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|
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.