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Missions and Our Father's World Curriculum

A Question and Answer Session with Marie and David Hazell

August 12-16, 2002: The following is a question and answer session that appeared on HomeschoolChristian.com's message boards.

David and Marie Hazell returned to the U.S. in 2000 after living in Russia for 8 years working on Bible translation. David became a Christian in 1977 and began praying for Siberia, Mongolia, and China. When Marie and David married in 1982 both had a heart for missionary service. In 1985 they discovered that there was a group of minority people called Evenki that lived in China, Mongolia and Siberia. Matching David's original vision they began praying for the Evenki. In 1992, shortly after communist walls began to fall, they moved their family with 5 children to the depths of Siberia where they assisted with printing the first Scripture portion in the Evenki language. Last year they printed a Children's New Testament and this year the Gospel of Luke. David and Marie have recently served in Moscow assisting with coordinating translation projects in 70 minority languages of the former Soviet Union. They moved back to the US in April of 2000. They now have 6 children: Esther, Timon, Zephan, Alida, Sarah and Sonja.

Marie Hazell is a Speech and Language Specialist with a Master's degree. After completing her degree, she taught in a special language kindergarten where her interest in teaching children and adapting to their various learning styles developed. Choosing to further her skills and abilities, she returned to university to complete the program needed to gain a full California K-12 teaching credential. She then taught Kindergarten and First Grade in a Christian school. Sometimes these were combined in one classroom, which challenged her to develop a program that catered to both strong and weak learners often at different levels. Combining her background in the educational system with the fact that she was now mothering four children, she realized the importance of the family in the educational process. She decided to study the homeschool market and was impressed by the ocean of innovative ideas available, but also saw weaknesses that needed to be strengthened in order to help parents be fully successful. Combining all her experience and knowledge, she developed a program taking the best of both worlds and tried to make it fully applicable to both homeschools and classrooms. She wanted to strengthen the traditional classroom, providing teachers many of the new ideas found in homeschool programs and strengthen the homeschool program by giving it clear enough structure not to overlook the real needs of the child, and yet maintaining the freedom and flexibility that makes the homeschool successful. The Hazells may be reached through their website.

MISSIONS

Allie: I have no experience with missions work, but would very much love to teach my children and get them involved in it. Do you have any specific recommendations for getting children involved in missions?

Marie Hazell: I read your letter earlier today and wasn't sure how to best answer. Then this afternoon I went for our mail and there was a magazine from Wycliffe Bible Translators. As I read it, I got tears in my eyes, realizing that this would be helpful to you and others.

Wycliffe is an international organization committed to translating the Bible worldwide. David and I trained with them several summers and have worked closely with them. You and your kids might check out their kids' website. They have information, games, and activities there. You can also sign up to pray for a Bibleless people group. Just imagine -- there are many people in the world for whom there is no Bible at all in their language. Wycliffe also has a new illustrated book (and CD) about 26 people groups around the world who don't have a Bible ($9.95) called Akebu to Zapotec.

We have also developed a full year homeschool curriculum that can be taught to 2nd-6th graders, called Exploring Countries and Cultures in My Father's World. Your family will take a trip around the world and explore diverse cultures while learning geography and science and being challenged by true stories of missionaries. This is a complete program (you just add math and language arts) that includes art projects and songs from around the world, hands-on projects such as making flags and maps, and so much more. And it's easy to teach!

One of the books in the package (also available separately) is called Window on the World and shares current information and prayer needs for 26 countries and 26 people groups. It is a beautifully illustrated book with kid-friendly information. You can select one country or group each Monday, locate the area on a world map, and pray for the listed prayer needs all week. This will help your kids to see the world through God's eyes. It enables kids to already be involved in important kingdom work.

Our kids have also been involved in little projects. They have saved up their money and helped provide children's Bibles to Russian kids in orphanages. (Contact us if you would like info on this.) They have helped make sandwiches and given them out to homeless people in a park....and they with Daddy's help could then talk with people about their spiritual needs. They have made cookies with Grandma and been "God's arms" to a lonely person. They have bought little presents (with their own money) and filled a Christmas Box for children in Mexico. Our kids are already asking about doing that again....I think you will find that giving will be a real joy to your family and give a new perspective on life.

Kysa: My oldest son (22) is considering full-time mission work--working with agriculture. So far, the only missionary organizations he is familiar with do all their agricultural mission work in tropical countries. Since you were in Russia, I wanted to know if there was any food or agricultural mission work there that you were aware of either in Russia or nearby countries.

David Hazell: Our best suggestion is to contact some Christian organization such as InterCristo which tries to match mission and service opportunities with specific interests and qualifications of a potential Christian worker via computer search. They have a very broad base. There may be a small charge for this service. We are unaware of any specific organizations that work in Russia or surrounding countries in agriculture but we are confident they exist.

NMStephanie: My 15 year old daughter has always been interested in missions. Do you know of any organizations that can help with getting her involved in missions?

David Hazell: We are very glad that you are encouraging your daughter to follow her mission desires. It is always difficult for parents to let go of our young ones especially in cross-cultural situations. Our children have traveled with us and have been on teams without us to Sweden, Mexico, and throughout Russia. When we do this, we check out organizations, we pray as a family for God's confirmation, and we trust God to protect them as we let them go with God's blessings. OF COURSE THEN we PRAY FERVENTLY as all nervous parents would while they are gone.

We recommend starting by contacting Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They are a solid Christian organization that has programs for youth and their parents -- We believe they have a program called "King Kids". It might ease your husband's concerns if he were to join her on her next trip.

CURRICULA

Erikda: What language arts and math curricula do you recommend?

Marie Hazell: Our family has found several easy-to-use resources for language arts that fit our philosophy well, and we recommend using them with our 2-6th grade programs.

We use Primary Language Lessons (Grades 2-3) and Intermediate Language Lessons (Grades 4-6). Why do we use and recommend them? They are inexpensive and may be reused for any number of children. They are not workbooks, and many of the lessons may be done orally. Lessons are completed quickly -- 15 minutes 3x a week. They have a Charlotte Mason flavor, and present a very broad range of English skills.....poem memorization (the poems are wonderful), study of paintings, punctuation, proper English usage, oral language skills such as narration and simple debates, letter writing, and more. The moral tone is excellent.

For composition, we begin our children in Writing Strands Level 3 once they are in 3rd grade. Again, it is an easy-to-use program that has each lesson already planned. After using it one year, my 5th grader started carrying a notebook and writing stories in her free time--she told me, "Mom, I never knew how to write a story until I learned in Writing Strands."

For spelling, we use Spelling Power. It isn't for those who want a spelling workbook, as it is primarily a huge list of words. But we find it is very time-effective as children only study words that they miss.

We are still evaluating math programs....

Many thanks to the Hazells for sharing their thoughts with us here at HomeschoolChristian.com!

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