One of the things that we have done nearly every school day ever since Joshua was three or four was to read from biographies. Now, on days that we do not get to read together, the boys often listen to audio biographies or stories of great people. With many people out there today that kids idolize who are less than worthy to be idolized, I can’t say enough about including biographies in your life. Today and tomorrow I will introduce you to some resources to help you implement biographies in your life.
To begin with, if you do not read biographies (or anything much) together as a family, you will want to start with exciting and short ones. We often read entire short biographies (i.e. 100-150 pages that maybe take six hours aloud) over a period of time, but you might do better starting out with biographical compilations rather than full length biographies.
Who to read about? We love godly heroes (Jim Elliot, William Borden, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, Joni Ereckson Tada, Brother Andrew, Amy Carmichael, Corrie ten Boom, Mary Slessor, Gladys Aylward, etc.). We also love heroes of history. We are currently reading people from the Civil War era, including Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and Clara Barton. (When my older kids were little, their two cats were named Clara and Florence after Clara Barton and Florence Nightengale!)
You can also use dvd’s to introduce your family to heroic people. True life movies are a good way to get your kids interested in people who did great things (like “The Hiding Place” about Corrie ten Boom) or “Cross and the Switchblade” about Nicky Cruz). Animated movies/programs are excellent for introducing little kids to heroic characters. Our favorites are NEST. (See link below.)
As for audios, Adventures in Oddysey has radio programs that are just historical in nature (i.e. volume of nothing but historic people and events) as well as ones that are just Bible characters. Talk about a fun family way to learn about godly people and heroic deeds! (Great for car trips!)
You don’t have to be a homeschooler to teach your children via godly heroes. Make your “mandatory three or four dinners together” end with a chapter out of a biography. Or use audio biographies (or Adventures in Oddysey historical or Bible programs) while you are cleaning dinner together. Make a Sunday reading hour in which you read a short biography about a godly hero and discuss it.
Tomorrow I will gather some links and resources of dvd’s, audios, and biographical compilations to get you started! Have fun expanding your kids’ heroes while reading, listening, and watching together!