Thursday, December 29, 2011

bible - how we do it

Mama's often ask me how we do "bible" in our house.  i'm fairly certain i've blogged about this before, but i felt like giving it another go today as we head into the New Year. 
Over these past good years, we've sure done a lot of different things to hide God's Word in our hearts... We used picture bibles when our littles were all little, telling stories from that Good Book in our own words.  i even remember Neil acting out David and Goliath when the kids were really, really little. 
Later on, when Cai started grade 1, i moved bible from bed time - to a part of our school.  i found i was too tired at night & i felt like i wanted to be more intentional about it.  We used different devotionals (many that came with homeschool curriculums) - some of our favourites for really little ones were: Leading Little Ones to God or Right Choices.  i love simple, child-like language and lessons that aren't trying to be "cool"... We purposefully chose books to read that would invite thoughtfulness and discussion about our faith - things like Little Pilgrims Progress, Patricia St. James books, the Narnia Chronicles... Every day, we would do "bible" - which was really more of a devotional with bible reading in it - and also do some read-alouds.  These read-alouds weren't always faith focused, but sometimes they were.  Regardless, reading aloud good, quality books has been a long established tradition in our house & it helped to be able to use this habit to further invite discussion about the things that really matter. One of the first "chapter books" my emerging readers would conquer would be the Beginner's Bible - (which would also be a good choice for a mom with little ones to read aloud). 
Eventually, as my little classroom got even bigger and older, i moved away from devotionals... (and to be honest, this has been one of my favourite seasons in our bible teaching in homeschool... away from any curriculum) & instead i would pull out my big brown bible & read out loud to them... stopping to read certain verses again.
It got so that i would pass my big bible around that breakfast table, but i found it was cumbersome for my littler emerging readers... my older girls would pull out their own bibles, but the small differences in translation were often confusing and frustrating to little ones trying to follow along.  Finally, i decided to buy a little stack of inexpensive bibles used solely for family bible time. i have seven children - only 5 are "school aged" & must sit quietly - the other 2 can do what they want.
Now, honestly - anyone with 2 preschoolers can tell you that it's a rough go trying to have bible reading with little ones who can't sit... but if i waited to do bible with Cai till i didn't have little ones anymore... we would have run out of time.

& this time has been so worth it.
We have learned so much in these good growing years.  My 2 big girls have chosen to read through their bibles independently too - & i believe that the small seeds of hunger that have been planted by a really flawed, but consistent habit of prayer and study - are going to cause my little ones to continue to grow and learn long after they leave my little nest. 

the checkmarks are last year, the dashes this year
So now with children in grades 10, 8, 6, 4 & 2... we get up in the morning.  If you get up early enough, you can have breakfast & a shower, but when i call, 'bible' (around 8am)... everyone finds a spot in the living room.  We open to whatever book we're reading, and we've fallen into the habit of reading until we hit the next chapter mark after we've flipped a page - so, roughly one page.  When we reach the end of a book, we take votes on what we'd like to read next.  Right now, we're finishing Joel, Amos & Obadiah.  i'd like to have finished the whole thing before Cai graduates (!)

Some things to consider:

*i think it doesn't really matter what you do for bible time... i think it's just an awesome habit to get into.  Reading one proverb a day for a month would be a great place to start & then you could go back do it again!  (or check out the books i linked above.)

*Prayer is a giant part of our bible time... i want to understand what we read, i want our hearts to be soft, i want the change to be internal - not just an external habit.  Prayer for us is sometimes a halting affair sprinkled with petty arguments and criticisms, "Don't pray like that!", "Mom!!  Don't let her steal my seat!!" Don't let these things discourage you... keep on - the habit will bring fruit... i promise.  A good place to start might be to memorize the Our Father prayer (Mt. 6:9-13) with your little ones.  We pray for our daddy, for our neighbourhood, for Sadie... & we bring our requests to a Faithful Father who hears...

*If you feel guilty for starting & stopping & starting again... don't.  Realize that it will get easier the more times you start.  Choose to do it at a different time.  Maybe like me, you're too tired at bedtime - maybe mornings are too busy.  Find a time when it feels comfortable... maybe when the baby is nursing?  During lunch?  With daddy - or without?  Change what you're reading - or how you're doing it.  Maybe if your littles are tiny, a devotional or a children's bible would make it easier... Gagey loves his tiny bible with 1 paragraph stories much better than our family bible time. 

*Pause if you find a gem & take the time to memorize it.  My littles have memorized chapters in Luke or Hebrews, Proverbs or Psalms... Worth it.  Worth it.  Worth it. Cai memorized Psalm 23 when she was 3.  That's a good one :) Most often, i print out the chapter i want them to memorize & then highlight their verses - it's so much more rewarding to memorize in a group!

*Yeh, i know... parts of the bible are a little x-rated.  It's a hard book!  It's uncomfortable & sometimes not appropriate for all ears... Don't pause and memorize those parts just yet :) ... read them if you want - but don't dwell on the stuff that will be way over their heads.  You won't be able to explain it all - & that's ok.   

*Don't think that i've got it all together.  i don't.  My kids have seen me cry a lot lately & i often feel like a bitter failure :)  Just so ya know... this post is meant to encourage - not discourage.  Take what's helpful & discard the rest. 

*Bible time is only worthwhile because God is who He said He is... He... is everything. 


Kali said...

Great post Paige! Makes me want to write one on our Bible times too- so many good nuggets to reflect on & share. BTW, when do you work Brekkie into this routine?

paige said...

If you post it, Kali, come put a link here in the comments - fun to be able to hop around & see what others are doing. If i knew how to do a linky sign up, i would :) haha.
Breakfast is a casual affair around here. Sometimes they eat before bible, & sometimes grab a quick toast afterwards & munch as they begin math etc... Most often they eat before bible & are finished by 8, but lately, we are in a holiday haze & have been waking up a little later. *yawn* :)
i am in a (bad?) habit too of not showering till later in the day... i like to escape for a bit & have a quiet moment. i know it's intentional, but feels naughty to put it off so late in the day :)

Lesley said...

It is NOT a bad habit to shower late in the day! At least you remember to do it;-)

Thanks for the inspiration. I plan on being more vigilant with Bible time in 2012. Wish me luck! I shall let you know how it goes.

Andrea said...

Your 'how we do it' posts mean so much to me. I often find myself teary when I read the comments that touch on what I'm feeling or frustrated with. Thank you!

lovefam6 said...

Thank you so much. I find you absolutely amazing, extremely encouraging, indescribably influential, open-heartedly obedient, and undeniably unselfish. Not to mention a woman that can be used as a role model in all areas pertaining to being a woman (friend, wife, mother, daughter, and sister). You don't have to agree with me for it to be truth. It is what it is. I thank God for you and how you've impacted my life by just observing how you submit yourself before the throne of God, allowing the blood covering of Jesus Christ to keep you in a place of safety, righteousness, and peace.

paige said...

Ohhhhhh Dacia... I might have to moderate your comments... Haahaaaa. I hope I am not misrepresenting things, cause trust me... There's lots of fail happening over here. *wink*

Mandy said...

Thanks Paige! Just what I needed to be inspired to "start up" again in the new year!
I just love your blog!!

Susan L said...

Thanks for this Paigie! I love it....very inspiring as we get back into things this next week!
I also love your post about this Christmas that will become 'that Christmas'. I think I will write one like that myself....there has been much joy in the midst of a trying time. AND, I really want your book. I've tried a couple times on Amazon, but something weird happened and I couldn't order it, and here we are a long while later and I'm still without it. So, can I just order it straight from you?

paige said...

Thanks susan!
You can order a book from me if you want! email me :)


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