Public Speaking and Homeschooling

Do your kids love public speaking?

Can you picture your kids being up on stage talking and presenting?

Do you picture your kids being good leaders one day?

How many hours a week, or a month or a year, have you spent in building public speaking skills with your children?

Running a clinic with multiple doctors and staff requires my wife and me to review countless resumes and interview many people. Many people flunk their interview within seconds simply because they were either not able to hold eye contact, were overcome by anxiety, or were not able to think critically under pressure when answering questions.

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking, and it is one of the most common phobias in the world. Whether people realize it or not, their career and life decisions are often decided by their public speaking skills. Some people may choose to pursue a career where they will interact with many people daily. Some may choose to do the opposite, where they will work in private, or have less interaction with people. If your kids learn to speak in public today, they can prepare themselves to speak properly in public, and to manage the fears of presenting in front of others for the future. To put it simply, your children’s future careers may depend on these skills.

We all want our kids to do well when they grow up. We want them to be confident enough to be on stage, especially when God opens doors for opportunities to influence others. We want them to be leaders. Our family intentionally decided to invest in public speaking skills and stage presence skills when homeschooling them on a daily basis. I’d like to share some ideas you may find useful in your homeschooling journey.

MEMORIZATION

There are three benefits of memorization. The first is emotional health benefits. Remember that the brain is a muscle that must be exercised. There is a part of the brain called the hippocampus which is in charge of making and keeping memories, and partly responsible for managing emotions. People with Alzheimer’s disease have their hippocampus fail first and severely before other parts of the cortex fail. People with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizoprenia have a hippocampus that shrinks gradually.  The hippocampus also is now known to control the hormone estrogen, which controls emotions and mood changes.

By training yourself and your kids to memorize things, it may prevent you and your children from depression, anxiety, mood changes, Alzheimer’s, and other mental illnesses!  

The second benefit of memorization is, as your children spend time memorizing passages, tables, and poems, they learn to focus. Studies have found that students who were required to memorize from an early age often go on to have more capacity to focus on educational tasks as high school and college students. Researchers from the National Institute on Health and Aging have found that adults who went through short bursts of memory training were better able to maintain higher cognitive functioning and everyday skills, even five years after going through the training. Practicing memorization allowed the elderly adults to delay typical cognitive decline by seven to 14 years!

The third benefit is increased confidence.  When a child learns to do something difficult, they earn a great sense of accomplishment. This is especially true where plays or presentations are concerned; children often receive praise or even applause after they recite a poem or act in a play, which increases their self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.

Start with a simple task such as memorizing short Bible verses. This is something you can even do with a two-year old. Ask them to do it while standing up before meals and during morning and evening worship times. Ask them to keep their eyes focused on you and to speak clearly with a smile on their face. I make it more personal and understandable by modifying some of the Bible verses so they can understand the meaning of them. Here are 12 simple verses that you can use for each month of the year or the first six months of the year (two verses a month, depending on your child’s ability to memorize):

    1. Numbers 6:24 The Lord bless you and keep you.
    2. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
    3. Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world.
    4. Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey Mommy and Daddy in the Lord.
    5. Matthew 28:20 Jesus said He is with me always.
    6. John 10:11 Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd.
    7. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
    8. Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
    9. Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
    10. Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
    11. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in Jesus.
    12. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Some kids who are kinetic learners will find it easier and enjoyable to memorize Bible verses while doing an activity such as running in circles, hula hooping, dancing to a song, doing signs or hand gestures, etc. Make sure to repeat these verses daily during dinner time or worship time.

Older kids can start memorizing a whole chapter of a Bible or a long passage. Have them present to you during morning or evening worship, or in the middle of homeschooling session in between subjects. Even better, parents should also memorize these passages and maybe even do a competition with the older kids!

This will not only help them understand important spiritual lessons, but also help their brain cells to handle large amount of information which improves their cognitive functions. Here are a few ideas of important Bible chapters or passages that older kids and adults should memorize:

    1. Numbers 6:24-26
    2. The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:1-17
    3. The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12
    4. The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15
    5. Psalm 23 & 46
    6. 1 Corinthians 13
    7. Romans 8 & 12

REGULAR GIGS, AWARDS, AND REWARDS

As mentioned previously, when children receive applause and praises, their sense of self-worth and confidence are also increased. Even better, treat them with rewards or awards every so often.  

  • Have them present what they just learned from science or history lessons in the morning to the rest of the family during evening meal.  Ask them open-ended questions: “What did you learn about amphibians this morning? What did you learn about the Egyptians today?”  
  • Morning and/or evening worship times are perfect for them to present a Bible verse or chapter.  
  • Have the kids present what they memorize in front of church as part of the worship program or Adventist Youth program.  
  • Challenge other kids in their Sabbath School class to memorize verses and passages as well, and have them present during church service.  
  • Have your kids present their school project or what they learned this past week to their grandparents or family friends when they visit.  
  • Make a calendar with goals of which passages to memorize for the month and for the rest of the year.

USING VISUAL AIDS AND PROPS

Just like with a science presentation, help your kids with their speaking presentation using visual aids and props. I have been invited to be a judge at the local schools’ science fairs, and it’s always interesting to watch how some kids with average project can shine because of their public speaking skills, while some kids with average or amazing projects end up not winning because of their presentation skills. Younger kids can start with simple objects, while older kids may use slideshow software or props.  

Have your children be involved in a play at church or school where they get to do speech as a character. Preparing for a role, and preparing visual aids and props — both of these activities teach them to be prepared for their presentation in advance, which will help lessen their anxiety.

JOINING A PUBLIC SPEAKING CLUB

Toastmasters International or other local groups are often found in local libraries or churches. Look up Toastmasters International to find a local chapter. You’ll be surprised how much you and your older children can benefit from attending this weekly meeting of various people from all walks of life who simply want to improve their public speaking skills.  They will give you constructive criticisms, and they will help you to be a better speaker.

Our children at the time of this writing, are eight and four. They do fairly well being up on the podium or on stage with other kids at church or at a dance recital.  However, they still have some stage fright when they are up there by themselves. They are getting better at it, though. The oldest one actually recently asked when she could do special music all by herself. And, both of them enjoy doing mini presentations during evening dinner from what they learned in the morning.

I hope this article is helpful to you and your little ones. We have the responsibility to train our children to be pillars of the church and to be leaders wherever they go in life. Leaders are not necessarily bosses. Leaders are influencers. Everybody is a leader when you can influence others around you.  With the Great Commission as our task, we must equip our children with public speaking skills to reach others and to spread His love.

Maranatha!

Arthur P.

Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart

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“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children,” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

These words clearly instruct that God’s word should be committed to memory and passed on from generation to generation. Committing portions of scripture to memory is vital in retaining knowledge of the scriptures. Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8 share that prosperity and success in life come from scripture memorization, as it creates familiarity with God’s word and causes the learner to meditate upon the principles of God which promote these things.

Memorization takes discipline, and that can become tedious if not handled with some creative care. A teaching mom or dad can help speed along the process of memory work by building fun and interest into the process. In her book, Building Your Child’s Faith, Alice Chapin outlines some great techniques for accomplishing this. She recommends the following:

  • Set up contests between adults and kids. Offer fun prizes. Draw up a “contract.” For instance, if the kids memorize the verses more quickly than the adults, the adults will take out the trash for a week. But, if the adults memorize them first, the kids will do the supper cleanup for a week. Be sure to sign the contract to make it official!
  • Help little children learn by repetition. Review while rocking, bathing, and playing with them. Repeat while driving or waiting in line at the grocery store.
  • Post current memory work on the refrigerator, closet door, or kitchen bulletin board. Or, stretch a “clothesline” and clothespin verses for the month to it.
  • Have memory charts. Award stickers, stars, or seals for each learned verse, prizes for every five stickers.
  • Purchase a scripture songbook, and sing Bible verses right into the minds of the family. Or make your own music for favorite verses.
  • Use flannel-graph letters or verse flashcards. Mix up letters and words, and take turns straightening them out.
  • Write the verse on a chalkboard. Take turns erasing one word at a time. Repeat the whole verse after each erasure.
  • Print different verses on 5×8 cards. Cut each card into pieces. Put the pieces for each verse in an envelope. Pass out the envelopes, and use a timer to see who can put the verse-puzzle together the most quickly. Have each member read his or her assembled verse.
  • Let the leader begin quoting a verse, stopping after every few words to ask another person to add the next four words, or two words, and so on. Have a stick of gum or a lollipop ready for the first person to identify where the verse is located.
  • Let the small children use magic markers to print the verse of the week on sheets of construction paper. Add stickers or magazine pictures and use for placemats at dinner.
  • Give each youngster an empty photo album with see-through plastic pages. Insert weekly memory cards for an individual record of verses learned and for easy private review.
  • Once in a while assign short scripture verses to be memorized by the following day. Celebrate completion of the assignment with a yummy treat.

~ This is a previously posted article ~

Wanderlust and the Great Commission

 

Kids resting after hiking the Upper Javalina Trail, Marana, AZ

Have you and the family caught the travel bug? My wife and I love to travel, and our kids are happily infected as well. To date, we have visited 46 states, and more than a dozen countries. Our two children, ages eight and four, have been to more than two dozens states.  

Many parents argued that they would rather wait until their children much older before they travel, “because they won’t remember it anyway.” I disagree. That’s like saying “don’t cuddle or don’t spend time with your kids anyway because they won’t remember.” One of our favorite Friday evening activities is to watch slideshows of “old” pictures and videos. We are often surprised by the details that our kids remember from many of our trips. They will mention things we don’t even remember. If traveling is something you dislike or are not accustomed to, allow me make a case for it and shed some light on why wanderlust is essential to your family growth, to your children’s development, and to your spiritual growth.

As homeschoolers, you should already know that off-season traveling is one of the prime benefits of homeschooling. You can travel to places that are usually packed during school breaks and make the most out of it without long queue lines, and the fees are often cheaper when it is off season. There are lots of great deals online during off season — flight, car rental, hotel rooms, tourist attractions, museums, etc. In most places, car rental includes unlimited miles (read: leave your car at home).

Grand Canyon 


This year we had a blast at Six Flags and City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri; saw the amazing Niagara Falls; hiked to see the gorgeous cascading waterfalls of Glen Watkins,Max Ringling Museum New York; marveled at the eclectic art collection at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida; and then explored Arizona’s truly Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Utah’s fantastic Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. These places were beyond amazing! Words and pictures cannot explain the feelings when your mind is blown by the beauty of God’s creation, the scale of the Grand Canyon, the stunning sunset view from Bryce Canyon and Siesta Beach, and all the wild animals we encountered.

Budgeting with focus. Some people complained their budgets won’t allow for much traveling, but their closet is busting at the seam, they always shop for clothes every few weeks, either online, at Goodwill, or at the mall; eat out several times a week; have the newest gadgets, phone, games, new cars, or nice gently used cars with hefty payments; travel with kids’ sports teams frequently; or spend quite a bit on online gaming every month. The issue truly is not just budgeting, but focus or priority. 

Travel is important to us, so we focus on it and make plans far in advance to save up for trips. We make adjustments in other areas of life. While we have a 2013 Honda Odyssey to haul the family, I still drive my fully paid for, 190,000-mile, 38-mpg-average favorite car — my super-hot, four-door, 13-year-old, 2003 Toyota Echo…that we have had since we got married.

Don’t make the common mistake of saving up for one big trip a year or one big splurge. That would be akin to fasting on water for days or weeks, and then binging on a big expensive dinner in one sitting. This is not fun, likely to cause more stress afterward, leaving people to often say, “I always need a vacation after a vacation.” Right? Instead, take multiple small trips throughout the year. Visit nearby national parks or camp grounds, and camp out “roughing it” or stay at their lodge. Look up “Things to Do” on TripAdvisor.com, read reviews, find kid-friendly activities to do. 

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have you ever thought much about the fact that you only get to “have” your kids for 18 years? It somewhat bothers me that I only will “have” my oldest child for 10 more years or so. Making memories is an important goal in our family, which is why we spend more on vacations and experiences than on tangible gifts. We let the grandparents spoil them on birthdays and holidays, to a certain extent. Anything else they want, they must earn from their commissions (we don’t call it allowance) for completing their chores and schoolwork. Harvard graduate psychologist Matthew Killingsworth published his findings in the journal Psychological Science — that spending money on experiences “provide[s] more enduring happiness,” and that waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good.

Buy experiences, not things. Soon after we got married, we immediately made plans on places we wanted to visit and things to do, etc. That was 12 years ago! The cool part of looking back over these written plans, is that we have accomplished many of the goals, and visited many of the places we wanted to go to, and that has made us feel very grateful to look back and count our blessings. Did we accomplish every single goal? Nope, only most of it. Does it mean we failed? Of course not.

It’s easy to make wishes: “Someday I’d like to visit the Grand Canyon, Alaska, Australia, and Bali Indonesia.” But remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Even if you have money and resources to go, if you don’t make plans for it, it will never happen. So first, write it down. We write down our top 25 destinations. Then we break it down based on priorities: “I definitely must visit these five first, before the rest.” Then we divide and conquer: write down the 25 destinations over a 10-year period, and then break it down further into spring trip, fall trip, or winter trip. The next step is to figure out the cost to do each of those trip, and then start saving. Once they are written down on a calendar (use Google calendar for the next 10 years) and cost is figured out, it’s easier to see how it will happen.

As the years become months, start doing more research into things to do in that area (TripAdvisor will help you there), and places to stay at (rental homes at homeaway.com, home exchanges like hsneighbor.com, RVs, hotels, or even old friends you know who live nearby). Map out your route, and even find out which month of the year is best to visit, considering the weather, off-season travel, local events, etc. This will build up excitement for the kids and the whole family. There is one catch. You cannot explore the world with a poverty mindset. You must think big. You and your spouse (or your whole family) must write down these lists with an abundance mindset. If your mind gets stuck on the “how will we be able to afford this” poverty consciousness mindset, stop it immediately, and say this out loud: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want, I shall lack nothing.”

Would you want your kids to whine daily and tell people that their parents are dirt poor, and never dream to achieve anything great when they grow up?  How do you think your heavenly Father feels when you daily focus on being poor and defeated? Your present state does not determine your future state. Your past does not determine your future. Ask the woman at the well. Ask the lepers. Ask Joseph. Ask Moses. Ask Nick Vujicic.

The world is our classroom. One way to NOT grow and accomplish big things is to stay small, stay within the comfort zone, and be safe. Toddlers, innately, choose to fall hundreds of times a day in order achieve the ability to walk on their feet and explore the new worlds around them. We were made to explore, to wander, to move. What would happen if a toddler is chained to the ground for a few years and not allowed to walk?

Sadly, today’s kids are “chained” to their school chairs for almost 50 hours a week, and then their parents “chain” them to electronics (TV, computers, phones, video games), ensuring a less-than-bright sedentary future with forward head posture, degenerative disc disease, obesity, diabetes, prescription drugs, back pain, and arthritis. As adults, many choose to stay within the comfort zone, choose to stop wandering, choose to stop exploring, choose to stop getting to know and hanging out with neighbors of different customs, cultures, or economic class. Many adults choose to live in a safe bubble of hanging out with the same people who look like them, speak like them, dress like them, have homes like theirs, have cars like theirs, eat like them, and believe the same things they do.

Is this wrong? No. Would Jesus do this? No. Would Jesus and his disciples stay in their hometown forever, chill with the same peeps forever, and stay comfortable forever?

Was the Great Commission really meant for us to reach only those around us? On past trips our kids tried new kinds of foods everywhere they went, observed and even played with wild animals, saw amazing human-built and nature-built landmarks, met various kinds of people with various kinds of manners and customs. They learned to enjoy bikcactsweating and hiking at 100-degree-plus temperature when we were in Arizona, and they also learned not to bike or play tag among cacti. They learned by falling on their bottoms (because they didn’t listen to Daddy) that greenish slime on rocks on the streams are slippery. They cried as they laughed as their eyes, noses, and mouths secreted watery substances as they chose to try different kinds of spicy peppers wherever we went. We have seen our kids being a lot more open to people than most kids, flexible to different kinds of food, cultures, and environment. They have also learned a lot about patience when traveling, about preparation, about handling stress — all which have helped them to be independent, confident, mature, resourceful, and compassionate toward others.

At the end of the day, it is all about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). There are two important words I would like to point out there: “go” and “nations.” It doesn’t say to stay where you are. It does say to go, to move, to travel. Nations, in plural form, means we are to reach out to those outside of our tribe, culture, custom. When that happens, when all eyes and ears have heard of Him, then he’ll come to take us home. Not before that has happened. How should we shape our children? How should we encourage their development and spiritual growth and prepare them for the Great Commission? How can they be comfortable talking to, eating with, and playing with people who look, act, and speak totally different than they do?

Remember that Jesus traveled a lot during his short years on earth. By one account he walked approximately 21,000 or more miles, which is to say, he walked almost the distance around the world — 24,900 miles (the distance around the earth at the equator). A certain woman by the name of Ellen G. White, who wrote some of the bestselling and most translated Christian books in the world, lived and traveled to Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Texas, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, Australia, England, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and more, from 1827 to 1915.

What have these two figures accomplished? Were these two figures financially rich? How did they travel? What’s holding YOU back? What are your excuses? How has your spiritual health been this past year or two? Need some shaking?

BecakGo out there. Let the kids actually go feral without electronics for days or weeks, let them interact with strangers and learn their cultures, let them learn to wait patiently. Yes, there will probably be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the beginning, but they will thank you for it. Let them catch frogs, donate blood to hungry mosquitoes, learn about self-sufficiency, recite Psalm 8 and Psalm 91 nightly under the stars around the campfire. You’ll be amazed at how much these trips will benefit you and your family, and others you meet along the way.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to stay at home. Families who travel together, stay together. Share with me your experience when your family catch the wanderlust bug at loveyourlegwarmers@gmail.com.

Maranatha!
~Arthur

Bible for Our Little Learners: More Than Just Another Subject

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I am someone who has always liked school. I was THAT kid. You know, the one who went home upset because I didn’t have any homework. I used to beg my mom (who was a teacher) to bring home old or unused workbooks so I could create my own homework. Yes, I realize that’s not normal, but I’ve always LOVED learning. That being said, all throughout grade school there was one subject I dreaded. It was…Bible class. Don’t get me wrong, I longed to know more about God’s word and his precious stories. I longed to understand Him more. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t an auditory learner, and most of the time Bible stories were simply read out loud in class. Maybe it was because coloring angels was fun but didn’t really teach me anything about the Bible. It could have been because the stories were so old I had a hard time following them or noticing their correlation to my own life. No matter the reason, I certainly felt like Bible was one of those subjects where you grit your teeth, get through, and are glad when you finally get it done.

As I examine Bible teaching for my own children, it probably goes without saying that I want more for them. Through my years working with children, I find that often Bible is regarded as important to parents, but it is presented in a way that is so far removed from reality that it’s difficult for young children to make the connection, for them to realize that these stories are true, that they are real, that they mean something for them personally, and that they teach us about the greatest friend we could ever ask for: Jesus.

Then one day it dawned on me: Bible isn’t just another subject. It must be the cornerstone of early childhood education!

The good news from an education perspective is that it’s one less subject to check off the list. The bad news is that we can’t just check it off the list. However, this too can be a blessing, as making Bible the cornerstone can transform your life in ways you never could have imagined.

So, if Bible isn’t a subject, what do we do? How does it work? I’m glad you asked. (OK, so I realize I actually asked, but we’ll just go with it.) The first and most important key is to study the Bible with your child. I don’t mean cracking open your Bible with your three-year-old and highlighting verses together. I mean studying deeply for yourself the things that you are reading and sharing with your little one. If you are studying the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert, read it for yourself during your own quiet time with the Lord. Pray through the passages. Ask God what He wants you to learn. The truth is that we cannot share with our children what we don’t have ourselves. If we aren’t growing in our own relationship with God and seeking to learn more of His word every day, how can we ask that of our children?

After you have made a priority of studying with your child, you have to figure out what to do with the time you are actually sharing and teaching your little one. For older children who can read and write, this will look very different than for a young learner with a short attention span. Yet, the same four principles I like to use with older kids and in my own Bible study work super well with our preschoolers through 2nd-grade students: Review, Study, Apply, and Memorize.

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Review

When I’m working with older kids, I use review as a way to make sure the story didn’t go in one ear and out the other. However, for younger kids it’s more about interacting with the story. So much of the Bible is brand new to them. Stories that you have heard a million times are fresh to their little minds. Helping them experience them in many ways is fascinating and exciting. Think about the way your children learn, and present the stories in their language. My boys are very visual and tactile. For us, felts are the way to go. They love seeing the story in vivid colors, and then they practice acting it out on their own with the felts. You can use story books, toy figures, charades, audio Bibles, videos, etc. There are so many resources available, chances are there is something out there that will help your child get excited about the story.

Study

Again, for an older child Bible study might consist of digging deeper into the passages, using cross references, pulling out a concordance, or using a highlighter. Obviously that’s not what we are talking about here. For little kids, studying has to do with understanding this world of the Bible that they’ve never encountered. One good thing about little kids is that they are full of questions. Feel free to entertain their questions, and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer — you can even hunt it down together. (Hint: Keeping a Bible atlas with lots of pictures or a book with lots of pictures of Old and New Testament customs can be a huge help here as well.)

I have two boys, ages two and five. Recently we were studying the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. As we acted out the story with felts, they boys were loaded with questions. Why was Jesus hungry? Why was Satan mean? Wasn’t Satan being nice offering Jesus these things? As I left the felt board out and the boys visited it throughout the week, they left with a new question each time. Watching their wheels turn and giving them the space to work out hard questions is an important part of Bible study, and with little children it happens in a much more sporadic and natural way.

Apply

Application is where things get really fun for the little ones. Sometimes it can be hard, but this is also where spending your own time studying what you are teaching your kids produces much fruit. After telling the story of Jesus’ temptation for the first time, we talked about temptations we might have. Then, we practiced telling Satan to “GO AWAY” just like Jesus told Him to. This was also a great time for us to talk about how Jesus used scripture when he needed help, and we talked about times that knowing memory verses has helped us. My oldest has used passages to soothe him back to sleep many a time when he has had nightmares.

Keep in mind, these conversations didn’t happen all in one setting, but over the course of the week as the boys were interacting with the story more, and as I was learning things in my own time with God. In fact, there was one time during this particular week when I was really struggling with a grumpy attitude. Satan was tempting me to give in and let grumpiness take over, but I remembered Jesus’ temptations and I wanted to say “NO” with him.  I shared with my kids, at their level, what I was feeling, and I asked them to pray with me that Jesus would give me his strength to say “NO” to Satan just like He did. My kids were happy to pray with me, and they kept practicing saying no to temptation with me all day.

Application is going to look very different week to week, and there is no formula, but if You are seeking God, He will show you the most awesome ways that the scriptures are real for you AND your kids.

Memorize

The last piece of the puzzle is to memorize scripture. Young children are sponges and they memorize things easily. Playing scripture songs as I go about my day is all that’s needed for my two-year-old to be belting out, “Do to others, do to others, what you would have them do to yoouuuuuu!!” And, this is important and so precious to treasure, yet it is easy for us to get excited about the memorization alone without any meaning. As you learn a verse together with your child (for our family, we find reciting it together at mealtimes is a big help), help them understand what it means and why it’s important to learn.

Our verse for studying about the temptation was Matthew 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” You can see from my example above that this is something we put into practice many a time. We also talked about how God’s Word is powerful, and just like Jesus, we can use it in times of trouble. The week following that one, we were learning about Jesus calling his disciples and performing his first miracle at the wedding feast. Our verse was, “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’” We talked about Jesus calling us to be His disciples, and that part of being a disciple is doing the very thing Jesus’ mother told the servants to do — whatever Jesus tells us. Every time we review the verse we talk a little bit more about what it means, and this gives us an opportunity to expand our application.

With this method of Bible study, you don’t have to have a fancy Bible curriculum or lots of tools, but studying the Bible can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to start sometimes. If you are looking for a guide or Bible storybook or anything to help bring the Bible alive for your little learner, the Bible curriculum resources on SDA Homeschool Families might be a good place to start.

A caution about crafts and “busy work”

Before I wrap up I want to share one caution or something to consider when it comes to teaching Bible to early learners. Children need hooks. It’s easy to read Bible stories and color a picture or make a fun craft, and those things aren’t bad, but don’t let them be busy work. If you are coloring Bible pictures, put them together in a book with a three-ring binder. Let them be your child’s own Bible Storybook. Talk about the picture, maybe even write your memory verse on the page to help you remember. If you make a fun craft project, hang it where you can see and talk about how it relates to the story and what truth it can remind you of. Let these mementos be hooks and ways to help our children relate to the wonderful messages of the Bible in more real and broad ways.

So what do you think? Do you want to make the change? What do you think about seeing Bible as more than another subject for your littlest learners?

Scripture to Song

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From the Beginning

Almost from the inception of our homeschool journey, we have made learning scripture to music an integral part of hiding God’s Word in our children’s heart. This has been a fun, simple, and quick way to “…bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes…” Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Music is a second language, especially to young children. Even the smallest child can learn scripture to music, just as they learn any elementary song. And, though we madk this learning tool available primary for our children, we adults learn as well. It is truly a family affair.

Effortless
Learning verses through music is an effortless way to memorize the Sword, and thus empowers one to fight the good fight of faith. As your child becomes more and more efficient at absorbing God’s Word, they will be conscience of their thoughts, their words, and ultimately their behavior. What a wonderful way to “resist the devil,” James 4:7. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Psalm 119:11.

KJV
Since children adapt so well to music, the verses are infused into their minds very quickly. Because we as a family chose the King James Version of the Bible, which seems to be a little more difficult to memorize the traditional way, learning it to a tune took the sting out of the ancient text and gave a more palatable taste to the “thee’s,” “thou’s,” and “eth’s.” This grammar can hardly be detected when sung to a sweet melody.

Heaven at Home
Aside from making it a fun, simple, and quick way to learn the Word of God, playing scripture music brings a heavenly peace into any home. It’s as though one is brought to Heaven’s shore. We are whisked into instant fellowship with Christ. Scripture music speaks directly to the heart. The Holy Spirit’s presence is certainly felt once the CD begins to play.

Meditation
I play the songs over and over to place a marked impression on their minds. And, as the impressions are being made, visual pictures can be created with the blending of words to song.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success,” Joshua 1:8.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night,” Psalm 1:2.

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day,” Psalm 119:97.

Isaiah 53
Long ago we had an opportunity to purchase a set of scripture song books which came with a cassette of the music. There was one we especially liked, which was Isaiah 53. My middle child learned the whole chapter played to music, and has performed it several times at the many churches we have had membership. At our current church, she practiced with one of our excellent pianists and did an outstanding job. I have never read Isaiah 53 the same since.

If you are interested in purchasing scripture to song, there are many that are available for you and your family to enjoy. Here are just a couple:

Scripture Songs

Thy Word Creations