Homepreschool and Beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Teaching Bible’

Helping Our Children Grow Close Relationships with God, Part Two

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on August 20, 2014

In my last post, I shared that two primary ways we teach our children about God are through example, and through teaching. In this post, I will share some specific thoughts/ideas about HOW to do it:

Through Example: The hardest part of parenting, I believe, is disciplining ourselves to be who we need to be, so that we are good examples for our children. (Self-control. Why does it always have to come back to that? SIGH.) In my book, Homepreschool and Beyond, I call this “teaching through parenting:”

The best definition of good parenting I’ve ever heard is from Anne Ortland, who says, “Successful parenting means: One, becoming what you should be. And two, staying close enough to the children that it will rub off.” She challenges us further by asking, “What will you become, in order that your offspring may turn out to be great human beings for God?”

We need to admit that we can’t be good examples in our own strength. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, and help us. So we can’t be good examples for our children unless we abide in Christ. One resource that has helped me tremendously in this area is the Christian classic, Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. You can even get it for FREE on your Kindle! In this book, Brother Lawrence talks about how, no matter what he is doing, a part of him can be (no, IS) in the presence of God, and how the presence of God changes everything! It even makes doing the dishes a blessing. When we are conscious of the fact that we are continually in His presence, it changes how we talk to people, react to people (often with prayer instead of anger), and most importantly, how we think. One idea that can help us with this is to set some type of alarm (on a watch, perhaps?) for every 15 or 30 minutes, just to remind us to think about God and the fact that He is with us. Then, we can pray and thank Him for that.

Another resource that has been very helpful to me is, The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Myers. The battle is in our minds, and learning about how to control our thoughts and spiritual warfare is very helpful. Her books on habits are helpful, too (replace the bad with the good!)

It is certain that the Lord is calling us to (greater) holiness. The Lord Jesus Christ wants true disciples who follow His example. No compromise. No shades of grey. No syncretism (mixing Christianity with contradictory beliefs or actions.) Are you willing to give up whatever has been holding you back from living the kind of life you should? Whatever part of YOU that you aren’t willing to totally give to God? What do you need to give up/change/start doing/surrender and submit to God in order to live in holiness?

Through Teaching:
The Word of God: Our children need to be saturated in the Word of God. In order to do this, we also need to be saturated in the Word. This is the only way to grow, to Abide in the Lord, and His Word. To do this, obviously, we need to spend time in God’s Word daily. It is easy to let this go in favor of extra sleep, more time to work, or simply being too busy. But I’ve discovered the hard way that when I don’t spend the time I need to spend in the Word (and in prayer and worship), several things happen: I’m not abiding in the Lord as well as I should be, so I start to be crabby, selfish, depressed, and…well…carnal. The old man starts to win out. OR, I begin to feel spiritually “off”, or even find myself in spiritual oppression/warfare. Satan loves to attack us when we’re down, and when we don’t spend time in the Word, we’re down…we have opened ourselves up to attack. Don’t give the devil an opportunity!!

Another point: If we aren’t in the Word, it is really difficult for us to answer our children’s questions about the Word, God, salvation, etc. We need to be growing ever stronger and more mature in the Lord, so that we can answer our children’s questions about God!!

I have to admit, this is still something that I am working on. I’m in the Word almost every day now…I still have occasional days when I slip up. I try to do my devotional times first thing in the morning. I highly recommend the “Lord” series by Kay Arthur. Buy the CD’s or MP3’s that go with them, or join a group study. I’ve especially enjoyed Lord, Heal My Hurts, Lord, is it Warfare? Teach Me to Stand, and Lord, I Want to Know You.

Another way to help our children (and ourselves) abide in the Word is by memorizing it. We use Simply Charlotte Mason’s method for memorizing scripture. I simply read the scriptures to them over and over, and they join in as they can. Sometimes I break the scriptures up into short phrases for them to repeat, or I’ll let them fill in every other word of verses that they know fairly well. I don’t care as much about memorizing the references right now as I do memorizing the verses themselves. You can also use scripture memory songs to help you memorize (you can make up your own, or find some on Amazon.)

As for what to memorize: When your children are very young, start with simple, short verses like these:
Psalms 119:105; Psalms 118:1, Psalm 147:1. You could also start with scripture memory books, designed just for preschoolers, and memorize one Bible verse for each letter of the alphabet. Scripture Memory Fellowship offers a nice one designed especially for two and three year-olds (along with lots of other topical booklets with Bible verses to memorize, for all ages,) or you can print up your own memory verse cards for FREE from Homeschool Creations. Another option that is especially good for 4-6 year olds is Susan Hunt’s book, My A, B, C Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts. This book has a devotional and a memory verse for each letter (if I remember correctly, I had to self-edit a little of the devotionals to align them with our doctrinal beliefs, so you might want to pre-read the devotions before reading them to your kids.) This book contains slightly longer verses, for kids who have already had some experience with memory work.

As your children get older, move them up to longer verses, such as Psalms 34:13; James 1:19-20; Phil. 2:14; Romans 12:21; Psalms 56:3-4; Proverbs 20:11. Once your children reach second or third grade, you can also memorize the books of the Bible, the twenty-third Psalm, Psalm 100, the Apostle’s Creed, or even whole chapters of the Bible. Psalms and Ephesians are especially good for this.

Daily “Bible” time:
A daily devotional time with your children is an important component of teaching your children Biblical concepts, as is praying together, taking our children to church regularly, and simply talking to our children about spiritual matters.

Some families have their devotionals together first thing in the morning; others at night. If possible, dads should lead the devotions (in our home, Dad is going to start reading the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the week every night.) Young children need spiritual input from both their mothers and their fathers. A daily devotional does not have to be long; for preschoolers, 10-20 minutes is more than enough. This is what we do: We start by gathering in a comfortable place, such as a living or family room with a comfy couch. When our children were young, we’d start by singing active Sunday School-type songs, to get the wiggles out. Next, we’d sing a hymn or two. We concentrate on one or two hymns at a time, and start with just learning the first verse and the chorus. Hymns are important because they are filled with scripture (they can help with memorization) and doctrine. They are a spiritual heritage that I don’t want my children to miss out on, even though our church does “modern” worship almost exclusively. If you learn the hymns, the Lord will bring them into your mind to help, comfort, and encourage you when you are down…IF you know them. (NOTE: You can also buy more “modern” versions of hymns, sung by many of the popular contemporary Christian singers, if you want to. We have CD’s of hymns done by Amy Grant, for example.) We also sing some of the praise songs that we hear on the radio (we like K-LOVE) or that we sing in church. After this, we work on our Bible memory work, and finally, we read together. What we read depends on our children’s ages, listening abilities, and spiritual understanding. When our children were little, we’d read a short Bible story. As they get older, we move up to longer stories, and later, we read both stories and devotional books. Finally, we move up to reading the Bible itself.

Next post: What to read for daily devotions, final tips about teaching Bible, and things we must not overlook.

© 2010, 2014 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Portions of this post were taken from Homepreschool and Beyond, used with permission.


Posted in Challenge to Parents, Family Fun, Homepreschool, Homeschool/homepreschool, Homeschooling, Parenting, Relationships, Spiritual Matters, Teaching Bible | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Josh’s Remember Mind (Remembering What’s Important; Notebooking)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on July 18, 2010

      NOTE:  This was originally posted two years ago on my old blog, which was a part of  Homeschool Enrichment Magazine’s website during the time I was their “Early Learning Columnist.”  I thought it was worth reviving…with some changes.

     My seven year old son Joshua has a very unique mind.  He calls it his “remember mind”.   He says that when he really wants to remember something, he puts it in his remember mind.   Once it is there, he will never forget it.  He also has a “un-remember mind”–sort of like a big garbage bin where he permanently dumps things he doesn’t need to remember (or doesn’t want to). 

     If only his “remember mind’ was for real, and not just a figment of his over-active imagination.  If only we could have remember minds, too!   But we can’t even seem to remember the things that are most important to us–such as why we chose to homeschool, what the most important parts of our home life and homeschool truly are, and how greatly the Lord has blessed us.  Day to day life crowds out so many things we should bear in mind everyday—every hour.

     Having a “un-remember mind” would be just as helpful.  By utilizing our “UN-remember” minds, we could live a more joyous life.  We could forget to worry about our constant doubts and questions such as “will our children have gaps?” or “am I doing enough?” or “how can I possibly get it all done?”  Instead, we could concentrate on the here and now—just doing the next thing that needs to be done, and keeping the main thing the main thing. (Forgetting our failures? I suppose that would be too much to ask for…after all, we learn so much through those difficult experiences.) 

     Even though I’ve been a Christian since early childhood, married for 24 years, a mom for twenty years, and a homeschooling mom for 14 years, I still have been unable to train my mind to work like a “remember mind” should.  I often forget the most important things, and worry too much about the things I should forget about.  You’d think I’d have home life and homeschooling down pat by now, but I don’t.  I need a remember mind…and a “un-remember mind”…and I need them fast!

Notes to Help with Your “Remember Mind”:  

     There are things we can do to develop our “remember minds”.  It’s a good idea to start a special notebook (or two) to act as our “remember minds” (Cindy Rushton calls hers a “brain in a binder.”)  Here are some ideas for your notebooks, taken from mine: 

*Write down the reasons you have chosen to homeschool. That way, when you have a difficult day (or week, or month), you can look back on your reasons and be encouraged.

*Write down some short and long term goals for your family. Start with spiritual and character goals. That way, when you get discouraged, you can review your goals.  Usually you’ll find that you are meeting your most important goals.

*Make your own Bible notebook.  I use mine to record important sermon notes, notes from Bible studies, Bible verses that are special to me, encouraging quotes and sayings, and so on.  You can make one for your children, too (ages 9+).

*Make your own prayer notebook.  In it, record who you are praying for, when you started praying for them, and answers received.

*Make a household notebook.  Write down your housekeeping routines, important phone numbers, menu plans, etc.  To get you started, investigate flylady.net.  You can find her notebook suggestions HERE (she calls hers a “control journal.”) You can also find great pages for your control journal/school planning journal at Donna Young’s site.

Wonderful links for journaling/notebooking for moms:

Setting up your Bible journal, from a Holy Experience

Journaling as a spiritual discipline, also from A Holy Experience

 Bible notebooks for children:

Young children can include coloring pages and Bible copywork; older children can use their notebooks very much as adults would.

Great ideas from Squidoo 

Bible Scribe— (to purchase); kids draw and write on these pre-made Bible notebook pages  

More Notebooking pages to buy (or just glean ideas from)

Calvary Bible Coloring pages:  A page to color for every major story in the Bible

Ignite the Fire:  Lists single sentence summaries or titles for each book of the Bible—awesome for children and adults.

For the Inspired Mom:  Tons of links and ideas for making your own “brain in a binder” that will help you organize your homeschool, your home, your goals, and your life. 

    Use these tools to help you make the main thing the main thing!


 © 2008, 2009, 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Encouragement, Goals, Homepreschool, Homeschool | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »