Ah, Christmas - it's one of the most wonderful times of the year! There's a sense of joy and excitement that surrounds all the parties, caroling, gift giving, Santa Claus, baked goodies, and lighted decorations. Those things, however, should only be as a result of the joy and excitement that Jesus brought into this dark world when He came to live among us.
In my last post, I mentioned how the Bible is the perfect tool in training our children through discipline and discipleship. We should never underestimate the power of God through His Word. Today, I'd like to share with you some tools that we use to formally teach the Bible in our home. Maybe this will give you some ideas too.
YouVersion - Technology is wonderful. My husband and I usually have our phones on us or nearby, so downloading a Bible app has been a great way to have the Bible right at our fingertips in any given moment. We like to read the "verse of the day" to our children at breakfast. We even play a game with it where the kids have to guess where the verse comes from in the Bible. They usually don't know, so we give hints to help them. Then, we talk about what the verse means. We keep it brief and simple. It is a time for us to be encouraged and move on with our day.
YouVersion: The Bible App for Kids - This is a wonderful idea for kids to play and learn about the Bible too. My small children love tapping on the pictures to see what they will do.
Children's Bibles & Storybooks:
When small children are concerned, it helps to keep things simple. We have found that using children's Bibles and simplified Bible stories are great for teaching and bonding time with our kids. Here are some that we have used and love:
The Beginner's Bible - Very simple and colorful pictures
Bible Stories to Read - This has a corresponding coloring book which can make a nice keepsake.
ESV Seek and Find Bible - Although the ESV is not my preferred Bible version, I like that this Bible has simplified stories with follow-up comprehension questions spread all throughout. This makes a good transition for a child who is starting to read independently. Upon writing this post, I have learned that this Bible is no longer in print. However, I'm sure there are other Bibles with similar format.
Read and Share Devotional - This is one that is wonderful to read to younger children. We wore this book out and then lost it. It's on my wishlist to buy again because I love it so much. It includes activities to do with your child and focuses on character traits as well as bible stories. There are also four volumes of Read and Share Bible DVDs which are great and not overstimulating for smaller children. If I had to choose just one favorite book to purchase for little ones, this would be it.
Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids - Once my son was good at reading, he received this devotional as a gift. He loves to read this at bedtime.
Bible Study Curriculum:
Since we homeschool, we include Bible as one of our subjects. We could simply count Bible reading as sufficiently fulfilling the course objective (which we have done), but sometimes we prefer a curriculum to follow and guide us through our Bible study.
Character Building For Families, Volume 1 - This is our choice curriculum for this year. In the past, I have led our children in Bible time at the start of our school time. This year, we have changed our day up a bit so that we have Bible time in the evenings with Daddy. So far, we are liking it. Our older two children are doing well understanding the scripture reading and concepts taught. Although my preschooler is picking up some things along the way, this curriculum is a little too advanced for her age and maturity level. Still, it is good training for the little ones to learn how to sit still and quiet while listening to Daddy teach us during family Bible time.
Studying God's Word: Book C - This is a great workbook that a child who is reading can work through independently. My son used this when he was a second grader.
There are so many good resources for studying the Bible and teaching your kids beyond what I've shared here. However, these resources are only tools to help get things going. They can be great jumping off points for those looking for guidance. In my mind, though, nothing should be a substitute for just opening the Bible and reading. God's Word is powerful and effective. It will never return void.
What resources have you used in your home to help plant the Word of God in your children's hearts?
Last week I posted a link of our new family schedule that we are loosely implementing before the baby gets here. I didn't give much explanation about it because I didn't want that post to get very lengthy. However, I do feel there are some things you should know about our family schedule, so today that is what I'd like to share.
The Schedule Serves Me and My Family (not the other way around) - Although scheduling our days is a great help, I (or anyone else) reserve the right to change it at a moment's notice. Sometimes there are days or weeks when we don't follow the schedule at all. That is okay because we may have other things that pop up which are more important. This has probably been the most important lesson for me to learn. I used to get down on myself when I couldn't follow a set schedule. Now, I am learning that it's no big deal. It's there, written down, when we are ready to jump back in.
The Schedule is Imperfect - The odds of having the perfect schedule is probably zero. It takes tweaking as our family dynamics change. Plus, we may discover things that don't work or spaces in our day that we've not allowed enough time for an activity. We tweak as we go. It is a working schedule not a finished masterpiece.
The Schedule Helps Our Bodies Rest - Before this type of schedule, it was hard to manage how much rest and sleep each family member was getting. When I blocked off time to make sure we were all getting adequate sleep, I quickly realized that before we weren't getting enough. This has been very helpful. God intends for us to rest. We can't do it all, and a laid out plan helps me to prioritize what needs to get done and what is not necessarily profitable for me and my family. Sleep is good!
The Schedule Tames The Kiddos - Kids are kids. They are wild and rambunctious. With 6 people in our family, it gets a little loud and crazy at times. It goes with the territory. But, it's also important as parents to train our children to reign in those childish and foolish ways and learn how to be respectful, get along with others, and serve in the family. Our schedule allows for focused time (school, chores), free time, family time, and alone time. I think the mixture of these activities allows my children to learn responsibility and yet still have freedom to just be a kid. A huge thing that helps my children get along with each other is assigning them a time to play alone with another sibling. This way they are not all 4 playing with each other all the time. You would be amazed at how just taking one child out of the mix makes a difference in the dynamics of the rest of the group. Our schedule helps to ensure that certain siblings get that opportunity to form a closer bond. That is precious to me as a mom!
Now, it's your turn. Have you reaped benefits from a family schedule? What have you learned that you can share here?
I've learned as our family has grown that we have to be structured to make things run smoothly around here (or at least not be as chaotic). I'm sure it's no surprise to those who know me that I like things organized. With the addition of our fourth child last year, however, I came to the realization that things had gotten out of control.
You see, when Mama can handle everything, all is well. But, let Mama get sick or have a baby that causes her to be off her feet with other little ones still needing direction, the home is turned upside down. Attitudes are off, the family is on edge, and we as the parents are trying to remember how it is that children are a blessing. Frankly, however, the lack of sleep, the discipline problems, and the revved up chaos moves front and center, and major frustration sets in for parents and children.
Yes, that was the scene in our home last year. After several months, I determined that there had to be a better way. I knew in my heart that children are a blessing. God's Word is true. We just had to figure out how to be good stewards of these blessings. I found two great resources from www.Titus2.com called "Managers of Their Homes" and "Managers of Their Chores." The Maxwell family ministers to families and offers many great resources on their website.
With these resources in hand, I quickly read and started implementing a plan for our family. Now, I've always had some sort of plan or "schedule" for the day, but the Maxwell's laid out some great ideas that I had not thought of before. Our new schedule was a life saver for us. Now, with my due date approaching for child #5, I am trying to get things in place now for a much smoother transition. I have already posted a new schedule (on our fridge) that includes the baby in it just so we can be going through the motions of our day with me having to tend to a newborn.
Let me say that I don't expect the newborn to follow this schedule...although if it did that would be great! However, the idea is that I have blocked off time in my day so that everyone recognizes that I won't be available for everyone all the time, and the household can continue on with or without me.
There's more I'd like to say about our schedule. However, I don't want this post to be too long. Maybe I'll follow up next week with some more thoughts. For now, here is our Monday-Friday family schedule:
Hello! I'm Genna. I'm so glad you've decided to visit. Click here, to learn more about me and WMH.
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