Tag Archives: Bible

Read, Write, and Learn…With DevoKids!

About a year ago, I first found out about DevoKids.com, a fun and safe site for students. Part of Christian Devotions Ministries, DevoKids’ mission is to entertain children while sharing with them the love of Christ. There’s so much for kids to read and learn about — and they can even contribute, too!

Devotionals are posted weekly on the site, and each one is based on a particular scripture or passage. The link “Music Dudes and Divas” contains articles about different types of music and various musicians.  In “DaVinci’s Playground,” kids will find ideas for crafts and experiments. There are also links for puzzles and games, cooking ideas, nature and history articles, and money tips.

And there’s more! You’ll find two writing sections to the website, “The Write Buzz” and “Write Now!” In “The Write Buzz”, award-winning author and teacher Christopher Maselli answers questions about writing, while the “Write Now!” column features tips for kids by published authors such as Margot Finke, Carol Baldwin, Donna Shepherd, and Patti Shene.

One of my favorite features of DevoKids is that the site is open to submissions from students, too! What can kids send in? They may choose to write devotions, or they can give directions for making their favorite recipes. If they’ve found a good way to earn money, they can send that in, too. DevoKids is also looking for students with stories about saving, tithing, investing, and giving. Or, if your child has an idea that would fit in the music column, he can submit that as well.

DevoKids is constantly adding new articles, so it’s a site to return to again and again. And because it has so many opportunities for children to learn, create, and grow, you’ll want to do just that.

Counting Down to Christmas

calendarWhen my oldest child was little, I found an advent calendar in a catalog that I really liked. It had 25 pockets with a number on each one; inside the pockets were hidden characters to include in a nativity scene: shepherds, wise men, sheep, camels, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Every day in December, the child pulls out one of the characters from the corresponding pocket and sticks it onto a background. Of course, baby Jesus would be in Pocket 25.

At the time, we didn’t have much extra money to spend, so I made my own calendar using felt for the background, pockets, and characters; fabric paint for the numbers; and Velcro pieces to make the characters adhere to the stable scene. And we’ve been using that calendar ever since. Though I’ve had to replace a few pieces along the way, it’s been one of our favorite traditions for counting down to Christmas.

A friend of mine recently told me of one of their traditions: they make paper chains from construction paper with the days numbered on them, then tape one on each child’s door where they can reach them. Every day, then, the children get to remove one link of the chain. A variation of this would be to put a verse from the Christmas story in the Bible on each link; then, when the children remove the link, they can work on memorizing the verse.

One family we know counted down the days by setting up a nativity scene with all of the pieces except the wise men and their camels. They would set them far away from the display, perhaps on a windowsill or bookshelf. Then, every morning, they would move them a little closer to the scene, until finally, on Christmas Eve, the wise men would arrive at the manger.

Does your family have a favorite way of counting down to Christmas?

Changes in the Schedule

Clock_2013At a get-together this morning, several of us homeschooling moms had an opportunity to compare what we’ve been doing with our children recently. I feel like we’ve finally found a daily schedule that is going to work well for us, so I told them about my plan. Other moms, then, told how they begin their mornings, and their ideas were great! I left feeling inspired, energized, and ready to make even more changes to the plan.

After speaking with the other moms today, I realized that there’s more I want to do. Before we begin with breakfast, I want us to start our day with prayer as a family. I want each child to have an opportunity to pray for each other, for their dad, for extended family, for special needs we’ve heard of, for our missionary friends who are far away. One mom suggested providing each child with a slip of paper with name written on it — that would be the one they pray for that day.

Memorizing scripture was something else that was mentioned that I want to add. One family works on a verse or two a week all together. The older children could then learn even more on their own.

Of course, adding in a time for prayer and Bible memory before our “classes” begin will require extra time for our school day. I always hope to get an early start so that we’ll be finished by lunch, but for one reason or another, we often seem to go into the afternoon. But the fifteen minutes or so that it would take to add it in would well worth the time. After all, for us homeschooling isn’t just about the academics; it’s also about raising wise, responsible, and compassionate people who will make a difference in their world.

Garden of Praise.com

cohdranknbarbarabushroseI first came upon this website over a year ago when I was teaching art lessons in my home. I was centering the lessons around famous artists, and I was looking for information online about the lives of the various masters. While I was glad to find the biographies of famous artists on this site and used them regularly as a resource, Garden of Praise.com offers so much more. 

One of the first sections you come to on the site is entitled “Online Tests.” After registering, teachers and homeschooling parents can have their students take tests about famous Americans or lessons in the Bible. After a test is completed, it’s instantly scored, and if any incorrect answers were marked, the correct answer is revealed. 

The biography section features leaders such as presidents, scientists, inventors, and educators. Each story is written at the elementary level and includes seven printables, including a study sheet, a coloring page, a word search, a crossword puzzle, a word scramble puzzle, a worksheet, and a test. Links to other helpful sites about the individual are provided as well. 

A Spanish section has songs (with music) for learning the months of the year, colors, and the parts of the head. Quizzes are available for numbers, the days and months, and the names of shapes in Spanish. 

You’ll also find pages that include literature-based reading lessons, plays, musical activities, and children’s Bible lessons. You can even view a slideshow featuring ideas for bulletin boards or wall displays designed by teachers. 

While this site is not an all-inclusive resource for any of these subjects, it does provide information, ideas, links, and printables to supplement the various subjects your children might be studying. And, best of all, Garden of Praise.com has made it all available for free!