to go as quickly as I can through some of these. A couple of things – first of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for those of you who are leaving reviews for the podcast over at iTunes. Remember, you can rate the podcast and review it there. Also, I wanted to throw out if you have read Becoming MomStrong, Prayers for the Battlefield, The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight or To Romance – any of the books I’ve written — it would encourage us very much if you would take a moment and leave reviews for those books over at Amazon, Good Reads, at Barnes and Noble – anywhere the books are sold.
It really helps people get an idea of what is in the books and whether or not they would be appropriate to purchase for friends. And so we would love to see those reviews continue to come in. So thank you so much for doing that.
Also, you guys know that coming up here in just a few days I’m going to be in Abilene. So come on out! I’ll be in Abilene, Texas on the 19th of this month. That’s a Saturday, and I am really looking forward to doing to just being there with you guys and encouraging you in what the Lord is doing.
That is the Heidi St. John conference that’s coming up in the 19th, and that’s a Saturday in Abilene.
And then the following weekend I will be in Coos Bay, Oregon for my conference Miracle Worker. The Life Changing Power of Following Jesus.
All right so today is the 14th, and so I thought I would go ahead and read the Scripture from today’s read the scripture writing. So if you’re going along with me on the Scripture Writing Challenge on January 14th, the verses out of Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I hope that you are writing these verses out with me. We actually had a little bit of a different format this month for January, and so the Scripture Writing challenge is very small – the verses are small this month. Next month we’ll get back to our regular – a little bit longer passages for you. But it was a good way for you to introduce your children, hopefully, to the cursive part of the Scripture Writing Challenge. It’s a great way to just augment their handwriting practice. So if you haven’t had a chance to do that you can find all that at MomStrongInternational.com.
I love this verse out of Galatians because it’s going to be a great segway into my very first question today here at Mailbox Monday. My friend Heather writes:
Hi Heidi, I wanted to get your opinion on the salvation of very young children. I accepted Christ when I was four years old, was raised in an amazing Christian home, and have truly loved the Lord my entire life. I’ve been through some really hard times and trials but I’ve always trusted my Savior – what a blessing to have been discipled like this by my parents. My husband and I are striving to train our kids in Christ as well.
Good job Heather!
So my oldest is four now, and she has started asking deeper questions. I have always diligently taught her Bible stories, and over the past year started to weave in the deeper purpose to include Christ death, resurrection, and sin. It’s funny though when a child is raised in a Christian home they just accept everything and think – well of course I would love Jesus. It’s just so exciting to see this growth in her, but it leads to my question below. Here it is.
All right Heather, let’s have it.
Can a child truly accept Christ at an early age with conviction and repentance? The Bible says to have a childlike faith, but I don’t recall any New Testament examples of child salvation. I also feel that early salvation is the cause of many many friends – myself included – questioning their salvation as they got older. I’ll be honest, I did a just-in-case prayer when I was 12.
All right. So Heather, this is a great question. First I love to hear that you are discipling your daughter, your children in the ways of the Lord. That is your primary responsibility as their mother – is to teach them the ways of the Lord. And I know that because you mentioned this further down in your email that you know that I accepted Christ at a very young age. Also, I do believe that the Holy Spirit can work in our children.
Children are – yes, they’re very impressionable – but also it’s the most important time to train them and teach them about the Lord. And so – do I think that a child can understand the basics of salvation and ask the Lord to be the Lord of their life at the age of four? Absolutely I do!
But here’s what happens. Here’s what you need to continue to do after that, and this is where so many churches are failing in many many ways with people who come to know the Lord at crusades or through outreaches that churches do – we get them to a point where they are ready to accept the Lord, but then we don’t disciple them. And so part of what I hear in your question is a pretty natural fear. And that’s the fear — that your child is going to walk away from the Lord, and that maybe her salvation wasn’t real.
So a couple of things that you can do. By the way Heather, I also did the just-in-case prayer. I’m sure I’ve done it many times when I was younger. I’m not worried anymore.
But there was a point, and that part of that comes with maturity, right? And growing in our in our knowledge of the Lord, and growing in our relationship with Him. But the thing that you do, if your child wants to accept the Lord, then get on your knees with her and lead her a prayer of salvation. It’s a wonderful thing to do with your child – to lead them to the Lord and have them come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ right there on your on your couch. It’s a wonderful thing!
But then, you don’t want to stop there, right? You want to continue to disciple your children, so continue to pray for them. It’s such an important part of what you’re going to do with her as a mother. But here’s the thing that you want to do at that point – you want to continue to disciple your child. So let’s say your child, your four-year-old, says – Mama I want to pray to accept Jesus into my heart. Wow! Take the opportunity and do it. And then take it a step further for the rest of the time that they’re in your home.
And as long as you have influence, you do exactly what the apostle Paul talked about in Colossians 2:6.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him,
Don’t you love that? That’s God’s heart – that you would help your child to be rooted in the Lord, and continue to disciple them, and walk with them, continue to live your life in Him.
rooted and built up in Him strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness
So sweet Mom, don’t let your fear that your child might walk away from the Lord keep you from believing that that child can accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior at a young age. I think they absolutely can and it’s important that you allow them to do that and then continue in the discipleship process.
All right, the next question I got was from a sweet mom named Linay. She asked about the Scripture Writing that I’ve been doing at my blog for many many years. And she asked if I am still printing that. You know what I realized? I never talk about that on the podcast. So yes, we do – we have a laminated version of the Scripture Writing Challenge that is made into cards, they are a little bit about the size of five by seven cards or five by eight cards. They are small enough to fit into your purse or your diaper bag, and they are they’re held together by an O-ring. And so if you’re interested in that those are for sale at HeidiStJohn.com (search for the store in the menu).
So Linay, thanks for asking that question! It’s an important question and I’m glad you asked it.
Next question came from Rayda. Rayda said:
Should I be concerned with curriculum that is not Christian?
She was talking specifically about an LDS curriculum and she said the curriculum presents itself as Christian and non-denominational. And you guys have heard me talk about this on the podcast before – the LDS church are the Mormons. The Latter-day Saints are the Mormons who believe they’re Christians, but what they believe flies in the face of what the Bible itself teaches. As Christians, we believe we don’t need any other book except for the Bible. We don’t need any kind of additional study materials that have been inspired because we believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. And, the Mormons take a lot of their beliefs from The Book of Mormon.
We could spend all day talking about it but. So she’s purchased an entirely Mormon curriculum and now she’s worried about having that curriculum be the entire source of schooling for her child. And actually, I would say I think that your that your question is good and that your fear is right on the money. But I want you not to overthink it.
So what you want to do is go through the curriculum. So what you’ve done is basically – you just made your life a little bit harder. Right? I’m not trying to bring you down. 🙂 But we use curriculum in our home. I don’t know that we’ve ever used an LDS curriculum, but we’ve used curriculum in our home certainly that was secular, and I will go through a lot of things that they say are just flat out wrong. Like they teach about evolution. Then I will probably read that to my children, but then we’re also going to talk about what God says in His Word which is that God created us. And we’re going to talk about the days of creation and how we know that we can have trust in the Word of God.
And so you’re right to be concerned about it. And I would say just before you go to the trouble of returning the curriculum or whatever. I would encourage you – look through it, see what’s in there that doesn’t line up with the Word of God, alone. God’s Word alone. God’s Word can stand alone. So look and see what doesn’t line up and then you can either take that out or maybe it’s so much that you decide you do need to return the curriculum. But, I would say look through it. It sounds to me like you got some good discernment. Discernment is the key.
There’s lots of things that we use in our homeschool that are not done by entirely Christian publishers. So like my cursive writing program – is it put out by Christian publishers? No it was put out by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – the first one that we did. Then we found a really awesome Christian curriculum, and we ended up using that because if my kids were gonna learn to write – for goodness sake, I want them to write the Word of God. Which by the way, takes me back to the Scripture Writing Challenge – which is why we do that.
You guys might notice that we’ve got a cursive program now that will help your children practice their cursive. It’s not going to teach them the right way to form the letters, so you still need to do that – but it’s a great way to practice. Once they’re used to the cursive it’s a great way to practice it and it’s free for the month of January. Then after that, it will be part of the Premium Bible Study Membership at MomStrong International. So be sure to check that out!
So Rayda, I hope that that answered your question. I do think you’re right to be concerned when you realize that that curriculum was not a Christian curriculum, and then at that point you need to just go through it and be really aware. I think parents need to be the primary educators of their children. So we want to be very aware of what our kids are learning all the time. So I loved your question!
The last question I’m going to take on the podcast today came from a sweet Mama Sarah who wanted to know about homeschooling her special needs child. And Sarah I really appreciate you writing this. I meet moms out on the road all the time who are homeschooling their special needs children. In fact I looked up a blog post and that’s kind of where I’m going to take and frame my answer with you today. Because my friend, Wendy Hilton, has been on this podcast with me several times before. She is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Mom’s, and is a friend of mine.
I absolutely love her and she has been homeschooling three special needs kids, and nobody knows more about this than Wendy does. And so, I’m going to read something that she posted because I thought it was beautiful and I will link back to it in the show notes today. And also, we’ve talked about this on my show – so if you were to Google Heidi St. John Special Needs Homeschooling, it will probably come up. But in the meantime, I thought I would go ahead and read this to you because I think it’s definitely worth talking about. Wendy says:
Should you homeschool your special needs child? Are you up to the task? Or should you leave it to the “experts”? I get questioned often this time of year by parents who are considering homeschooling their special needs children for the coming school year. The decision to homeschool can be a difficult one to make for any family, but it is often especially important to families with special needs children. It can also be especially frightening to families with special needs children.
It is my firm opinion as the homeschooling mother of special needs children myself that the majority of special needs children would be far better off being homeschooled. It is also my opinion that almost any parent is capable and equipped to homeschool.
Wendy, I love that you give this advice. I’m telling you, this woman is a gem. I want to have her back on the show.
The most important thing you’ll need is love for your child and the desire to see your child do the best he or she is capable of doing.
For 18 years, I’ve homeschooled my oldest child who has severe autism, poor motor skills, and is totally non-verbal. I’m in my 13th year of homeschooling my son who has Asperger’s (ASD). And my youngest, who has ADHD, is now in her 8th year of homeschooling. I’ve learned so much over the 18 years I’ve been homeschooling them, and I hope this information is helpful to those of you who are in the middle of making this very important decision!
There are many reasons why I think homeschooling is best for most special needs children.
All right. So Wendy went on to list some reasons why she thinks homeschooling is best for special needs kids. And I’ll just read them to you, and I’m not going to read all her definitions or her examples underneath – why she thinks that this is important. But I am going to go ahead and just spell it out for you. So the first one she says:
Most special needs children need extra time to learn.
So she says:
Whether your child has autism, Asperger’s (which is now more often being called Autism Spectrum Disorder–or ASD), Down Syndrome, ADHD, or another diagnosis, he probably needs more time than other children to process and learn new information.
In classrooms now, the teachers and students are expected to stay on a very strict schedule and to get a certain amount of work done each day/week/etc.
This can be very difficult for any child, and our special needs children often just cannot keep up.
Our children need to learn in a low-pressure environment so they can enjoy learning and feel successful.
I think this is fantastic advice, and I’ve watched this play out absolutely in Wendy’s life, as she’s talked about this over the years, she says –
Besides just needing more time to learn, our special needs children need to learn in an environment that is as free as possible from stress and pressure. If our children are pressured to learn concepts or information that they just aren’t developmentally or cognitively ready to learn, they will not be successful and they will not be happy. My youngest child wasn’t ready to begin learning math concepts until about 3rd grade. She was very strong in reading and related subjects, but she simply didn’t “get” math until she was in about 3rd grade. Because we homeschool, I was able to wait until she was ready to really dig into math, and we’re both grateful for that!
They need to be challenged to learn and do their best in a loving environment.
There’s a difference between challenging a child to do her best and frustrating her by requiring things she isn’t capable of learning or doing yet.
And boy, can I just say that goes beyond homeschooling a special needs child. I think that’s true of every child and parents. Sometimes we just need to mellow out a little bit.
Our children need more freedom to take breaks and de-stress.
They often learn better when they’re allowed to move around and be active.
But I think again, that’s very true of many children – not just special needs kids.
Special needs children often “live down” to the expectations placed on them by teachers who don’t know what they’re capable of learning and doing.
Methods of teaching and learning can be tailored to fit the needs of your special needs child.
Special needs children usually learn better with fewer distractions.
Homeschooling makes it easier to work around appointments and therapies.
Homeschooling allows you to enjoy spending time with your child.
Wendy used to have four children in the public schools. Her special needs kids and she said:
When my oldest child attended a public school program for autistic children part-time during her early elementary years, it was hard for me to find time to just enjoy being her mom. By the time we went to therapy appointments, doctor visits, church activities, and school, I felt like I was always in a hurry to take her somewhere and get something done by a deadline. I didn’t have the time I would have liked to simply play with her or read to her. When I pulled her out of her part-time public school program to homeschool full time, we had much more time to spend together having fun and getting to know each other better.
So those are the 10 reasons why Wendy thinks that most special needs children can benefit from homeschooling. And I agree with her – she says at the very end of her article:
to be honest, most of these reasons apply to neuro-typical students too!
So I agree with her and I think it was a great question, Sarah, that you had. And very often now, whenever I meet parents who are homeschooling special needs children at home, the stories that I hear are heartwarming. Even in the difficulties, they’re glad they made that decision. So that was a really great question!
All right, the last question I’m going to answer today comes from a sweet listener. Her name is Juliana, and she says:
Heidi there’s an issue of my life. I’ve been praying over for about 10 years now with no resolution. It’s painful not to mention frustrating and sometimes I wonder if God hears me at all. I’ve asked for wisdom and discernment on this issue but I feel as confused about it as I did 10 years ago. How can I shift my battlefield prayer strategy and tune in to God’s will for this issue? I try to stay hopeful, and joyful, and keep my eyes on God’s goodness and His plan for me. But sometimes I get discouraged.
Juliana, thank you for being so honest in writing this email and absolutely I can understand where you’re coming from. I have been there. There are still some issues in my life that I am praying for that I have not yet got an answer from the Lord about – and I continue to pray. And when we’re praying, the first thing we want to do is just thank the Lord that He’s listening. We pray with faith, and we pray knowing that God’s Word is true, and demonstrating that – by the way that we pray. So we approach God boldly, through Jesus – who is our High Priest and understands our needs, right?
Hebrews 4:14-16 says:
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
In 1 Peter 5:6-7, the Bible’s instructing us to cast all of our anxiety all of our care upon the Lord. It says –
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
And so Juliana, one of the things that I wanted to encourage you with is this. As I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord, grown as a mother, grown as a woman – coming up on 50 years old – one of the things I am learning to do is to say thank you to the Lord when He doesn’t answer my prayer in exactly the timing or exactly when I want Him to. Because God sees beyond what we can see. That’s why the Bible says –
In the right time He will lift you up in honor.
1 Peter 5:6
And so, if you don’t get an answer – it’s not the right time. And I think rather than allow the enemy come in and confuse you and worry you – cast your anxiety on the Lord.
Philippians 4:6 says:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
So, often you’ll hear me say on the podcast that it’s important that we learn to turn our panic into prayer, turn our worry into worship. We crank up the worship music.
I think sometimes it’s easy for us to get self-absorbed and start to be a little bit myopic in what we allow ourselves to see – and if we want God’s will for this, for the issues that we’re facing, then we need to be willing to accept God’s timing as well.
So don’t worry – that’s what the apostle Paul says in Philippians – don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. And then you will experience God’s peace – which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. So He’s not saying you’re going to get His peace by doing anything other than living in Christ Jesus.
We talked about that a couple of weeks ago for the MomStrong International Bible Study – what it means to put on Christ . And so, that means we give thanks in all of our circumstances. We pray with faith. We pray knowing that God is listening. We pray believing that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
I want to encourage you also to do what Elijah did. He prayed for great things. One of the stories I love to tell is the story of the Homeschool Resource Center here in Vancouver, Washington. It’s an amazing thing. Jay and I dared to pray for an incredible thing that we could not do on our own, and God answered in the most amazing way.
In James 5 we’re reminded of Elijah, right? James 5:17-18 says
17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
That is just one example of the many examples that we read about in Scripture of our amazing God who answers prayer.
His presence is available to you in Nehemiah 4:9
we pray to God, and because of them we set up our guard against them, day and night.
So we pray and we work using what God gives us. So keep walking the way that you’re walking and don’t allow yourself to wallow and get discouraged- because the Lord wants you to use what He’s put in front of you, right now, to move forward.
When your prayers are answered, be sure to thank Him. Be sure to call on the Lord and just say – thank you Father, that you’re listening to me.
When your prayers don’t get answered thank Him – Thank you Father, that you’re listening to me.
In Acts 12:5 it says
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
We want to be praying for each other regardless of our situation, regardless of our circumstances.
so when he had considered this he realized that the angel had rescued him from prison he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
There is power in prayer. When I think about what’s happening in the culture right now and I think about what’s going on in government – I get really discouraged. There’s power in prayer. Keep going back to it.
All right. I want to thank you guys for listening. I’m out of time for today but just know that I have been reading your comments. I love that you’re leaving reviews for this podcast over at iTunes. I love that you guys are reading the podcast! Thank you for sharing it on social media.
All right you guys, thanks for listening – and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.