Tag Archive | flannelgraph

Homeschool Teaching Techniques: 5 Tips for Teaching Bible

Teaching Techniques

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:

A Joyful Noise

A Joyful Noise with Breakfast

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.

A Bible3.  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.


Easter 2011

Easter is coming up in a few days and we’ve been having all sorts of fun at our household getting ready for it!  When I was young, my mom thought carefully about what holidays she wanted to emphasize by celebrating with great hoopla and excitement.  As I have become a mother, I have done the same and given careful consideration to what holidays I really want my children to remember, anticipate, and understand.  So we celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in style… just like my mother did for our family when I was little.  Of course.

Last year, we began celebrating 12 days before Easter Sunday.  Each morning, there was a basket on the kitchen table with something in it that somehow pointed to who Christ said he was.  For example, our first day, there was a basket with sidewalk chalk in it.  The poem attached read, “A gift of chalk to draw and play, and remind us He is the Way.”  One day it was little Easter eggs decorated as sheep (He is the Good Shepherd), another is was grapes (He is the Vine), and another it was bread we used for our breakfast (He is the Bread of Life).  They looked forward to finding out what was in the basket every morning!

During Z-urchin’s morning nap (ah, it is with great fondness I remember the days when Z would take two naps), I used Betty Lukens flannelgraph to tell the stories of what Jesus did that last week before He died.  First, we would sing a few songs (Ho-Ho-Ho-Hosanna and Nothing But the Blood of Jesus), then search for 2 Easter eggs.  Inside the eggs, they found something that somehow related to our story for the day.  They would look for that element while I was telling the story and they exclaimed with great joy when they encountered it.  Often, they would retell the story (well, X-man wanted to creatively make up his own story usually) using the flannelgraph on the board.

We also did many crafts and activities- below are the highlights of last year’s “12 Days of Easter”-

They loved hunting for the eggs and cracking them open to discover what was inside! How I love the enthusiasm of young children- it is so refreshing!

The retelling of the story of the Triumphal Entry

We drew (with the new sidewalk chalk!) palm leaves on our walkway.

We placed jackets on our "donkey" and X played the part of Jesus in our Triumphal Entry re-enactment.

Z-urchin found the gift of chalk- perhaps here is where he developped his 'taste' for it.

The story this day was about Jesus washing the disciples' feet, so I traced their feet and they used sponges to paint them.

Our church had invited a Jewish man who works with Jews for Jesus to share about how the Passover Feast points to Jesus, the Messiah. So, armed with that information (and a booklet I got from the Jews for Jesus table that Sunday), I helped the kids paste pictures of Passover food on paper plates as their craft the day we did the story of the Last Supper.

We painted a picture of a cluster of grapes with "paint" made from koolaid. Wow- did that smell good!!!

The kids loved helping me bake cupcakes and then decorating them to look like bunnies!


All dressed up and ready to go to church bright and early on Easter morning!

X-man and Princess K really enjoyed our Easter celebrations. (Z-urchin was a little oblivious, being just 6 months old.)  They didn’t fully grasp the concept that all the fun was to get ready and anticipate Easter Sunday.  The day after Easter Sunday, they woke up and wanted to know what was in their basket!  🙂

A couple of months later, X saw that I was toasting some bread and that one piece had been cut in half.  He exclaimed, “Mommy, just like Easter! The bread is broken!”  Ahhh, all the effort was so worth it!  I look forward to the day when he completely understands what that broken bread really means.