When we sit down to study the Bible it is really a time for Family Bible Study, not homeschool lessons. We read, research, think and discuss and then write together as a family – regardless of age.
One of the biggest challenges to Family Bible Study is the children! Their different ages, different levels of understanding and even different desires for God makes discussing God’s Word a challenging family activity.
Over the years we have come to a place where this actually works for us not against us. A lot of thanks need to go to “Heart of Wisdom” and their teaching approach as this book has highly influenced our family.
Here are the keys to making Family Bible Study work for us:
- We read from a Chronological, Narrated Bible (this is God’s Story and we read it like a story though it is truth)
- We read for as long as is right for our family on any given day. (This varies of course)
- Before we start today’s story we verbally review yesterday’s lesson.
- Keep hands busy. During the reading the children work on a Notebook page, colouring sheet, drawing etc as a review of yesterday’s lesson. I find they still keenly listen to the reading.
- Everyone gives an Oral Narration – starting from the youngest to the oldest. This way the oldest can add the depth they need to without confusing the youngest.
- We discuss questions, comments and observations that come out of the Narrations
- This often leads to research
- We conclude with Research and Writing assignments chosen for this lesson.
At sometime kids can start to do Bible study on their own, but I have found get benefit in still staying in touch with what they are learning – and even having seasons where I still teach Bible study to my highschool students as they benefit from the heart to heart time together.
Planning Family Bible Study Lessons
I constantly toss between planning lessons and letting the lessons come from the children’s hearts as they narrate.
When I plan lesson I run the risk of not making time to discuss the thing that has touched the children’s hearts. Considering that the Word of God is alive and we “hear” Him each time we read the Bible, I don’t want to miss what the children hear just because I have a lesson planned.
The seeming danger of going with the flow – discussing things as they come up, is that I feel unprepared and wonder if I am going to “teach” the right things.
The answer for me has been to see a developmental progression in the children.
- Initially they need Knowledge – they need the stories of the Bible
- Then they need Understanding – they start to connect things that they are hearing with other things they know. They connect the dots.
- Then they need Wisdom – they start to apply their knowledge.
I don’t like to prescribe ages to these phases as that immediately removes the freedom to grow as an individual and yet I have found my children grow at these general ages:
- Knowledge (upto 10)
- Understanding (10 – 13/14)
- Wisdom (15 and beyond)
Individual student plans
Having these phases in my mind I can plan what my objectives are for each time we sit down for Family Bible Study. When I listen to the narrations I am listening for their collecting the facts, or for them to be connecting facts, or for them to be applying it to their world.
I often have one thought that I want each of my children to grasp. If they hear something different, and it comes up in their Narration, I run with that idea. This can mean we hit the study tools together – learning together. If they aren’t stretched in what they’ve heard and narrated, I am prepared with my one thought/objective that I present to them in our discussion. More often than not though my objectives lines up with what they’ve heard which leads to a great family discussion / lesson.
My Own Bible Study in Preparation
Nothing can escape the fact that for me to teach my children I need to know the subject. In no other subject is this so pivotal than in Bible Study. I must know my Bible. If I don’t – I must be prepared to learn.
Our day goes so much better when we start our studies in the Word of God. When we sit down for Family Bible study we have our Bibles, Note taking pad, Reference books and our pencils and hopefully, hearts ready to hear.
How to have Bible Study with all your Kids at the Same Time: Family Bible study can be tricky when we have kids at different ages and stages, but with using these 8 keys it is possible. Bonus Parent Guide included.