Tag Archives: family devotions

Week 4 of Advent Printables!

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Week 4 of Advent Printables!

If you missed weeks one, two, or three, feel free to click on the links to catch up!

Our last week is a short one: only 3 days of coloring pages! On the last day, Christmas, I hope you all will join me in reading Luke 2 with our families to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
I also skipped the activities, music, and art altogether, because if you are like me, you are doing a TON of last minute gift wrapping, shopping, and/or other activities! Enjoy these last few coloring pages, and the blog will return to regular programming in the New Year. That being said, I do have another exciting project in the works for the future, but one I will take a LOT more care and time creating. Perhaps I will try my hand at an E-book or curriculum package. Time will tell.
free printables christmas banner
Without further ado: The coloring pages.

Day 22-Dec 22
Day 23-Dec 23
Day 24- Dec 24
Day 25- Dec 25 – Read Luke 2 aloud with your family, using your own nativity figurines as players on the stage! Get the kids involved, give everyone a character to act out as you read aloud (and hopefully they are able to recite with you!)

Before we all dive into the last few days of our Christmas prep, I want to end this series with this thought: Slow down a minute and think about Christ’s incarnation, and how this is an integral part of the gospel. How does this affect me today? My children? I know this horse has been beaten dead, but what are we doing as we celebrate Christmas? Every day I am reminded by what my children see as my priorities by what comes out of their mouths. “From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I am giving an example to my children on what Christmas should be focused on. Enjoy this Holiday with your children for what it truly is.
Peace on Earth is a phrase so overused by everyone without much meaning, but it is  beginning to have a different meaning for me now. At some point it was an ambiguous thought. But it is not any more. Peace on Earth? How can that be possible this Christmas when it seems as if our world is changing its ideas of peace, love, joy, hope, and Jesus? Christ did not come to institute an earthly Kingdom *right now* he came to save that which was lost. This does not mean he is not King (He is!) or that he can’t have a material change on the world around us (He can!) But it does mean that the peace on earth begins with the gospel. Because without the gospel, we have no peace. The Holy Spirit brings about regeneration in men’s hearts, and changes men’s lives, and through this, we can see “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.”
Remember too, that God has the power to bring this about, and he did 2000 years ago, starting with one small baby in his Mother’s womb. I am encouraged by the account in Luke 1 of Mary’s submission to some very scary circumstances, that only got harder as she became older. I am amazed by God’s planning and working, even while Jesus was yet in the womb. I am blown away by how God prepared the way for Jesus, using John the Baptist, giving him the Holy Spirit while he was even yet in the womb (Luke 1:15.) God can and will accomplish all his Holy Will, and this Christmas, I am remembering how he did that very thing 2000 years ago, is doing it today, and will accomplish all his holy will tomorrow as well. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Take comfort in the beauty of the incarnation, Christ becoming sin for us, who knew no sin, and taking upon him our own sins. Peace comes when we recognize God’s Sovereignty, his plan, and  submit to it. From our own hearts, to training and preparing our children as well. Keep it up Dear Mama, God can accomplish all his holy will!

Merry Christmas!

Teaching The Gospel to My Children: Part 2

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Teaching The Gospel to My Children: Part 2

Haven’t read Part 1? Check it out here: Where I realize that my children can’t be kept from sin, but they must be taught how to respond to sin.

Knowing my children have a sin nature, from the moment they are conceived, is an important part of teaching them the gospel. The first part of understanding the gospel is seeing that we are indeed sinners in need of a Savior.

I often get very frustrated with modern parenting that operates from a standpoint of the idea that the child is a blank slate. They are sinless, and if we can juuuuuust get things right, they’ll improve the human race. This thought, however innocuous it might seem, at its core sees man as a Savior. Not Jesus. It assumes the if the children can be raised properly, man can save itself. And I am ashamed that I used to believe this, wholeheartedly.

“But I don’t believe THAT!”  I had once said to myself. In word, I didn’t, but I was inadvertently teaching my kids this. When we discipline our children, we tell them a LOT about themselves, ourselves, and their relationship to God. I am far far FAR from a perfect parent, and I have a lot of mistakes to undo in this area.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

Take for instance, a popular cartoon, Daniel the Tiger. I recently watched an episode with my children on “sharing.” There were lots of pretty songs about sharing blocks, and how we’ll all be happy if we just share! But the premise of the episode was clear, and repeated over and over and over again. Share, because if you do, it’ll feel GOOD.
Sounds great, right?
Nope. Not so right. Without realizing it, we often teach our children that doing good feels good. And that We ought to do good for the sake of feeling good, or if there is something in it for us.

But is this scriptural? Is doing good about feeling good, or is it about something bigger?
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Jesus is clear here, doing good is about giving God glory, not fulfilling our own desires. At its heart, selfishness is the root of all sin, putting ME first, making ME God. It is at odds with Jesus’ own commands.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, ESV)

I used to say this kind of thing to my child:
“If you share with Emma now, she’ll share with you later! Or, what about a trade! You give her what she wants, and she’ll give you something you want!”
We are teaching children that good is only worth it, and is only good, if they feel good.
But this is a selfish premise, we are feeding our children’s selfish sin nature. We are teaching them that their feelings, their wants, are more important than what God says is right. We teach them that feelings, and their satisfaction, ARE God.
And, crazy as this sounds, I was also feeding my own sin nature. I mean, it is MUCH easier to have Ava bribed into stopping the crying. Hand everyone the toy they want, and nobody gets hurt, right? Well… sort of. There is that moment where Ava’s selfish desire can NEVER be sated, because it isn’t about the toy, it is about ME, about how I feel, or what I want.
See what I was doing here? By feeding this selfish nature, I was feeding a beast, one that just got bigger, badder, and all around worse. For the convenience of today (less screaming) we are sabotaging the character of tomorrow, and losing a very important teachable moment to share the gospel.

I now do this instead:
“I’m sorry, but that is Emma’s property, you may not have it unless she says yes.”
Oh good. There is an out, Emma could say yes!
But Emma says “No.”

Uh oh. Cue the tantrum.

Yes, this does mean more work for me, but which is more important, an easy, fun, confrontationless time with my child, or teaching them right from wrong? Teaching them to follow Christ’s commands: To love the Lord your God, with all your heart, your mind, and your soul, and your neighbor as yourself? Christ neatly summed up all the laws in the Old Testament in this little nugget. My job is not to teach my children to love themselves (selfishness) But to love God, and those made in his image, more than self.

In part 3, we’ll get into how this kind of teachable moment often does lead children straight to the gospel.

Still Getting Into A Routine-Help?

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From the recent shot of our little family above, you can see this school year is already a bit of a challenge. I have the unique joy of teaching Toddler stuff (colors, animals, animal sounds, speaking etc.) which happens all day long in all sorts of organic ways. I also have a Preschooler, and my 1st grader! As we hash out this school year, and find a rhythm, we are encountering a few bumps. Week 2 is yet another chance to smooth things out.  In an effort to ask advice of those of you who know, I’m writing this post, feel free to make a suggestion once you’ve seen what a typical day consists of. Times don’t always jibe, and are very loose, as they shift around our speed for that day. For example, if we wake up at 8:00, everything shifts back an hour.

7:00-8:00 – Waking up. Everyone awakens at a leisurely pace.  I usually Facebook or blog on the laptop in bed during this time, while one by one the girls crawl in to snuggle with me. 🙂 If the girls request it, sometimes they can watch a short movie. Breakfast occurs in here when they want it. Usually cereal or something light.

8:00-9:00 – School work begins! Catechism is first, coupled with a form of family devotions that is more scriptural exegesis on their level than anything else, then we start our Slate exercises (From McGuffy’s) in notebooks.  Emma has a few light ones (I write names of people she knows, she copies them.) Sarah does Slate exercises in earnest right from McGuffy’s. Her handwriting is improving a bit day by day. We usually do subjects in this order:

  • Math
  • McGuffy’s Primer
  • Social studies/history (Right now, that is the Olympics, and related Geography.)

10:00-11:00 – Break time! We eat a snack, Ava gets put down for a nap, and while she goes to sleep, I play Pandora on the computer, and do a bit of Facebooking. (I can’t leave the room, or she won’t sleep! I generally get bored sitting there staring at the wall, on really tough days, I might fall asleep with her, while the girls read books together. Facebook will wait! Naps rule! Haha!)  Once she’s down and out, we get back down to business. Some days this happens earlier than others, and we get back to work well before 11:00. Other days, it is prolonged, because Ava needs to be rocked and held. We work around that.

11:00-12:00 – Back to work!

  • Supplementary reading material (Like Little Bear, or other phonics rich readers from the Library.
  • Science/Health, we’re doing a really cool series from Answers in Genesis on How God forms babies in the womb.  This is an interesting and relevant topic to all of the girls, since they’re very interested in what God is doing with their new sibling!

Ava wakes up at different times each day, and this affects how much housework we do. I like to do certain stuff while she is sleeping, but when she is awake, I can work around her, and let her be my ‘helper’

12:00-1:00 – Lunch break! Everyone eats together, and then we all find something we like to do. The girls might play a bit, usually they play with barbies, or their play kitchen, or maybe they play outside. If Ava is awake we play, if she isn’t, I wait for her to wake up (I might do 10 min of facebook in here, if time allows, but if not, it generally gets ditched.)  and I feed her her lunch.

1:00-3:00 -Clean up School work time. If there is anything left to do, we do it here. This is catch all time, especially if it was a tough day. Most days we’re done by this time, and then we do family chores during this time. Maybe fit in some hard core outside play, and work in some PE exercises. (trying to find a way to do yoga more often, it is so relaxing. Unfortunately I haven’t found the magic formula for completing a whole Yoga class with kids.) Generally, when they are done, they find a place to play, (their room more often than not.) and unwind. Ava is my buddy, but the other two find their own fun.

3:00-5:00 Supper prep. My DH usually calls during this time to let us know he’s on his way home. I start supper when he calls, so it is ready when he walks in the door, or close to it. Then we have family dinner together, and get on with the evening!

Exceptions to the Rule:

  • On days I work (clean houses.) We usually have to flip the schedule and be more flexible. This is generally Tuesdays every other week, and Fridays every week. On those days we have to be more creative.  We’re planning on working school into Saturday to make up for any lost time, if needed.
  • When kids are sick! I’m not sure how to handle this? How do you guys? 2 of mine have minor colds right now, and I don’t want to push them, but nobody has a fever either…
  • Daily errands. How do you work in the “whoa we ran out of milk!” or the “Gotta run to the bank…” or when the insurance company calls you to drop off that paper again that they shredded by accident after you disrupted your daily schedule to drop it off yesterday… (true story) I count these as  Social Studies activities, and take time to use them as a teaching moment. We also bring Books on CD in the car, since our History program right now is “Reading” through the Little House books, and discussing the history therein. We listen to it every time we’re in the car. Whatever the day.

In my Young homeschooling Mama fun, I’ve found a ton of other blogs I really enjoy that encourage me and have some excellent practical advice on homeschooling.