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    Thoughtworthy: Children Sitting in Church, New Read Aloud Title, and MORE!

    October 21, 2016 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    Last Sunday, I was reminded of the years and years I spent training our children to sit in church. My husband was out of town, and I was enjoying the fact that everyone behaved themselves. There was a time when I would have stayed home or gone to church with my parents because it would have been awful! But also, I could hear all the parents working with their children around the auditorium. There is always that one baby in the cute squealing stage, you know? The mother is horrified by how loud the baby is, and she doesn’t realize it makes everyone else smile to hear.

    There are a ton of babies in my church.

    I was thinking I should repeat the best advice we ever received, which was to practice at home. Sundays are just a test to see how well the training is going. That changed everything for me — before that, I was trying to train during church and I was so tired. I remember vividly the day that I had three out of four children with me in the cry room — it was all I could do to not be the one crying! The newborn was crying, the one-year-old was fussy and obstinate, and the three-year-old had decided she couldn’t be without me. Sigh. I had been trying to train during church on Sundays, and wondering why we never made progress.

    After that, I started using Circle Time as training for the three-year-old, and things because to look up. It was still slow going, but at least we moved in the right direction.


    :: 2 ::

    It was time to pick a new read aloud title this week. I told the children I was in the mood for something magical, but it wasn’t quite time to read Narnia or Tolkien again. What did they think? That was the question. A-Age-Eleven crept quietly over to the bookcase and rummaged around for a while. She returned with a book I had read aloud years ago, but Daughter A. only barely remembers it, and the younger two have no recollection at all. (E-Age-Fourteen promised to tolerate it.)

    So, The Little White Horse it is. I had almost forgotten about this one, even though we found it so enchanting the first time.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but it is hard to decide which books to read when some of the books that were so good for my older children really do need to be read to my younger children. My solution so far is to always have two selections going at minimum, and only one of them can be a repeat. It seems to be working.


    :: 3 ::

    As a reminder, I’m heading out to North Carolina for Grace to Build next week! I won’t be around here much, though I might be able to check in on Facebook sometimes. It’s likely that your emails won’t be returned while I’m away — and I’ll just apologize for that in advance because I’ve decided not to take my laptop. I want to travel as light as possible, something I am not very good at!

    Will some of you be there? Let me know in the comments.


    :: 4 ::

    The latest episode of Scholé Sisters is out!


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2012:


    I forgot I had written this one, so that was fun. I mostly still agree with myself, though admittedly I’d write it differently if I were writing it now. It’s always interesting to me to see how things change and yet stay the same — in this case, in four years’ time.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection is HUGE. At our CM group meeting this week, Michele asked me where all my links (in the sidebar) went after they disappeared. There was a recent upgrade to the system I use, and it doesn’t work the way it used to. I’m not even sure I like it anymore, but oh well. Better some links than none, right? Anyhow, for Michele’s sake, I’m listing them all, rather than just my favorites!


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  • Reply Amber Vanderpol October 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Great links, Brandy! I hope you have a great trip out east, it looks like it is going to be a fabulous conference. But really, what CM conference doesn’t look like that?? 😀 Ah, if only I could go to them all…

    And how did I miss a book by Goudge on the Y3 list?? That will have to be remedied immediately!

    And I thought of your first point today at Mass, when I was there without my husband and 5 kids ages 14 – 2. And they were great – the only gaff was the 5 yo asking rather loudly at a particularly quiet moment, “are we done yet?” (*sigh*) but otherwise they were great. And all that with nary a electronic device or snack (pet peeves of mine, let me tell you!!) I do think that the training from Morning Time helps a great deal, as well as the week in, week out practice at church itself.

  • Reply Michele October 22, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Yay for the links, thanks!

    When we lived in Texas, there were a lot of great antique shops, and we like to browse them on the weekends. I would have the children practice looking at things with their hands in their pockets. Walking in with 6 small children always made people very nervous, but the kids did great, thanks to the regular practice at home. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel Raines October 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I plan to be at Grace to Build. I’ll be driving from Middle Tennessee to North Carolina. I look forward to meeting you, Brandy, and hearing you speak.

  • Reply Christa October 21, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    We are reading The Little White Horse right now too!!!

  • Reply Mary October 21, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Would you share a bit more on training in Circle Time versus training in church? Do you mean that you changed something about how you handled Sunday mornings, or just that you added an extra time to practice during the week? I’m curious because we are about to begin this journey with our three-year-old. (We don’t currently have a circle or morning time since he’s our only, but I’m open to any ideas!) Thanks!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Yes — we added daily practice time. Before that, church was almost the only time I ever asked that sort of behavior from my children. What made it easier for me was that when we started this, my oldest was 6 and so we already had daily times set aside for things that would lend themselves to this because he had lessons. With that said, I would think about what kind of behavior you want from your child in church. Sit still? On your lap? Or in a separate seat? Do you want him to stand whenever the congregation stands? Whatever you think you want, that is what you can practice. So even if it is just to being with that Daddy reads an evening Bible story and you practice with him during that short time – even a few minutes, that will help. My friend who taught me this was a mother of 10 (well, only 7 at the time). She said that once they worked up to longer, she practiced with them while she checked her email. She set a timer for 30 minutes and the baby had to sit quietly on her lap while she wrote back or read. She said this worked well because email is boring. 🙂

  • Reply Dawn Duran October 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I have been looking forward to reading The Little White Horse to my boys for years. We are finally in Year 3 so I was gung ho to attempt it towards the beginning of the year and…it fell flat!! We only read a couple of nights before I saw they clearly were not into it at that moment. I put it away to pull out again when they mature a bit. They were put off by all the conversation in the opening chapter, I believe, but I didn’t want to force it, you know?

    You are going to adore seeing the leaves in the Asheville, NC area next week, Brandy. It is the absolute best time of year to go to Ridgecrest. I must confess to being more than a tad jealous of you in that regard:).

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