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Last year I decided to take a different direction from our usual homeschool bible routine. I was soon to be teaching three young kids the following school year, my goal was to find something I could use with the three of them together and keep my toddler a bit interested as well. For years while my kids were small, we had spent time each morning going through beloved bible stories, but they were beginning to grow up and I could sense they were hungry for more.
Faced with deep spiritual questions from small kids looking for answers, I knew it was time to explore some of those questions together and I was hoping to find a curriculum that would help me along. I’d been through some dry homeschool bible curriculum as a homeschooled kid myself and was hoping to steer away from anything that may lull my kids back to sleep over our morning time studies.
As I browsed our local homeschool convention vendor hall through a staggering level of options, Apologia’s What We Believe series stood out to me immediately. What We Believe was not only going to help answer these questions about God my kids were asking, it was going to prepare them to defend their faith and own it in their own hearts.
Additionally, it looked like so much fun! There were so many stories and activities, I knew my kids would be drawn to the notebooking journals immediately. The coloring books for younger siblings were a huge help for my younger kids who wanted to listen and participate, but were not quite old enough for the notebooking journals.
Then we had the hard part, waiting the entire Summer to get started!
Getting Started with Who is God?
Fall arrived and we dove right into the first book in the What We Believe series, Who Is God?
Although I was surprised how much reading was involved with the lessons each day, we all loved it. The littles never complained! Each day we had an activity to work on whether it be a coloring page, copy work, mini books, crossword puzzles or a picture to draw reflective of the day’s discussion. At the end of each week there were extra resources like a song to listen to or a Veggie Tales movie to watch that followed along with what we were studying.
The stories were the perfect way for my kids to simply think through the eyes of another person who may share a worldview that is different from ours. Someday my kids will leave our little family tribe and I want them prepared to share the light of Jesus with those who think differently than they do. Part of that is having those conversations now and getting them to answer their own questions.
If we always give our kids the answers, they won’t know how to find the answers without mom or dad turning the pages of the bible for them. Very quickly our discussions became a chance for me to ask my kids, “What do you think?” and see what they came up with. Sometimes they had some pretty unique ways of looking at the bible and it was really neat to see that unfold each day.
It Began Preparing a Foundation for my Kids
“And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 3:15
There is a lot we can learn from the stories of events in the bible, like Noah’s Ark, but as a young kid in church I remember always feeling this sense that I could be learning so much more. Most of us growing up with Sunday school in the 80’s can remember using flannelgraphs at church, which were pretty fun! But once kids start growing out of those flannelgraph stages I think we tend to assume there isn’t much more to teach them until they can understand more.
We assume that because they learned about Noah, Jacob, the disciples and Jesus that it is enough for now. It is easy to come up with objections to doing more, because it can be a sacrifice to add one more thing to our homeschool day.
I pray with them at bedtime too!
Do they understand that God doesn’t always answer prayer? And why?
I teach them that Jesus wants us to be nice to others!
Do they understand why our hearts are not always bent towards being nice to others?
But my kids are very obedient!
Does that come from a place of wanting to please their parents or please God?
Don’t get me wrong, those things are important too! I have just realized if we don’t go deeper while they are young and most likely searching for the answers, we are already beginning to lose them. Investing in them in elementary school is crucial as they begin those tough stages entering their teen years. Now that I have taken the time to invest, I can clearly see that understanding the deep truths of God and His word is not out of reach for a kid in elementary school.
I love that through the What We Believe series we are able to dive deeply into the scriptures, not only to hear good stories but to discover how the truth of the bible can apply to our daily walk with Jesus. We explored the attributes of God, the wonder of the Trinity, how the Fall impacted our world, how God speaks to us through creation and His word, as well as discovering that God made us for a purpose.
It’s About Making Progress
Giving my kids the foundation of God’s word has nothing to do with getting them to be perfect. They still bicker with each other, shirk back from fuller potential, have grumpy attitudes towards their parents and are often poor sports about losing a round of cards. It’s about obeying God’s command to me as a Christian parent doing my best to follow the biblical instruction God has given me.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19
I don’t teach them these truths expecting them to follow God like little robots who never do any wrong. Instilling kids with biblical truths is about giving them the tools they need to brave the storms of life. Teaching them to follow Jesus and obey the truths of the bible gives them freedom from the consequences that follow a life bent towards sin, if they choose it. As well it gives them the assurance that God created them perfectly the way He intended, made for a purpose to advance the kingdom of Jesus.
This year we are working through the second book in the What We Believe series and I feel so blessed to have found this curriculum!