"Supposing we are willing to make this great recognition, to engage ourselves to accept and invite the daily, hourly, incessant co-operation of the divine Spirit, ... how must we shape our own conduct to make this co-operation active, or even possible? We begin by believing in the children as spiritual beings of unmeasured powers––intellectual, moral, spiritual––capable of receiving and constantly enjoying intuitions from the intimate converse of
the Divine Spirit." Charlotte Mason
After a year or two of school, our 7 and 8 yr old children are able to copy fairly well now, so writing in the prayer journal gets a little easier. They've had several months to draw and write what they desire, but I feel this can't continue indefinitely because they need more specific spiritual guidance and fresh ideas. By this time, my children welcome a helpful resource as a change of pace. So I hand them a copy of What the Bible Says About Being a Boy or What the Bible Says about Being a Girl depending on their gender. These little books are put out by PEARABLES. I spend the first week helping them get started and then they take off on their own, but I check it now and then to make sure they are on track and are keeping it neat. This is what I do.
-I read aloud the first page very slowly with my child by my side.
-He narrates back to me
-I read the Bible verse and explain it.
-Then I underline in pencil just a phrase or two from the verse of scripture at the bottom of the page depending upon my child's ability.
-He copies this into his prayer journal.
-It may take more than one 10 minutes session, but not longer than two days. I remember to keep it short and sweet.
-Then we pray together about this particular item.
-Gradually he begins doing this on his own.
Here is an example from the book.
The Bible tells us that men are to work six
days and then rest one.
When you grow up and have a family, you
will need to work in order to provide food for you
It is the man's job to make sure that he is
not lazy or selfish. He doesn't want to be these things because he loves God!
"On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:2
This book lasts about three months. When it is finished, I hand him a new resource called What would Jesus Do? retold for children by Helen Haidle, illustrated by Kip Richmond. He reads the first chapter on his own and copies the short Bible verse at the end of the passage. This should take a few days. I like this book. Claire and her friends are faced with every day situations where they have to decide how to respond in a Christlike manner. Then the reader is asked what he would do and an appropriate, brief Bible verse follows. All of my daughters greatly enjoyed this book.
One other resource I recommend for this age group is called Polite Moments, Volume one put out by Gary Maldaner. I love, love this little book. They have revised the little books and put them all into one. If you can't find the old individual books, then I would concentrate on chapter 1 this year. Here are some sample chapter titles:
Train yourself to eat things that you don't like
Always be clean and neat
Give your mother flowers
Look at people when you are talking to them
Use your time wisely
Do not cause fear to an older or weaker person
There are many more.
Aren't those wonderful character traits you want your children to learn? A brief paragraph or two explains why you should do these things and then a Scripture passage supporting the statement is given. My child has copied Bible verses all year, so to freshen things up a bit, I have him copy just the chapter title and pray about this. By the end of the book, he has a nice list of character items to work on.
These suggestions are what we have taught our children to do first thing in the morning before school lessons have begun-even before breakfast. They learn to do this without me. Weekends are a little bit different. On Saturdays, my 7 year old child writes what he wishes and concentrates on praying through the prayer list he is making in the back of his book. On Sundays, I reserve a special biography of a famous missionary or character training book for him to read. Again, I usually begin reading this aloud but gradually my child takes over. This is spread out over a long period of time and can only be read on Sundays. He takes a break from writing. This particular year, we use Missionary Stories and the Millers and These are My People-a biography of Gladys Alward.
During the morning school hours, I continue to read through the Bible aloud. I began reading through the Old Testament the previous year using an illustrated Bible Story book. This second year of formal learning, we work through the New Testament together.
Coming up... Personal devotion ideas for eight and nine year olds (approx 3rd grade).
one step at a time...