The Watering Place: Come and Be Filled
Homeschooling Encouragement Article by Wynne and Harriet Yoder
Here is another article in our series on teaching Christianity to your children.
Studying the Bible, doing devotions, and praying as a family isn’t hard once you get started. If the Lord has planted this idea in you, He will make the way for you to accomplish it. Start small and add more as everyone gets with the program!
Here are the links to topics on this page:
Choosing the Reading
Choose a book of the Bible and read a chapter a day. My children love Daniel, Ruth, Jonah, and Revelation. Genesis is a good place to start. You can always alternate between the Old Testament book and the New Testament. You can also add one Psalm and a chapter of Proverbs.
Same Bible: Is Everyone on the Same Page?
Take turns reading aloud if you want your child to practice reading the Bible aloud. When you share reading, it helps for everyone to have the same Bible translation.
When our children were younger, we purchased inexpensive award type Bibles with a large print. We were all on the same page at the same time. It’s easier for everyone to keep up and take turns reading aloud. We always looked ahead and saved the easy-to-read verses for the youngest readers. There are usually nice repetitive verses in the Psalms that work well If your family reads a Psalm or two per day. For very new readers, my husband or I would read until there was an easy word and ask the newbie to read or sound out that word.
It is a confidence builder. The older children learn to be sympathetic as wait patiently. In addition to its spiritual aspects, the Bible is well written. Is there a better place to learn language patterns and great writing styles?
Use a Bible atlas to locate the places you read about, if applicable. Use an atlas that is appropriate for the ages of your children. Or you can have one for each child at his ability level.
Open with prayer. You can pray aloud yourself, ask for a volunteer, choose someone, or go around the circle and ask each person to pray. Ask the Lord to bless the reading of Bible.
Before you start the day’s reading, ask your child(ren) to tell you what you read about yesterday This encourages retention of the material, You can prompt or ask questions to jog the memory.
Read Bible passages aloud. It is amazing how daily Bible readings can follow along with real life. For example, Wynne had been reading Revelation to the children. During that time, they watched the “Left Behind” videos. Our little boys saw things in the movie that their father had read about that day! (Those little boys are young men now. Two of them play instruments for the worship team at their churches.)
Ask questions about what you just read. Let your child narrate back to you. You will be able to tell how much he understood. Encourage the children to answer in complete sentences.
The Word Does not Return Void! You Don’t Have to Have Super-Spiritual Moments 24/7.
Keep in mind that devotions don’t have to feel super spiritual to be spiritual moments. The word does not return void! You are planting seeds and it may take time to see results. God is the One who makes the super-spiritual moments happen. Believe it.
Keep Little Hands Busy
Various Bible coloring books are available. Or you can encourage your child to draw what you are reading about on plain paper with crayons or colored pencils.
I made felt boards by sewing two different colors of felt together with a piece of cardboard between the layers to add stiffness. The children used these to make pictures on the felt during times when I wanted to keep them quiet.
- Purchase precut felt squares and cut them down to fit into the large zipping baggies.
- Cut the excess felt from each square into various shapes.
- Cut the cardboard about 1/2″ smaller than the felt squares.
- Sew a straight stitch about 1/4″ from the edge. If you don’t sew, you can use a hot glue gun, following safety precautions.
- Store them in a large baggie.
- Watch the children play quietly while you have your devotions.
Need More Structure for Your Bible Studies?
There are excellent children’s Bible studies and courses available for purchase if you want more structure. The Bible Study Guide for All Ages is great for beginners and uses your favorite Bible translation. There are four volumes and you can start in any one of them. Each one has a mix of Old and New Testament readings. All four volumes cover the entire Bible.
At Lamp Post Homeschool we also carry traditional Bible curriculum that is used by Christian schools and homeschools alike.
Praying With Your Children
- Explain to the children that praying is our way of talking with God and that God hears our prayers and answers them.
- If you are new at this and haven’t prayed with your children before, it might be good to lead the prayer yourself for a few days before asking them to pray
- It is ok to prompt small children or reluctant older children if they don’t know what to say. For example, ask them to thank God for something. One sentence is just fine for starters.
- Remember it gets easier with practice!
- Consider keeping a family prayer journal.
- Suggested Prayer Topics
- Pray for the physical and spiritual needs of your family. We take prayer requests before we pray and assign a request to each person.
- This helps children to learn to think about others.
- Pray for extended family/church family/neighbors/the nations. That’s a lot but the Lord will lead your prayer time.
- When we are having a bad day, we stop what we are doing to have a prayer session to get our hearts right with God. Usually we start with repentance prayer with everyone included. Typically a bad day involves bad attitudes and unrepentant hearts, but it is also very likely that the enemy is throwing lots of fiery darts and prayer builds up the shield of faith to quench them. (See Ephesians chapter 6).
Start small! Think about verses that changed your walk with the Lord. It is much easier to teach what you have experienced. Once the children are used to learning verses, you can start learning passages.
- Encourage your child to memorize scripture passages such as:
- The Ten Commandments
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Beatitudes
- The 23rd Psalm
- The spiritual warfare chapter–Ephesians 6
Rewards It is ok to give prizes for remembering Bible verses. It is encouraging to everyone. Again you can start with small rewards such as special privileges, little prizes, or treats. One summer we told the children we would go to our favorite amusement park when all of them learned 1 Corinthians 13. Each of the older children teamed up with a younger child to practice the verses. Even our two nephews who were visiting memorized it.
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Copyright 2000-2017 Wynne and Harriet Yoder, All rights reserved
Lamp Post Homeschool
1741 Tallman Hollow Road
Montoursville, PA 17754
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