Friday, April 15, 2011

Words Make a Difference

The link below just came through on Facebook, and I automatically started running through the many applications of it. Writing (our son is speaking about word choice today at the APACHE convention in Illinois today during his Writing With Style session!). Marriage (oh yeah). And, of course, parenting.

How many times do we say, "You always..." When we should say, "I feel like this or that happened.." How many times do we say, "Why can't you..." When we should say, "It would be so great if you could..."

And then there's the whole thought of hurtful words. How many times do we use hurtful words to our children instead of words of peace; words of love; words of affirmation; words of encouragement; or even words of helpful instruction?

Watch this clip with those thoughts in mind...and let's all choose the right words today!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Extreme Servanthood: Introducing Kayla's New Blog

My five guys (four sons, ages 12, 16, 18, and 28; and Ray) and I are in Peoria, Illinois at a homeschool convention. We are looking forward to speaking in eleven sessions from "How to Teach Reading" (Donna) to "How to Teach Without Textbooks" (Joshua) to "The Successful Christian Father" (Ray). I have been preoccupied this week preparing for this weekend--and since we are focusing on character--I thought I would share our missionary-daughter's new blog, "Extreme Servanthood."

Her first post is sweet (she talks about her Dad and me! :)), but it also sums up the bare bones of Christian servanthood. Join her by receiving it in your email or your FB feed! And enjoy learning about "Extreme Servanthood"!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“When You Rise Up”: Faith in the Mornings— Devotional Materials for 6-10 Year Olds (Part IX of Many (!))

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up Deuteronomy 6:7

I am going to list a few key products that we have used for devotionals for this age group. We generally kept morning devotions/read alouds shorter (thirty minutes or fewer) since we had other “character lessons” (i.e. chores!) and individual devotions to attend to as well. I will discuss the “under six year old” or lengthier types of materials later—though many listed in this post would work for youngers and/or olders.

As a rule of thumb, our non-schoolers (i.e. before six years old since we began kindergarten at age six and first grade at age seven), did not get up for morning devotions. I had other reading times with them at various points in the day—and they were in the evening devotionals/read alouds.

At this age, you will want to lengthen your faith reading time as much as you have time for and the children have attention spans for—and allow plenty of time for discussion and answering questions. On the lower end of this spectrum, your child may not be ready to sit for longer picture books or shorter chapter books, but keep trying! As an aside, any read aloud times that you instill in your children will help them to have longer attention spans in other scenarios, such as school and church. (Again, our morning times were always shorter than our ones later in the day.)

1. Bible

a. The Bible itself! We like to read aloud from Proverbs oftentimes in the mornings. Moreover, my husband has a special time with our guys called “Bible talks” in which he and the boys just read a portion of the Bible and discuss it for a few minutes. No other books needed—just “what does this mean to you?” and “what do you think this is saying?” You might start with familiar Bible stories in the Old Testament and Jesus’ parables in the New Testament.

b. “The Picture Bible” by David C Cook—this was listed in the preschool section, but children up to age twelve or so will enjoy this comic-book style Bible. Ray read this whole Bible aloud to each child when he or she was around age four. Then we “assigned” this Bible (in bite-sized pieces each day) to each child when he or she was around age eleven or twelve to read to himself or herself for personal devotions.

c. Family Bible Library—I reviewed this book earlier in the year. This is a wonderful complete ten volume set of Bible stories. Read the review in full. If you have children ten and under, I highly recommend you find this set used, buy it, and use it every day. (That’s what we did! I read it to the kids when they turned four (sort of after Ray did “The Picture Bible”), then when each child became a fluent reader, between nine and eleven or so, he or she read the entire set to himself (or aloud to a little sibling).