Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teaching Children to Worship--The Morning Altar

So many of you have asked what my homeschooling day looks like or what kind of a schedule I use. I even have a list of our daily routine on the fridge and often have moms stop to read it or ask a question or two about it often.

Now every homeschool is different, and we need to do what best suits each family, but now that I have homeschooled for 15 years I have learned to focus more on a routine than a schedule. I do not like feeling pressured to keep by a  rigid schedule but like freedom with time to keep the day pleasant.

But let me just say that there is one thing in our day that I would love to share with you that cannot be explained by merely glancing at that schedule that hangs on the fridge--I cannot tell you how important it is to our family to have our circle time.
Circle time, or the morning altar time, as preachers-of-old might define it, is a special time of the morning after breakfast that we gather after personal devotions on the couch and worship the Lord collectively by:

1. Reading through the Scriptures together. We will pick a chapter and have every child (that can read) read a portion of scripture outloud to the group. Afterwards, we will discuss it with either me or my husband leading if he is home.We are currently working our way through Proverbs.

2. We will sing hymns, contemporary Christian songs together (usually songs from church) and read about where the songs came from and the songwriter's walk with the Lord. This has been such a blessing and not only counts as music and history but the bonus is that they can remember songs in church by heart. Last week we learned 10,000 Reasons and were able to sing w/out the lyrics in church.

3. We address character. This is a good time to praise them for the good you have seen them do and offer constructive criticism as needed. We will also be going through different character cards and books to glean from them.

4. We pray together. Each child, even our little twins up to our young adult, all say prayers for the following:
  • church
  • family
  • friends
  • the unsaved
  • the sick
  • the nation
  • missionaries
  • leaders
  • special needs
We usually pick a topic and pray specifically and also make room for whatever the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts.

Also, we try to keep this portion of the day lighthearted and fun and not with a stiff somberness that can come with a time like this but still teach reverence, worship, and relevance.

This is also a good time to memorize Bible verses as a family. The children look forward to this time, but not as much as I do. I know that if nothing else is accomplished in the day-and you know just how crazy a homeschooler's day can get-- that as long as I taught them in the Lord's ways, there would be peace of mind. 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

I am also not worried that we will not have enough time for math or language because now I have just filled my children's time with what their soul needs most and what I am commanded to do by my Savior. Somehow God brings an unexplainable peace over our home and the day flows so sweetly afterwards. Yes, my children still sin throughout the day, but there is something different about having this special time with the Lord. It truly brings peace calm to all of our souls.

There is no academic class is more important than the time you spend investing in growing your children spiritually. The seeds you plant now will have eternal significance in the future. Be encouraged, dear mothers, and know that the time that you invest teach the Word will not return void!

For more inspiration about Circle Time, please read here.

How do you teach your children to worship the Lord at home?

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ckbrylliant said...


Mrs. Arpino said...

How do I do this with an (almost) 3 year old with no siblings? I guess just simplify it right? Sometimes I think it's a lot easier if you have more than one child so that the youngers learn from the olders and it's more of a group effort (more voices other than your own). Praying for God to open my womb and bless my family.

Misty said...

I have one daughter, she's 3 years old and we (daddy included)do this in the evening before bed. I read from a toddler's devotional and she loves it! We do scripture memory, but not every day as of yet. I am amazed at how much a 3 year old can retain. After devotions, we ask her if she has any special prayer requests and then we pray together. Lately she has been asking if she can say the prayer out loud. It's really sweet. Awesome post once again. Thank you!

Lena said...

Reading your post and reading what you do together with the family is just a blessing! Not every family gets together. May God bless you and your family, and may your family continue to grow closer to the Lord.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...


I love that! Keep up the great work!

Many blessings...

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Lena,

There were some seasons in our life when we were not doing this (but a different variation instead) or found it harder to do it. I say pray and ask God what best suits you and your family and then follow His leading!

Thanks for visiting!

Many blessings...

Karen Andreola said...

I like your phrase, "reverence, worship, relevance."

Once in a while in home school I would teach my children the words of one of my favorite old hymns - a hymn that might be sung in church even if infrequently - among the praise choruses. We'd learn the words "by heart" of all four verses over some weeks. When the hymn would come up, in church (perhaps months later) I'd like to think it was to them as it was to me - an old familiar friend.
Karen A.

Adrienne Isaacs said...

I echo so many of your feelings. We too try to keep more of a routine than a schedule. Some days, family devotion time is all we can get to as part of our "school day" (things can go a little haywire with a 4yo, a 2.5yo, and a 10mo and then other household activities and chores to boot :-D) But I still feel as if the main thing has been the main thing when we have devotions together. And I can let all the "rest" (i.e. art time, etc.) go. Our devotions are also lighthearted (but still reverent). We sing our memory verses, even march around to the beat sometimes. It is amazing what even our 2 year old can retain when it's put to a beat! Anyway, thanks for this encouraging post. It is comforting to know that even after a decade and a half your family still gathers together around God's Word to start your day. It encourages me that we too can persevere and stay the course with our little ones. Thank you for being a good Titus example for me! :-D

Lydia said...

I love your blog. What encouraging and Godly thoughts and posts! I look forward to reading more.

Miranda said...

Great post!

Lindsey @ Road to 31 said...

This is beautiful! I love to read posts on this topic. We were introduced to the idea of family worship last year and have been working very hard to make it a practice in our home every evening. My husband gets his guitar out and we sing together. We let our 2 and 4 year old read after us as we read God's Word. We are working through a catechism with them. My husband and I grew up in Christian homes but not with such direct and intense teaching. We have really seen the importance of being purposeful in our home and the need to foster an atmosphere that seeks Christ. We are examples to our children of what worshipful living looks like. Thank you for your witness. I enjoy your blog very much!

Joyfulmomof6 said...

"I am also not worried that we will not have enough time for math or language because now I have just filled my children's time with what their soul needs most and what I am commanded to do by my Savior."

I couldn't agree more! I have the same outlook.
I have been homeschooling 13 years and the only thing that has remained constant through the years is this precious time with my children. Math programs and teaching philosophies come and go, but putting the Lord first is ALWAYS the right thing to do. The day never feels right without our prayer/bible time.

It is especially important to our family, since my husband is not a believer. Yet the Lord has blessed these precious times for me and my children so abundantly.

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