Firm Foundations 6:2

Theme: The Bible is like a map for life!

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word..." (Psalm 119:9)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 119:9a, then learn the second half of the verse.
  • By living (ASL sign)
  • According to Your word (Put hands together like a book)
Catechism Q&A: Q. Where do you learn how to love and obey God? A. In the Bible alone.

Follow the Map: Hide a treasure box outside, filled with some special treat or cheap toy your children will enjoy. Prepare a page of instructions, ie "walk 5 steps from the front door" and "turn left, then skip till you reach the trash can". The instructions will lead them to the treasure box AND the Bible with today's reading marked. Hand them the instructions in an envelope, stating that it's a message from you. Help them read the message and follow the instructions to the hidden treats.
After recovering the treasure, sit down together and discuss how the instructions helped them successfully find the box. What would have happened if your kids wouldn't obey your message? God's Word also contains instructions for us. When we obey them, we'll successfully live life! Then read Daniel 1. Talk about how obedience to God's Word (and you might have to explain the special diet Jews were instructed to have) helped Daniel be successful in his job. God knows what's best, so you can't lose by obeying Him!
Notebook: Eat some sunflower seeds for a snack, then glue a few into your Notebook page as a reminder of the blessings of hearing and obeying!

Firm Foundations 6:1

Theme: The Bible is God's message to us
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness..." (2 Tim 3:16)

Scripture Memory: This week and next, we're going to learn Psalm 119:9-11. Psalm 119 is basically a love song about the Bible, and is a great read for when you're feeling unmotivated to open the Scriptures for daily devotions.  Today we'll work on verse 1a:
  • How (Put both arms up with palms out as though asking a question)
  • Can a young man keep (ASL sign)
  • His way pure (ASL sign)?
Catechism Q&A:
Q. Where do you learn how to love and obey God? A. In the Bible alone.

It's a Message:
Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. Gather 33 books and put them in a pile.  Show your children all those books and talk to them about how the Bible is not just one book - it is lots of books! You have 33 books in the pile, but the Bible is actually 66 books. Most of those books were written by different men over 1400 years. Yet even though the books have varying authors, they all have the same message and point to Jesus Christ.
To learn more, you choose one of these 2 DVDs to watch:
  1. The Amazing Book, a video from the 80s that's definitely dated but has lots of good stuff and cute songs
  2. What's in the Bible, created by Phil Vischer of Veggie Tales fame and has a great overview of who wrote the Bible, how many books make it up (even differentiating between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles), how inspiration works and how we came to have these particular books in Scriptural canon. It's a LOT of information, and will probably go over your 3-5 year olds heads.
Notebook: Choose one of the elements from Lapbook Lesson's Bible Lapbooks to go into lesson 1's square. We're going to use the Old Testament Minibook.

Firm Foundations 5:4

Theme: The God who knows the stars' names knows your name too!
"...the very hairs on your head are all numbered." (Matt. 10:30)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 139:1-4.  You can check out some of the actions I've used for this passage: verse 3

Catechism Review: Q.  Can you see God? A. No; I cannot see God, but he always sees me.
Q. Does God know all things? A. Yes; nothing can be hid from God.

Every Hair: First read Psalm 113:5-6 and Isa. 57:15. Talk about how God is so far above us! Review some of the things you've learned this week about God's greatness and power. Compare His care and watchfulness over us to our being concerned about an ant. We're so much bigger and more powerful than the ants just as God is so much  more bigger and powerful than us!

Next, read Matt. 10:29-31. Even though God is so great and powerful and amazing, yet He cares and watches over us, even knowing the number of hairs on our head. Try to count those hairs together! There's a lot of 'em, for sure. For this week's notebooking, create a face on their square. Talk about eye color, nose shape, freckles, eyebrow thickness - anything and everything that makes your child's face distinct. Finally, add the hair. Give your kids pieces of yarn to tape on the head of their self-portrait. After the yarn is on, count each "hair" together. Remind them that God has counted each of their hairs too!

Learning about F: Our Aquarium

Last week, Elisa and I explored different letter F themes, with a focus on Fish. Most of my ideas came from Walking by the Way's "Read to Me and ABC" program, but I did dig up this additional idea that was quite fun:

Make Your Own Aquarium (No Fish Needed): Make some seaweed and attach it to a 2 liter bottle filled about 3/4 with water. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1T vinegar. Put raisins (the fish) into the bottle and put the lid back on very tightly. After about 20 or 30 minutes the fish (raisins) were swimming around in the "tank".

Firm Foundation 5:3

Theme: All creation is under God's control
"...He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name..." (Jer 31:35)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 139:1-3, then learn verse 4.
  • "Before a word is on my tongue (place a "word" on your tongue)
  • You know it completely (hold up hands toward heaven), O Lord."
Catechism Review: Q.  Does God know all things? A. Yes; nothing can be hid from God.

The Pattern of the Stars: Read Job 38:31-38 and Job 42:1,2. God's power and knowledge and control of creation is amazing and beyond what we can understand. Discuss the actions listed in the Job 38. Can your kids do those? Nope! Only God. Point out to your children the names of the constellations that Job lists in 38:31 & 32. God knows all the constellations too!

To learn more about constellations, check out some of these resources:

Firm Foundations 5:2

Theme: God can control nature, doing whatever He wants
"Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him." (Psalm 115:3)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 139:1-3. If the weather is nice, do today's Bible lesson outside and enjoy nature as you learn about God's power over nature.

Catechism Q&A: Q.  Can God do all things? A. Yes; God can do all his holy will.

Solar Power: Read Psalm 115:3 and 135:5-7. The Lord's power is truly great. Tell your children in your own words the story of how Joshua cried out to the Lord during a battle and God stopped the sun from moving. While you tell the story, have them illustrate the battle scene with a sun. When you're done, put the illustration in square #2 of this week's notebook page.

To underscore God's power, read some books about the Sun, such as The Sun is My Favorite Star and The Sun: Our Nearest Star. It's incredible to contemplate how God has such power as to stop a massive star as the sun in its tracks! Only our Creator.

Rocketing: For a fun go-along activity, try making this cool vinegar/baking soda rocket and blasting into, well, upper space!

Firm Foundations 5:1

Theme: God Knows – All of the World’s Knowledge
“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)
Scripture Memory: Time to learn verse 3 of Psalm 139!
  • You discern my going out and my lying down;
  • You are familiar (ASL Sign) with all my ways (ASL Sign).”
Catechism: Q. 12. Does God know all things? A. Yes; nothing can be hid from God.

Astronomy Unit Study, part 1: There’s nothing like the vastness of space to make us feel very small. The heavens truly do “declare the glory of God…” Throughout the week we’re going to explore some of the amazing aspects of our universe and discover more about the amazing God who created it all.

Read Psalm 147:4-5.God knows all the stars by name! To comprehend how much that is, cover a piece of construction paper with glue (you can use a paintbrush and a glue/water mix to keep the mess manageable). Then allow your children to sprinkle glitter all over the page. Once they’re done, ask them to count the glitter pieces. Can they? There are 200 billion stars just in the Milky Way galaxy. How many more in all of space? God knows EVERYTHING there is to know!

Notebook: Glue the glitter picture on to this week’s notebook page. Before you put it in, you might want to cover it in Saran Wrap so that the glitter doesn’t slowly fall on your floors every time the book is opened!

Read Along: The Magic School Bus Sees Stars or The Sky is Full of Stars

Firm Foundations 1:3

Review: Let your kids put YOUR memory to the test today! They ask you the catechism questions and you provide the answers. Is your memory as good as theirs? Take time to review Colossians 1:16 as well by singing it fast and and then singing it slow.

Creation Lesson 4:
  • Read Genesis 1:24-28 and Genesis 2:1-2.
  • Discuss how God made each animal according to it’s own kind. What does that mean? Using this animal matching game or your child’s collection of stuffed creatures, sort the animals in various ways, ie, by habitat, characteristics or species. On space #6, make a pocket to hold the animal matching cards.
  • Create the art for the final space on this week’s catechism notebook page. Color a picture of the earth, then glue a heart in the middle of it. Talk about how God was pleased with His creation – it was good! Everything God does is good and perfect.
  • Close Out this lesson with praise! Have each child think of one aspect of God’s creation they enjoy. Thank God for it together!

Game: Teaching Kindergartners about Coin Values

Passing this on from an idea presented on the Workboxes E-mail Loop:
Skills: Identifying coin values and coin equivalencies; addition; counting coin amounts.

Materials: Real or Play Money; at least 4 quarters, 2 nickels, 3 dimes and 5 pennies PER PLAYER. One or Two dice

Setup: Place all coins in a pile in the middle of the playing area (table, carpet, etc).

Play: Begin play with the youngest child and proceed in a clockwise manner. On a players turn, he rolls the die or dice and takes from the pile the amount of money indicated on the dice using the fewest coins possible. If the player already has coins in his own pile, he must determine if he can make an exchange: 5 pennies for 1 nickel from the pot; 2 nickels for one dime from the pot; 2 dimes and one nickle for a quarter from the pot. When all exchanges have been made, play passes to the next player.

Winning: The first player to reach $1.00 wins.

Play this game beginning with only pennies and nickles. Then graduate to pennies, nickles and dimes. Finally, you can add quarters to the mix. You can add half dollars and gold dollars and bills as well, but you'll have to increase the winning amount too.

Instead of using dice, you could use playing cards to determine the number of coins taken. Of you could use more than three dice to foster addition concepts.

Heart Check 5: The Wonder of Insignificance

"You are familiar with all my ways..." (Psalm 139:3)

This week I'm going to be teaching my children about God's omniscience and omnipotence. We'll explore some of the wonders of space in our quest to understand the awesomeness of our Creator. The number of the stars, the rotation of the planets, the cosmic enormity of our universe - all underscore His power.

But as I was meditating on the truths covered in these lessons, I was reminded that in the midst of the vastness and complexity of space, God has still taken time to know me. Me. What an incredible thought that He would even care about someone so small and seemingly insignificant. And yet He does. David's words in Psalm 139 paint a picture of the God who is here:

Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.

  You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me. 

We all face varied trials, heartaches, struggles that appear meaningless and more conducive to our ruin than to our good. But don't let appearances deceive you! God knows you. And the result of that deep, personal knowledge is the ability to use our trials to bring ultimate good. So trust. And rest. He knows and His way is best.

The Blessing of Drowning

I'm reading the first book in the 2-volume biography of Hudson Taylor, Growth of a Soul as one of my books of the month (trying to read 3 books each month). During his first several months in China, he was tried and tested in innumerable ways. He felt helpless, frustrated and discouraged, drowning in circumstances beyond his control and to which there was no apparent solution. Not exactly the victorious missionary life by any means!

The book's authors point out how necessary this season of trial was in preparing him for his life's work. Their insights were challenging to me, so I thought I'd share them:

That is how it has ever been, ever must be with the people of God. Until we are carried quite out of our depth, beyond all our own wisdom and resources, we are not more than beginners in the school of faith. Only as everything fails and we fail ourselves, finding out how poor and weak we really are, how ignorant and helpless, do we begin to draw upon abiding strength. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee"; not partly in Thee and partly in himself. The devil often makes men strong, strong in themselves...the Lord on the contrary makes His servant weak, puts him in circumstances that will shew him his own nothingness, that he may lean upon the strength that is unfailing. It is a long lesson for most of us; but it cannot be passed over until deeply learned.

Words I need to hear concerning a lesson God wants me to learn. I would highly, highly recommend this book set. You can read Hudson Taylor: Growth of a Soul for free online or can order the books from Amazon.

Firm Foundations 4:3

Theme: God is invisible
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Tim 1:17)

Catechism Review: Q. Can you see God? A. No; I cannot see God, but he always sees me.

Scripture Memory: We've done Psalm 139:1-2a, now it's time to add 2b:
  • "You perceive (ASL sign) my thoughts from afar (start with hands together, then spread them apart as far as possible)."
Invisibly Visible: Read 1 Tim 1:17, John 1:18, 6:46 A fun game that illustrates the power of the unseen can be played with a few small pieces of tissue paper and a fan! Use a floor fan, and turn it on high. Tilt it upwards so that it is blowing air towards the ceiling. Then get ready to play! Throw the tissue paper pieces into the air above the fan, and watch them float high into the air. At my house, we played this game for at least 20 minutes! In the future, this is going to be on my short list of  emergency fun activities!

The Fine Art of Homeschool Balancing

Great post over by Jessica at Simple Homeschool about the need to balance homeschooling's academic focus with character training. I was challenged, as I am VERY academically focused. It's easy for me to try and squelch bad behavior instead of taking the time to instruct and train. Along those lines, Jessica made this point:

Man cannot live on books alone. We need to develop quality relationships, enjoy one another’s company, and learn to get along with one another. Better that my sons be godly garbage collectors than arrogant men with initials at the end of their names.

So true, but so easy to forget. Needed that reminder!

Firm Foundations 4:2

Theme: No matter where I go, God is there!
“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:9, 10)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 139:1-2. Look at Lesson 1 in this week’s series for memorization ideas.

Catechism Review: Q.  Where is God? A. God is everywhere.

Wherever I Go: It’s time for some Hide and Seek! First, read again the passage from yesterday, Psalm 139:5-12, in a different Bible version to help your kids hear it in a “new” way. Then start the game! As you play, remind them that even though you aren’t with them as they hide, God is with them. God will be wherever they go – no getting away from Him! They may be able to hide from you, but not from Him.

Notebook: No notebook page today! The lesson is similar enough to yesterday’s that I decided not to bother with it!
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