Scripture Memorization for the Littles

_20170507_202356

We’ve decided not to send Little Monster to VPK next year, but keep her (and Little Miss) at their little preschool two days a week and homeschool on the side. One of my goals is to incorporate Christian education into my ‘curriculum.’ Children should learn the foundations of our faith first at home, and then build on it through the knowledge and wisdom of others and personal study.

I did a search on Pinterest for Christian education, character development, and finally scripture memorization. This post from Wild Flower Ramblings inspired me and gave me the tools to effectively do scripture memorization with our family. Some of the verses she listed were still too long for my girls to start with though. At 4 ½, Little Monster has several (eight?) fun phonological processes she’s working on in speech therapy, and Little Miss is just 2 1/2, although a wiz with memorization for her age. I wanted my girls to be encouraged by their ability with simple verses, so that they would want to learn more, and to understand what they’re saying, not just do rote memorization.

I am choosing verses that can be broken down into three or four repeat-able phrases and that convey just one theological idea – an attribute of God, our relationship to God, or how we should conduct ourselves as Christians. I choose whatever Bible translation is most easily understood by my girls (biblehub.com is good for looking at all the versions at once), or my own paraphrase (like Phil 4:13). I write the verse of the week (although my weeks are very flexible!) on index cards and put them on the bulletin board in the kitchen so I’m often reminded of them. The practice is usually spontaneous, not a sit-down event, and takes less than five minutes a day. They like to review all the ones they’ve done each time.

It’s important that they memorize the ‘address’ (ex. Psalm 37:3) along with the verse, so they will forever be able to look up those verses as they learn their way around the Bible and into adulthood. A good way to reinforce the address is to say it both before and after the verse: Joshua 24:15 As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15. When they’ve both memorized the verse they each choose a sticker to put on that card. I eventually want to put them on a ring like Wild Flower Ramblings does, but I haven’t gotten that far – I don’t run a Pinterest-worthy house!

Following are the first ten verses on our list:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

I can do all things through Christ who makes me strong. Philippians 4:13 (don’t forget to flex your muscles!)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

And surely I am with you always, to the end of time. Matthew 28:20(b)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3

Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19(a)

I have stored up your Word in my heart, so that I don’t sin against you. Psalm 119:11

I mentioned I really want them to understand what they’re saying, so we talk about new vocabulary when I introduce a new verse. Whenever possible, I relate the new verse to ones we’ve already learned. Like when I introduced Philippians 4:13, our second memory verse, I prefaced by telling them that the Bible gives us directions on how to treat other people, like we learned from Luke 6:31, and it also tells us how God helps us. I’ll never forget that conversation as Little Monster then asked me how I know so much and who taught me. After answering with my parents taught me, I learn at church, I learn at Bible study, I read the Bible on my own, but I’m still learning, she then asked me to take her everywhere with me, like big church and Bible study, instead of going to the nursery. (She still goes to the nursery. Her time will come.) Such hunger for God!

Of course, scripture memorization doesn’t mean anything if they don’t see it in action. We refer to these verses often in our every day life. For example, Little: “Mommy, why we have lots of friends?” Me: “Because when we are nice to people they are nice to us and want to be friends. ‘Do to others…” Little: “‘…as you would have them do to you.’ Luke 6:31” Or, Little: “I just can’t do it!” Me: “Of course you can! ‘I can do…’” Little: “…all things through Christ who makes me strong.’ Philippians 4:13” And, Little: “Who makes the sun go to bed?” Me: “God does, because He made the sun. ‘In the beginning…’” Little: “’God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1”

As we began this practice of scripture memorization I realized so many benefits. For Little Monster, it is proving a help with her pronunciation as she practices the same words over and over. Speech therapy! They both get so excited when they move from repeating after me to reciting the whole thing on their own. Confidence-booster! Even before they can read they are putting God’s Word in their hearts. Faith-building!

And let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter than hearing your toddler and preschooler saying Scripture to one another in the back of the car.

 

Special thanks to my mom for being excited about this aspect of Christian education alongside me, and helping me put to words some of the methods we are using.

 

Note: Why did I not start with John 3:16? The verse that most people who have had any kind of Christian education can recite? Because it’s just too much for a preschooler/toddler – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This is a great verse to sum up the Gospel, but if you look closely, you quickly realize that it is not a good first memory verse for little ones. Now that just happens to be the translation I learned as a child, but even in a more modern translation, it’s a mouthful. I would probably have to break that into six or more parts. The sentence structure has a lot of clauses that depend on the previous phrase. And there are so many deep theological messages in this one verse. So it’s a great verse to sum up Christianity, but that’s not what I’m trying to do with my kids. I want them to understand our faith, bit by bit, as they are ready for it, as they grow.

Overwhelmed and Excited

Guys, I have so much going on these days. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but oftentimes I find myself just excited about what God is doing in my life.
img_20170201_121024694

Playtime with reflux

Little Man had his 2-month appointment yesterday. He is a thriving, growing boy. At 12lbs12oz he has already gained 5lbs5oz from his birth weight. He has reflux. He DOESN’T have a food allergy. After a month of dairy free living, I’ve been eating dairy all week with no reaction!!! I still have an oversupply but we’re managing it. The oversupply is likely what caused the allergy-like symptoms which led me to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. He probably has a tongue tie, it is visible, but it’s not to the point that movement is restricted, and clearly he doesn’t have a transfer issue, so we’ll let it be for now. I was reminded once again how much I LOVE my pediatrician. She is a real human being and talks with me like I’m a thinking human being too.

His baptism is this Sunday. This is such a special time for our family as we make a public commitment to teach him about God’s love, raise him in the community of believers, and pray for him as he grows. As an infant this is a covenant baptism, recognizing that we belong to Christ even before we understand it. When he is older he will be able to go through confirmation class and make his own public affirmation of faith. But because he’s so huge, I need to do a small alteration of the baptism outfit that was worn by his Papa and uncle, and made from his great-grandfather’s wedding shirt. The alteration will be a simple crotch extender, so it won’t impact the existing garment.
Littles Monster and Miss are in preschool three times a week and love it. They come home with new songs all the time. They have stories to tell about school. I can see leaps and bounds in their development. Little Monster is also in speech therapy (aka talking school) and will begin OT next week. I am so thankful that we can provide her with the help that she needs so that she can succeed. We are working to help her as much as possible NOW, before she begins VPK. She is so receptive to the help and wants to be understood.
img_20170124_141532

The best part of baking

 I feel like I’m constantly dealing with health insurance. I was on the phone with the marketplace for 1hr15min on Monday to update our information and switch policies again (I accidentally selected a policy this year that our pediatrician wasn’t covered under. OOPS!!) While insurance always seems to be a nightmare for me, I am SO THANKFUL that we have it. I just hope we can continue to have insurance.
I am always working on too little sleep, not enough patience, and a whole lot of prayer.
My mom and I wrote a children’s book last spring titled The New Baby Went to Heaven. We had a contract with a publishing company. We got through the editing stage, but no further. We learned last week that they suddenly closed their doors. I know that this will be a blessing. We are starting to explore new avenues to get our book published. I’m also excited about the second book we wrote, and two new inspired works that I’ll be working on this year.
faith-elisabethb

Sweet Baby Faith

Already we have been blessed by another author who also happens to work with NILMDTS, and edited our picture of baby Faith into a beautiful keepsake where she actually looks like the peaceful baby that I so briefly held in my arms instead of the stillborn baby under flourescent lighting. I was so thankful that the hospital took pictures of her, but wished for better quality. One of my regrets was that we didn’t take our own pictures of her while I held her. So this is an amazing gift as we approach her one-year stillbirthday. I now have a picture I can show my living children of their sister that we lost too soon.

The women’s community Bible study started up again last week and I’m loving the new study of 1 Peter, and the fellowship with these amazing women as we learn and grow together. I have never done a study like this – a study on how to really study the Bible. It has been so enriching in just the first week!
I have not been as active on my blog as I would like. I have so many thoughts, but then never get it on screen.
img_20170122_091646755

Lending Library pretties to play with

I continue to volunteer with our local babywearing chapter. I love having another outlet for my writing as I help with the blog (even though I’ve totally slacked on this lately!). This group has meant so much to me. From them I learned how to wear Little Miss with confidence so that I could care for both her and Little Monster when she was little. I have gained so many friendships through the group. They were a huge help to me when we lost baby Faith. They have continued to support me in my mommyhood journey. The group is constantly evolving as people move away or babies grow out of wearing, but the friendships remain.

The farm continues on. We are going to be adding chickens soon, once we can make the time to build the chicken tractor. I’m excited about the future of our farm. I’m excited to be good stewards of the land and animals that we have been blessed with. I learn something everyday!

 

IMG_20170119_083128.jpg

‘Gardening’ in the morning

I’m getting back into my crafting, whether with wood or with fibers. It is so challenging finding the time and managing the littles so I can do the things I want to do, but it is so empowering once I get it done. And I think it’s so important for them to see me doing things that I enjoy. For my girls (and eventually Little Man) to see me do the more traditional women’s activites like sewing and such, and to see that women can build things with wood too, which historically was the man’s domain.
img_20170201_154409_497

Mama’s workbench

Speaking of the man, Hubby works long hours and oftentimes comes home exhausted, physically and mentally. He is working on too little sleep too. It often seems like we hardly talk to one another between his work hours and the nightly routine with the kids. But somehow we still manage to make time to ensure we’re on the same page, working toward the same goals for our family. We have started a new reminder for one another though, that this is not forever. This is only a season.
So that’s most of the things going on these days. This started out as a Facebook post, but got so long I brought over here to the blog. But all this to say, life is good. Very busy, challenging, exhausting, but good.

Slowly Moving into the New Year

IMG_20141120_071400871_HDR.jpg

We’re a week into January and I’m finally starting to look to the new year and make some goals. This is pretty typical for me though. I have a January birthday, so I always give myself a little extra time to ‘debrief’ from the previous year before moving into the new one. Especially this year – 2016 was extra… eventful. I hadn’t planned it, but the themes of 2016 ended up being community, thankfulness, and family. My Bible verse for the year was Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the Plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you….'” Continue reading

Reminders of Faith

img_5847-2

Carry you with Faith – photo courtesy of Uncle Patrick

I didn’t want Little Man’s pregnancy and life to forever be in Faith’s shadow, but she shaped who we are today. Little Man wouldn’t be here if not for Faith’s tiny life. This is beauty from the ashes.

There are times when I look down at him while nursing that I realize I never got to experience those tender moments with Faith. I will never know what it would have felt like to feed her. To watch her as she dozed off, satisfied in what I can offer. Continue reading

Too Young to Understand?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that my friend suffered another loss. Her fourth miscarriage. It upset me. It angered me. I mourned for my friend.

Little Monster had been playing in the living room, but she came in and saw me upset when I learned the news. She went back to playing. A little later she came back to check on me. She noticed my tears had stopped, asked if I was feeling better, and offered to help with dinner prep. Continue reading

Living in the World of Ma’ams and Sirs

I consider myself a fairly polite person. I say please and thank you as often as I can. I say hello as I enter establishments. I wish people a good day. I try not to interrupt but listen carefully to what others have to say (although, admittedly, when I’m nervous or excited I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut). I enjoy talking with our neighbors, getting to know them. Most days, I try to share a smile with all I meet. But I can’t force myself to say ‘Yes, ma’am’ or ‘No, sir’ in every response. Continue reading