I thought I'd do a series of posts on how we do each of our academic subjects. I'll start where we begin our days - with Bible lessons. Three main components comprise our Bible class - Singing, Bible reading, and Prayer.
We always begin with singing. We have quite a list of hymns and praise choruses we have learned over the past few years. Currently we are learning a new hymn each month and reviewing a previous one each day. I choose the new hymns and the kids take turns choosing one from our repertoire. I have each hymn listed on a 3x5 card and we are working through the entire pack, not repeating any before we get through the stack. We sing acapella.
I have been collecting hymn books for a while. We had all different ones for a couple years, but a few months ago, I found several all the same at a thrift store. So now we have enough for us all to use the same ones, even if they are rather well-used. Adds to their character, right?
Learning hymns is beneficial in a number of ways. Children will learn what to expect in some churches. They learn about using indexes, about reading music, about the composers and lyricists, as well as hearing some great poetry. All that even without the spiritual benefits, which I find are many. I have memorized quite a few great hymns and they often come back to me in times of need.
After singing, we move into Bible study. We are still using the versatile four-volume Bible Study Guide for All Ages which we have been using for about 10 years. I wrote a blog post about it almost 2 years ago. As with everything else, our methods change as we grow and as our lives change. We just finished Volume 1 for the second time and have started Volume 2. My goal is to finish the remaining three volumes before David graduates so that he and Emily will have done all four volumes twice. We'll do our best to meet that goal.
What we are doing right now is about three days a week we are doing 1 or 2 lessons a day. I am not doing the workbook/activity sheet portion of the program as seen on the website. I am only using the teacher manual. We take turns reading aloud the assigned Scriptures for the lesson(s), usually 1-3 chapters. I divide the day's verses into 4-5 portions and have the kids read them aloud. This gives them a chance to work on elocution and reading something they haven't practiced. After they read aloud, I ask them to summarize the selection. One of my children has a great deal of trouble with summaries, but has improved since working on this. Suzy (my youngest at age 8) has a lot of trouble reading, but has lately been asking to also read a verse - a HUGE improvement for her!
We used to do the comprehension questions after each lesson, but we can easily take an hour to do Bible if we do the program as written. So what I've started doing is taking one day a week to do a review, using the built-in color-coded review system in the manuals. We do the review like a quiz show or competition sometimes, which adds a level of fun (or sometimes frustration! lol). These questions go back to previous lessons and even previous volumes to keep the learning fresh.
The last thing we do is prayer time. I've recently felt the need to be more structured with that so I added in a prayer journal I had for a number of years after seeing it mentioned at my MOPS group. I never used it in my personal prayer time, but I decided to use it with the kids. We are working on several main components of prayer - worship, thanksgiving, confession, and petition. Keeping track of prayer requests has been another big recent change for us. I want the kids to see how prayers are answered - sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes quick, sometimes not as quickly as we'd like. For now I am doing most of the praying aloud, but I am expecting the kids to start taking part in that, eventually being able to lead it. Leading prayer aloud is something I want them all to be comfortable with before leaving our home.
What I know we are missing is Bible memory. I need to add that in, but right now it just seems overwhelming. Maybe just saying that here is enough to get me started. Anyone have a great list of verses to memorize?
Note: We have not been using the flannel figures as described in another post I wrote on Bible lessons. I wish we were, but it's just a layer I can't seem to add at this point. The kids like it but they don't seem to miss it.
Bible time is probably the most structured subject we do. Most of our other studies are far less so, as you will see in coming days.