Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

November Lesson Plans

2014-2015 Kindergarten and Preschool

On our last family movie night, Noah declared, “I want to see the world,” when piping up about what video he would like to watch. Faith loves Veggie Tales, and Noah loves documentaries. He can hardly handle the suspense in any movie with a plot, even a Veggie Tale, but eats up documentaries. Noah and Faith, two tiny world travelers, love to pretend all the time that they are visiting foreign lands, like the frigid climate in Antartica or the scorching desert in Africa. They like extremes. When I told them about the adventures of my past mission trips, they couldn’t wait to go on missions to sleep on the floor and bathe in irrigation canals too. I really hope their traveling dreams come true, especially if they are for Jesus, because I would love to go with them! So this November, with the 2014 Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Gift Catalog just arriving in the mail, highlighting the extreme needs of those around the world, I think its a great time to go ahead and “travel” to far away lands, while growing in compassion and generosity by focusing on the needs of others before our own, and remembering why we have so much to thank God for this Thanksgiving. I hope that these lessons, with the Holy Spirit’s help, will plant some of the first seeds that cause our children to grow up into world changers. Your declaration rings in my heart Noah. I so want to help you see the world sweet pea!!

“A world Christian sees beyond his neighborhood friends, his school, his everyday life and experiences.  He’ll be fascinated by the variety of people and customs next door and all over God’s wide world.  He yearns for the Manika of Guinea and the Sukuma of Tanzania to be his brothers and sisters just as he desires spiritual oneness with his best friend.  But those things will happen only if he’s exposed to a broader world than what he finds naturally.  Of course our most basic prayer for our children is that God will move them toward himself.  That they will be his people.  That they will be men and women of God.  And then our prayer is that, as they focus on God, they will be aware of the world that needs him too.” ~Noel Piper

The Chuppies blog provides ideas for helping our children become world Christians.

 
I invite you to join our Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs school by following along with our lesson plans at home! You are welcome to homeschool with us! To better understand how we use these lesson plans below, and get the “full picture”, please see our curriculum overview for the whole school year, and our daily schedule. To let you know where our plans come from, we purchase Simply Charlotte Mason’s lesson plan handbooks for History/Bible, Geography, and Nature Study. We use SCM’s free curriculum guide, book finder, and suggestions from the discussion forum to help us select books for other subjects (no lesson plan books needed). Living books, being the emphasis of a Charlotte Mason education, means that most of our curriculum is purchased from Abebooks.com, or comes free from the library. School for us is just a big stack of carefully chosen living books, and narration; no textbooks, workbooks, or scripted lesson plans. We love how Charlotte Mason methods are easy, delightful, and a beautifully rich feast for the mind!

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.Fun Theme: Thanksgiving

Seasonal Theme: Autumn, Pumpkins

Character/Habit: Generosity and Compassion

Bible: Jacob and Joseph (Genesis)

History/Geography: Ancient Egypt, Africa

Nature Study: Trees and Chipmunks

Parent Study:

  • Learn some basic mission concepts to speak more knowledgeably to our children
  • Continue learning about creationism vs. evolution and young earth vs. old earth
  • Continue my own prayer journal and nature journal along with Noah.
  • Learn more about Ancient Egyptian life to be able to share with kids conversationally as interest and relevant opportunity arises.
  • Read a homeschooling book. Educating the Wholehearted Child is an awesome Christian homeschooling book!!! It covers everything.

Art, Music, and Poetry Study:

All Things Bright and Beautiful Blog

  • Poetry: Various selections from Favorite Poems Old and New
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach— selections, biographies, and other suggestions from All Things Bright (Remind children that we already know and love these songs by Bach: Suite #1 in G, Orchestral Suite #3, Double Concerto in D minor, Suite for Solo Cello #1)
  • Artist: Thomas Cole, Christian American landscape artist, paintings speak volumes. Pictured here is ‘Youth’, a painting in a series called ‘The Voyage of Life’ (a series of paintings which represents an interesting allegory of the four stages of human life: childhood, youth, manhood, and old age):

Character/Habit Development:

Read one story a month from Storytime with the Millers.

Storytime with the Millers

Circle Time/Family Time:

Generosity: Liberal in giving

Compassion: Moved with feeling at the sight of sin, sorrow and suffering

Promise Time:

Bring prepared scripture verse promises to Circle Time for anyone pictured on our prayer poster to stand on together this month. Make it personal and based on real needs. Hold needs and corresponding promises close to our hearts in prayer this month. Teach children to pray over others using the Word of God.

Prayer and Discussion Time:

  • Pray for people of the nations, especially Africa and other places we have learned about in our ancient history studies. Use the children’s book, Window on the World:When we Pray God Works, to inform us about people groups and provide prayer points.
  • Pray for God’s hearts of compassion in us, as described in Psalms: “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4
  • Pray provision for the needy according to Isaiah 41:17-20

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

  • Pray over the stories we receive from Samaritan’s purse in their quarterly magazine, Prayer Point
  • Slowly savor thoughtful ideas about generosity and compassion, read and discuss one a day:
    • “The miracle is this–the more we share, the more we have”–Leonard Nimoy
    • The Magic Penny song
    • Proverbs 11:24-25 “One person gives freely, yet gains even more….”
    • “If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that. –Frances Hodgson Burnett

    • Little Sunshine (story of how its the thought that counts)
    • Old Mr. Rabbits Thanksgiving Dinner in The Book of Virtues
    • The Legend of the Dipper (one small act of kindness can turn into something very great)
    • The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10
    • Grandmother’s Table (compassion requires putting yourself in someone else’s shoes)
    • Mother Theresa from Heroes for my Son
    • Read Elizabeth Fry’s story from Hero Tales

 

Bible:

Read Jacob and Joseph’s stories in the Children’s story Bible by Catherine Vos, and/or my ESV Study Bible.

Memory Verses:

A Psalm for giving thanks.

100 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

  • Review November verses from previous years:
    • “Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help.” Proverbs 3:27
    • “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • Learn memory verse for our “Charity and Missions” coin bank (a lighthouse):
    • If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” James 2:15
  • Review “tithing” and “long term savings” coin bank verses:
    • “Tithing” coin bank verse: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10
    • “Long Term Savings/Future Dreams Bank” (a rocket shaped bank): “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

 Hymns:

Fun Songs:

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I’m Thankful (#33)

 

  • Count Your Blessings (#15)

 

  • Praise and Thanksgiving (#14)

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Poetry Recitation:

A Child’s Prayer

God, make my life a little light
Within the world to glow;
A little flame that burneth bright
Wherever I may go.

God, make my life a little flower
That giveth joy to all,
Content to bloom in native bower,
Although the place be small.

God, make my life a little song
That comforteth the sad,
That helpeth others to be strong
And makes the singer glad.

God, make my life a little staff
Whereon the weak may rest,
And so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbors best.

God, make my life a little hymn
Of tenderness and praise;
Of faith, that never waxeth dim,
In all His wonderous ways.

– – M. Betham-Edwards

Handwriting:

Written letters, notes of encouragement, birthday cards, thank you cards, shopping lists, nature journal entries, prayer journal entries, poem or memory verse.

Reading:

First Steps, Preprimer | Main photo (Cover)

Word Building:

Preschooler Faith will sound out 3 and 4 letter phonetic words, and spell them out with letters (word build). Kindergartener Noah will build review sight words (non phonetic words) that he learned to read last year, practice building sight words from this years reader, as well as sound out and build an occasional phonetic word for phonics review (especially words with blends and digraphs).

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Literature Read Alouds:

 

Window to the World by Operation World provides short stories about featured countries or people groups and helps children relate to and learn how to pray for foreign lands and people.

 

History and Geography:

  • One lesson a day from SCM’s Genesis-Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt lesson plan book; living books that are suggested in the lesson plans

Math:

All lessons from Kathy Richardson’s “Developing Number Concepts” math books.

Noah’s Lessons:

Ongoing Review: Spend a few minutes a day practicing instant recognition of number combinations. Use homemade “flashcards” with arrangements of items that can be counted (like toothpicks or buttons that can be grouped into two numbers upon closer inspection in order to quickly find the total). Hold up a card and say, “Tell me fast. How many?” Ask, “How did you know?” (Cause there is a four and a three, and that’s seven) When recognizing groups of more than five easily, child will have to mentally combine the smaller groups that make up the larger ones.

The Hiding Assessment (p 29) An assessment to see what children know about number combinations already. This will help determine the appropriate size number to give a child during math lessons who is working with number combinations. Starting with five counters, hide some behind your back and display the remaining counters. Ask, “how many are hiding?” Still with five counters, try hiding different amounts behind your back and asking, “how many are hiding?” See if children can say the missing number quickly and confidently, if they need time to figure it out, or if they are unsuccessful. Try larger numbers of counters if successful. Try smaller ones if unsuccessful.

Complex Addition and Subtraction Stories (p32) Have children act out equalizing, missing addend, and comparative addition and subtraction stories.

  • Equalizing–Mark has six bowls, Carrie has 4. How many more will Carrie have to make to have the same number as Mark.
  • Missing Addend–Mark has six bowls. He needs 10. How many more does he need to get? OR Mark has 8 bowls now because he got 2 for his birthday. How many did he have before his birthday?
  • Comparative Subtraction–Mark has 6 bowls and Carrie has 4. How many more does Mark have than Carrie?

Race to Ten (p34) Use a 1-6 number cube, working space papers, and a “+/-” spinner. Take turns spinning to determine whether to add or subtract, and rolling to see how many counters to add or subtract. First person to reach 10 exactly wins. If there aren’t enough counters to subtract what is shown on the cube, the person loses their turn. If a person reaches a number higher than 10, use another working space paper.

Writing Stories to Go With Equations (p30) Write an equation, and model how to write a corresponding word problem. Children can then try writing a word problem of their own and make a drawing to illustrate the equation (that you provide).

Writing Equations with Counting Boards (p 38) Children place counters on several counting boards, tell addition/subtraction stories, and write equations.

Number Arrangements Using Cubes (p78) Have children make cube arrangements (into a simple design) for the number of the day, and talk about what number combinations they see in the arrangement.

Describing a Number By Its Parts (p 56) You and your child both make a cube train of a specified length (pick the right size number for your child). Give the signal “snap”, and both of you break your train into two parts any way you like. Take turns determining the number combination in each others hands (“3 and 2″ or “1 and 4″ for a train of 5 for example). For numbers greater than 6, say how many cubes to break off, give child time to determine the combination, and then ask, “How many?” The next level to this activity is for each person to keep one hand behind his/herback, and have your partner predict how many cubes are hidden. Then check predictions.

Faith’s Lessons:

Week 1  Hunt for It (p. 38)

Materials: counters, 5-6 bowls/margarine tubs, dot cubes (dice, or make your own) or numeral cubes (make your own) with quantities at your child’s level (1-6 or 4-9 or 7-12 for example) Lesson: Hide various sets of counters under five or six bowls. Name a number and have children hunt for that number, lifting one bowl at a time. Children say whether each number they find is “more” or “less” than the one named. Instead of naming a number, you could also provide a dot cube or numeral cube to teach recognizing quantities and reading numerals. Extension: Have children write the number of counters that were hidden.

Week 2 Shape Puzzles (p. 60)

Materials: unifix cubes, shape puzzles Lesson: The children estimate how many cubes will fit in a shape puzzle and then check to see how many cubes fit in the shape puzzle. Extension: Children can write the numerals down when they check each puzzle. Increase the size of the shape puzzle for children ready to work with large numbers.

Week 3 How Many Ways? (p. 100)

Materials: Various patterning objects (small colored square papers, buttons, unifix cubes, seashells, etc. Markers or crayons, and glue. Lesson: Give the children a pattern such as AABB, ABC, AAB, etc. Have them work to see how many different ways they can show that pattern using their choice of objects. Glue the objects down or copy the pattern down with markers or crayons. Make a chart/display of all the ways they came up with.

Week 4 Spin and Peek (p. 150)

Materials: Counters, eight or nine bowls, more/less spinner (use a spinner you already own, cover one half with paper labeled “More” and one half with paper labeled “Less”) Lesson: Played like concentration. Lift a bowl, count the counters, spin the more/less spinner to see if he or she should look for a bowl with more counters or less counters than the first bowl. If he or she finds it, take those two bowls out of the game. Play until all bowls are out of the game.

Nature Study:

Videos:

Show children how the Kingdom of God IS advancing around the world. “Dispatches from the Front” is a thoughtful, moving, understated, and ultimately convicting series of videos depicting the work of the gospel in some of the most challenging corners of the world.” – D. A. Carson

The First Thanksgiving clips by Scholastic

19 science DVDs on creation

God of Wonders

Awesome Science is a high quality DVD series produced by a family that homeschools and works on the series together. Noah is the field guide and host for all 13 episodes which explore the globe to discover evidence of the accuracy of the Bible. Noah contends that the earth is NOT millions of years old and the dinosaurs did not die from a meteor. These videos provide excellent science content as well as a theological perspective. They are an effective way to challenge evolutionary assumptions with scientific evidence while providing a very visual science education.

6 Episodes all compliment study of the account of the flood in Genesis.

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Library series on ancient civilizations:

Book Jacket for: Ancient Africa [videorecording]Book Jacket for: Ancient Egypt [videorecording]Book Jacket for: Ancient Mesopotamia [videorecording]Book Jacket for: Ancient China [videorecording]

 

Ancient Evidence - Mysteries of the Old Testament

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Traditions, Fun Friday Projects, and Other Ideas:

Squash the “me me me” attitude that creeps up when holiday shopping time approaches by practicing thinking first of others who need Christmas gifts much more. Peruse and read the 2014 Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Gift Catalog together, and let selfless dreams of giving crowd out competing materialistic affections. Involve children in saving up for whatever dream the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to do for others.

Subscribe to Voice of the Martyrs free newsletter to learn about persecuted Christians and  ways we can get involved in serving them.

Map prayer needs around the world as we discover them, and use ideas from The Chuppies to form hearts for the nations.

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Read The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs, and then carve a pumpkin. God is the Farmer, and we are just like pumpkins, chosen by Him, made clean and given His light.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

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Put some action to all those lessons about giving

Pack a Shoebox for an Operation Christmas Child.

Make Care Packages to Pass Out to Homeless People or hot “stone soup” for someone needy after reading Stone Soup

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Make a Thankful Tree (write something we are thankful for on a leaf each morning and attach)

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Make a leaf picture in our nature journals

Play in fall leaves and take pictures

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Have a neighbor over for a cup of tea. Kids practice manners, hospitality, and social skills while making stronger connections to neighbors.

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Fieldtrips:

Monterey Bay Aquarium Homeschool Day (we had to sign up last September)

Watch and learn about the amazing underwater world


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Keeping Children in “Big” Church

Since I am largely speaking to other Christian homeschooling families here, I think we can agree that training up our own children, as the Bible admonishes, is very important, and a big reason why many of us decided to homeschool. Delegating the responsibility to someone else in a school system of age segregated classrooms to educate our children started to feel wrong at some point, and so we decided it was time to take our rightful authority back and keep our kids under our own careful training. In the same way, our family feels called to train up our own children in the Christian faith in an equally passionate and parentally responsible manner. Just like we do not want to delegate our children’s education, we do not want to delegate their spiritual training either, and especially not on Sundays!

Now days many Christian parents send their children off to Sunday school, children’s church, or various children’s bible clubs. As long as parents are using it as supplemental, rather than delegated Biblical training, its not wrong. However, “sending off” is so normal these days, we hardly think twice about it, but every little bit that we do, eats away at our time to “walk along side” and disciple our own kids. Every time well meaning friends and family encourage my husband and I to think about deviating from our choice, we are given another opportunity to reassess our family core values, and reexamine where we stand. Today’s post is one such reexamination. Although the discussions can sometimes cause a brief unsettling about our convictions, we pray, and hearts settle on the wisdom of Deuternomy 6:6-7, which says to teach Gods words to our children when we sit, walk, lie down, or stand up. Those verses, and other scriptures, keep drawing us back to our original family convictions, and challenge us to continue to fully practice a “walking along side” type of parenting, rather than a “sending off” type of parenting. So really we have you to thank, loved ones, for helping us strengthen our conviction muscles.

When my sister Tara came to visit recently, I experienced one of those well meaning, friendly attempts to help me see the light. 🙂 I thought that she made a lot of good points that many of you who send your children to children’s church would probably amen.  Since its an interesting topic of discussion amongst Christians, and particularly Christian homeschoolers, I asked Tara for permission to share our conversation. We started our debate at a restaurant, and then continued it by texting each other as follows:

Tara: I just wanted to say that I really do appreciate your family together perspective. I was trying to present the aspect of what their age level actually understands. But if you guys feel like its more important to have a level way above them than one you think is way below them, then obviously that’s your decision. No hard feelings from me. : )

Lynn: You are a hard sell. : ) I already poured all my blood sweat and tears on these issues on my blog where its a lot safer–safer cause people can read it if they want or not and I don’t have to defend myself. : ) If you do decide to read and watch my stuff, I would feel honored, and it would be great to continue the conversation–or debate. 😉 No hard feelings–however, we should probably chill out a bit because we are a little intense for other parties listening.

I guess we talked a lot about “level”, but maybe I should say that level is the lesser reason to keep my kids in main service. Its more about the work of the Holy Spirit. Anyone can glean from where the Spirit is moving–whether special needs, low or high intelligence, young, old, etc. You know how everyone hears something different from the same message because the HS speaks to us all according to what we need at that time? He makes one simple message so dynamic and applicable to everyones life. I think He does the same for children who are taught to be listening. I want my children in service where they are directly under our discipling to “listen” when it matters most since church is key spiritual training ground in our lives (not a time for delegation in our fam), and the main service has the fresh life and movement of HS every Sunday for that to occur regularly. That’s why I was saying that everyone is “made in the image of God” at the restaurant, everyone is made to hear God, and even just understanding/revelation on one word can be enough to sustain or change or grow our kids if its delivered by the HS.

Plus, no one can refute our family leading by God, and I think you wisely understand that. There have been too many things that have pointed us in this direction to go the other way now…..from books, to articles, to movies, to timely Bible study with the kids (like how our fam devotions before church this morning totally coincided with the message given today). We would be foolish to ignore what seems to be a path made obvious for us. If our same leadings haven’t come up for you, then maybe you don’t need to do what we do….Well, unless this is the inkling of a new beginning…….. : )

Tara: I guess I just don’t see why you think that the main service is the only place where the Holy Spirit can move or the only place that has “the fresh life and movement” of the Spirit. You, as an adult, may personally feel that it ministers to you in a “more effective” or powerful way. but that shouldn’t preclude you from thinking that the Holy Spirit can also be present in kid’s church or there be an anointing on someone other than the head guy. As if he is bound only to the main sanctuary or one  man. I feel like you shouldn’t underestimate his power to minister to your kids in an impactful way that might always remember. True, he can minister one word that might change their lives during a service thats way over their heads or they can learn that God can be a God of fun and fellowship even at their little level. Or take away a phrase from children’s church that might change their whole course. I certainly see the value of kids being together with families for worship, but I just don’t think they have to sit bored week after week to maybe catch something in their spirit…….Because they are definitely not catching anything substantial in their intellect. Again, if thats what you both prefer and you just want to be together, than I pray the Lord honors your request in the way you want it.

I am a tough sell too. 🙂 I personally remember really enjoying big church worship, but the sermons that I have carried with me were ones that came from teachers who had dedicated their lives to my age group. The rest was full of words and concepts that were just too complex for e to even process. I don’t know why you want them to matureway beyond where they are at anyway. But as you say, you feel like they will gain a greater spiritual maturity so maybe so. : )

Lynn: Yah I guess I think of CC as generally a trickle compared to a gushing waterfall of the Spirit after being in so many kids classes with constant turnover of workers and people who were not HS led or barely wanted to be there. Sad, but true in children’s ministry everywhere. They end up in something like child care and even watching TV or just playing. There are certainly some really good dedicated teachers or children’s pastors out there, but still their heart for their class can never compare to the heart of a child’s own parent and what he or she can pass down as spiritual heritage. The adult service we sat in as kids–ok, everybody was lost and dying on the vine (dry sermons!). Also, our parents expectations and involvement or training was way different than my fam. Our church has awesome speakers and we are really trying to disciple. Close discipleship is probably the main indicator of enjoyment/accessibility/success in my opinion.

I would die on the vine if I had the amount of HS flow that kids classes have, so how can I expect it to minister to my kids? I dare say that I would endanger their growth. They don’t need a small Holy Spirit just because they are small, they need a full open heaven torrent that descends in both worship, during the Word, and especially at the end of a service at alter call (a call for change and prayer). Wouldn’t want them to miss out on any of those 3 unique outflows. (However, if its a church where the Holy Spirit doesn’t move much then my argument holds little applicability)

Tara: Well, for sure all kids’ programs are not created equal. Not sure what was happening in the larger class they wanted Roman in–looked like more plan, passion, and agenda, but if you do ever speak up for/try to influence your own churches little kid classes, they need help. Roman said they only sang one song, prayed only for the snack, there was no real story time, just something he already knew about the lost sheep, and they watched some Christian video twice and then some Clifford video too. Thats just babysitting and makes me feel really sad for the kids involved there. Sounds like a mission for Lynn!!! 🙂

Lynn: Hee hee, yah except it goes against my philosophical viewpoint that parents need to teach their own kids and that families are better off together in service.

So Romans class is just one of many examples of churches ministering lower than what children need. I have seen it over and over again. I hope your church is truly much better. yes, the older lass may be better, but probably still lower than what kids that age could be doing. Roman’s class is pretty typical at churches for that age range, and I wholeheartedly disagree with their approach because children are capable of much more!! However, only with proper parental daily input! However, I must say that Roman’s class actually does minister to kids in a family where the parents are not training up in a Deuteronomy 6:7 way. There are kids who wouldn’t be able to receive if more was expected, but the majority of CC classes don’t work well for a family obeying Duet. 6:7. Our kids will always be in a much different place than the general group of kids whose parents both work and don’t have a full life discipleship model. Sunday school was actually invented for poor children who couldn’t read because they worked 12 hour days in factories. Today children’s classes are still designed to best reach and minister to kids whose parents can’t/won’t/don’t teach their kids or just teach a little. I am not trying to exalt our family, and I really hope I don’t sound arrogant…….some parents really are doing all they can……the reality is any parent who is committed to spending every waking moment training up his/her kids as many Christian homeschoolers have chosen to, the kids will be misfits in typical Christian society (in a good way). Noah is already so different than his peers at age 5 and I expect the gap will only increase as there is no turning back for us. He probably knows what I knew Biblically at like age 11 (me being a typical girl from Christian society).

Tara: Still, your church could benefit from some feedback, because yes, we have a much richer curriculum for even younger ages. I mean seriously? 3 movies? We don’t ever watch movies there. Thats just lazy to me. A once in awhile special experience maybe, but otherwise it just comes across as you aren’t prepared or aren’t equipped.

Lynn: Could have been just one of those days, ya know? Somebody new trying to get by…….or not. The thing is, CC so depends on who is teaching, and its so often in the hands of good hearted but incompetent or undependable volunteers and training system. and quality can change at any time without parents being aware. Parents are largely unaware of what happens back there at all, stranger still is that they are ok with that. What if selecting random volunteers was how we taught adults in main service? Yikes.

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So I think Tara’s thumbs gave out at that point or we moved onto other subjects…………..Well, as you probably guessed, I do have a little more to say.

Children complete the worship community, and to me, are key elements in creating a balance in the meeting place. The gathering is a less dynamic experience when children are sent away. Dear Parents with Young Children in Church is an encouraging article that a friend shared with me about the arduous task of training young ones in church, yet the outcome of building true community is worth it. Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church? is a documentary I strongly suggest for every Christian mom and dad to watch together. The premise of Divided, well received by some and not by others, is that youth ministry and children’s age grouped classes are a “50-year failed experiment,” because dividing children from adults at church is an unBiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies. The movie asserts that the church has drifted away from scripture, away from the established pattern of biblical church life, and toward modern culture for her answers. It is awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it.

Children also really need to feel like they are a welcome part of the worship community. Studies have shown that when we constantly alienate our children and teens, separating them from the rest of the body, that once they leave the youth ministry, they aren’t sure where they belong. (They have never really made a connection with any one in the body of Christ that is older other than their youth pastor, but their youth pastor is now telling they are no long a teen and they don’t belong in the youth group but they never felt like a part of “big people church”) And when kids are so used to church being about entertainment–skits, puppet shows, snack, play time, games, etc–its no wonder that by the time they are teens and expected to join in service, they decide that “church” is boring. As much as parents tend to think so, church is not about entertainment, even for kids. Its about much much deeper things that will seem very foreign to a child who has not learned to become a part of the “adult” worship service.

A book I would like to read, Family Driven Faith, explains how our children are falling away from the faith because we are asking the church to do what God designed the family to accomplish. At one time Christian worship, teaching, & ministry was primarily a function of the family. It was considered normal for families to sing hymns together daily, for the father to systematically teach the Bible daily, to pray daily, for the family to look for ways to minister and reach out to others. This is how I pray that God will build and restore our families!! When families are strengthened and restored to function as God intended, all the age segregated ministries that churches offer becomes a pale substitute for the dynamic nature of family driven faith, and therefore largely unnecessary and irrelevant in the lives of such families. Family is the only institution mentioned by scripture for the spiritual training up of children (not church, nor government). The benefits of attending Christian activities will never compare to the life transformation that occurs while children watch, listen, and learn from their parents relationship with God.

For us, including our kids in church is a huge part of their training and discipleship, and discipleship is one of our three important Cravalho Family Core Values. I want them to hear the full weight of the gospel. It may be hard to understand at times, but that just gives us more opportunities for follow up with discussion and discipleship at home. I am humbled and shocked to find what has entered the heart of my oldest already through his ability to just sit and listen. When the whole counsel of God is going into a child, it may not be fully understood at the time, but its in there, and the Holy Spirit will cause it to resurface at a needed time in the future. Also, I couldn’t send off my children into classes to be with teachers and people I don’t know very well. They are my most precious treasures, and we guard their hearts and minds, and whoever speaks into them, with fiercely protective love. As our children walk along side us, we are right there when they are engaged in conversation by anyone in our church family, or held in the arms of a trusted friend within the sanctuary. Discipleship by nature means keeping close, and discipleship of young ones means keeping them very close.

Making family beautiful is another one of our core values. Building family relationships is our priority, and we view being together in church a key time for that to happen! I love when I find my 5 year old Noah’s wrapped arms around my shoulders through a worship song as he stands on the chair behind me praising God with me, or when I worship face to face with my little 3 year old Faith held close in my arms, or seeing our 1 year old Daniel raise his arms in praise because he sees mommy or daddy doing it. I wouldn’t trade those beautiful experiences of family worship for anything.

Keeping our children in church also provides a preferable socialization experience. That sounds backwards, but yes, I meant to say that children’s church is the less preferable social experience. By letting our children be surrounded and immersed in the company of mature , Godly, wise examples, we believe that that is who our children will become also. We can give them healthy intergenerational learning experiences on Sundays by including them in the worship community. On the other hand, the Bible says if we make our kids the companion of fools, they will be destroyed (remember “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child,” and yes, foolish company abounds in any children’s class). We parents sure do love for our kids to have “friendships,” and we count on church classes to provide them in plenty. However, reading Hold Onto Your Kids will forever help me to keep the perspective that kids don’t need friends like we think they do. The very concept of friendship is meaningless when applied to immature people. A true friend is considerate, acknowledges our boundaries, respects us as individuals, supports our growth and development. Does this sound like many of the kids you know? No, the capacity for true social integration comes with maturity and individuality. So our time is more wisely spent cultivating worthwhile relationships with the adults in our child’s life/church, than pursuing “friends” for our child.

Finally, its ok to be different! In fact, it may even be beneficial! I believe the “abnormal” decision to keep our children in church, which requires extreme patience with our babies as they mature into children who can sit quietly and actually receive something from a sermon, is definitely taking the harder more untraveled road. Yet, we know that whenever we take the normal path in life, we can often expect normal results. However, if we bravely live outside the ordinary, we may just find the extraordinary!

May we raise extraordinary children for the glory of God!

From my post Teaching Children the Bible:

(Info from inrich.org that I find very interesting)

  1. Age graded programs are unwise, unnecessary and largely unproductive. Segregating and separating children is both unbiblical and unnatural. When families are referred to in the Scripture, the children are included in the family worship, never otherwise. The secular society has tried to keep kids from their parents. The public education system was influenced heavily by G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey, G.F. Hegel and Rosseau who advocated isolating children from their parents. This has been one of the fundamental problems of the public schools. But these secular ideals must be recognized and resisted on the basis of clear Scriptural teaching on how to raise children. The church needs to strongly resist the anti-christian culture that purposefully or unconsciously attacks the family and biblical values.
  2. The church should lift the standard for both parents and children. Some parents will be “uncomfortable” with the challenge to train their children to listen, to follow through at home (and be held accountable for it!), or with strong preaching on the Scriptural admonitions. We should have high expectations for our children, giving them something to reach for–demonstrating our confidence in their ability to relate to adults and to learn at a higher level.
  3. Intergenerational activities (classes, programs, special events) provide an opportunity for individuals to relate to others of all ages in the natural way they are placed by God in society (church and family) instead of in the unnatural and negative peer structure. These cross-generational groups also furnish ample occasion for the church to follow God’s plan for older women to instruct younger women, for older men to instruct younger men, and for parents to train their children, etc.
  4. Children need to see their parents worshiping God and responding to His Word (preaching and teaching); children worshiped with their parents in the Bible record and this was part of the educational (learning to fear and trust God) experience. Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78 state the principles; examples are seen in Deut. 31:10-13, 2 Kings 23:1-3, Neh. 12:43.
  5. Sunday School was not formed originally as a biblically-based and balanced approach to discipleship. In some ways the pattern of the first Sunday Schools would be akin to government subsidized busing “ministries.” In relation to traditional Sunday Schools in most evangelical churches today, one must be careful to evaluate all discipleship programs in light of the core values of the local church. In other words, are we adding more classes or programs because people want something more to do or desire to acquire more information? The questions to ask in reference to the core values is: “what ministry ‘programs’ will have the greatest influence in making mature followers of Christ and thus accomplish our God-given vision for this church?”
  6. The local church needs to be more than “family friendly.” The philosophy of ministry, because of God’s plan for the family, needs to be decidedly based on building family values since that is clearly God’s plan and since strong families are a major component in producing healthy churches.
  7. Having the family-based church leads to effective and fruitful ministries that come naturally from the healthy family. For example, instead of creating artificial or contrived ministry programs, the family – in the context of their relationship to the local church – reaches out to the lost, embraces the “foreigner” (single parent, single adult, church visitor, unsaved individual, etc.), “adopts” newcomers, practices hospitality, and serves together. “HOME” groups can also be structured to include family groups, instead of creating another night out away from family members. The family learns a missionary mentality.
  8. Sundays need to be a family-together experience. Families are already fragmented excessively in American culture. We already spoke of the contrast between “sending away” and “walking along side” in parental education. Deut. 6:6-7 can be experienced on Sunday mornings. Churches can bear the “inconvenience” of having children learn to sit and worship with their parents, giving their parents the opportunity to train (and be with) their kids. See Exodus 10:8-10; Deut. 29:10-13; Psalm 78:1-4 for additional examples of all ages together in corporate worship. Child training can happen on Sundays.

 

Last Summer Memory spent at Hartland Christian Camp was a wonderful experience

Last Summer Memory spent at Hartland Christian Camp–a wonderful experience!

First Day Giggles

First Day Giggles

Ice Cream to Celebrate our First Day of School!

Ice Cream to Celebrate our First Day of School!

Back to School Snacks have been extra special for Faith's sake, my snack time lover

Back to School Snacks have been extra special for Faith’s sake, my snack time lover

Our new I Can Serve Board tells kids what they can help out with everyday

Our new I Can Serve Board tells kids what they can help out with everyday

Noah Doing Observe and Serve before School

Noah Doing Observe and Serve before School

Sketching a Crepe Myrtle tree in our nature journals was a beautiful moment

Sketching a Crepe Myrtle tree in our nature journals was a beautiful moment

Our little teepee covered in bird house gourd vines

Our little teepee covered in bird house gourds

Writing my name for the first time

Writing my name for the first time

Elated over Word Building

Elated over Word Building

Daniel's 1st Birthday and Baby Dedication

Daniel’s 1st Birthday and Baby Dedication

Took my Sweetie to a Tea House

Took my Sweetie to a Tea House

Morning lessons

Morning lessons

 

Faith draws Roman soldiers or Jesus in Mary's belly in her nature journal

Faith draws Roman soldiers or Jesus in Mary’s belly in her nature journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at me, no hands!

Look at me, no hands!

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My Nature Journal

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Noah’s Nature Journal

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Noah Found Swallowtail Caterpillar Eating our Parsley

Noah Found Swallowtail Caterpillar Eating our Parsley

Our Caterpillar Hung in this position all day before turning into a chrysalis overnight

Our Caterpillar Hung in this position all day before turning into a chrysalis overnight

Faith's pattern work

Faith’s pattern work

The Kids Love to Bring Surprise Sharing to School

The Kids Love to Bring Surprise Sharing to School

 

Noah Making Combinations of 8

Noah Making Combinations of 8

Apple Hill

Apple Hill

So Fun to Pick Apples in the Orchards

So Fun to Pick Apples in the Orchards

Little Boy was Quick to Notice our First Lemons. Captivating!

Little Boy was Quick to Notice our First Lemons. Captivating!

Tayler Joins us for a Fun Apple Lesson

Tayler Joins us for a Fun Apple Lesson

My Math Story

My Math Story

Learning to Trust

Learning to Trust

We can swim!

We can swim!

Fun with Our Swim Teacher Miss Hillary

Fun with Our Swim Teacher Miss Hillary

Handsome Hero

Handsome Hero

Blasting Off to Space in our Rocket

Blasting Off to Space in our Rocket

True Heroism in Action

True Heroism in Action

Future Mommy

Future Mommy

Imaginary play is alive in our “ship” tree

Proud of my Little Man Wanting to Carry our Stuff

Proud of my Little Man Wanting to Carry our Stuff

Found an Old Friend at the Nature Park

Found an Old Friend at the Nature Park

Love our Cactuses in the Desert Paintings

Love our “Cactuses in the Desert” Paintings

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Faith’s self portrait and first time writing her name

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Noah’s Bible narration illustration

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Noah’s self portrait (belly button, but no arms!)

Tea Invitation for Doris

Tea Invitation for Doris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digging for Sweet Potatoes

Digging for Sweet Potatoes

Tea TIme with Doris is a Lesson in Social Skills

Tea TIme with Doris is a Lesson in Social Skills

Lego Creations are Starting to be Creative

Lego Creations are Starting to be Creative

Sweet Lambs

Sweet Lambs

Fall Trees Nature Study

Fall Trees Nature Study

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