For Bible Alive! Tuesday, a monthly meme over at The Fantastic Five, I want to share with you about a family devotional book we've found excellent for teaching Christian ethics.
I love reading the Bible, in fact right now I'm listening through a downloadable audio version of The Bible in 90 Days, from our local library, of all places. This is another fantastic resource by the way. You might not have time to sit and read for the hour or so a day required to read through the Bible in 90 days, but listening along while doing mindless chores, like folding the laundry or cleaning up the kitchen, which require your hands but not your mind, is no problem at all.
I also encourage the older children, in our case ages 10 to 14, to read two chapters from the Bible a day, at least on "school" days. Doing this they've read from Genesis through into I Chronicles. My goal is to see them read through the Bible from cover to cover at least once while they are still children - something I didn't manage to do until I was an adult.
As I've mentioned before, we've been fortunate to have Phil Vischer creating the What's In the Bible series in pretty close step with the children's reading. So, I've had Phil to explain "the sticky bits" as he likes to call some of the less than child friendly passages in the text. Watching the DVDs is also a good chance for review and summation of what the children have read.
The younger children (ages 5-8) have their own scripture routine involving a lot of memorization for AWANA and Sunday School. We have the music CDs that put the AWANA verses to music, and the younger children listen to those at least once through every day, making the memorization process a snap.
Bible reading, and daily Bible reading is fantastic, and something I highly recommend for any Christian (actually I'd be thrilled if all my non-Christian friends would give it a try too). But, at some point, it's important to take all of that knowledge and apply it with understanding to the situations of daily life. That's what I mean by Christian ethics, and that's what we've found being taught through the devotions in Allan Hart Jahsmann and Martin P. Simon's Little Visit With God.
The devotions are short, about a page of reading. A scenario familiar to children is laid out, a scripture passage is read and applied to the situation, and discussion questions are suggested followed by a possible prayer for thought. Even though the lessons are short and simple enough for young children to understand, they are thought provoking and challenging, even for adults.
We were given an older copy by a family who enjoyed the book when their children were younger, so some of the names and situations have an old fashioned, "Dick and Jane" kind of feel, but the lessons being taught are still relevant. There is a 2006 printing of the book, updated for today's readers. We haven't had any problem with the older version though, the Man of the House simply substitutes names like Josh or Brianna for Orville and Sue, and has the children sneaking off to play video games instead of heading to the fishing hole.
It's great to be a homeschooler.