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Celebrating the One Who Is Most Special

Jesus Is Most Special

One of the most special times of years is quickly approaching. How will you help your children be captivated by the joy and wonder of Christmas?

Jesus Is Most Special, by Sally Michael, is the perfect way to share the story of the birth of Jesus, along with its context in the Bible, with young children. Through reading this book over and over, even the youngest children will be motivated to retell this all-important story to others after they have learned if for themselves. Though the facts are important for children to remember, it is even more important for them to understand the message of the birth of Christ, God’s Son, the Savior of the world, the King of all Kings, who is most special of all.

Jesus Is Most SpecialEach right-hand page of the book tells a part of of the Christmas story, starting with God’s promise to send a Savior. Prompts indicate when key characters are introduced so children can act the story out using a nativity set as they share the story with others. The left-hand pages incorporate supporting Scripture and lyrics to Christmas carols to reinforce what children are learning, help them reflect on the meaning and stir their hearts to worship.

For churches or schools, the main text of the book provides a great base for the narration of a short skit as children act out the story. The accompanying verses can be interspersed as additional readings and the carols can be used to complete the christmas program.

Jesus Is Most Special is the perfect book to add to your Advent and Christmas traditions. You can look inside the book and order a copy today to receive it in time for the start of the Christmas season.

This Christmas, may you and your children worship Jesus, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, who is most special of all.

The simplicity of this book mirror the plainness of the biblical story. Carol lyrics waft beside the brief, deep Scriptures that inspired them. In these pages the Savior is clearly worshiped—the story of his arrival touched me yet again.”
—Steve Estes, Author of A Better December

You CAN Do Catechism!

Children Desiring God Blog // You CAN Do Catechism

One of the new seminars at this year’s national conference was on using catechisms for teaching children—especially in the home. In the future we will have this seminar by Sally Michael available on our web site. But until then, here is an excellent article for parents (take note fathers!!!) to encourage you to get started: “The Importance and Practice of Catechism: Fathers-Instruct Your Childrenby Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. He concludes his article with these practical reminders:

First, be consistent. The best way to learn a catechism is simply to keep at it! Take “the tortoise” and not “the hare” approach. You cannot teach your child a lengthy catechism in a couple of weeks! But over time—if you keep at ityou’ll be amazed at how much children will remember and comprehend.

Second, be creative. One of the greatest obstacles to catechism is boredom. Simply reading the question and then expecting your children to recite the memorized answer is no fun for them, and they’ll come to hate the whole idea. Go ahead and stress memorization, but whenever you can, relate the catechism to the Scriptures. Most catechisms give Scripture proofs. And if you discuss the question and answer with your kids, and then relate the catechism to real life situations, current events or to movies and TV, your kids will get the sense that theology is of great value in navigating their way through life…

Third, don’t panic. Many people tell me that they are new to this and there is always the pressure to make up for lost time. Go slow. Quality time is always better than rushed and tense sessions where the kids are tired and the parents are frustrated. Do what you can when you can and have realistic expectations. Even a small amount of catechesis is better than no catechesis.

Last, the more that you know about the catechism the easier the whole process will become. You may have to get a commentary on the particular catechism that you use, and you may have to spend some time preparing to catechize. Being an effective teacher means being a faithful student. You cannot teach what you do not know…

1. (“Fathers, Instruct Your Children” was originally published as “The Need to Recover the Practice of Catechism” and was revised for use by Christ Reformed Church. Re-printed by permission, © 1995 Modern Reformation / ACE)

Bible Lesson “Dates” – An Update

 

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Back in July, I posted about my daughter’s endeavor to schedule not only play dates for her children but also Bible lesson dates. Here is an update from her about how things are going. Hopefully, it will serve as an encouragement for other moms to give this idea a try.

If you were to sit and observe us, you would see two mothers juggling babies and doing their best to get two very active toddlers to listen to Bible stories and remember important themes. After 15 years of Sunday school classroom experience, being mommy-as-teacher has proven to be my hardest role yet. The first week of our Bible school, all went well, because all was new. The second week—during the story of the Fall—unruly students were given a prolonged definition of sin using real life illustrations and Ephesians 6:1. Our two wigglers calmed down in the third week, but only after Cain murdered Abel. In the end, we have resorted to promising cookies after the lesson in exchange for listening ears. So far, it has worked.

After the story, we sing a few children’s praise songs using the drums, bells, and shakers we have at home. Then we go to the dining room table to color the workbook page and repeat and apply the lesson story and themes. A week’s worth of preparation comes down to 30 minutes of intensive teaching and discussion. Sometimes it’s tempting to wonder if the result is worth the effort.

But then consider this: After a hard lesson on Cain and Abel, I took David and Elizabeth for a walk to the local gas station for ice cream. While we admired cars and trucks along the way, I started asking David questions about the Bible story. To my surprise, he was able to correctly identify both brothers and what they did. From there, we were able to talk about sin, loving God, and the consequences of both. It wasn’t in-depth by any means, but it was the basic things that a three-year-old heart in the throes of rebellion needed to hear and understand.

Bringing the curriculum home has helped us to grow as parents and believers in at least four ways:

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CDG at Home—Using the Curriculum for Home-School

CDG at home

As parents, we have the incredible privilege and responsibility of instructing our children’s minds, engaging their hearts, and nurturing their faith. Using Children Desiring God materials at home can be an effective tool in teaching and applying the most important truths that our children need to know and embrace—the truths communicated in the Bible.

Although our materials are designed for use in the church, we believe there are many advantages of presenting this material in your home:

  • Children have more time to listen, absorb, and interact with what they’ve been taught.
  • Parents are best suited to make the most meaningful application of these biblical truths when, as a family, they “walk by the way” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
  • The whole family can learn together, providing opportunities for children and parents to encourage and minister to one another.
  • Fathers and mothers can work together in their God-given roles as they train up their children in the instruction of the Lord.

Curriculum Features

  • The curriculum is “Bible-saturated.” Every lesson is designed so that your children come to know the Bible and the God of the Bible.
  • Lessons include concrete illustrations that help children understand deep biblical truths.
  • Children are directed to look up Bible passages and answer questions from the Bible, which develops Bible study skills and critical thinking.
  • The lessons are teacher friendly and incorporate an interactive teaching approach.
  • The question/answer format is very easy to navigate and to adapt to various ages.
  • Student Workbooks (or Journals for youth) compliment the teaching by giving hands-on opportunities that reinforce the main ideas from the lesson.
  • Journals challenge junior and senior high students to go deeper, providing study and devotional material beyond the formal teaching time.
  • Visual teaching aides are provided in PDF format that can be printed or displayed on a computer.
  • The Teacher’s Guides and Student Workbooks are available in print or PDF formats.

Adapting Illustrations and Demonstrations

The Children Desiring God material is easily adaptable to a home school setting. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Review the lesson to see where you can use real-situations for the illustrations given.
  • Use suggested objects or talk through an illustration—making the same points without using the objects.
  • If desired, omit an illustration. Some illustrations are especially suited for the classroom in order to keep the attention of a group of children. These can be omitted in the home.
  • Make space adjustments. For example, in the Faithful to All His Promises curriculum, the promises are printed on a large card to post in a classroom. If you don’t have space for this, you can simply put the cards in a notebook.
  • Make number adjustments. For example, in The ABCs of God, the curriculum asks for nine children to each take a letter card to spell the word “Incomprehensible.” Simply divide the cards among the number of children you have.
  • Assign older children to present one of the illustrations. They will have fun executing this, and it will take a task off your teaching plate.

Adapting for Multi-Age Groups

Most of the curriculum titles can be used with multi-age groups. However, you will have to take into account differing vocabulary levels and adjust when needed. Cater to the different age groups you are teaching by assigning tasks appropriate to their age.

For example, ask older children to read the Bible texts, and have younger children take part in demonstrations. If the workbook is too difficult for the younger children, adapt the assignment by asking them to draw a picture of something in the lesson or decorate a visual, or adapt the workbook page to fit their age. Older children can help younger children and can present parts of the lesson, while younger children can perform role plays.

Different Ways Dad Can Be Involved

  • Dad could be the Bible teacher for your home school.
  • Dad and Mom could share the Bible teaching responsibility.
  • Dad could teach a portion of the lesson before leaving for work, or follow up with review at suppertime.
  • Dad could be responsible for any portion of the curriculum (lesson, application, workbook/notebook, or Growing in Faith Together/Parent Resource Page.
  • Dad could be responsible for the memory verse teaching and review.
  • Dad can make practical application of the lesson in real life.

Scheduling Recommendations

A significant advantage of using the material in a home school setting is that the material can be presented in smaller increments for maximum comprehension and spiritual impact. Therefore, we suggest presenting the material over the course of several days. Below are a few plans to consider:

Two-Day Option

  • Day 1: Present the lesson and assign the memory verse.
  • Day 2: Review the lesson, discuss the Application questions, and complete the student workbook/journal.

Three-Day Option

  • Day 1: Present the lesson and assign the memory verse.
  • Day 2:Review the lesson, discuss the Application questions, and complete
    the student workbook/journal.
  • Day 3: Choose an additional activity from the Lesson, Parent (or Growing in Faith Together) Page, or Appendix section.

Five-Day Option

  • Day 1: Present the lesson and assign the memory verse.
  • Day 2: Review the lesson and discuss the Application questions.
  • Day 3: Complete the student workbook/journal.
  • Day 4: Choose an additional activity from the Lesson, Parent (or Growing in Faith Together) Page, or Appendix section.
  • Day 5: Create a simple test or quiz, have a sharing and prayer time, or think of a way to apply the lesson by ministering to someone else.