If the truth be known:
How inadequate I feel when it comes to offering suggestions for… anything! I am such a broken, overachieving, haphazard mess. And… though I may plan for an ideal experience, the reality is… homeschooling in our home is quite imperfect. Honestly, there are days I want to bury myself under the covers instead of face my day. I’m selfish and act like a three-year-old at times. Ugh!
My heart’s desire is that there will be more of Him and less of me. But how often I fail at that!
I offer this crazy list, first, because… I need it. I constantly need to remind myself of things ETERNAL. And re-focusing on how we will make God our top priority helps me to sort out all the junk that crowds my mind.
I offer this, second, because…. if you are anything like me when I was first starting out in parenting (or homeschooling) – totally overwhelmed with how to really train my children up in the way they should go, or if you are like me now – letting Bible study somehow slide out of your routine time and again, it helps to have something to start from. (And it helps me to have something to keep coming back to.)
The Word of God is rich. It provides wisdom beyond that which we study. And it sets my (not just my children’s!) heart and mind aright so that we can enjoy learning and just being together. And despite my shortcomings, I continue to rest in God’s promise that “he that began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
We have used and enjoyed almost all of these resources in some way or another (but in a hodge-podge sort of way). First, I start with a few resources we have used that are NOT free:
- Our “virtue of the week” hangs on the wall as a constant reminder that we’re a work in progress. Our We Choose Virtues cards help the boys (and me) remember things like, “I am patient. I wait and wait and wait with a smile.” (You can download theKids of Virtueville Coloring Pages that go with each virtue for free.)
- The Picture Smart Bible, a through-the-Bible curriculum – Genesis to Revelation, that uses drawing to retain the information. Download a free sample from Daniel and John.
- What’s in the Bible? DVD Series – for when you want some puppetry help in teaching the Bible. I have learned a good deal of Jewish history from this series myself, and it contains concise overviews of each book of the Bible. You can download a Study Guide for Volume 1, along with coloring pages, Bible flashcards and games.
- The boys have a daily devotion Bible, One Year Bible for Children by V. Gilbert Beers. Last year, we read through the major stories of the Bible in one year (along with some Psalms and Proverbs). David still asks me to read from this book almost every night.
- For scripture memorization, our favorites have been Hide em in your Heart by Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship. You can listen to Seeds Family Worship for free on-line.
- The simplest and best way to make sure we are reading the Bible together is developing a habit somewhere in our normal everyday routine. I open our Bible during breakfast to read out loud. We visit Psalms or Proverbs. We talk about it. We take baby steps together….
- We are using MegaVerses video song to memorize Exodus 20:1-17.
- Click here for a free dramatized NIV audio Bible from House and Home.
- Dove Publishers provides free Bible-Based Character Lesson Plans e-books.
- Check out the Adventures from the Book of Virtues Youtube Playlist! Great videos focusing on character stories from The Book of Virtues!
- The Slugs & BugsYoutube Channel includes cute little Bible song videos.
- Teaching with God’s Heart for the World is an entire one-year missions curriculum! This ties history into missions. Just fantastic!
- I follow Ann Voskamp because she helps me focus on how awesome God is. And I follow her suggestion to make a Gratitude Journal because it’s true: the more thankful I am, the more joy I feel. My hope is that our entire family will develop hearts of genuine gratitude as part of our daily lives by keeping a record of our one thousand gifts. Download the Free Year of Graces Calendar at the bottom of the Joy-in-a-Box post. (But a word about the book one thousand gifts, it is thoughtfully poetic and sometimes quite hard for a simple, not-so-poetic gal like me to grasp. It is one book that has taken me AGES to finish. And though I don’t agree with every single thing written in the book, I have gained,much insight from reading this book, and from accepting the Joy Dare, and [especially] from reading her heartfelt words via A Holy Experience.)
- Seeds Family Worship Songs. We listen to these often. It is our number one way to memorize scripture. These are the songs that come alive in my heart when I am experiencing doubt, fears, loneliness, joy, awe, and thankfulness. (These are wonderful to play while doing chores!) You can download chords and printable memory verse cards as well.
- Seeds Family Worship Lessons/Activities. I love the family worship ideas in each of these newsletters and plan to use this as a major method of Bible instruction in our home this fall. Throw in the Seeds Family Worship Printables on Totally Tots and on BibleStoryPrintables.com, and we have a core Bible curriculum based on our scripture memorization for the year.
- The Blazing Center also offers free mp3 downloads of Bible verse worship songs, which we use along with our Seeds Family Worship songs.
- Sovereign Grace Church of Valparaiso, Florida offers a selection of free mp3s, including one on Exodus 20 and the Books of the Old Testament. (If the first link doesn’t work, go to the Hymns and Spirutal Songs Page, scroll down, and click on “Launch Media Player.”)
- The Praise Factory (includes lessons and mp3s) – This is a recent discovery that we have never used. I include it here just so I can find it again.
- Calvary Chapel Chronological Bible Lessons. I used these back when I taught and directed Sparks in the AWANA Program. I have not used them in our homeschool, but it’s something I keep thinking I will use at some point. Click for an overview pdf that contains links to each Teacher’s Guide, Support Curriculum (coloring pages, crosswords, etc.), and Devotional: New Testament | Old Testament
- Calvary Chapel Topical Bible Studies. We have not used these yet, but “it’s something I keep thinking I will use at some point.” (Don’t ask me how many things are on my “it’s something I keep thinking I will use at some point” list.)
- Old & New Testament Bible Lessons. Many, many ideas taking us through the Old Testament. (Squidoo has many more Bible-related lenses, including ones for crafts and coloring pages…)
- Ellen J McHenry’s Basement Workshop contains an activity booklet for Daniel, a cut-and-assemble booklet for Zechariah, a cut-and-assemble Noah’s ark, and a bingo game & scavenger hunt for Luke
- Bible Notebooking Squidoo Page. Many, many ideas and resources.
- Holy Week Timeline Visualization by BibleGateway
- Lapbook lessons provides Bible lapbooks if your children enjoy cutting and pasting. (Scroll to bottom of the Lapbook Lessons page for a list of lapboks available by category.) There are so many ads on this site it’s sometimes difficult to find the material, but don’t let that hinder you. These resources are fabulous & free – some of the best printables out there!
- Bible Story Printables has a WEALTH of free resources that will work for pre-k to grade 5: mini-books, crafts, copywork pages, Bible verse visuals… and much more! Bible Story Mini-Books are a fun way to review anything that you might be studying in the Bible. (There are also sets of these for each of the Seeds Family Worship albums.)
- Bible File Folder Games (be sure to click on Page 1, Page 2, and Page 3 directly under the heading). The Fruits of the Spirit game has helped us focus on how to show Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control in various situations. Also included on this webpage is a youtube video with a song that helped us to memorize the Fruits of the Spirit very quickly. (David remembered this and taught it to his Sunday School class – and his teacher – about a year after we had completed our Fruit of the Spirit study!)
- Let me not forget about The Ten Commandments File Folder Game, since that one is on our memory work for Cycle 1!
- And The File Folder Fun Armor of God game fit in well with our Ephesians 6 study last year.
|Stephen and David playing Armor of God.|
- We also really enjoyed Monster Manners, which has provided a very easy way for our youngest children to remember to “put on” their “good-mannered monsters” when we are at the grocery store. In fact, one of the most profound quotes by our then 5-year-old stemmed from playing this game:
“Good-mannered monsters are in my mind, but sometimes the bad-mannered monsters fight with them.” -David
I totally understand, son. I have the same problem.
- NOTE for Lapbook Lessons, Bible Story Printables, and the File Folder Fun sites: On all of these pages, be sure to look for the “Page 2,” “Page 3,” etc. It’s hard to find, but you’ll miss out on some of the resources if you don’t look for it.
- Confessions of a Homeschooler Bible Printables. Ericaa has created character lesson plans in the form of weekly unit studies on Arguing, Diligence, Gentleness, Good Stewardship, Honesty, Humility, Obedience, Patience, Peacemaking and Selflessness.
- For lapbooking, we’ve completed some of Homeschoolshare’s Character Lapbook and plan to eventually complete some great lapbooks from the Old Testament offered by Dynamic2Moms. You can use these in conjunction with Genesis Bible Notebooking Pages from Notebookingpages.com. Dynamic2Moms also offers a 52-week guide for reading the entire Bible in a year. AND Nadene at Practical Pages offers several wonderful Bible resources as well. (I like the Book of James lapbook – a simple way to study the Book of James!)
For prayer time, check out our Pocketful of Prayers, along with the Praying in Victory booklet from PrayingScriptures.com. And Biblestoryprintables has a file folder game for memorizing the Lord’s Prayer!
Another great resource for those wanting to balance some on-line videos and activities with some family lifegroup Bible lessons is LifeKids TV. It contains on-line activities for 2 year-olds through 6th grade along with Parent Resources and Family Lifegroup Curriculum.
Character Journal is an extensive site that provides project ideas, hymns, Bible stories, scripture verses, and “I will” statements for over 30 character qualities.
Book of Virtue (BOV) Project, which incorporates readings from William Bennett’s Children’s Book of Virtues, copywork, lapbooking, notebooking, and worksheets. The BOV Project is a 900-page resource that contains detailed lesson plans, worksheets, and corresponding scripture memory verses. (But don’t let the fact that it is a 900-page resource intimidate you. Simply print the character journal pages or the discussion questions or the copywork pages – whatever you’d like to use to reinforce character in your children. The link will take you to mediafire. Click on “Click here to start download from Mediafire.”
Lastly, a free audiobook series that has captured the attention of our boys is The Sugarcreek Gang Series by Paul Hutchens. Beloved Books offers a free audio of the first book, Swamp Robbers. With its many Biblical references and nature/science tie-ins, The SugarCreek Gang stories are heartwarming and exciting, especially because they are written from the perspective of a 5th grade boy. We love these stories! It’s been great to listen to them in the car or as we wind down for the evening.
It’s not possible to do ALL of this stuff, but it is possible to select just one thing – and in some cases, whatever’s easiest – just to get started. And, for me, reading a verse out of the Bible during breakfast is one of the best ways to make sure we are focused each morning, even if I don’t do anything else on this verbose list of ideas.
Do you have a favorite Bible curriculum or resource to share? Please let us know in the comments! [And if you come across broken link, we’ll appreciate it if you let us know!]