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    The Darndest Things: Lesson Learned

    March 14, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Every Thursday morning during Circle Time, we read aloud from a children’s doctrinal study that is based on the catechism. The format of the book is such that first we learn two or three questions and answers that are usually taken from the catechism but written understandably for very young children. After that, there is a story where the answers to the catechism questions are worked out. At the end, there are a few questions to ask the children, plus a verse to guide a quick prayer.

    This week’s reading covered the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the LORD’s name in vain.” Our catechism answers explained that this involves not taking the LORD Himself lightly, and so we must make sure that our words show reverence for His name and also His works and word.

    And then there was the story. This was probably my least favorite story so far. To put it briefly, there is a little boy whose parents are not Christians and so they use the LORD’s name in vain. His friends pray for him and he goes home. While at home, his mother spills a cup of coffee on the table and proceeds to use the LORD’s name irreverently {this isn’t spelled out, by the way; the text simply says that she did this}.

    The rest of the story isn’t really important for the post, though you might be interested to know that the little boy gets a chance to talk to his parents about God.

    Anyhow, one of the review questions at the end was, “What did you learn from this lesson?” or something along those lines.

    I was envisioning some sort of sweet speech about being respectful of our LORD when my son very honestly answered: “I learned that just a little thing can make a parent take the LORD’s name in vain!”

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  • Reply Wendi March 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Brandy, Thanks so much for your insight.

    It is good to know that you are reading the book weekly, we were reading it nightly as a bedtime devotion – I can see how reading one chapter per week would work much better!

  • Reply Brandy March 15, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Sounds like your son and my son would get along just fine. 🙂

    I don’t know that my answer to your question is going to be the “right” one. We spent about half of kindergarten going through Training Hearts Teaching Minds and I loved it. But we had some, um, problems arise in relation to it, and so we stepped back from that entirely. I wrote about it here.

    For now, the only thing they are seriously memorizing are the Awana verses. I have also written my own manners curriculum where each manner has a verse or five as its foundation, and they tend to memorize these by the end of the week simply because we review them.

    After doing more reading than when I wrote the post I linked to above, my new thought is that I want to wait until the grammar/logic stage for catechism. Right now, I want to focus on teaching them all of the great stories. As you know, with Ambleside we are reading all of the old stories, all the way from the very beginning of Britain, and actually beyond when it comes to Aesop. My approach this end of the year and next year will probably be the same. This is the time, when they are young, for them to learn those old, old stories. With that as a foundation for understanding, we will study the catechism later on.

    I don’t know that I’m right, I just know that the effects of what we were doing before were of a nature that I couldn’t ignore them.

    As far as the book we read weekly, we just talk about it to the point that we understand it. We don’t memorize it, though my oldest often reviews it aloud without my prompting.

    All of that was to say that I totally relate! 🙂

    I wonder if there are any older moms reading this post who will share the wisdom that comes with experience…

  • Reply Wendi March 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Sounds like something my 7-year old son would come up with 🙂

    I think I know which book you are reading from, we have that book and we were working through it for a while – and we all enjoyed it. Do you have your kids memorize each catechism answer or do you mainly concentrate on discussing its meaning with them.

    I guess that was my one problem … I felt like we were going through the book too quickly – I do think it’s important to memorize Bible verses and very helpful to memorize catechism answers – but it’s more important to understand the meaning behind what you’re memorizing. We’ve really slowed down our AWANA memorization for this reason – I didn’t want it to be a race to the finish for my son.

    I’d really love to hear how you handle this.

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