Scripture Memorization – Psalm 23

It’s Monday, so it’s Scripture Memorization time!

Today’s lesson is on teaching Psalm 23. It’s six verses, and typically I recommend a verse a week, but you can teach this to your kids in a month if you work on it at different times throughout your day. There is no tune to this, and feel free to make it your own as you see fit. Be sure to explain to younger children what the words me that they may not understand so they can begin to form their own word pictures in their heads.

(Forgive my appearance in this week’s video, I just got over having pink-eye last week, so no makeup for me!)

Here are my kids reciting Psalm 23. First Kariss (age 4):

and Britton (age 3) in a slightly more humorous version:

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“Learning Time” vs. School

How is it that my kids love “learning time”, but don’t like the mention of school?

When they were little (a least littler than they are now!), I began “Learning Time” as a way to teach them at home without making it seem like a formal process. I spread a blanket on the ground, gather some resources and sing, “It’s learning time, it’s learning time, come and sit for learning time. It’s time to rhyme, your time to shineeeeeeeee….so come and sit for learning time!” ….and they love it!

This morning when I said we were going to do school, they both automatically said, “No, Learning Time!”
It’s amazing how the same thing presented in a different way has a totally different effect….

Hurry Up! A better way to organize your day

Do you often find yourself telling your child (or your spouse or yourself  for that matter!) to hurry up? I decided to make a conscious effort to stop saying those two little words and couldn’t believe how hard it was!

Really, it’s not my kid’s fault if we’re running late; it’s mine. It’s grossly unfair for me to tell them to hurry up if I’m the one that woke up late and didn’t prepare my day well.

Of course, there are the times when they’d rather tell each other knock knock jokes that don’t make any sense for a half hour straight instead of eating their dinner, but in that case we have set consequences and they just end up punishing themselves.

I’m a firm believer that our kids are our best mirrors, for good and bad. If you find yourself complaining about how they’re always running late, maybe you should evaluate your own scheudle and time management techniques – I know I had to!

So what’s the answer? In a society with a plethora of tools such as Daytimers, PDA’s, and the ever popular Outlook, I’ve devised a simple yet effective plan:
Every night before I go to bed, I pull out an index card. I write the date on the top left and below it write out any scheduled appointments for the day as well as set items that will definitely happen but may not have a set time (such as quiet time, kids nap, prepare for dinner, etc) – that way I have a “map” for how my day will look.

On the RIGHT SIDE, I write out my to-do list for the day: these are things I hope to accomplish in order of importance. That way, as I’m going through my day and have a free moment (hahahaha), I’m never sitting around wondering, “What should I do now?” I used to find myself so overwhelmed with the feeling of having so much to do but not knowing where to start. This method gives me a tangible and visible plan for my day without making me feel guilty if I don’t accomplish everything because I know I can always reevaluate throughout the day and at the end of the night before making my card for the next day.

Let me know if this helps you or if you have any ideas for organizing your day!

Scripture Memorization

For years, people have asked me how I memorize scripture. It is only to the testimony of two of my precious mentors (Ms. Jane & MaryBeth) that I ever began to understand the importance of learning God’s Word in this way. While it’s still important to memorize individual verses, especially those that bring great encouragement to you, learning the Bible chapter by chapter really builds up a new vocabulary for your heart.

Now that I have kids, I’m attempting to pass that same passion on to them. Here are a few keys I’ve found:
*Learn the verse(s) yourself – you cannot teach what you do not know

*Write the verse down in BIG PRINT (even if your kids cannot read yet) and post it in a highly visible and frequently passed place in your home (for us, it’s the refrigerator). If your kids are young, try doing it on construction paper with crayons, writing it in colored markers, or adding pictures above the words to help them learn to read the words they’re memorizing!

*Make up hand gestures to go along with the words

*Make up a song to go with the verse – we always remember songs even when we don’t want to!

*Practice Frequently! The prime times to capture your kids’ attention are bed time, meal time and travel time. It doesn’t even have to be purposeful – what I mean is this: once you teach your kids the verse (that does need to be a purposeful time set aside from other distractions) you can sing it while you’re getting dinner ready, while you’re dressing them, while you’re driving in the car, etc. I often find my kids pick things up better when I’m not expecting them to listen (for better or for worse!). At night, after we’re done praying over the kids, we’ll recite the verse they’re working on for that week.

*Stick to one verse a week – depending on the length of the verse and the age of the child, you may need to adjust your time frame. But this way, it really has time to sink in.

*There is a book called “Faith Training” by Dr. Joe White that I’ve reviewed on my “Books” link that gives great, practical advice on teaching scripture as well as suggestions for what passages to teach to what age group. He even suggests paying kids once they memorize verses – after all, if we pay them to rake leaves or put toys away, why not pay them to do something even more important?

Below is our latest verse on the fridge: John 1:12. We just finished Psalm 23 last month and John 1:1 this month – so you’ll notice John 1:12 is written on the bottom half of that paper with my silly drawings around the words.

John 1:12

John 1:12

The fridge is a great place for us because I can hang it at the kids’ eye level, and anytime we’re in the kitchen it’s a reminder for me to bring that week’s verse back to our attention.

Below is a VERY AMATEUR video I made of the tune and hand gestures to go along with the verse. Remember, the signs are not all true American Sign Language and the tune is simply something that came to my head as I listenend to the rhythm of the verse when saying it out loud.

I hope this helps answer some questions and inspire all of you. Remember, never underestimate your kids. Their brains are powerful and their hearts were created to comprehend these words. Pay attention to the individual needs of your child(ren) and never make it a competition.

If you found this helpful, leave me a comment and let me know. If enough of you respond, I’ll start posting better pictures of how I write out the verses and continue adding teaching video.
Never focus on what you haven’t been doing, but instead start today with a bigger vision for your family!

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13b-14

Kid Update

I have to give the grandparents a little something to brag about:
Kariss party

Kariss: we had her tested for Kindergarten readiness since she technically misses the cutoff for some of the schools here. She scored a 42/45 on the standardized assessment test! Even though she is academically ready, we’re learning that the culture here where we live tends to keep kids back a year, so we’ll see what happens. We knew she was a bright girl!

brit-sears-hat

Britton: Our cowboy, clown and musician. Here are the results of the rapid fire “favorites” poll I threw at him this morning:
Animal: giraffe
Colors: Blue, green, pink, red (in that specific order, I suppose, though now he’s adding on brown, orange and purple – so I guess anything goes!)
Favorite restaurant at Disney World: Chef Mickey’s
Favorite Park item: Run as fast as I can and go on horsies
Favorite Park: Red “Taboose” Park (should be Caboose)
Favorite Drink: “lentemade” (lemonade)

Doesn’t that really cover everything important in the life of a 3 year old? (Though I’m still trying to figure out the giraffe answer…)

Mom Sites

I’ve discovered some great sites that are helping me immensely as a thrifty and fun mom! I don’t know how these other women do it, but I sure am glad I can benefit from it!
http://www.faithfulprovisions.com/
http://www.moneysavingmom.com/
http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com/
http://www.thethriftymama.com/
http://momstogether.wordpress.com/

These are just a few of the great encouragements I’ve found. I’ve never been a blog reader before, but I’m getting some great ideas and tips from these ladies, so why not pass it on!

Kid Tip Tuesday – Teachable Moments

If you always try to sit your kids down to teach them something, you’ll be both exhausted and unsuccessful.

Instead, take advantage of the routine you already have in place and associate learning with those times. For instance, write a Bible verse on your child’s mirror with a dry erase pen and go over it while they brush their teeth in the morning. Or you can put new words (in English or another language) on the refrigerator and refer to them before you get their morning drinks or pull out their lunch for school. Use car time as a time to recite songs, rhymes or even multiplication tables.

If nothing else, use these “routine” times to remind yourself to listen to what your kids have to say. When you stop trying to constantly teach your children something to stop and listen, you’d be surprised at how much you can learn!