Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A verse a day!!

Our verse a day is going pretty well here in 2011, praise the Lord.

Our introduction to this idea came several years ago, while having friends over to visit at our house in Texas. Each morning, the families all gathered for songs and then working on their verse for the day. We found it so simple. One thing we really liked was the sense of routine and order it gave to the beginning of the day!

Now, years ago, we would think memorizing a Bible verse per day would be a bit to difficult and ambitious to keep up with, but we have found it quite doable, with the Lord's help. The key is not flannelgraph or mnemonic devices or index cards. Its just simple repetition and review!

Our habit has been to gather everyone in the morning before breakfast for devotions. Currently we are in our den, which is a huge room, but we used to meet around our kitchen table in our little house in the woods. We had a large white board in our old house, but ironically, there is barely any wall space for such a thing in our new huge den, so we use an easel.

Dave selects a passage for us to work on. We are just starting Galatians 6, but just finished the first part of Matthew 8.

The way it works is that every morning, after having some song time, Dave pulls out his Bible and reads the passage to us. At first, he just reads phrase by phrase, and then we echo it back, kind of like a responsive reading, except we are just repeating.

After day one, we have memorized the first verse, so on day 2, we all RECITE verse one together, and then continue the rest of the passage echoing Dave phrase by phrase. Because we RECITE together, those who have it down solid, or have PARTS of it down solid give a leg-up to the rest of us who may be a little slow.

After the reciting part, one of the big kids writes the day's verse on a whiteboard in our den where we gather. We discuss the verse's meaning, find related verses elsewhere, define words, etc. If applicable, we then make an illustration of the verse, too.

The little boys get our notebooks and pens out, and we write the verse on a new page of our book.

(We get out the notebooks after the verse recitation and discussion so as not to be a distraction!)

The little ones who cannot read or write have a notebook and we can make the words in dots for them to trace.

Despite their lack of reading, our little guys easily NAIL the entire passage, even the two year old! They can recite the passage with just a hint word here or there; sometimes they don't even need that and we hear them saying it in the shopping cart! Its not because we give them vitamins or because they are super-smart, either. Children are wired for memorization and, boy, do we wish we had taken advantage of this fact when our oldest were still very young!

[It is sad that some homeschool experts recommend that parents have their young children memorize all kinds of Latin and facts and figures, but then only recommend a Bible story book for teaching Bible.]

Certainly, their understanding may be limited, though not as much as you might think, but we are convinced there is great value in their participation at this early age. Because of the fruit we have seen, our older kids are all fairly determined to begin Bible reading with their babies from their earliest days!

So everyone does their best at writing our their verse for the day....especially if its going to be photographed!

After discussion and having everyone write the verse in their notebook, we go around in a circle and take turns reciting this. Even this helps, because the faster memorizers recite first, and so I can hear the verse over and over before its my turn to try it. Ooops.

As I said, the key is repetition and review. We have stacked up quite a few passages since we started this method and need to review them, so we will usually recite a past passage together before working on the new verse a day passage.

We have found that even parents with dwindling brain cells can make amazing progresss. We don't do any intentional review at other times of the day, but just work on this in the morning.

Also, it is such a blessing, a major blessing, to start the day together with the LORD, singing and getting into the Word and praying together.

When we first started, we were somewhat hit and miss with our consistency. But now it is very much a part of each day. The children know what we are doing first thing! We wish we had started this tradition from the very beginning, but thank the Lord for these 6 or so years of taking a verse a day!

We hope this will encourage you to consider this wonderful, simple way of starting your day with the Lord!

For more information, please read How to teach your child a Verse A Day.


Healthy said...

Hi Debie,
it's very interesting and incouraging. I have one questions - how do you choice verses? Do you do it at random, or you have a plan like: this year we are learning Psalms, next year Proverbs then Revelation?
Halina from Poland

Debbie said...

Hi Halina!

Dave just selects a portion, and we don't have a system, but it's sometimes related to things we need to work on.