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May 21

Reading the Bible with Multiple Ages

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012

“And so David had to flee from Saul-” I begin, the crumbs of a hastily eaten pancake still on my fingers.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy!” calls the three year old from one seat over.

“What Squishy?” I quickly ask.

She takes a dramatic pause, then- “And so Noah and Joshua and Moses, they built a big boat and Jesus likes to read books and-”

“Squishy, Momma’s reading right now, you can have a turn to tell your story when I’m done,” I interrupt her excited run-on sentence and then turn to 11 year old Mookie, “Can you please get her sketchbook for me?”

Mookie runs off to get the sketchbook and I search for my place on the page.

“Then he came to the Phillistines and-” I see a  7 year old  wander from his chair in search of more food.

“Drummer boy, remember, sit down and wait until we’re finished reading.”

Turning back to my page, I hear strange, unappetizing sounds and find the source to be the 9 year old’s nose.

“Eeww, Jellybean, go blow your nose,” I insist and find my place again just as Mookie slides back into her chair with the sketchbook.

“As I was saying, David fled the palace…,” and Bible time at breakfast begins.

Getting an uninterrupted ten minutes to read the Bible together is only one of the challenges of including God’s Word in our daily plan.  I also have to consider the best time of day and the best translation to suit four children, ages ranging from three to eleven years old.

The Story Bible at Breakfast

A friend at church recently mentioned that their family reads the Bible together threes times a day, at each meal.  We may not catch each meal and we may use some variations in the form of the Bible that we choose, but I do try hard to share scripture with the kids several times a day.

With particular thoughts toward my six year old, this year I pulled out The Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos to read each morning at the breakfast table (over and around the noisy toddler).

We’ve read Vos before but I have been surprised by how our morning reading of The Story Bible has led our hearts toward a truer understanding of God’s character.

We started in Genesis and I worried about the ho-hum reaction to hearing the stories the olders have heard so many times before, but instead all of us found ourselves saying, “Oh, I had forgotten about that,” or “I didn’t know that detail.”

The Story of God engaged each of us.

As we wind up the school year, we’re entering the story of Esther and plan to keep reading into the New Testament stories this summer.  ”Read the Bible!” the kids call out most days.

Narrating the Bible Plus Two Questions

After I read a short section, I ask one of the children to narrate what she heard in the story. Sometimes I’m tempted to skip over the 7 year old, not wanting to frustrate him (or, more honestly, not wanting to cause me to deal with any frustration) but I’m always rewarded when I ask. He may need me to lead him along a bit with questions to get him started, but I’m always amazed by what he’s retained.

Next I ask everybody: “What do we learn about _______ ‘s character (fill in David, Joshua, etc)?”

Then I ask: “What do we learn about God’s character in this story?”  For younger children, you might need to be more specific by naming the character trait, “How do we see God’s love in this story?”

I also read extra historical information from Journey through the Bible.

God’s Character through the Big Picture

By moving more quickly through the stories then we would in a regular Bible, we’ve been able to see the firm and unchanging character of God.  We’ve gathered stories of His power and might, which we’ve recalled regularly during prayers for sick friends and family members and other challenges our family has faced this past year.

Here’s are a few truths about God we’ve seen consistently through the Old Testament stories:

God hates sin (the flood, Adam and Eve, the Israelites, Jacob and Esau, Saul, idolatry of the Israelites).

God often chooses the man least fit for the job and works through him, so that God’s glory and power and not man’s power can be seen (Moses, Gideon, Moses, Joshua, Samson, David).

His patience and mercy, as with the Israelites.

His plans cannot be thwarted. (Balaam, Samson, Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Jonah).

Study the Bible, so that you can be discerning with an adaptation.

In case you decide to try a story bible, do remember that you will get less of God’s actual words and more of someone’s else-so choose carefully. Look at reviews and find the story bible with a good reputation for adhering to scripture.

You need to be a student of God’s word yourself, knowing the truth and being able to discern when the words of your story Bible don’t align with scripture. In those cases I read it aloud and then point out to the kids, “This is one person’s idea, she’s just sharing her opinion. What do we know about God to be true?” Or sometimes my olders will interrupt and voice a concern and share some scripture that keeps us on the right track.

We may have the Story Bible for breakfast, bit we also  read and memorize scripture almost every evening together and my 9 and 11 year old do their own Bible Studies during their rest time in the afternoon. The Story Bible is one part of a larger plan for studying God’s Word.

The lessons of The Story Bible are not just for kids.

God has used these stories not only for me to remind the kids of His power and might but also to constantly remind myself.  We are now in our 7th year of a turbulent health decline with my Dad.  Currently in a battle for quality care and dignity, I seem to face giants, but the Lord reminds me of story after story when He defeated the most impossible enemies.  He reminds me that He often strips back the power and army surrounding a man so that His glory can be seen.  He used the Story Bible to remind me of these truths and point me back to His scripture:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And He is not served by human hands as if He needed anything because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 17:24-25-this is a verse we memorized together with the help of Seeds)

More Resources for reading and studying the Bible

If your children are not ready for a Story Bible with mostly words and hardly any pictures (probably age 5 or 6 and younger) don’t miss The Jesus Storybook Bible, the author and illustrator have  the gospel through every story and picture.

Other resources for bringing the Word of God into your home:

 

Jan 4

The Softer Side of Starting back to School

Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I can only describe December as a whirlwind month on a sugar high.  By the day after Christmas my brain turned itself off in an act of self-preservation in order to recharge from the planning involved in the previous month.

Planning school, planning advent, planning presents, planning a service project, planning food- What a relief to find a week of nothing to plan and no lists to make.  I put off anything related to planning (school, groceries, other life responsibilites) until the very last day or two of my husband’s generous vacation time.

And then when the planning brain did turn itself back on again, fully charged, my synapses and fingers were clicking on endless great ideas-a hymn study over at Practical Pages, Composer Studies from Harmony Arts Mom, music lessons for the kids from the husband, new science curriculum that hadn’t been cracked open this year, grammar for the 11 year old…

With the planning brain now on overload and as the cut-off to vacation life drew closer, I considered post-poning school an extra few days or maybe a week (this is a perk to homeschooling, I can add on extra days at the end of the year to make it right).  But experience has shown me that we didn’t need an extra week to flounder about (the kids) and feel grumpy about responsibilities(me).  It would take us down a road of fighting and general discontent which can aptly be titled- Chaos.

Thankfully, around monday evening I remembered The Soft Start.  I reminded myself that if I added all of my ideas into our first week back there might be a few of us no longer here by the end of the week (namely me, I’d probably be driving to the beach).

So I arranged my list by what I wanted to start with the first week, add in the second week, third, and by the end of the fourth all of my hopeful plans would be included in the schedule.

An example of what this might look like:

This Week:

  • Bible
  • Math
  • Reading
  • History

Next week

  • All of the above plus,
  • Science
  • Hymn Study
  • Art

Third week:

  • Composer study
  • Music Lessons with Dad
  • Flesh out weekly schedule

You’re soft start might look slower or faster than the example above based on the ages and numbers of your children, family illness or other extenuating circumstances.

The Soft Start is about feeling successful, for everyone. The entire family gets to feel successful in getting back into a normal schedule, with a lighter load of academics in the first week, and ease into the realization that we actually like normal life quite a lot.

This Soft Start was actually even slower because, on monday, when we planned to take down the christmas decorations, we went out for hot chocolate instead and then took a nap.  Which means today we took down the decorations and brought order to the school room and peace to my mind.

You might not need a slow start.  If you have older children, who are quite capable of managing their work, and no little ones to call out for snacks and books and people to play with them, than I bet you can hit the week running.

But if you’re life this past week, minus school, has already felt full with working through sibling fights, accepting the fate of the grocery store, looking around at potential chores in every room, and finding one quiet moment to kiss your husband, and you’re wondering how in the world your going to start schooling multiple children in multiple grades, then consider the slow method.

And when you do start, start with the most important thing, the thing your kids(and you) need more than anything else, start with the Word of God, first thing in the morning, right at the table with your pancakes and cereal.  Then you’ve tasted success before you’ve even finished breakfast.

Dec 24

Christmas Family Devotional-It’s Not Too Late

Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2011

Your check list is a mile long, but a nagging thought sticks beneath the presents and the dinner preparations, “I wish we could focus more on Jesus as a family.”

It’s not too late.

Each year of parenting we seem to sort out a little further how we want to “do” Christmas with our family. Saving some old traditions, starting new ones, but most of all focusing on Christ through His word and serving others. Last year our family enjoyed an evening devotional time together during Advent.

Some things don’t seem to change.  My husband and I marvel at people who bought all of their presents eight months ago, have most of their Christmas dinner cooked and frozen ahead of time, and gets all of the kids to the right rehearsals on time.  But we scramble at the last minute for presents, wrap things at 2am on Christmas morning, and this year we’re beginning to think soup sounds like a fine Christmas dinner if it means we aren’t in the kitchen very long.

But what we didn’t procrastinate on was our family time in the evening.  All of last year’s presents are forgotten, stuffed in the back of closets or under a bed, but we all remember how much we enjoyed the six of us sitting down together to do our Advent Bible Study.  This year we started with Nancy Guthrie’s devotional book and it served us fine but it started to feel like it was just getting the job done, not leading our hearts to be challenged, encouraged, or filled with praise.

Last week Quiet Times for kids put their new Twelve Days of Christmas study on sale and I bought it, read through it, and a few nights ago we tried it.

Before this study, I only associated the twelve days of christmas with the song I sang every year in school and I knew nothing about the historic and church related celebration by the same name.  This study will not teach you anything about turtle doves or leaping lords. But in the five nights that we’ve done the study we’ve learned about the incarnation of Christ, the crown at the end of a long road of obedience, and the promise of never being seperating from our Lord. The poems are one of my favorite parts of the study, including John Piper and George MacDonald.

Each of the twelve days includes a quote, a Bible verse, a short devotion, a suggested celebration from the feasts of the historical twelve days of Christmas, and a heart-provoking poem.

Also included is an individual Bible study for the kids that correlates to the family devotion.

The study can be used at any time during the Christmas month or you can start it on the 25th, the traditional beginning of the Twelve days of Christmas, which means it’s not too late for you to begin your family devotion.  In fact, you can enjoy it more peacefully since the busy commercial season is almost at a close.

A note on recommended ages: Our kids are 11, 9, 6, and almost 3.  If my oldest was 7, I’d consider this study too advanced for our family.  But the 11 and 9 year old have been able to follow along fine, and the six year old tags along as usual, hearing important Biblical truths and he helps read the scriptures.

If you use the code below, you can purchase the study half-price, which is $7.00.

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You can read a review of some of their other studies here.

Praying for peace and hope that comes only through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord.

Nov 27

Advent: To Wait and To Do

Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2011

The expectations that arrive with the Christmas season parked themselves on my couch yesterday morning, and the growing lists of “to do’s” paralyzed me there for a good while (actually they drove me to my bed with a book).

When I think of family Bible study time in the evening, worship on sundays, the dark of the evening lit with our christmas tree, reading favorite christmas stories, and lighting the advent candles each sunday I look forward to the next month.  When I think of Advent not as a packed calendar but as the chance  to grow together in our understanding of the gift of Jesus, I’m anxious to enter this short season.

But when I think about money, presents for lots of family (budgeting, deciding, buying, making), making lots of treats to bring to librarians and sunday school teachers and others that serve us all year (this is one of the best things we do for our spirits, it’s just not exactly simple to add in to life with four kids), balancing school (which is already challenging right now) and the daily busyness of home and children, I want to skip the next four weeks.

So let’s just talk about the good stuff-the stuff of Advent without the world and its demands (and lies of what’s important) getting in the way.

Last year our family did an Advent Bible Study by Quiet Times for Kids.  The focus of the study is the prophecies of the old testament and how they were fulfilled in Jesus.  The study includes a daily individual Bible study page for the kids (the kids shared their study at dinner each night) and prophecy bags or boxes.  Prophecy bags might sound weird, but just listen.  In each bag, I placed an object as a hint of a prophecy and then printed slips of paper with the Old and New Testament scriptures.  Each night a child opened a bag, pulled out the object, and tried to guess what the prophecy might be.  Then we read aloud both scriptures.  At the end of the month we knew at least 25 ways the Word of God foretold Jesus. The scriptures and object ideas are included in the study, but you do have to take the time to gather the objects, print the scriptures and put them in boxes or bags.  The prophecy in the bag each night corresponded to the Bible Study page the next day.  We all learned and were led to worship through this study.  This year we’re bringing out the prophecy bags to enjoy again each evening.

We’re also going to read through Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie, this will be our first time using the book.

Quiet Times for Kids has a new Christmas Bible Study that will be available next week.  In an attempt to keep our time in the Word simple, rather than like a stew with a lot of things thrown in, we’re going to wait until next year to use this new Christmas Study, but it might be exactly what your family is looking for this year.

My friend, who is passionate about the Advent season, is sharing her advent ideas here.  She has the first week of advent posted and it’s full of good reads and activities to inspire a Christ-Centered month.

Waiting for Christ is so much harder than doing, and it’s even more difficult to figure out exactly what waiting looks like in this very imperfect world when day to day life demands much doing.

Today, as opposed to yesterday when I hid from the approaching weeks, I’m reminded of the privilege it is to lead hearts and be led by God in my own heart.

Feb 11

Quiet Times For Kids: A Review

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011

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We’ve been using resources from Quiet Times for Kids and we’ve been so pleased with them, I wanted to share why and how they’ve worked for our family.

Quiet Times for Kids Proverbs Bible Study from Volume 1

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“Proverbs is like a completely different book to me now.”

Spoken by Mookie, our ten year old, after sharing Day 24 of her Proverbs Study during dinner a few nights ago.

I think Proverbs is a different book for all of us after enjoying the treasures these girls have found in their daily Bible study .

Here’s what works about the Proverbs Bible Study:

  • SIMPLICITY: It’s simple and therefore the focus remains on the Word.  Each day the girls read a chapter of Proverbs and pick a verse that stands out to them (different for each girl).  After they copy a verse, they answer one question about the meaning of the verse,  and another question on how to apply the verse to their own life.  Then they illustrate the verse.  It’s takes about twenty minutes.  At first the printed sheet, in my parent’s eye, looked almost too simple.  But in this case, simplicity brings out the beauty and truth of the chosen verse.
  • It’s INDEPENDENT.  Quiet Times for Kids suggests their studies for ages 5 and up but I’m glad we didn’t start earlier than age 8. Independent with the skills of writing and reading and illustrating, they’re able to conduct their own time with the Lord, which has impacted their relationships with God. (Our five year old feels left out when his big sister’s share their Proverbs at dinner time, so we made him a simplified version to use with Leading Little Ones to God, which he and I read together.  He dictates his answers and then illustrates the lesson.  We could have followed this method with the book of Proverbs, but I think it will have more meaning to him in a few years, when it’s independent and the Lord is directing his heart.)
  • APPLICATION: In the beginning their applications for the verses were very general and seemed to have little to do with their own daily life.  As the weeks have gone on their illustrations and applications have gotten very specific. Proverbs is a great book to make a connection from the Word to life.  ”Oh, Mommy, wait til you hear this, this is a great one for our family.” “This one fits so perfect for today!”
  • ILLUSTRATION: Hands down, this is their favorite part.

There isn’t anything we haven’t liked about this study!

Here are a few examples:

The Verse:

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The Illustration:

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The Verse:

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The Illustration:

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The Verse:

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The Illustration:

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Quiet Times for Kids Advent Study

It’s post-Christmas and you’re glad to be done with your projects and activities for last year’s holiday, but I have to tell you how much we enjoyed this study.

In the evening the kids would open a Prophecy Bag (prepared earlier in the day by me) which contained an object  as a clue, an Old Testament prophecy verse, and the new testament verse that revealed how the prophecy came true through Jesus (each verse was wrapped like a tiny scroll, the kids enjoyed unrolling them).

The next morning the girls got out the one page Bible Study and copied those same two verses down and then using a timeline, learned how many years had passed between the prophecy and it’s fulfillment and then illustrated the verses.

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Although we knew some of the more famous prophecies, by the time we were done, we had learned 24 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus!  And the last day is a prophecy of Jesus’ return, building upon the idea that God has faithfully carried out the other prophecies and He will continue to do so.

The whole family enjoyed learning together and looked forward to opening the bag each night around our Advent Candles. Preparing the bags was a bit time consuming but worth it and can be brought out again next year.  Each day of the Bible Study also contains an Advent idea such as a way to bless a family member or a hymn to memorize.

Quiet Times for Kids Sermon Notes from Volume 1

We’ve started using the Sermon Notes from Volume 1 to help the kids stay focused and listen to the best of their ability during the church service.  There are several different versions to choose from and we chose one style for the 10 year old, who had already begun taking notes on her own, and a different version for the 5 and 8 year old.

In the first version, the child picks a key verse, takes notes on the blank lines, and then illustrates the verse.  Really she was doing this on her own, but it’s nice to have a notebook containing all of her notes and ready to go on Sunday morning.

The second version also has room for a key verse, and five lines to record important words they hear, and a place to illustrate. This has been great for my almost six year old who, to my surprise, has been writing down words on his own during the sermon for the last month.  (And then he gets distracted and waits sometimes patiently and sometimes very impatiently until the end of the sermon just like a normal young boy!)

Final Thoughts

The Advent Study and Volume 1 and 2 are available in printed form or digitally right to your computer. We opted for the latter so that we can print as many times as we want for multiple children.  I can see our family doing the Proverbs study once a year, discovering entirely new gems in a new season of life. It would have been difficult to purchase this volume full price, we happen to catch them during a sale.

We look at these studies and think, “These are simple, why didn’t we just make these ourselves?” But we didn’t even think of them because we’re busy with all of that life brings us. We’re so glad this family has used their gifts and time to put together these resources, because they’ve impacted our children for Christ.

You can try a week long sample Bible Study for free, just click over to Quiet Times for Kids.

*I was not asked to review this product or compensated in any way.  We simply want to pass on resources that bless our family.

Oct 19

There’s a Great Big World Out There

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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My world is pretty small.

We didn’t take family vacations to National Parks and I didn’t fly on a plane until I was 20. Though I live 12 hours from the town that I was born and raised, it’s still in the same corner of the country.  In a few weeks I travel to Colorado which is atleast a jump out of my corner.

It’s not only the distance(or lack thereof) that I’ve traveled that defines my boundaries.  A small world is a safe world.  If I stick to people of my same economic background, job position(stay at home, homeschooling mama), ethnicity, beliefs, maybe I can accept my small world as a suitable miniature copy of the larger universe.

Except it’s really not the same-at all.

Though I’ve always wanted to travel, I’ve never possessed a drop of desire to be a missionary.  A group of my college friends have lived in the inner city of our college town for ten years, sharing food and money, bringing neighbors in to live in their homes, starting home churches, and they even went to the Phillipines for a year to live and serve(about 18, including young children and a baby).  Now one of those families is off to Germany to live for 3 years and start an underground church.

Have I compared and thought that my daily existence didn’t carry the same outward purpose?  Yes, and no.  Yes,when I think “They are  so much better than I am” and no, because I’ve also felt like I had a mission in my own house.  To keep our family walking steadily with the Lord, and moving slowly away from some of the multi-generational struggles that so hard to break, to grow a strong man and three women who understand the deeper truths of the Lord.  With the myriad of other challenges since becoming a family, it seemed we had enough to attend to in our little corner.

But in the last few months I’ve noticed  a wall that’s sprung up between our family and our goals.  So many of the character traits I’m trying to build into our children are blocked simply by living in our culture.  Thankfulness in a world of consumerism? Diligence in a world of machines to make everything easier and a goal to find leisure and work less each year? Help others when we’re told only to help ourselves?  How do we effectively instill a different perspective if they only experience the middle class world of America?

At the beginning of school we started illustrating the passage of love in 1st corinthians.  Though it produced some great art for our sketch books I couldn’t get them to connect the verses to their own lives.  ”Love does not boast” was a great drawing of a wrestler who is being obnoxious from winning the round juxtaposed next to the love character who politely says in his cartoon window “I won!”  How will this help them understand the nature of God’s love and the love we’re called to give?

We remained at the wall and in the meantime I grew more frustrated and discontent with all of my responsibilities and challenges.  Poor me!

It’s usually around this time that another voice calmly speaks to my heart.  Our family needed to turn our focus off of ourselves and on to a much bigger, more diverse, poor and hurting, beautiful and inspiring world and get a big dose of perspective.  And put God’s word into action instead of a sketchbook.

Bit by bit the door is opening and I don’t know what the door flung open will look like.  But here are two resources we’ve been looking at daily.

This first book is one that I’ve seen around homeschool sites for many years but couldn’t buy it and couldn’t find it at the libary. Now our library has it and we’ve been taking a few pages at a time.

Material World by: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel

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Through this book you travel around the world gathering a picture of families-what they own, their income, their wishes and hopes for their future.  Each time the location changes there is a photograph of a family in front of their home with all of their wordly possessions(furntiure, bicycles) surrounding them.  From clay houses and huts to large homes in Britain and Iceland, our eyes are wider.  Here are some facts that have surprised the kids.

  • One yearly income was 119 dollars, only a little more than double the generous check my daughter received for her birthday.  The 7 year old who, after getting the money, had quickly decided she needed 100 dollars not fifty, dropped her jaw.
  • Or the communal baths a mile away open 2 days a week,
  • and the one room houses with 11 family members made the sharing of a room seem a little silly.
  • Or when we realized the items we put out with our garage sale last weekend tripled what some families will ever own.  And that was what we were getting ride of-our waste.
  • We found one family who doesn’t dispose of anything-nothing they consume includes any trash that needs to be thrown away.  We throw away a bag of trash a day-how could it be possible to live without any garbage?

Missionary Stories with the Millers

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There are many other missionary stories and books, this was the one we had on hand and it’s been a picture of heroes and what it means to have faith in God.  It’s also a reminder that we have a greater purpose than maintaining ourselves and our own lives.

It’s not a soapbox to climb on or a guilt trip that I hope to wake up from.  It’s a discovery of truth.  Looking for the wider world makes my world look more not less.  Instead of seeing how little we have to give, we see how our smallest offerings make a difference.

It’s a journey for sure, but my heart seems to growing along with my world.

How does your corner look today?

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Mar 1

Resources for Daily Worship

Posted on Monday, March 1, 2010

I hope I’ll have a few minutes this week to talk about how adding Square Time(as named by 4 year old Drummer Boy) to jumpstart our day has given us fuel for the day.

Right now the family who inspired us toward this change in our day is hosting a contest to win the ebook so that you can read all about it for yourself.  Particularly if you have more than one child, I highly recommend entering the contest and if you don’t win, go ahead and buy the very reasonably priced ebook.

For today I want to share a few resources for the Worship and Bible portion of our Square Time.

Worship
I can’t carry a tune or play an instrument, and although I have led us through some songs we’ve really enjoyed the videos available on youtube, words included, to bring a joyful noise to our worship time. The words help the readers and the pictures help the 4 year old track with us. A few examples:

There are also many audio links and lyrics for popular children’s bible songs, here.

Scripture Memory
This weekend I discovered Seeds, a band who combines God’s word with hip, quality music.  I bought two of their 4 cds, each cd package contains a complete cd for yourself and a complete cd to give away!

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We’ll be listening to a verse a week(in addition to playing the whole cd in the car), learning one verse before moving to the next. Their website contains a verse checklist and verse memory cards to coordinate with the cd’s.

Even more exciting you can start listening to their music right now, here.

Memorizing the Books of the Bible

Each day they ask to listen to this song again and again.  We’ve learned the first ten books in the last week.  It’s addicting.
When we start the next five books I have my writers copy the names into their Square Time notebook.

Studying the Word

  • Leading Little Ones to God: A Child’s Book of Bible Teachings by Marian M. Schoolland
  • The Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos
  • Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 1 by Ella K. Lindvall
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible
  • My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt

(If you have a wide variety of ages, let your older children know that sometimes you’ll be reading Bible books directed toward their younger siblings and sometimes at their level.  We are re-reading Leading Little Ones to God, my 7 and 9 year old are looking up the Bible passages reading them aloud to us.  I also ask them to listen for something that is new to this time.)

Prayer

I tried to teach this prayer to my girls when they were 3 and 4 and we just didn’t stick with it.  But we started again and it’s really brought about the sweetest part of our time in the morning.

Mookie “Mommy before we start can I tell you something? The other day when Jellybean and I were fighting I didn’t tell her but I prayed that God would soften my heart and her heart and we stopped fighting, God answered my prayer!” And we all praised God.

Don’t force your kids to pray this way.  Some mornings my kids have moaned and groaned and then joined in later as we go down the prayer, “Lord, I confess I didn’t want to pray when we started.” Oh, my heart.

Basically we take each letter and go around in a circle(or square) saying one or two things aloud related to it, and continue to the next letter.

A-Adoration(You’re great!)

C-Confession(I’ve sinned, I’m sorry)

T-Thanksgiving(Thank you for answering my prayer)

S-Supplication(God supplies all we need, “Lord please help Grandad get out of the hospital”)

Here are a few more places to read about it:

http://teachingthem.com/2008/10/03/acts-prayers-for-kids/
http://www.suite101.com/lesson.cfm/19359/2957/4
http://withthekids.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/exploring-prayer-acts/

Everytime we go back to putting our Bible and Prayer time first, no matter whether it goes smoothly or not, all of our hearts are softer, ripe for learning, filled up with our Daily Bread.  Which is more important, that your child know how to label pronouns and verbs, or that your child knows how to spend time with the Lord?

Dec 11

Late Start Christmas Idea

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2009

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You might be like me.

You might be a little late wrapping your head around Christmas this year.  You might be like me and have all the intentions in the world to create a meaningful, non-worldly celebration of Christ’s birthday this year, but for one reason or another you’re still trying to figure out the daily tasks like getting dinner made.  You might be like me and enjoy all things creative and get overwhelmed by all your brilliant ideas and procrastinate picking one or two and now it’s December 11th.

Last week I wrote about our daily advent of unwrapping christmas books.  After a few days I realized that book time had become much more exciting then reading the Word.

Here’s an idea that we started just a few days ago. Luke has 24 chapters, perfect for Advent(if it were December 1st), so a few days ago I handed out some blank books that I picked up a while back and a special set of sketching pencils.  I told the kids that I was going to read a chapter from Luke and they could draw pictures from the story as I read. At the end of the month, I told them, you’ll have your own book of the Christmas story.  Each morning since we’ve started,  when I’ve announced it’s Bible time, there have been shouts of “Yeaaa”!

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Mookie, age 9

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Jellybean, age 7

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Drummer Boy, age 4 1/2

To make this idea work for you:

  • Luke tells the story beyond the birth of Jesus.  You might look at the other gospels and pick one that tells the early Christmas events in more detail.  Pick 12 chapters to finish off the days until Christmas.
  • This activity will be more exciting if you give your children some specials supplies they only use for this activity.  If you don’t have blank books, make one with construction paper, blank printer paper, and staples or yarn.  Consider a new pack of crayons, pencils, markers, or sketch pencil.
  • If you’re doing this with younger children, allow them freedom of imagination.  In our Drummer Boy’s Christmas Story, there are pirates and a computer.  But he is listening to the story and gaining confidence in his drawing skills.
  • Stop once or twice during your reading and ask a child to narrate back what’s happened so far.
  • My kids drew large, two page pictures and then realized a few days later that their pages would be used up before we read all of the chapters.  You might let your children now how many days they’ll be drawing so they can divide up their book.

Let me know if you give it a try at your house.