Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #12

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

Have you been over to Circle of Moms these past few days?  They are having a contest to find the Top 25 Homeschooing Moms.  You can go through the list each day and vote for as many blogs as you'd like!  I'm a little slow and just caught wind of this a few days ago, but a few of the ladies who link-up here regularly are doing very well (especially Preschoolers and Peace and Teaching Stars)!  I'm on the list too, but you'll have to scroll way down to find me =)



For this week's featured blogger I'm choosing Harmony Art Mom who linked up post on her family's Bible Plans.  Like she is always so great at doing, I love how she broke it down by age level, giving specific examples and expectations for each stage of learning.  Around my house, we've been pretty good about reading the Bible each day (thanks to Daddy!), but as we start history next year I'm going to use some of the ideas Barb shared in her post!  If you missed it last week, make sure you check it out =)

Bible Study 10


Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Field Trips

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This is part seven of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Field Trips.


What a fun topic!  Some of my best memories of elementary school are from field trips.  Children are not designed to sit still for hours on end, they need to explore and discover and MOVE!  Field trips are an excellent way to accomplish this.  The article I mentioned above recommends taking your young children to concerts, plays, museums, fairs, etc.  They also share the great idea of having your child visit workplaces.  What little boy is not fascinated with a fire hall, or going to their daddy's office? 

We take field trips, but they are more along the lines of the zoo, the cider mill, nature walks, etc.  I think that they have suited my 3 year old well, but I see the merit in expanding these opportunities over the next few years as he gets older.  I will have to pay attention to see what things are available in my community...maybe a play of a children's book, a concert in the park, or a tour of the fire hall.  What are some places that you have taken your children to?  Where do you look to find opportunities in your community?

The author of the article also stresses visiting the library (weekly if possible!)  They say to get your child familiar with the layout of the library and where the different types of books are kept.  Your child can watch you look up where to find a book in the (computer) catalog and soon enough be able to do it them selves.  Then they can follow you around as you search for the right isle and shelf to find the book on.  Once again, they will pick up quickly and soon be able to scurry off to find their own books!  We go to the library from time to time, but honestly it is not my favorite place to go.  My children would rather just play with the toys that they have setting out, or play games on the computer.  These are fine things to do, but in my opinion they are not what we go to the library for.  I guess I'll just have to work on that and explain that we can do those other things after we find some books (or something like that).  How do you handle these fun distractions at your library (assuming yours is like mine =) ? 

The article also talks about buying hands on things for your child to use at home.  It really isn't field trip related, but I guess the point of all of this is having your child DO instead of watch.  Check out the article to see what else they say about that.

Goals for field trips:

  1. Go on at least one field trip a month (possibly related to the time period we are studying in history).
  2. Find other opportunities than the standard outings we are used to.
    1. concert
    2. play
    3. museum
    4. other???
  3. Go to the library at least once a month, and actually look at books!


To see how we've done on these goals. check out my follow up post Field Trips Re-Visited.


This post is a part of the following series:



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Read Aloud Review: Little House in the Big Woods



A few months ago we finished reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I don't know why I didn't think to write about it before, but I thought of it today.  Better late than never, right?

This was the second book (after The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh,  you can read my review here) that I read aloud to my three year old son.  I picked it because it is an obvious classic, it was recommended by a few of you, and I had it on my bookshelf so I didn't have to buy or borrow it.  I hate to admit that I had never read this book (or any other in the series!) before.  Am I the only one???  Because of that, I really didn't know what to expect from it.

In case you are one of the (probably) few people who have not read this book, it is essentially tales of daily life in the woods during the late 1800's.  It doesn't really have a traditional plot, but instead tells of all sorts of goings on in and around the Wilder home throughout the year.

When I first started reading it to Trevor,  I was afraid that he would not be interested in it.  It does not have all the silly story lines like those that go on in the Hundred Acre Wood that we had just finished reading about, so it took some getting used to for him.  At first we would just read a page or two, then as we progressed in the book we got to reading a half of a chapter or so per sitting.  By the end, he really had come to enjoy the characters of Laura, Ma, Pa, etc. and was ready to start the next book!  Because of how long it took us to get through the book, I decided we would read a different kind of book before going back to the next in the Little House series (I didn't want to be reading only Little House for years, as it would have taken given our current pace =)

What I enjoyed most is how much we learned from the book.  Like it says on the amazon.com review, "Readers will receive a perfectly painless history lesson, and in fact will clamor for more."  So true!  Laura Ingalls Wilder walks you through their adventures in hunting, preserving meat, making maple syrup and more.  Before reading this book I had no idea what head cheese was, but now I can say that I know =)  Thank you Ms. Wilder!

If you have not read this book aloud to your children, I highly recommend that you do!  It will give you much to talk about, especially if you are studying this time period in history.  If you have read this book, what did you think of it?  Do you have any other favorites to recommend?

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #11

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

There were many post linked up last week that I really enjoyed, but for today I am featuring Review: Presidential Penmanship from Tea Time with Annie Kate.  I had never heard of this series of books before, but they look fantastic!  They can be used with so many different facets of Classical education: copywork, dictation, memory work, history, etc.  Also, the book offers a 65 page preview, so you can see exactly what it all has to offer without buying it.  You could even print some pages and try it out!  This resource can be used with students of all ages, so no matter how old your children are, it's worth checking out!  So visit Tea Time with Annie Kate to learn more =)

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Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!



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Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Cleaning House

When I first saw the book Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, I was excited to read it!  I loved the premise of the book (youth entitlement) and was very interested to see what someone else had to say about it.  We are very purposeful in our home about teaching our very young children that the world does not revolve around them, that they are needed in order for this family to function, and that they do not get everything they want whenever they want it.  I know that this kind of thinking is counter cultural (practically speaking), so I felt happy knowing that someone else was at least thinking on the subject of entitlement.

The author of this book, Kay Wyma, discovers one day that she is raising her children to think that they are entitled to anything they want, without having to put forth any effort to get it.  She realizes that her children do not know how to do anything around the house for themselves and that they expect it to all be done for them, so she comes up with a plan to enlighten her children in these matters over the course of the next year.  She plans one new skill for each month, ranging from cleaning a bathroom to planning a party and everything in between!

Wyma realizes that all the 'help' she has been giving her children is really setting them up for failure.  On page four she says,

We shower them with accolades, proclaiming how wonderful they are-yet we rarely give them the opportunity to confirm the substance of that praise.  All our efforts send the clear, though unspoken and unintended, message "I'll do it for you because you can't" or "No sense in your trying because I can do it better and faster."

The book is a very enjoyable read, detailing her families adventures learning all these new skills.  I love how Wyma is very real and super practical.

Where I don't necessarily agree with Wyma is in her end-goal.  She states her end goal as raising each child to become "a young adult prepared for life and confident in the person he or she is created to be." (page 154)  She recalls back to when she was a young adult and didn't have a clue how to cook or clean for herself, because her mother did not teach her.  She often sites the lady who took care of her and her house when she was growing up.  Her mother didn't do it, she hired someone to do those 'menial' tasks, so of course Wyma never learned or thought to teach her children those things.  She wants her children to know how to take care of themselves when they leave her house.  That is a fine byproduct, but I don't think it should be the goal.  We need to teach our children to work because God created us to work, because they are part of a family and need to contribute, because they need to learn responsibility, and because ultimately THEY ARE NOT LITTLE GODS who deserve to be served.  These concepts seemed foreign to Wyma.  Some of them she seemed to happen upon during her journey, which I am glad for.

I understand having a hard time thinking the way I mentioned above when it comes to small children, but Wyma has five children ranging up to age 14.  According to her anecdotes, these children were appalled at the idea of cleaning even their own messes, had never so much as seen a washing machine in action, or watched their father pump gas.  I just can't imaging living life with my children and them not learning these things by simply being near me (and obviously the discussion that goes along with being near someone while a task is being done).

If you see the problem of youth entitlement in your own family, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book!  If you have teenage children like Wyma does, these lessons are of utmost importance.  If you have younger children, read it so that you can keep your children from this mentality and so that you will not have the struggle that she did trying to break her older children of bad habits.

To learn more:

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review. 


Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Arts and Crafts

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This is part six of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Arts and Crafts.


Ahhh.  We come to something that is familiar territory for all.  Any parent of a child knows about arts and crafts.  It doesn't matter which style of homeschooling you use, or even if you homeschool or not, you are probably well aware that children like crafts =)

Looking back on the past few years, this is not an area we have spent a considerable amount of time.  Sometimes I wonder why I started teaching my son reading/writing/math/etc. so soon, but then I remember that he really didn't have much interest in things of a creative nature.  I had to 'force' him to play, and if we did a craft, he would be done very quickly.  He did much better with more structured time of learning, memorizing, etc. with me right by his side.

Fast forward a couple of years and my daughter is in love with anything crafty.  She also does well sitting and playing creatively by herself.  I'm sure that is no coincidence, just like I'm sure the opposite was no coincidence with my son.  Thankfully, my son has also grown considerably in this area in the past 6 months or so.

10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10 reminds us that young children learn with their senses and encourages each family to have an area of the house with free access to many arts and crafts supplies.  They suggest keeping an area well stocked in colored pencils, crayons, markers, paints, paper, scissors, glue, clay, wallpaper sample books, fabric sample books, matting board scraps, sewing, knitting, and crocheting supplies.  Obviously this list would be tailored to the age or your child.  I can't imaging letting my 2 and 3 year olds have free access to paint, markers, or even glue for that matter =) but I can see great merit in the concept!

 Currently (because of my daughters great interest) we keep a small table in our family room that always has a big bucket of crayons on it and also coloring books.  Both of my kids have been spending a good amount of time using it, which pleases me because it beats them asking to watch TV =)

We are going to be moving to a new home this summer (if all goes well!) and I've been thinking about creating an expanded area, including more of the things the article above suggests.  I'm hoping to have this area near our homeschooling area, so that my little girl can occupy herself while I work with her big brother.  Then of course they could both use the area at other times.  I've seen other homeschoolers us these Trofast units (they come in lots of shapes and sizes) and they look pretty neat for storing lots of arts and crafts supplies.  What kind of storage/shelving/etc. do you use for storing these kinds of supplies?

Brainstorming a bit, I cam up with some things I would want to include...
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • coloring books
  • plain paper
  • stickers
  • pipe-cleaners/popsicle sticks/etc.
  • yarn
  • adhesive (on a high shelf)

Part of me gets worried about the inevitable waste of money and resources, and also the inevitable mess that would go along with two preschoolers free usage of a station like this, but someone assure me that the benefit would outweigh these issues.  Anyone?

What kinds of supplies am I missing from the list above that your young children love to use?

My goals for this area are simple:

  1. Create a better work area (with storage)
  2. Stock with more supplies


This post is a part of the following series:



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Monday, June 11, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays-Classical Link-Up #10

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized most of the posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

My featured link-up from last week is A System of Narration by Harmony Art Mom.  I loved what Barb had to say because she speaks from experience.  She has seen the difference in using narration more with her younger children than she did with her older children.  This gives me great hope that we will experience great learning with narration in my family as well!  Barb takes the time to share with us how she used narration with her children at different grade levels, which is very helpful!  If you didn't see this post last week, make sure to head over and check it out!


Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

 
Jalynn from A Simple Life Really was sweet enough to pass on to me the Versatile Blogger Award!  Thank you so much for thinking of me, Jalynn!

I guess this is just a way of thanking bloggers who you enjoy and sharing their blogs with others, and that sounds good to me =)  So, I'll take a moment and share with you some other blogs that I and thankful for and have been enjoying recently!  Many of these I'm including as a special thank you for participating in my Trivium Tuesdays link-up.  I have enjoyed getting to know each of these ladies I have listed through their blogs and hope you will too!
 

School Time Snippets
The Potters Hand Academy
Homegrown Learners
Harmony Art Mom
Pure Modesty
Sacred Mommyhood
Preschoolers and Peace
An Original Belle (designed my blog...she does beautiful work!)
McGuffey's World
Teaching Stars
Hope is the Word
Annie Kate's Homeschool Reviews
The Mangina's Southern Lady Life
True Aim Education
Designer's Sweet Spot


If I've listed you, feel free to take this award and share 15 of your favorite blogs with your readers!

Happy Blogging!

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Teaching Skip Counting

At the beginning of the year, I started to teach Trevor to skip count.  First we did by 10's and then by 5's.  I taught him this purely by memorization.  We would skip around the room and sing a song, or repeat songs we heard on Schoolhouse Rock (multiplication rock).  I think there is great benefit to memorization, but at some point there is greater benefit in understanding why.

So, a few weeks ago, I pulled out our trusty pegs and began to show him the why of skip counting.  First I asked him to group the pegs into sets of two.  Then I told him that we would count together, except that we would take turns saying the next number in line.  He was surprised to hear me whisper when I counted my first number.  I told him that I would whisper and he would say his numbers loudly.  This is how it went.... 1....2....3....4....5....6....7....8....9....10.  We were saying all the numbers, but what does that look like to you?  Counting by twos, of course!  As you can imagine, my 3 year old boy took the opportunity to be very LOUD when saying his numbers =)

Next, I had him try it all by himself.  He would whisper one number and then say the next one loudly and repeat up to 10.  After he got the hang of that, I had him see if he could say the quite numbers only in his head (a hard concept for a little one who says everything that pops into his head =)  He did really well!  The next time we moved onto grouping and counting by 3's.

Here's Trevor doing what I just described...

(I was trying to upload a video for you to see, but I'm having issues, so I'll share a picture for now and try the video again later.)





Here's what the little one does while we work on math (LOVE these toys by Lauri, they have gotten SO much use!) ...



What are other ways what you can practice/learn skip counting?
  • Singing songs (our silly way) (Schoolhouse Rock - multiplication)
  • Throw a ball back and forth, taking turns saying numbers.  Say the unneeded numbers quietly like we did above.
  • 100 numbers chart (good visualization for children who can write their numbers, or practice for those who are learning!)

What ways do you use to teach skip counting?


Happy Skipping!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Trivium Tuesdays - Classical Link-Up #9

Welcome to another week of Trivium Tuesdays!  If this is your first time here, this is a link-up aimed at encouraging and informing other homeschoolers who use the Classical model of teaching.  Here we can share with each other and learn from one another.

Don't forget to visit the All Things Classical Blog Post Index if you are trying to remember a post that someone linked up or are just looking for encouragement or help on a specific topic related to Classical homeschooling.  I have organized posts that you have linked up here at Trivium Tuesdays so that you can easily find posts on the topic you are looking for.

 From last week's link-up my favorite was Early Math from The Potter's Hand Academy.  I loved it because she featured our preferred math Ray's Arithmetic, and also shared info on lots of other math programs and materials.  She also showed her child in action with the Math U See rods .  I've been hearing lots of praise lately about these types of Rods, so I'm hoping to be able to get some for my children one of these days =)  If you didn't get the chance to check out Kristi's post last week, check it out now!  I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas!


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Now onto this week's link-up!

Here are the rules:
  • Your post must have to do (in some way) with classical homeschooling (any age children).
  • Your post may be from your archives as long as you only post it one time on this link-up.
  • Please link to your direct post, not your blog in general.
  • Please place my Trivium Tuesdays button (found on my right sidebar) on your blog post so others can learn about this link-up!
  • It may be helpful to state in your link description what stage of the trivium or what subject your post is about, if applicable, so others can easily find posts they are interested in looking at.
  • Remember, everyone loves comments =) So don't be shy, and tell someone if you liked their post!

I will visit each of your blogs this week and feature my favorite link-up for all to see next week!  Also, if your blog has a button I will place it on my sidebar (under Friends to Visit) for the week until it is replaced by the next week's favorite =)

Happy Linking!

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Early Grammar Stage Focus - Family Worship

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This is part five of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10.  To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.

You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.

This week's focus is on Family Worship.


In the above mentioned article, the section on Family Worship is the shortest in length, but probably the most important!  I can, by no means, do this great subject justice, but I will try to highlight why you (and I) should make family worship a priority in our homes.

First, let's define what we are talking about.  If this is an unfamiliar topic to you, it is simply gathering together with the people in your home to worship God through reading the Bible, praying, singing, etc.  Yes, we are to 'worship' God as a lifestyle, but this is talking about purposefully taking time out of your day to focus on these things.  Practically it shows your children that you prioritize what you say you believe and that you love to learn about and praise God.

The article suggests having family worship at least once a day, even twice if you can!  In my home, twice would be impossible as my husband leaves for work well before the children rise, but we try to do it each night after dinner or sometimes before bed.  The article says that this time should be led by the father, as he is the spiritual leader of the family and this is a very practical way to show that!  We moms have plenty of time all day long to instruct our children in practical and spiritual matters, so I agree that it is vital for children to see their Daddy speak about the Bible during this time.

To tie this in to Classical education, after the reading (or during the reading) the children should be asked questions about the passage.  As we are talking about the grammar stage, these questions would be mostly fact based, but as you children get older they would be able to think and respond more to questions about theory and practice.

I was reading through another article before writing this post and I wanted to share something they said that is very practical:

Parents, family worship is an excellent time to deal with family issues.  If there is a pattern of quarreling among the children, then take up the subject in devotions and apply it to each member of the family.  Or perhaps some current event is preoccupying the attention of the family.  Show them how the word of God teaches us to respond to such.  I've even used family devotions as a time to confess my own sin and struggles by taking a verse of Scripture then applying to my own behavior.

This whole topic has been of interest to me for a long time, probably even before I had children.  With that said, I cannot say that we do it well in our home.  We definitely try, but have much room for improvement.  Usually it ends up being Daddy and Trevor time, not so much family worship.  It would just take the extra effort on my time to engage Mackenzie since she is too little to really understand what is being read.  I really need to change that.  I think I am just looking for a break for a minute after dinner since daddy is home, but I shouldn't have that  attitude.  I'll make that a goal to work on =) My husband is fantastic, though, at making it engaging for our son.  He asks him question all throughout and often makes up little chants/songs to help Trevor remember things.

I don't know about you, but for our family, we do not choose to homeschool solely to give our kids a great education.  A huge part of it is because we want to bring up our children in the "...nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4) and to teach the scriptures to them "...when {we} sit in {our} house, and when {we} walk by the way, and when {we} lie down, and when {we} rise."  Deuteronomy 6:7.  What better way to implement this that with family worship!  Of course it takes much more than that, but it is a great way to show the importance of God and His word in your home.

Goals to work on:

  1. Be there!  Stop being lazy and go sit at the table with daddy and Trevor.
  2. Include Mackenzie (this requires that I do goal #1 first =)
  3. Include singing?
  4. Include responsive prayer.

Please check out both of the articles I sited above for much more great information on this subject! 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10 and Restoring Family Worship.

Do you do family worship? I'd love to hear your thoughts and learn from you too!


See how we did on these goals in the post Family Worship Re-Visited.

This post is a part of the following series:



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