We have been taking the Bible a whole lot more seriously in the last 5 years, as a resource for teaching our children. We are seeking, as Dave says, to make it not only the foundation, but the FOCUS of our teaching. That is our desire. Basically, we are trying to take them through the real Bible, alongside us, instead of relying on children's Bible versions or materials. We have seen much fruit from this with the older kids, as they are developing an in-depth knowledge of details that we envy. As a result, they are better able to tie together concepts which span the Old and New Testaments.
But we still have lots of little ones to teach, and have started a little earlier with them.
Sammy (5) has finished his Bible time line through the whole book of Genesis. We tried similar things with our older kids at that age, but relied on a kindergarten program to supply little bits of scripture, linked by lots of arts and craft and stuff like that. It just didn't include much scripture reading. From the looks of children's curriculua (Sunday school and christian ed) we assumed you just don't do that with little children.
Anyway, we are now in Exodus. Each day we just continue where we last left off. Obviously, we go slow and define alot of words and concepts. It leads to all kinds of discussions on other topics: family life, natural science, creation/evolution, public sanitation, space travel, etc.
Sammy and I and Gideon (3) have our Bible school time when the bigger kids are doing their Bible copy work. We figured it worked out good to have Gideon with us, to practice sitting still and to keep him safely occupied. (This cuts down on our rate of toothpaste consumption, for example.) However, Gideon is listening and learning too.
And so are we...we are learning that little children can understand and retain much more than we thought. God wired their brains for it. That must be why God says we are to teach them from their earliest days.
[Of course, the WORLD knows this, and the WORLD uses this to merchandise all manner of vanities to children.... as they rise up, as they sit down, as they walk along the road.
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up..." Deuteronomy 6:7
The world stole thate idea from the Bible...doing that which we parents don't do often enough. Why, oh why, do we fear "cramming the Bible down our children's throats", yet leave those same throats free to swallow so much folly and poison marketed by this world?? But anyway.... ]
Here are some examples of what our 3 year old
is retaining and understanding, without flannelgraph or videos. To us, the potential is really amazing!
One morning, Sammy (5) and I were reviewing our previous chapter in Genesis, which was about Abraham's servant who prayed for God to show him the right woman to be Isaac's bride. We had read this story a full week ago
, and were just catching up.
(In the story, the servant had ten camels, and the right woman would offer to water them.)
I asked Sammy, "What kind of animal would the right lady water?"Gideon
So I asked Sammy, "How many camels?"Gideon
(3) answered without hesitation, "Ten."
After finishing up the part about Jacob's time serving Laban, which spanned 20 years of Jacob's life, and several pages, we got into his fearfulness about meeting up with his brother. We hadn't read of Esau, or even had the name
"Esau" come up, for a relatively long time. So, when the text mentioned the name of Esau, I asked Sammy, "Who was Esau?"Gideon
answered first: "A cutting hunter." (That is his way of pronouncing, a cunning
hunter, as it reads in the early description of Jacob and Esau. I had to look it up, as I didn't remember that description.)
At the end of Jacob's life, he had all his sons gather around while he gave blessings and cursings. I was explaining to the boys that Jacob (who I called "the daddy") had sons who were all grown at this point. I didn't mention Jacob by name much, I just referred to him as the "daddy" since he was the patriarch.
Gideon interrupted to ask if the sons were good or bad, and I tried to explain they were all sinners. I don't recall what else I said.
Then Gideon solemnly said, "Daddy
Gideon had recalled that, way back before
any of Jacob's sons had been born, Jacob ("Daddy") had deceived his father into thinking he was Essau!
Regrettably, we haven't recorded more of these incidents, but you get the picture. We are amazed all the time.
Oh, and here is one that made Dave and me drop our jaws. During our night time Bible reading, Dave misread 2 Kings 10:10 as
"Know not that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the world of the LORD..."
Would you have caught that error? Before Dave finished the rest of the verse, one of the older kids corrected him.
"Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD..."
Well, we thought it was a big deal....because our son had no Bible in front of him. He remembered how it actually read. How did he catch such an inconspicuous error?Copying the Bible!