Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Simple Gifts

This blog might step on some toes.  It definitely would have stepped on mine a few years ago, so take it with a big old handful of salt and use what is relevant for you.  Differing opinions will not bother me, you have my word!

Simple.  Everyone wants simple. 

But simple does not make very much money, does it?  And money is what makes the world go 'round. 
Specifically in regards to homeschooling and teaching Bible (and we ALL do it - remember, you are your child's first teacher even if you send your child to public school), I've been drawn more and more to simple. 

Full confession:  I have a bachelors in music education, taught children's Bible classes since I was 16, and I was a music and pre-school teacher before I became a stay at home mom.  I LOVED making beautiful bulletin boards, handwork, decorating my classroom, etc...  I poured a lot of time, work and much to my husband's chagrin, money, into teaching other people's children.  And if I am being completely honest with myself, most of that work was not for my students.  It was for me.  Much of it really didn't enhance the actual learning of the students very much.  (There are a few exceptions, but sadly, very few.) 

I like coloring, cutting, pasting, laminating and making things pretty.  So there. 

And I still do!  But as a homeschooling mom, I don't get very much by way of daily prep time for that kind of thing.  And because of the situation in our local church where my kids are the only children that attend our small, just-getting-started group right now, I am their perpetual Bible class teacher.  This has caused me to re-evaluate just what is important and just what really enhances their learning and what is just... fluff.  Pretty fluff.  But still fluff. 

My time is valuable.  Their learning is important.  I have needed to be more discerning to make the most out of what we have.

All those adorable Pinteresty things for homeschooling and Bible class... how many of those projects are really only for the teacher/mom?  Be honest.  And there is nothing really wrong with that.  But I just don't have that kind of time any more.

I need to sleep and take my vitamins.  I need to get outside with my children.  I need to read them piles of books and cook them healthy food.  My husband needs lovin' time.  I need to wash the dishes and do laundry.  A couple of times a week, I really just need to get a shower. 

I'm a thirty-something-year-old mama and I need to keep things simple. 

And simple works.  It really does. 

We don't do crafts in Bible class.  We have a simple timeline posted on a wall.  We have a bookshelf with Bibles and a stack of white copy paper on it.  I have the ESV Family Bible and a set of Betty Lukens felts for a visual aids.  If we didn't have that, a whiteboard and some markers would do.  We have a box of crayons.  And my boys are learning at a tremendous rate!

This is our simple Bible class "program" for two boys, ages 5 and 3:
  • We pray
  • Sometimes we sing Bible songs that go with the lesson.  Nothing complicated though.
  • We go through the Bible and read a Bible story.  We work in chronological order.  
  • We find our Bible story in our simple timeline.
  • Sometimes we look at things on maps if it is relevant to the story.
  • We review the story with the felts.
  • The boys "narrate" the story back to me as they draw key events with crayons on the plain paper.  
Most people would say our classroom is bare.  But it is simple.  It is without distraction.  Preparing a lesson every week is practically no work for me, which is important since I have been teaching without a break for about 3 years and don't expect to stop any time soon.  (Just FYI - I only teach on Sundays.  Midweek we meet with the adult class, since we do so much Bible teaching at home also.)  Simple only seems to enhance their learning.

And it is the same for homeschooling.  Mostly it is about the books, and when it comes to Bible, it is about THE Book.  We don't spend a lot and we don't need a lot.  But you won't be able to find this sort of thing at a convention or in a catalog. 
Your most valuable resources are things you already have:  your Bible and your mind

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7 comments:

  1. I love your honesty, with yourself and everyone else. I also remember a time when I finally realized, that sitting on the floor with children and a Bible should be all you really need. I don't mean all the time, but I just got this picture of someone like Sister Caneta Hall, sitting and sharing a story with children and them being engrossed and encouraged. Should start with that and add little simple things, as needed, just like you said!

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  2. Amen, amen, and amen. Where's that "share" button?

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  3. I love what you have written here!! So true!! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Well said!! You are a wonderfulmother & teacher. Thanks for doing such a great job with our Great Grandsons!! Hugs Grma B

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  5. I think I have done the simple is better thing for Bible classes as well. We read a prayer book, we pray, we review the life of Jesus, talk about the apostles, sings songs for each area, do the bible lesson, and do a little color sheet regarding the lesson. That's it. Then we sing a few more Bible songs, and walk around a bit, line up, and away we go. We are learning the OT songs, and I play a little a capplla CD to help us along. LOVE this post. I also love how we can get a bit "carried away" even with something that has an honest and good thought behind it - Bible classes and homeschooling. Keep It Simple. LOVE THIS!

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  6. I think "simple" is a motto than can be taken to all areas of life. Thank you for the reminder of this Godly principle!`

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  7. This completely unburdened my heart and spoke to the place I am at right now! Simplifying things in all areas so we can make sure the truly important is not getting lost in the stress of trying to make everything sophisticated and brag-worthy. Thank you for sharing!!

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