When the change to reduce the hours at church and move to a home-centered, church-supported way of doing things were announced, I was ecstatic! A few weeks before, I had been frustrated by the lack of time & energy I had after church on Sunday to be fully engaged and teaching my children. So, even though I know it has been in the works for quite some time before being announced, it seemed like a personal answer to my struggles.
I have been so excited and we are gearing up, getting ready to hit the ground running with this new program and new curriculum. In many ways, things will continue the same. We’ll still have family scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening. We’ll still make the most of everyday teaching moments. But it’s time to step up our game. I know that many are excited like I am. And I also know that many are worried about the responsibility that will fall on their shoulders. So, I thought I’d share a list of 4 ways to prepare NOW for the coming changes to this home-centered learning:
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- Make sure everyone in the house has their own copy of the scriptures – especially the Bible since we will start our study with The New Testament. My youngest three kids only have a Book of Mormon, so I’m purchasing a Bible for each of them, even the ones who can’t read. I believe it’s important for them to be able to open their own scriptures to feel involved as the family studies together and to take to primary.
- Hold a Family Counsel – We got the kids together and explained the upcoming changes. They are all bummed about less time in primary which is a real testament to their amazing teachers who make primary a place they love to be. But as we discussed the opportunities that it will give us at home and the need for us to teach MORE at home, they got excited. These kids, age 4 – 10, came up with a whole page full of ideas for what they wanted us to do as a family. They included things like learning the Articles of Faith, learning to do Family History research, working on their talents, and learning the hymns.
- Schedule a weekly planning session – Its time to put a plan in place! And you’ll find some fun ways to make you’re home a center of gospel learning to inspire you right here. But no matter what your family dynamic looks like, the head(s) of the household would benefit from a weekly planning session (which can be done by yourself if you’re the only head of the household). My husband and I have already set aside time on Sunday night, after the kids are in bed, to review the lesson for the coming week and figure out what and how to teach our kids in the upcoming week. Where I used to feel mostly responsible for family home evenings and gospel teaching, this will put us working together as a team . . . less burden on me! I love that he will be more involved since he always has great ideas to contribute to our family.
- Look through the first lessons – Spend a few minutes looking at the first lesson or two in the new home study manual. As I started to get a feel for this new manual, it really seemed less intimidating to me – it is such a great curriculum and full of ideas for us. Also, as I read through the first lesson, I had thoughts pop into my head of how to make this more meaningful for our family. For example: I’ve purchased a treasure chest that we’re going to keep in the middle of the kitchen table. During the year, as we come across verses in our family or personal scripture study that are a “treasure” to us, we will write them down and add them to our treasure box.
These 4 simple ideas won’t take a whole lot of time, but will do a world of good to get you going on this new home-centered, church-supported gospel learning initiative. And then you’ll be off to a great start for the new year! I would love to hear any additional ideas you have for preparing for OR creating a gospel learning atmosphere in your home! Please share in the comments.