Bible is the most important subject I teach my kids. In fact, God’s truth and good news revealed in the Scriptures is foundational and central to all that we learn and do. As they grow, learn to read, develop maturity and understanding, my methods for teaching the Bible to my children will change. For now, I want to introduce them to the Lord through the stories He tells about Himself and His dealings with the people of this world.
To that end, I came up with a plan for going through the Highlights of the Old and New Testaments. With Penny Gardner’s list as a reference and skimming through the Bible, I listed 180 Old Testament stories (with a theme for each of the 36 weeks) and 180 New Testament stories (again, with a theme for each week).
That is the backbone of our Biblical studies. I want to share with you my 5 favorite strategies for teaching the Bible in our homeschool classroom:
1. Bible with Breakfast: I think that starting the day with the most important subject is a good practice. It reminds us all of our priorities and it starts us off on the right foot and sets the mood (at least for me!) for the whole day. Given that, I have found the best success with doing our Bible lesson during -or right after- breakfast.
It is convenient, for the kids are already at gathered at the table. Mentally, it is helpful for me to start school so early- I have found that I am more likely to keep the ball rolling with school for the day if I have started at breakfast. Finally, even if nothing else gets done for the day, we have at least done the most important thing.
2. Begin with a Hymn: I’ll be honest here. I’m actually not my best in the morning. I find myself a little too sharp, impatient, short with anyone who tries to talk to me. So beginning the morning with my children by worshiping the Lord together is beautiful and uplifting. I love it. It is precious. It helps me not snap their heads off when they ask for more food.
We do a hymn a month (chosen to correlate somehow with our Bible stories) and when we are first learning the hymn, I will play it on YouTube for the children and we sing along with it. After that, we just sing together a capella.
3. Flannelgraph: Several years ago, I purchased a set of Betty Lukens flannelgraph. It was a lot of work to cut out all the pieces (over 600 figures). But it was well worth the effort. The figures are absolutely beautiful and vibrant and my children love having the story told to them with flannelgraph. It is true that this is a very old-fashioned medium, but every child I’ve taught- my own, or in Sunday School- is very drawn to the use of flannelgraph. And then they want to play with it!
4. Narration: After I tell the story, I want my children to tell me back what they just heard. I usually have to ask a few questions to encourage them to remember it all. Then often, we discuss what the passage teaches us about how we should live or what God is like. We have had many deep and interesting conversations come from these discussions. These conversations are the very best part of our whole homeschool.
Often, I will help them narrate by using the flannelgraph to aid their memory. Eventually, I would like them to use the flannelgraph to tell back the story. (Just not when they’ve just had syrup with their pancakes.) We will also occasionally act out the story we’ve just heard and I have plans to have them make popsicle stick puppets someday to narrate the story. And then practice it to give a show to Daddy!
5. Bible Journal: They have composition books where each page has half a page blank for drawing purposes. Right now, about once a week or so, I have the children choose a story from that week to illustrate in their journal. Then they dictate to me the story and I write it down for them. I have been impressed with the details that they remember from the stories. They love drawing and telling me these stories and so their Bible journals are quite a treasure.