Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Parenting With Godly Purpose: Devotions

Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it"

Children naturally follow the path that their parents walk, and get excited over the things that interest their parents. Parents are the greatest influence when shaping the lives of children, whether for good or for bad. We see it often: children love the sport that dad or mom is a fan of, or they have an interest in a hobby that gets mom and dad excited. As much as parents need to enter their child's world, children love to be a part of their parent's world!

This is a tremendous opportunity to instill a love for the Word of God in our children's hearts. Thanks to 'child-like faith' children who are taught the truths of God's Word from an early age naturally crave to know and love God, but this desire must be nurtured as they grow older, or the cares of this world will begin to encroach on it and choke it out.

One of the most effective ways to regularly nurture a child's love for God is through DAILY DEVOTIONS. Devotions are most effective when done together as a family - where children can observe their parents taking time out of the busy schedule to make worshiping the Lord a priority.

Devotions do not need to take a long time, or even follow a rigorous schedule. In fact, a casual gathering around the Word and prayer for the daily needs does not require a large time investment, but rather a pledge to consistency and faithfulness.

Here is a brief outline that can be used for family devotions:
  • Ask if there are any specific prayer requests and then pray over them together as a family. Either a parent can pray or the children can take turns each day. Parents should pray over their children, thanking God for them and asking God's blessing on their day.
  • Read a portion of Scripture together. You can choose a book of the Bible and read through it a little bit at a time, or select portions of Scripture to meet a certain need in your family. You can even select seasonal Scriptures, such as reading through the Christmas story in the month of December.
  • Take a few minutes to share some thoughts about the Scripture that was read. Perhaps a parent can use this as a teaching moment, but it is also fun to allow the children to choose a verse and tell what they learned from it. This would also be a good time to ask if anyone in the family had a question or did not understand any of the verses that were read.
  • Choose a song to sing together. It could be a verse of a favorite hymn, a Scripture song, or even a silly song! 
  • Hugs and kisses! There is so much value to your children starting off their day feeling loved by their parents.
These devotions shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. It is not the quantity of the devotion time, but the quality and consistency that make all the difference. Faithfully meeting around the Word of God with your children every day will speak volumes to them of the priority that your relationship with God has in your life, and children will want to follow that example. Let your devotion time be fun and appealing, not a time to correct all the wrongdoings. Let it be a sweet time of fellowship to ground your family in doing right. 

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" - www.aclassofone.blogspot.com  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Parenting With Godly Purpose: Courtesy

After discussing busyness last week, this next topic follows a natural progression....taking time to proactively teach habits to your children is much more efficient than chasing after them correcting bad behaviors! When we are too busy, we often skip over much of this groundwork, but it is so important.

In order to have polite children, we must expect and practice COURTESY regularly in our homes! There really is no other way to ingrain this personality trait. As parents, it is imperative to model courteous behavior in front of them. We must also demand it from our children as they interact with their siblings. You cannot expect a child to act however they like at home, then put on manners when they are out in public. Manners and courtesy must be practiced often to become second nature - a way of life.

Often as parents, we are guilty of giving our children lists of chores and expecting their help regularly (and rightfully so) without ever showing them some gratitude. Everyone enjoys being appreciated for their efforts and hard work, and children are no exception. When someone feels appreciated, they will happily work harder and do more out of a willing heart.

I have found that when I demonstrate courtesy by thanking my children for their contributions to our household, through chores, that they feel more like a part of a team than just 'slave labor'. Of course, children's behavior mirrors their parents, so when I show gratitude they begin to do it more frequently as well.

Another way children can be taught to show courtesy is by writing thank you notes to each other for gifts received. After Christmas or birthdays, provide dollar store thank you cards, or allow the children to make their own, and write them to each other. Not only is it great writing practice, but it establishes some common rules of courtesy in the family. As parents, we write them to our children as well when they give us gifts.

Using manners at all times in the home will make them second nature to your children when they are out. If they are constantly hearing 'please', 'thank you', 'you're welcome', 'excuse me', and other common phrases, they will begin using those phrases often, sometimes with a little prodding as needed.

Setting high expectations for common courtesy will create a respectful atmosphere in the home, where the family members treat each other well and there is peace and harmony.

The Bible tells us in  Psalms 133:1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

It is not unrealistic to think that siblings can get along in a pleasant and courteous way, but it will take effort on the part of the parents to establish those expectations, and to correct behavior that quickly spirals into bickering and fighting. Things will not always be harmonious, but let a pleasant and courteous atmosphere be the goal that the family is constantly striving for! It will be pleasing to God, and help to make courtesy common in the lives of your children.

In our world today, common courtesy is a lost art - no longer common! Let's do our part to change that in our small corner of the world.

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" - www.aclassofone.blogspot.com  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

I am having a great time reading along with Meg and Cristi and all the other blogs on this Blogging Through The Alphabet Journey.   Stop by and read some of the great ideas and recipes!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Blue Ribbon Awards for 2015

I just finished my last curriculum review for 2015 and was able to look back over the year, enjoying what a wonderful year it was! We were able to review 34 different home school items this year, incorporating them into our daily routine. Reviewing has become a fun way to enhance our home school, learn about new products to share with others, and give feedback directly the companies that are producing these products.

The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew recently voted on our favorite items for the year, and I wanted to share a round up of our family's personal favorites here on my blog. We are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the winners of the Crew's 2015 favorites, also called the Blue Ribbon Awards. Our whole family was able to participate in the voting, casting ballots for "kid's choice", "teen's choice", "family favorite", and "parent's favorite".

Here are our top favorites for this year:

Kelly's Favorite:  A math program....GPA Learn

The rewards that are built into this program were the biggest draw for Kelly, making this program her favorite. She still will log in during her free time to practice math and earn reward certificates.

Melissa's favorite:  She actually had two, (although we had to narrow it down to just one vote). I will mention both her favorites here though....

The wide variety of videos covering so many different topics inspired SmartKidz Media to be her top choice. She has especially loved watching the history movies and cooking videos.

Melissa loves to read, and her other choice is a book that we received to review, called Thick As Thieves. This is a story found in the Old West, with a girl and a horse. It's a great, wholesome book, and Melissa has read it several times.

Laura's favorite: Even though Laura graduated this past June and is a college student now, she still wanted her vote to count, so I'll include it here. Laura wholeheartedly endorsed the high school level AP prep courses in Standard Deviants Accelerate. Laura used this program to study for AP and CLEP exams and felt they gave a good overall preparation.

Mom's favorite: This was a tough one...do I choose the one that I personally liked the best, or the one that I think was best for my family?? Hmmm..... I ended up choosing one that our whole family has enjoyed together over and over since it arrived in our home, and that is The Brinkman Adventures. These audio adventures about a large family helping missionaries around the world really touched our hearts in a special way, and we have spent countless hours listening to them together in the kitchen and the car. 

Dad's Favorite: Our very first review of the year was definitely a winner for Dad. He watched and fully embraced the movie Indoctrination, and has referred back to it often in preaching or conversations. He has also shared it with many people, including several teachers that we know. 

Our Grand Prize Winner: Hands down, all the children mentioned this one for our overall favorite.

This audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions was a real treat. The music and story line are great, and not only did we really enjoy it, but we also learned a lot about the history of Scotland from it. The girls have enjoyed listening to the soundtrack, as well as quoting their favorite lines from it. Everything we have listened to from Heirloom has been fantastic, but there was just something really special about this CD.

Best Additions to our Home School: Being able to review foreign language courses has been one of our favorite aspects of being on the Crew. This year, Kelly and Melissa both got to review a foreign language course that they both fell in love with, so I have to list both of them as the winner to our best addition to our curriculum. 

Melissa was able to review Middlebury Interactive Languages French 1. It is a high school level course that is the next best thing to having an in-person teacher. We absolutely love this program and Melissa is doing very well with it. 

Kelly is having so much fun working through The Fun Spanish from Brookdale House. For middle school, she is learning so much about Spanish grammar and translation. I am glad she has been able to experience this program.

Thanks for sticking with us this year and I hope some of these reviews have been a help to you on this home school journey. Stay tuned as I will be announcing the Crew's Blue Ribbon Awards this week!

Copyright 2012-2015 - "Be The One" - www.aclassofone.blogspot.com  All rights are reserved. No text, photos, or content may be reproduced without direct permission from the author.

Would you like to know the Crew's favorites, and winners of this year's Blue Ribbon Awards? Click the banner below to read about all the special home school products that won the prestigious honor of being named the best by a panel of home school families!

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards