Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teaching Them Scripture

"I know I need to do it, to teach my children the Bible and have them learn Bible verses but I just don't do it. I am overwhelmed with all the other responsibilities of cleaning the house, caring for my husband, making meals, changing diapers, and homeschooling that I often forget what I know is most important--teaching them to memorize God's word in their heart. Do you have any suggestions?"

I am often asked all kinds of important questions on a daily basis and this is one I feel that is quite a common struggle for moms across the board. We have good intentions, but life somehow seems to get in the way.

This is a powerful time in a child's life to intentionally sow plentiful seed in your child's heart for the kingdom. So we need to make sure that the time we get with them is used wisely.

In the past I had tried numerous ideas. We always try to teach the Bible through how we live, when we rise up and through the day. We do Bible studies in the morning and sometimes at night. We try to make it fun for them as we try to be godly examples.  The thing I was challenged most with was how to help them learn verses and to hide the word in their heart.  I had created a "Bible Sword" binder that was full of verses I had handpicked and taught them to my children over the meal table. I had also did memorization from the Bible in Proverbs and we would try to learn the verses that way with me putting them on the school board and practicing them over different meal times. I used videos (like this or this) and music CD's and even hung up Bible verses in their room and around the house.

Now I am doing something that I am really happy about and seems to be working well. With my other methods, it seemed to require more time from me (to pick out verses and teach) and all of the children were not at the same pace (some would learn it right away, some would take longer) and then things would slowly start to fizzle out as it was not as easy to stay on top of who was where. I needed something simpler!

So now I have them do this:

During school I assign them some "copy-work time", this where they work on their handwriting/cursive skills. I will ask a child to pick a verse or two from the Bible that they want to copy/enjoy/or like and they have to write it in their best handwriting. Not only do they write it out but they are also asked to memorize it. When they are done they bring it to me for checking and recite their verse(s). They can take a break or go play after they have done this as this is usually one of their last classes. I am telling you, I have never seen children learn verses so quickly on a daily basis in my life!!!  With older children you could do several verses, a paragraph, or entire chapters.

So there it is---so simple but so easy. I wish I had done this early on instead of trying to do it as a group. Perhaps it will work for you too!

Oh, and don't feel guilty about popping in a video or using CD's to help with this--sometimes they learn or retain even better that way (moms are too hard on themselves in this category and yes--we have also done AWANA, but wanted to do more at home). My attitude about it is get it in them by any means necessary! Just be careful as some movies are not biblically accurate and that is a great time to teach them about being like the Bereans and to check everything according to scripture.

Have you ever read the book, Ten P's in Pod This is a true story about a large family of missionaries traveled around the U.S. living in their car spreading the word of the gospel and their children memorized whole books of the Bible--VERY inspiring!

Last night we had some fun as my sons practiced preaching for the family, the smallest ones who are the twins and only five, were able to practice "preaching" too by sharing stories they had learned from some movies they've watched in the past since they cannot read yet. It was so cute, and they were all rewarded with jelly beans afterwards! Even if my boys do not become preachers one day, they will be the spiritual leaders of their homes and this helps them to get used to sharing God's Word with others.

How do you teach your children to memorize scripture?


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Anonymous said...

We too use this as 'copy-work' for school. We do one verse until she can recite it. She has to write it once in print and another in cursive, close her eyes and try to recite it to herself. Then starting with day two - she has to try to recite it to me first and then if she doesn't get it, she repeats her work... but I pick the verse - it is normally something we are struggling with. I try to add in the aspect of the bible has answers for our struggles. We love this method of learning scripture.

Theresa said...

I'm not sure how well this would work for us - I have one child who hates writing and protest with loud groans and much drama, lol. I'm afraid there would be some negative association there.

My 7th grader and I are memorizing the entire book of James. We learn a verse a day and recite to one another. We daily write out the verse (copywork) in a notebook and then work to memorize it. I also printed out the chapters in smaller sections to paste into a small spiral bound index card book that we keep use. He can take it to his room or in the car to work on his verses.

Miss Janet said...

Love it! Great inspiration and challenge!

We do copywork for cursive also. To learn cursive, we have always just written the "Word!" We used to do AWANA also. It's a great TOOL for memorizing but not an end all...



Unknown said...

When I was in college I took a New Testament class that was not what I expected. Although we did discuss the New Testament in Sunday School kind of way our tests were strickly fill-in-the-blank phrases from the scriptures. There were hundred over the semester. Our Professor believed that it was less important to memorize every word of long passages. He said it was better to become familiar with important phrases like "no man can serve two masters" or "feed my sheep". Some were longer and did include an entire verse or two but they were all simple. His claim was that these small phrases would come to mind in times of need better than long passages. He was right. Phrases often come to me when I am looking for answers. I can easily look up the phrase and read the whole passage. It feels like having an index in my head!

As for my kids, I don't push them to memorize. I do read to them nightly. They LOVE it! I like to read out loud and use my voice to embellish when there is dialogue. I also stop frequently to ask them what is going on and to summarize. They are eager to hear what will happen the next night. It has only taken a few weeks of this to get them hooked. When I say it's scripture time, they come running to find out what will happen next! If the passage is more doctrinal than story, we talk about how it applies to them. We have had wonderful discussions. I find this more productive than just reading or just discussing or just memorizing. I want them to love the scriptures as I do and, hopefully, they will be eager to read on their own instead of feeling overwhelmed but the scriptures.

Sharon said...

I don't have children of my own but disciple university girls- many who are young believers or those I have led to Christ. I really encourage Bible memory.

It seems taking in their learning strengths and weaknesses is important when encouraging them to memorize the Word. Some like rote memory, some like writing the verses out, some prefer the verse packets I offer, some need drawing helps, some (after great effort)can only get the primary message of the verses. It doesn't have to be the same for everyone.

I have found it really important not to focus on a reward for having memorized, but lots of verbal praise and encouragement. I want them to memorize because they want to memorize, not because their mentor/Bible teacher required it. It makes a huge difference in their walk with God ten years down the road.

Frau Guten Tag said...

Thank you soooo much for sharing, this is a topic I have been Wondering about but didnt even know where to begin

sweetpea said...

Writing the verses is a very wise way to teach scripture, but the only way that will be fruitful is for us to "live" the scriptures in our actions before them. They learn by watching how we treat people, our parents, handle our money, our home. Make sure they understand why you do what you do. Asking 4 children why Mommy did something will get you 4 different answers. When they are little you have time to fix any misunderstandings. Some may be quite unsettling. Love, Grandma J. P.S. I love this site.

Adeline said...

That's a really nice technique.
I guess when i have kids i will try it out too!
Thanks for the tip!
God Bless you!=)


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