Bible Lessons for Preschoolers

Investing God's Word Into Our Children

Book Review: Educating the Wholehearted Child April 30, 2010

Filed under: Book Review,Intentional Parenting,Parenting Thoughts — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

One of the purposes of my blog is to encourage intentional parenting. I’m hoping to do regular reviews of resources that are helpful to me on my journey of purposeful mothering and just might be useful for you as well! I knew as soon as I was several chapters into Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson that it was a book I wanted to tell you about.

First, let me say that the book is geared towards those considering or planning on homeschooling. Probably 40% or so of the book was dedicated to homechooling specifics. I’m not going to review that part of the book. But before they delved into the nitty gritty of homeschooling,  the Clarksons spent quite a bit of time laying out principles of Biblical education that can apply to any family, regardless of school choices. That’s the part I’ll talk about in this review because that’s the part I found, well, almost revolutionary to my child raising ideology! So let’s start:

Define “Education”
What is my educational philosophy? That’s a question I ask myself often, and to which I haven’t had any well-formulated ideas or answers. I know I need to train my children in Biblical principles (hence the Proverbs Project), but beyond that I’ve been a bit clueless. The Clarksons first point out that our children’s education is primarily our responsiblity. Whether our children attend public school, private school or homeschool, we need to intentionally guide and undergird the learning process.

After establishing the parent’s Biblical mandate to oversee their child’s education, the Clarksons then give a very succinct definition of educational success: A child that knows how to learn and loves to learn is successfully educated. Isn’t that great? As the authors point out, there is no way we can expect our children to know everything there is to know. But we can insure that they know how to self-educate and that they love to pursue learning.

The Whole Heart
Then the Clarksons take it a step further. Our responsibility to our children is to disciple them, to affect not just their minds but also their hearts.  They focus on several key areas of training:

  1. Training of habits – Habits are the rails on which our lives move, to paraphrase Charlotte Mason a bit. The Clarksons emphasize strongly the importance of habit training. When we train our children to be habitually truthful, neat, diligent and self-controlled, we’ve given them an incredibly important tool for a successful life.
  2. Training of appetites – This was an area I hadn’t thought much about. The authors encourage building in our children a desire for high quality music, literature and art. Teaching our kids to view the world’s media through discriminating eyes and to have standards of excellence to compare things to will protect them from a lot of trash and wasted time. I was challenged to start viewing the media I expose my kids to through the lens of the Biblical exhortation to think on “…whatever things are true, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely…if anything is excellent and worthy of praise…”
  3. Training in language – Our kids may be geniuses, but if they can’t communicate their knowledge to others then that mental acumen loses a lot of its value. We need to teach them the fundamentals of persuasive communication and provide them a print-rich environment that is high on reading and low on television.
  4. Training in creativity – Innovative problem solving is dependent on creativity! We need to push our children to explore, create and solve conundrums. Surround them with toys that encourage thinking and learning…not just one more “Dora the Explorer” doll (and I’m not knocking Dora. She’s popular at our house!)
  5. Training in reason – How many times have you heard a debate where one side was big on rhetoric and low on logic? We want our children to know how to think! Reason with them, debate with them, teach them the rules of logic. Give them freedom to express ideas and explore those ideas with them. It’s easy to talk at our children. Let’s learn to think with them.
  6. Training in wisdom – While our kids are preschoolers, we make the rules. We tell them what the Bible says and they usually accept that unquestioningly. But if they never move beyond “taking our word for it”, then they’ll never grow in their faith. I was challenged to teach my kids to search out God’s Word for themselves as they get older. I shouldn’t just impose say, the standard of modesty on my girls. As they enter their teens, have them study the Bible and develop their own “code of dress” (with some parental oversight, of course!)

The Other Side
As with most books, there is usually something I disagree with. In the case of Educating the Wholehearted Child, I was initially turned off by their zeal for homeschooling as an educational choice. I felt like the Clarksons pushed it much too strongly and could make many a reader feel less than for considering other schooling options. A parent CAN be responsible in sending their children to public school. At least, IMHO.

Other than that small caveat, I would definitely recommend this book if, like me, you’re trying to formulate your ideas on education or wondering how to focus your investment in your child. Great read, and very inspiring! I’ve already started to be more intentional about introducing my children to the great composers and having music playing around the house. I’m also researching a beginning art curriculum to help them develop an artsy eye!

If you’ve read the book or are familiar with the Clarksons, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!


Are YOU watching your words? April 27, 2010

Filed under: Character Building,Parenting Thoughts,What About Mom? — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

“A woman of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a woman of understanding is even-tempered.” (Prov. 17:27)

I was unhappy about a decision my husband had made. Lost my cool and said some words I regretted. Later, I came into the living room to find one daughter standing in a puddle of pee, while the other daughter ran through it and slipped and fell on her face, knocking over the high chair in the process. My words in response to this? Well, no one would accuse me of being even tempered.

As I was working on this series of lessons, life made me come face to face with James’ statement: “No man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Why is it so hard to tame our tongue? I don’t really have any great answers, and after my failures last week, I feel quite unqualified to write this post. Yet, I know we as mothers desperately DO need to watch our words.  We can do much damage to our children in an unguarded moment of anger. Instead of pontificating about it, I’m going to just share three verses that I need to hear and remember. I hope they encourage you too:

  • “…a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” (19:13)
  • “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” (14:29)
  • “An offended brother (or child) is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.” (18:19)

Watch Your Words, #4 April 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

  • Memory: Review Proverbs 15:1
  • Bible: Read Proverbs 14:29, 19:11 & 20:3
  • Accident Zone: Find a paved gentle slope (for me, it’s my driveway). Draw a road lines from the top to the bottom of the hill. Then put some obstacles on the path like empty milk jugs or weighted cereal boxes. Bring your children, and have them coast on their bikes or trikes down the slope. Did they avoid the obstacles? Why or why not? Discuss how getting in an argument or fight is like running into an obstacle. Quarrels hurt both parties involved. Be wise and avoid the danger!
  • Make a Plan: Conflict between siblings is going to happen. No way to avoid it. But instead of just getting frustrated by their bickering, be proactive and seize the opportunity to train in character. I’m admitedly no expert on this topic. And I haven’t had much success in dealing with my children’s arguments. But I want to keep working at it! So here’s my newest plan:
    1. Have them each state their view of the problem
    2. Require them both to give up a little bit in order to serve the other person.
    3. Pray together for peace.
    We’ll see how it works. We’re going to create a traffic sign hanging to remind us of the “Steps to Peace”: a stop sign (stop and talk), a yield sign (give up) and crosswalk sign (go to the Lord).

Watch Your Words, #3 April 23, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

Theme: Our words come from our heart
“Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Prov. 16:32)

  • Memory Verse: Review Proverbs 15:11
  • Bible: Read James 3:9-12
  • Mixed Up: Discuss James’ analogies with your children. Then produce a cup of plain water and another cup of salt water. Have your children taste them with their fingers. How do they think the water will taste if you mix both cups together? Do it and taste the water again. Yech! Just like salty water can’t produce plain water,  neither can an angry heart produce kind words.For further “mix-ups”, provide several bowls of colored water. Let your children mix different color combinations and discuss the result. Mouse Paint is a fun read-along for this subject!
  • What Words? Think through together some of the friction points that regularly occur in your family. What would be the kind response? What would be the angry response? Help your child develop some strategies to deal with frustrating siblings, friends or parental decisions. And don’t just limit the lesson’s application to your child. Our children are VERY aware of the unkind, harsh words we say to them. Apologize, if need be, and tell them of how you plan to keep your tongue “tamed”.

Watch Your Words, #2 April 20, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

Theme: Taming the tongue is hard work!

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Prov. 17:14)

  • Memory: Review Proverbs 15:1
  • Bible: Read James 3:3, 7-8
  • Rubber Band Wars: James says the tongue is hard to tame. Do they know what that means? Illustrate the stubbornness of our tongues with a bag of rubber bands.  Point out a spot to aim at and let your child try to hit it by shooting rubber bands. Those pesky bands are hard for my children to aim! Just as it’s hard to consistently hit the target, it’s also hard for us to always say the right words! My children have seen me fail in this area plenty of times, so I’ll probably share some stories of events they remember. That’s why we desparately need God’s help to tame our tongues. Pray together, asking God for His help!There are some other fun, aim-challenged crafts you can make to illustrate this lesson. Here are some other options:
    * The rubber band bouncy ball
    * The Borax bouncy ball

Learning to listen and teaching to wait April 17, 2010

Filed under: Intentional Parenting,Parenting Thoughts,Preschool — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

I’ve talked on here before about how I’m trying to listen to my children more and give priority to their needs and requests. Well, I got a great comment from a family member who has raised 4 and is much wiser than I! I thought I’d post it, since I think teaching your children not to interrupt is SOO important, and I haven’t really been doing it much at all:

Part of growing maturity is learning to recognize when someone is busy and learning to wait. It’s ok to teach your children to come up to you and put a hand on your arm when you are busy and don’t hear them. -Then, if it isn’t urgent and your task is (or you need to finish a task first), ask them to give you a few minutes – then give them full attention and active interest in their world.

How do you teach your children not to interrupt?


Watch Your Words! #1 April 16, 2010

Filed under: Bible Lesson,Preschool,Proverbs — preschooljoy @ 9:00 am

Theme: Words are important!
From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.” (Prov. 12:14)

  • Memory Verse: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    (Prov. 15:1)
    We are going to memorize Prov. 15:1 with actions! Here’s how it’ll go: “A gentle answer (rub one hand over the other as though we’re petting  a cat) turns away wrath (turn in a circle), but a harsh word (bang fist into palm of other hand) stirs up anger (stick arms straight out; move them in large circles).”
  • Sailin’, Sailin’: James gives some great word pictures to help us understand the power of our tongue. We’ll be reading in James over the next several lessons and focusing on different lessons. Today, read James 3:3-12. Talk together about James’ comparisons, focusing on the ship & rudder analogy.Our words direct our lives! Make some sailboats together. Then fill a tub or a rubbermaid container with water and blow the boats around. Tape a piece of paper to one end of the water container. Award your child a point every time they run their boat into that piece of paper. Emphasize how their words can bring them reward or failure. Read them Proverbs 12:14 as they play.
  • Pray: Ask God to help you each tame your tongues today!