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Weekly Devotion art 7-17-2024.jpg

This week, our kids will be starting their new school year. This week, I thought it could be fun to learn a little bit about the woman who educated John Wesley. That would be his mother, Susanna Wesley.

 

Susanna is a character all to herself and worthy of further discussion and study. But for today we’ll focus on how she ran her home school. (As described by John himself)

 

Before they were old enough to start school, they would already know how to pray. One of Susanna’s rules was that as soon as a child could speak, they should be taught how to pray.

 

When any child in their home turned 5, that was when their education began. They were expected to know the entire alphabet after day one. She complained once that 2 of their daughters took a full day and ½ to learn the alphabet.

 

What was their reading textbook after that? The first chapter of Genesis. They would spell and read line by line, verse by verse. They were never allowed to leave a lesson they couldn’t do perfectly.

 

Their school days would run from 9 am to noon and then from 2 pm to 5 pm. Each day would start with singing a psalm. Then the older children would read a psalm and a chapter of the Old Testament. In the afternoon, the older children would read another psalm and a chapter of the New Testament.

 

They were expected to memorize large parts of the Old and New Testament. Susanna taught them to read Latin. She also taught them to read Greek and Hebrew so they could read the Bible in their native languages.

 

All of their sons went to University. Women did not attend university at this time, but Susanna made sure her daughters had an ability to read. They were not allowed to pursue jobs until they could read.

 

Susanna was known for running a very strict and “Methodical” household. Here are her 16 foundational rules for her children.

 

  • Eating between meals was not allowed.

  • As children they were to be in bed by 8 p.m.

  • They were required to take medicine without complaining.

  • Subdue self-will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child’s soul.

  • Teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.

  • Require all to be still during Family Worship (which occurred daily).

  • Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.

  • To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.

  • Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

  • Never punish a child twice for a single offense.

  • Comment and reward good behavior.

  • Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.

  • Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.

  • Strictly observe all promises.

  • Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

  • Teach children to fear the rod.

 

While there are a lot of strict rules here, there are also a lot of fair ones woven in.

 

There is so much more to Susanna’s amazing story. I encourage you to read more about her. You can start here. https://www.mywesleyanmethodists.org.uk/content/people-2/the-wesley-family/susanna-wesleys-mother-wesleys

 

Let’s be thinking about our students and teachers as they begin the new school year.

Prayers for a great year!

                                Pastor Amy

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