Sep 21, 2011

Guest Post on Child Training

You can read my September Passionate Homemaking post here. All about going to the Bible for answers when we're stumped in raising our kiddos. Night all!

Well Hello There!

I've resurfaced! I haven't blogged all summer! It has been an interesting middle part of the year! It almost rendered me MIA completely, but now we're getting back to "normal." I think.

We had the infamous summer cold, took several road trips, lost my grandma to cancer, found and then lost a kitty cat, seen a best friend off overseas for a year, and my brain was just plain full of other things. No spare minutes for anything extra!

Needless to say, blogging was pretty low on my list.

But my brain has extra room lately, and it has been begging me for an outlet. I can't say I won't disappear again, but I'm hoping to squeeze in some minutes here and there for writing and thinking. Especially about parenting, applying scripture to training children, exercise, death, homeschooling, and freezer cooking. Not necessarily in that order. I can't decide what to blog about first.

What's been on your mind lately?

May 7, 2011

Quotable Quotes: Four Pieces of Pie

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

- Tenneva Jordan

May 6, 2011

Tips for Toddler Scripture Memory, Part 3

Welcome back! Here is my third post in a series on memorizing scripture with your young children. I'll wrap up here with some final tips and thoughts on how we are getting memory work to be an enjoyable, daily occurrence here at our house.

(If you'd like, you can view Part 1 and Part 2.)

Learn long passages.

This sounds more difficult than not, I know. But I am totally amazed that we’ve managed to learn long Psalms, poems, blessings, and parts of the Epistles. And, it's been the easiest approach we've tried by far!

We break one long passage down into very small chunks, starting by repeating one phrase or sentence until it becomes pretty familiar. After a few days of that, we tack on another phrase.

I have learned over time how much their brains can retain at one time, usually about 4-6 words. So, for example, I say a few words/a phrase, they say it. I say another one, they say it. And so on. Before long, they know it by heart!

I have friends who memorize individual verses and write them on little cards, but this doesn’t work for me. Personally, it helps me to learn longer chunks so that I can keep the context and flow of argument in mind. I’m sure my kids aren’t benefiting from such things as context, at the ripe ages of 3 and 5...but they will when they are older!

Also, it is easier for me to just use my Bible and flip to a few marked passages than juggling lots of tiny cards. With small children, simpler is always better. Soon, I'd like to have my Bible on our Kindle and work from that!

Explain why we are memorizing.

Recently I reminded my kids all the reasons why we sit down to Bible memory, and that day and afterwards they were more eager than usual! I think it really helped them to hear why, rather than me just "making" them. They are small, but they are human. Why not clue them in?

I reminded them:

Scripture can help prevent them from sin.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:11)

Scripture can teach them about Jesus, who holds out their hope for life.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.(John 5:39)

Scripture can help clarify their hearts.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)
Best wishes to you and your kids, as you memorize together! What have you been teaching them lately...or maybe the better question is, what have you been learning?

Apr 29, 2011

Tips for Toddler Scripture Memory, Part 2

KJV Bible
The idea of having your young children learn scripture can be daunting. I used to idealize that this would happen in our house, but I had no idea how to actually make it happen!

Here are some more tips that have really helped me in making scripture memory for me and the kids a day-to-day reality.
(You can read Part 1 here.)

Enjoy it.

It can feel like drudgery! It always helps me to think of it as a bonding, enjoyable time, rather than another checkmark off my list.

Make sure you and the kids are relaxed and in a good mindset.

This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes we just have to buckle down and do it, but I generally wait or plan for a time when they have gotten out their jitters and are attentive and ready to interact. In other words, I just try to help them out by avoiding times when I know they will more likely be unfocused. After snacktime, after some vigorous outside playtime, before we sit down to read books, or while they are coloring are some of my favorite blocks of time.

Stop to explain the scriptures.

I have one child in particular that remembers a ton more when she understands exactly what it's all about. She just loves to know why! How could I possibly turn down her precious questions and comments when we're memorizing?

Sometimes, I hear her telling her younger sister all about Jesus and how he died to clean their hearts. I would never trade hearing that for all the hours I've spent explaining, teaching, answering questions, giving examples, talking, and doing more explaining. It's amazing to realize it actually might be sticking!

God's word really is like a seed! All we do is plant, and then wait and water and watch, and wait some more. (Luke 8:11)

Stay tuned for one last post about memorizing, coming next week...I saved my personal favorites for last!

Apr 27, 2011

Questions for Reflection: What's My Personal Idol?

Neither you or I likely have large, metallic figures standing in our yards, or placed strategically in our living rooms, like this guy:

Bronze idol
Photo Credit

But just because you don't sacrifice some of your dinner to a little doo-dad like him, that doesn't mean you don't have a personal, inner "idol"....something you love more, and plan your life around more, than God. An idol is simply anything that takes over our heart's throne, which rightfully belongs to God.

Here are some great questions to help identify idols, excerpted from David Powlinson's book, Seeing With New Eyes.
  1. What do I worry about most?
  2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
  3. What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
  4. What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
  5. What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
  6. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
  7. What do I lead with in conversations?
  8. Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
  9. What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
  10. What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
  11. What is my hope for the future?
Number 9-11 were the most helpful for they left me thinking on the role my kids play in my life.

Which ones make you think, and why?

Apr 22, 2011

Tips for Toddler Scripture Memory, Part 1


Hearing my children reciting scripture sometimes takes my breath away. Their little sing-song voices echo verses back to me, sometimes without their even knowing what they are saying..."O Lord, you have searched me and known me..."

We’ve just recently found our groove with our scripture memory work, and we're really rolling along! It has taken some trial and error though.

I thought I'd share a few practical tips that have helped us be consistent and successful in our memory work.

Start small.

To me, the important thing is to do something, no matter how small. It obviously isn’t a good idea to make them sit still for 30 minutes for memory drills right off the bat.

Repetition, repetition, repetition.

This doesn't sound like fun, does it? You wouldn't think so, but now that my kids sort of know the drill...that we're going to it or not...they actually love repeating the phrases over and over again! Children love repetition, especially when they are engaging and sharing it with others!

Be expressive.

Vary inflection of your voice. This really seems to help my kids remember the words. I have noticed that when I accidentally change up the sing-song pattern while we're practicing a passage, they won't remember it! Think of it as giving auditory cues to boost their (and your) memory power. The Jews have a long history of chanting and singing the scriptures...and it works for them! Historically, it has not been uncommon for them to memorize whole Old Testament books.

Vary environment.

Places where we review old/learn new scriptures: lined up on the kitchen counter. Swinging. Snuggled up on the "big bed." On a blanket in the yard. Riding in the car. On long walks.

This could be a great way of training children that they can interact with God and his Word anywhere, anytime. (See Deuteronomy 6, God's instruction to parents to teach their children about him all throughout the day!)

In college, I used to memorize on my 45-minute commute. It was a nice, long chunk of time, but unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much unless I was in the car! I had conditioned myself to only recall those scriptures during mindless driving. Odd, but true. Hopefully, I won’t set my kids up for this mistake.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Part 2...I've got a few more thoughts that I'll save for another post.

What tips or ideas do you have to incorporate and simplify scripture memory into your family? Can't wait to hear your ideas!

Apr 20, 2011

Book Review: The Very First Easter

With Easter coming up, you might be scrounging in the library or on your bookshelf to find good renditions of the Resurrection story to read with your kids.

A few years ago, my hubby stumbled upon this excellent book...I just have to share!

This book was authored by a historian, whose aim was to present the story as historically accurate as possible (including the illustrations). The story is set inside the story of Christopher, a modern 8-year-old boy who has lots of questions about Easter for his parents.

This book is ideal for (in my opinion) ages 7-11, as it's rather long. However, we read it to our toddlers with no problems, as long as we read it in several sittings. They love it!

The illustrations are beautiful and realistic, without being overly graphic, or cheesy for that matter. You can grab it on amazon here!

Your turn: What books can you recommend for children during Resurrection Week?