Family Integrated

What is family integrated?

First of all I’ll start off by explaining family integrated families. Did you realize some families are family integrated and some aren’t?

A family integrated family is one who works and plays together as a cohesive unit. A non-integrated family is a family that consists of a multitude of individuals. We homeschool and many would say that if you homeschool than naturally your family is family integrated. But that isn’t so. I have known many public schooling families that are more integrated than some homeschool families.

A family integrated family as a general rule lives life together. Meals are eaten together. When one part of the family has something special, say a music concert or a sports event, then the whole family strives to be there. Even if the actual event isn’t interesting to everyone they attend for the benefit of each other. Family integrated families tend to fellowship together with other families. So a birthday party for one child would include friends and family of all ages. Not a five year old party for five year olds. While there will be some individual activities that only one child participates in as a general rule those are limited. No Johnny going to baseball, Billy at piano and Susie at ballet all while mom and dad struggle to coordinate schedules of who’s picking up whom when.

While homeschooling does make being family integrated much easier that isn’t always the case. Some of the most fractured and segregated families I know are homeschooling. Little ones are left with grandma regularly while others participate in their activities, momma in her Bible studies and crafts while Dad is off hunting or fishing. Rarely does the whole family sit down to a meal together. Johnny, Billy and Susie are here there and yonder with co-ops and activities, often having to ride with others due to conflicting schedules.

Is there any set amount of time that a family must spend together to be family integrated? Must they spend all their time together? No. It isn’t necessarily a matter of time. It is a heart issue. It is the difference between being a grouping of individuals or a family unit.

How do you know which your family is?

Does it seem odd to you when one child is not with you? Like you’ve forgotten something?

Is it rare for the family to be together in the car, at the table or even on trips?

Do your children feel like they need a friend with them in order to have fun?

Do your children have friends whom you really don’t know?

Are you and your spouse tagging off constantly on who’s picking up whom?

Do you find yourself correcting attitudes and beliefs in your children and wondering where they got that?

Do you at times wonder where your child is? Is it Tuesday music or Tuesday Soccer?

Does scheduling issues cause you to allow children to go off with folks you really don’t know rather than have them miss activities?

There are people who would say that we need to develop the individual. Too much family would hinder a child’s ability to be the person they could be. Yet what that does is encourage a selfish self-centeredness. Our focus is to never be on ourselves but on the Lord. So why start out by teaching our children to focus on themselves and their desires?

So what is a family integrated family?

It is a family who strives to live together, learn together, serve the Lord together, minister together, share together, worship together, grow together and in the end spend eternity together.

Are you Family Integrated?

Next we’ll look at a Family Integrated Church.

 


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8 thoughts on “Family Integrated

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint what is meant by family integrated. Words are frequently misused in English today. I am very interested to learn more about this, especially in a church aspect. I am wondering based on this post, are you still in favor of things for women/wives/mothers or for men/fathers/husbands that are meant for them specifically? Or Date nights? Is there still a sense of balancing time or do you do everything together? I am also getting ready to begin homeschool with my preschoolers, so I plan to read more of your posts on this subject, but again is it a balance or are of your children taught the same thing? I hope this is not too many questions, but I am really working through these things recently and am so thankful I have found a place where I can explore these things further.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Emmie,

    Family Integrated is a hard concept to grasp especially if you grew up in the typical family where everyone was doing their own thing all the time. It is easier to understand when you see it in action. Some individual activities are fine and even good at times, date nights and even individual child things work. But when separate activities become the rule instead of the exception then we are getting into areas of putting our children under the supervision of people we hardly know and ultimately we will find we hardly know our children. It is easier to parent when you have a good handle on the variables.

    I’ll explain more about our particular church when I get the Family Integrated Church post up. It will cover some of your questions.

    We homeschool ultimately because we are Christians called to disciple our children; all the other benefits of homeschooling are just the icing on the cake. So discipleship is the goal for our family. I had one over all “educational” goal when I started homeschooling: Teach my children to read; read well; read often and enjoy reading. I think I’ve succeeded with all, some more so than others due to personality types. Reading is important for discipleship so that the children can and will read the Bible.

    My next goal was to teach my children to read such that they could teach themselves anything they desire to learn. My oldest two have proven they can do that well and have learned much that they’ve never been taught. The others are still developing this skill. This is important so that as adults they can be Berean and check out what they hear according to the Scriptures.

    Because my children have a wide age range 19-6 we do have much independent study. Math just doesn’t work well in a group setting nor does beginning reading unless your children are very close in age. However, while my children have independent Bible study, we also have Bible study together. Nothing is watered down, but there might be lots of definitions and explanations that the oldest don’t particularly need. History and Science work well for studying together. Most of my children dislike the unit study approach which is great for teaching several ages together, so Weaver and Konos isn’t popular here. Could be moma doesn’t do them well. :/ But even when we are doing different things we aren’t spread across town and we still interact as a family. When you have a wide age range sometimes the older ones can help teach the younger ones. You don’t really have a good grasp on a concept until you can explain it and teach it to another.

    Ultimately it isn’t a legalism type thing. Every family will be slightly different. But it is easy to look at a family’s life and determine the difference. The key is not do you love your family. Every normal person loves their family. But do you enjoy your family and seek to serve the Lord together as a family. An extreme would be worshiping the family which is making it an idol. That is a sin.

    Does that help?

    Berean Wife

    Emmie Reply:

    Yes This helps so much! We are definitely on the same page as to the general idea of integrated family. I have the hardest time going to the store by myself! Though occasionally it is nice to have a few moments alone. 🙂 Mostly, though I want to be with my family, loving on them and serving with them.
    As for the homeschooling that also is a help. I am actually about to have my 3rd child with a 2 and 1 year old at home, so I am exploring the idea of schooling them all together in a couple years. Any advice on homeschooling is welcome as I try to figure this out. Thank you for your time and response. I look forward to your post on Family integrated church.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Emmie,

    I enjoy having my children with me most all the time. I’ve had to let go and not have my oldest with me because he is gone for work. It took quite a while getting used to having less children with me. 🙁

    Homeschooling together should work well for you since your children are so close in age. Unit studies work well for some people, I think though it depends on the parent teaching and the learning styles of the children. But at this point don’t worry about curriculum. Just start accumulating good books and reading with the children. It is amazing what you can teach them even as little ones through just reading. Don’t stick to just fiction – Bible, history and Science will be useful also, even simplified biographies. Simple coloring pictures that go along with the book will keep hands busy while they listen. Like color a bee on a flower while reading about bees and them carrying the pollen. I’m not a Charlotte Mason type person but the idea of living books is very helpful we’ve used them for alot for history. On my side bar are links to Ambleside and Baldwin which offer some suggested books, some are even available online.

    Berean Wife

  2. Great post. Wow, by this description, our family is DEFINITELY “Family Integrated”!! Neither of us has ever understood, or admired the running in 5 different directions, microwave food on the run family model. We both work (I am part-time) and yet still all sit down together to eat every night, because that is important to us. And although we don’t homeschool, we stay much more on top of their formal education than most and do all the discipling we can at home…it is a priority, because WE have the parents and so ultimately have the responsibility. I guess that’s why I’ve never really seen the “Youth Group” model of ministry as a big deal — I just take it for granted that we are more theologically knowledgeable than any Youth leader, and we are the ones from whom they’d actually be learning (it’s socialization and entertainment; not doctrinal instruction or discipleship.)

    I’m looking forward to your next post on the FIC.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    Thank you. I’m glad that your family is much different from the average family today. But I’m sure using my description you can see how some families who even homeschool aren’t actually family Integrated.

    When Challies posted about his thoughts about children leaving the church in I Am Unalarmed he expressed the belief that what mattered was what was going on at home and the youth group wasn’t the issue. The issue was whether or not the children heard the gospel. In some ways I agree with him. However, the socialization and entertainment combined with a weak, if any gospel, in a youth group has got to have some effect in our children. Otherwise the Lord would not have warned us about what influences we allow with verses such as Proverbs 13:20 and Psalm 1:1. So might the socialization actually have a negative effect despite the sound teaching at home? Shouldn’t we take all the factors into consideration? Realizing that it is only but God’s mercy that any of are saved.

    Berean Wife

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