Friday, August 14, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit for Preschoolers: Intro

School is starting all around the nation and even the world! And, yes, school will be starting in our little family as well ~ and I have spent a lot of time and energy preparing and thinking through what I hope to accomplish this year and things I want to implement in our home.

I am inspired by Joy's example in creating a Quiet Time for my children and have been wondering what that looks like at our stage: 18 months, 3 and 4 1/2 years old. I want to teach my children from their earliest memories how to spend time with the Lord, how to develop and cultivate a relationship with Him and how to worship Him.

Yet, I want to be careful that this is done in a way that is not boring, bland or forced on them. I also don't want it to be over their heads. God provided the answer ~ I have been working hard on a Bible study for preschoolers covering the Fruit of the Spirit. This will take us nine months to complete!

I am by no means an expert on studying the Bible with young children - but this is what God has laid on my heart and provided for us to do this year. If any of you are interested in joining with us, I will share it all here as well.

Please know ahead of time that I am not a very good artist! My pictures are primitive at best and all I can say is that Emily is excited about getting going on this and I hope that the lack in my artistic ability will be made up by the excitement they catch about God and His Word!

Here are a few thoughts on this ~

This study is simply the ideas of a mom desiring to lead her children in growing to have a Quiet Time, develop their relationship with God and build godly character in their lives. Displaying the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives is something I can certainly use and benefit from studying and I hope that by studying this with my children - this will invest God's Word into their hearts in a precious way as well.

A few thoughts on how this is set up:

I designed this for our home, what I knew would work for us. We all do well with some sort of routine, so I plan to begin and end each session with prayer. We'll also be singing one song each day. I have tried to keep these segments to 5-15 minutes a day - just enough to start your day in His Word and also geared towards preschoolers shorter attention span.

I have worked in lots of review - for our children and for me, this is key to remembering what we have learned by reviewing it regularly.

There is one journal page for nearly every week of the study. These should be copied one per child and after they complete them each week - have them put them into a special notebook or folder that is theirs. This will help in review and will provide a beautiful visual at the end of the study of what we have learned together. It is my desire to begin leading my children toward the beautiful discipline of journaling - which is the idea behind beginning this concept at an early age.

One idea for using your journals is to use it in review each week. When you come across review scheduled for that day - pull out the journals and talk through the pictures, have your children explain to you what they learned that day and what each picture means!

Here are a few existing resources I plan on using as part of this study:
* 9 Fruits Alive by Mindy MacDonald
* Music Machine songs
* Steve Green Hide 'Em In Your Heart cd's: Volume 1 and Volume 2
* Fruit of the Spirit card game (found at a dollar store somewhere along the line)

Basically, four weeks will be spent on each of the nine Fruit of the Spirit qualities. And, I’m planning to use the Music Machine song which goes along with each quality for that month. So, for the first four weeks – we’ll learn and sing the song “Love” – you could choose to learn a special hymn about this topic, pick a favorite praise and worship song or whatever works for you! I wanted to incorporate music as it is fun for children and vital for worshipping God!

I may mix in a few of the Steve Green songs as well – since several of them directly correlate to the Scriptures we’ll be using in the weeks ahead.

You’ll also note that I’ve incorporated learning the sign language for each of the nine qualities. This is optional of course, but my children have really enjoyed sign language since they were infants which is the main reason I included it! It is also handy in a situation where you’d like to give a quiet message to your child without embarrassing them by speaking the words – a simple show of the sign for joy could be a great reminder to be joyful and can be presented in a quiet and tactful way that they will still understand.

As with anything – this is just a guide! No one list of suggestions will work for every family out there. This is what I think will work best in our home and if it helps someone else by providing a framework for studying God’s Word – God be praised!

Let’s pray before we begin!

Dear Lord,

Thank You so much for Your precious Word! Thank You for the instruction we receive from studying it. I pray for my children and our home as we seek You each morning and study this portion of Your Word! I pray that it would come alive for my children in a way that is meaningful to them and that we would be faithful to meet with You each day. Help us to cultivate our relationship with You and guide me as a mother in guiding these little ones closer to You. Teach me how to teach them and I ask You to teach me in the process. I pray in advance for any other mama who chooses to spend this time with You each day. Please bless their time and multiply the benefits in her life and the lives of her children in a way that only You can do.

We commit this time and study into Your care and ask You to be Lord over all that occurs in our time together.

To God be the Glory!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

The first section including the intro to the Fruit of the Spirit and Love will be up in the next few days! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to participate!

PS: Did you have any First Day of School traditions? I'm trying to decide if/what to do here and would love to hear your memories!

27 comments:

Bonnie said...

Our only first day of school tradition was a picture. (this was when I was growing up, mom my has/is homeschooled/ing all 10 of us) Each of us individually with one of our schoolbooks, and then a group shot of all of us kids. Mom also took one on the last day of school, and some times, we had friends over for an ice cream social.
I'm still working on what to do as a first day of school tradition with Honey (aside from the picture thing), so I am interested to see what everyone else has to say.

Carrie said...

I'm so excited that you are starting this series! I have an almost 18 month old and I've been wanting to do something like this with him.

Sarah said...

For the first day of school when I was young, my mother would right each of our grades (First, Fourth, Ninth, etc.) on a piece of construction paper and then we would each hold our piece of paper and go stand on the front porch and she would take our picture as a group. My sister was a few years younger than my brother and I, but didn't like being left out, so there were several years where she held a sign that said "Not Yet." I have these pictures from every year from preschool on up. It's neat to see and always helps answer that question, "when was this one taken?"

summerweston said...

The first day of school tradition that we have is a picture of course but also Anthony and I both walk Jayden into school. I take a picture of Anthony praying with Jayden in the classroom. It is a very special picture. Do you think we can do it when she is a senior???
summer

Cheryl said...

Monica,
I really admire you. You are a Godly mom wanting and trying to train your children up in the Lord.I have mentioned before my children are older(one in college and one a sophmore in high school)but if I had to do it all over again I would love to incorporate something like you are doing. You are incorporating so many wonderful things with the music, journaling and sign language as you teach. Your children will grow up learning to enjoy their quiet time with the Lord and develop a relationship with Him.
May God bless your homeschooling year.

Julie Kreke said...

What a beautiful plan! Thank you so much for sharing this so that all our children can benefit from your hard work!! I look forward to reading more about it. I really admire you Monica!
We had a rough morning here with two very crabby children and a tired pregnant mommy. When I first saw your post I felt discouraged about where I am today... but then I remembered back to when you shared your "bad day". That really encouraged me!! Ups and downs are part of this... and everyone has them!!! Thanks for being honest on your blog. It is appreciated!

...they call me mommy... said...

This is SOOOOO neat, Monica! I've been thinking of what to do with my two "school age" youngins' regarding Bible time/devotions...for now I got from Amazon God's Wisdom for Little Boys and God's Wisdom for Little Girls and am going to do some things using those as a guide...still thinking about it...I probably need to pray about it a bit more too!

What a wonderful way to introduce the Bible and it's truths to your ladies! I can't wait to see what you end up doing!! :-)

I don't have any fun "first day of school traditions" yet as this is really my first "official" year...last year we just did a few preschool-y things! I would love to hear what others do as well!

Bonnie, the picture things is a GREAT idea! :-)

Kristin said...

Hi Monica -

I love this idea and that you are willing to share it with us! I think I will seriously consider joining in this and working it into our morning routine once I see how it is laid out. I'm in the process of laying out my fall days as we launch into the schooling thing (unofficially) too!

You are amazing to put this together! Thank you for your godly example and fervent pursuit of the Lord!

Love,
Kristin

Jodie said...

This is a great idea, Monica! I wanted to let you know that there is a great cd out there, all with songs on the fruits of the spirit. Our church just did it last week with the kids for worship camp. It's by Sovereign Grace Ministries, called "To Be Like Jesus." Here is a link:

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/albums/category/sovereign_grace_music/to_be_like_jesus


Blessings to you all in the new school year as you seek to know Him more!

In His grace,
Jodie

Anonymous said...

We take single and group photos of our kids -- well, we used to. Our son is starting 2nd grade and our daughter is a sophomore in college. We only had one year of a group photo! lol I make a special breakfast, usually French toast or waffles and bacon and fresh fruit and have the table set in a cheery way. I hang a banner that says "Happy First Day of School". Our kids always give a muffin or cinnamon roll to our bus driver on the first day to kind of break the ice. These aren't anything real exciting but they are traditions for us. I love your ideas on the Bible studies!

Kristina

Tiffany said...

I can't wait to see more of the study. Thanks for being an inspiration.

Kimberly said...

Monica,

I'm so excited about this! Thank you so much for doing this and sharing it with us. We're in! I have an 18 month old, 3 and 5 year old, and one more on the way. We started our homeschool 2 weeks ago. I love your idea of using sign language because that is something my 18 month old can really benefit from. I really like having something we can do together as a family devotion. Currently I'm doing individual devotions with my 2 oldest but would love something we could all do together. I can't wait to read more!

Davonne said...

I can't wait to read more about this! I am going to start homeschooling my four year old in September (we'll start the day after Labor Day), and I've still been trying to decide how to do her curriculum. Sign language and Bible study are two things I want to incorporate into our studies, so I am very excited to be able to read and gather ideas from you!

I also love your chore charts, and may do something similar in the near future.

Thanks so much for sharing all of this!

Angelia in TX said...

I remember seeing your note "fruit of the spirit" when you had your refuel break a few weeks ago. I know you have put much thought, prayer and planning into this. I will be using your prayerful ideas and know that they will add more beauty to our year of home schooling. We gave our school a name "The Beginning of Knowledge academy" Where we learn to respect God and know that His eyes watch over our learning. I have heard Him repeatedly tell me as you are doing in this unit study...Our relationship with Him is where it all begins. First Knowing Him and having an understanding of our relationship with Him, then the other learning comes in tune. I want to get this foundation set first. Thank you for praying for us. God's Blessings are on you. And thank you for sharing this. Smiles, Angelia

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

I'll be excited to see your lesson plans ... I'm homeschooling my 5 (almost 6) year old this year and we are working through the Proverbs in a similar way. Some things we did for her this year, on her first day of homeschool: she picked a special 1st day breakfast, picture in front of the house, and we got her new dress to celebrate the first day. (I knew that if she was going to school I would have had to buy her some new fall clothes by now, so it seems just as easy to celebrate the first day with a new dress). :)

Deanna said...

I read your blog through my Google reader and have gleaned a great deal with your sharings.
I am especially excited with the study you are starting and can't wait to follow along with our youngest (4 and 3). Right now their Bible time is simply joining their siblings for morning devotions and even dinner table readings with Dad.

Deanna

Wendi said...

Monica,

This will such a help to me. I am in the end stages of planning our first year of home preschool. I am looking forward to having some extra time this weekend to read this post again. (While the house is quiet!)

Thanks for sharing!

Anna said...

I am really looking forward to future "installments" of the Bible study! I have three boys - 7, 2, and 8 months. I would love to use some of your ideas as we begin our homeschool year in two weeks!

For our first day of school, we usually try to do something fun for lunch - McDonald's (a big treat around here) or a picnic outside with favorite foods - and a special dessert after supper. We also do the picture thing, and we talk about a general plan for the year - things we are going to study - to get my somewhat reluctant student excited for the coming year.

carriecaribou said...

I love this idea! I've been wanting to do something quiet-timey with my little ones (11 months (she may be too young), almost 3, and 5) and this will be a great way to start...especially to hear someone else's ideas, too!

Jason and Danielle said...

You know I have been thinking about what I will do this year for school and thank you for the inpiration I feel like my brain is finally starting to plan. I look forward to hearing more about this.

Sugar Coma said...

Monica, what a blessing it is to come visit your page today. You are a wonderful example and inspiration to me.
As for the study...absolutely perfect. I have been wanting to go over the fruits of the spirit with my older kids (9 & 8 years). Also, I have a 3 year old that is begging to start school and I had no idea what to do with her. She is a little firecracker and I think she will benefit greatly from a study like this (probably me too!).
Thank you so much for sharing this. I can't wait to see more!

I don't have any first day of school traditions (besides a photo of them). But I'm thinking about starting one this year. The kids earned free passes to a local hands-on science center. We've had such a stressful end of school year and summer that I thought we'd have a field trip for our first day of school. If it goes well then maybe it'll become a tradition.

Amy said...

I'm in my second last year of being home schooled. On the first day of the year, our Mum would give us all some new stationary. Colour coordinated for each for us. I'm from a family of four children.

Anna said...

Just thought I'd share a blog post with some neat back-to-school ideas! :)

http://www.oneprettything.com/?p=6353

Sarah said...

Monica, thank you so much for posting this! I have an almost two year old and I was to be more deliberate about starting her on her journey with God. I love the idea of a morning devotion time and the fruits of the spirit is such a wonderful theme. She has the "9 Fruits Alive" book and loves it so we have a nice place to start. I can't wait to join you.

Amy said...

Here's our quiet time binder.

The first page says Praise God and there are pictures and words of praise wothy attributes of God:love, healer, provider, etc

The next page is Thank God and pictures of what to thank God for: food, family, shelter, etc.

The next page is confess sins and there are pictures of sins: disobedience, hitting, unkindness, etc.

The next page is Pray for Others with pictures of family members.

Then Pray for Self.

Next Bible Memory Verses.

Then Bible Reading.

Papers from Sunday School

Character songs from here:
http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/character_activities.html#CharacterTraitTuneCharts

Angela said...

I want to participate! We are doing sign language as a "foreign language" for preschool and K this year! So I am excited about your adding that in too. For the first day of school, we are taking pictures, and we'll have some new, and some newly organized supplies in their back packs.

Stacey said...

Hi Monica - I have been absent for some time: computer glitches, working, and then moving across the country! But we are finally getting settled and I am diving into homeschooling my two littles and I LOVE this idea!!! We will be following along with you and doing this with you! I will be ordering the Music Machine songs today! We can't wait to start!