Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Morning Devotional..hopefully with more clarity!

I received a comment/question about our devotional time, Tracy would like me to give more details about our devotional time. {WARNING~ this post has become extremely LONG!!!}

First off before I start into all that I'd just like to say I am so glad Tracy decided to comment, and especially with a question!! The main and only reason I blog is to inspire others, help others, and well sometimes it's as close as I get to adult conversation! I noticed that as of right now {as I right this} I have had 787 visitors to my blog... and only 2 people who have commented! The other one is my O' So kind SIL!! Please feel free to comment...because as it says on the Right Sidebar...I LOVE Comments!!!
I also want to clarify and answer any questions that I might have stirred in your heads with my thoughts!!!

So on with the Question....

We have ALWAYS had devotional time... it's changed and grown with our family. It's what we, Papa Bear and I see as the things our children need. Just because I do such and such each day, doesn't mean you and your family need to be doing it. {Trust me there are SO MANY THINGS I wish I could do with my family, in SO MANY areas.} I just remember with every thing there is a season. The only thing that has always been the same with our devotional time, has been our scripture readings, prayer and songs. Though at times we haven't had the singing time. However now, we love it, and can't start our days without it! That being said,

Here's how I plan our morning devotionals.....

Our devotional usually begins at 7 am and ends at 8 am {breakfast time!!!} All the A's and myself decided that breakfast should be at 8 am, because that's when A7 usually wakes up.... and well it's so much more pleasant to have devotional while he sleeps! We love him, but he's loud and mischievous!

Right after we all drag ourselves out of bed. Well everyone except A1, he's like a walking clock!! We do our morning routines, bed, bath, dress, hygiene. We also do our own personal scriptures study. This is journal, and scriptures copywork, along with narrating what we read in the scriptures. {I say we, it's usually just the A's!! I read and study, but don't usually right.... NOTE TO SELF, you need to start writing again**}

We start devotional with Papa Bear each and every morning. This not only is nice for us, but it also is a nice start for Papa Bear. Even when he's out of town on work, which happens more often than we all would like, we still do this each morning. We use our video camera on our computers and are using a service called Skype...which is working nicely. We also do our night time readings together and tell Papa Bear good night and good morning. It sure makes having to be out of town a lot easier on everyone.

So for this beginning time, we read one chapter from the scriptures. Straight from the scriptures, sometimes we discuss things, sometimes we don't, we go with the Spirit with this. Then in the mornings we say our family morning prayer. Papa Bear chooses who gets to say it each morning. After that we all tell him to have a good day, etc... and he's off to work.

Next is our Singing time. We {usually I, sometimes the A's make suggestions} choose our weekly songs. We sing the same songs all week. I add suggestions on singing, tones, note readings, leading...etc as I feel like it. Though I can say that since we started this, atleast 1 year ago, to what we sound like today...just singing teaches so much! We were a sad little choir in the beginning, but it's starting to shape up. We choose one weekly hymn, children's hymn, patriotic song, and one educational or seasonal song. The songs we have been working on this week are, {in the above order}

The Lord is my Shepherd, The Third Article of Faith, America the Beautiful, It's Autumntime.

Then we do our sign language time. I have some simple cards with the signs/hands on one side and the letter on the other side. I have a corkboard in our learning room, I simply hang these cards up along the top, with the hands facing out, and in alphabetical order. We simply run through them each morning. Sometimes I change it and we go backwards. One time I made everyone turn around and do them without looking. Then on Friday I do a "test" I pick an A and ask them to show me a letter. All A's, except sleeping A7, do this. I always give the easiest signs to the younger A's. Really this is low stress, 5 minutes max. If you don't have sign language cards, or can't find any.... Carisa, at 1+1+1=1 posted these for a sign language lapbooks... I am so planning on making one soon.

Then we move into our Historical document memory time. Again very low key, we started with the Preamble to the Constitution. I had a Preamble in Sign Language sheet, I actually found it online....I am so excited!!! Here's a link to the Preamble to the Constitution in Sign Language! The kids are all getting so good at this, so I will have them copy it on some notebooking pages I have that are a patriotic theme. I believe these came from this site, if not she has tons of great notebooking pages. I have purchased a few of her sets. There are also some nice free ones on that site, and all over the web. Then we will move on to another historical document. A1 suggested either going through the Bill of Rights, or the Articles of the Constitution. {yes he's a history buff!} I thought those would probably be nice, or I might go with something of a Thanksgiving theme just for the fun of it. { laws of Jamestown, or the Jamestown Proclamation, hmm not sure yet}

Then we move into Calendar time. {I am hoping to show you the updated Calendar area soon} We do personal calendars, each A from A1-A5 has a calendar. A's 1-3 use these to help them plan out their weeks lessons, and to plan their weeks activities. Calendar time is a bit longer on Mondays, we go over the week with the older A's. Talk about any plans we have, or activities we are participating in. Then the rest of the week it's quite simple. We do something similar to this with the A's. A4 and A5 do the baseball card pocket~ numbers house. {I wish I would have seen this with A2 and even A3, A2 has always needed math on a more hands on approach} A4 has a blank monthly calendar, and A5 does a dotted. A's 1-4 have blank, just because these were available and I figured making them similar made it easier for me! They write the dates and activities on these. A4 & 5 do the tally marks sheet. And A's 1-5 do the weather graphing. The older A's thought it would be fun to do. A4 & 5 also do the 100's number charts. A4 has the blank one and A5 has the dotted one. Oh and A6 is usually sitting in and helping the other A's or playing or something! We also just added a dollar store find. It's some posters that say, Today is...... Tomorrow will be....Yesterday was..... And Today's weather is........ and you change the days around and weather. {this is what I hope to show, later}

Then something I want to add, but haven't yet... is this book, the American Patriots Almanac. I doubt we would use this everyday, just the things that are of interest to us. A1 use to thumb through this from time to time, and mention things to me.

Now I need to add a note here..... Typically we can get through all that in 30 minutes...give or take. If everyone's under control and on their best behavior.... or even just their acceptable behavior... it's do-able. Ofcourse this has taken me a few months to work out all the kinks. We started with our scripture reading, hymns {only hymn} and family prayer. Then I added the Sign Language and Historical Document time... then I added Calendar Time, and now I want to add the American Patriots Almanac. ( Which I just always forget to do) So don't expect all that to take you 30 minutes everytime right off... it's all about setting routines and schedules. Keep moving through it, and eventually you will get it all under control.

Then once you get that where you want it.... THEN and ONLY THEN... add more! {here's another post about that}

Now these next things are not going to be done EVERYDAY or even EVERY WEEK... please..Please...PLEASE keep that in mind!

I am planning on starting a few of these in the next few weeks, and tweaking with our routine and how to get it all in, and running smoothly for us.

Artist/Picture Study... I wrote about this here. Over the summer I picked some artists ( I think 6 different Artists) I am planning on learning about 1 artist a month, and showcasing a different piece of art each week. I figure one or two times a month I will read a bio on the artist. I had some of the art work/pictures printed. I will simply state the art pieces name and maybe talk a bit about the piece. Then I will hang it on the cork board {the same one as the sign language cards, it's a big corkboard}, along with a portrait of the artist. This will be low key.

Music Appreciation/Composer... I will use these CD's, which we love. I will also have the kids do some notebooking pages from the Notebooking Pages site, the Famous Composers Pages. This too will be one Composer a month. I will have some of their music playing during our school time, as background music. The older A's like to have classical music playing, it helps to drown out all the other noises!! So once or twice a month we will discuss and listen to the life of a composer, and a few times we will do notebooking pages. I will also have a picture of the composer on our corkboard. Again low key...sounds better than it will be I am sure!

Next on the weekly/monthly topics will be our character training... posted about it here. I am not doing all the vocabulary, unit activities and worksheets that are with this unit study. I do love it all, but because I am working on a time allotment, I have decided we will read one story a week and we will do the notebooking pages. I will read aloud the story, discuss whatever the Spirit tells me too, or whatever the Spirit tells an A to discuss, then they will complete the narration and picture notebook page.

Now I feel I should also mention that for all these notebooking pages, the kids will not have to complete them that day. Usually I say they are "due" in a week or a day. Here's where the older A's calendars come in very handy. They open to that week and write on their weekly IS assignment sheets, such and such due by Friday.

Scripture Notebooks... not exactly sure yet what I want to do with this. I actually know what I want to do, just not sure how to go about it. However there are TONS of scripture related notebooking, crafting, and activities online! I am thinking of doing one story a month... probably reading from an easy reader type scripture book along with from the scriptures, we also have this art kit... I also want to do a notebook, and I want to add a fun activity to go along with it. (most likely one activity a month) We own so many religious resources, along with all the free online resources, its just a matter of getting everything organized... NOTE to self, need to finalize this, ASAP***

Polite Moments, is another great resource about just that being Polite...with scripture thrown in too!! {always a plus in my book} These are fun and very informative. I have even picked up on a few rules that I have forgotten over the years. There are usually scriptures that correlate with the topic. I have the older A's look these up at the beginning of the discussion, and read it when it's time. We simply read these and discuss them. I have actually added this to our devotional a few times, just spur of the moment. The A's have enjoyed discussing them... mostly they like to laugh at the things I remind them not to do!

Then the last thing I want to do is our recorders. All the A's have these, and we use to be learning songs on them... not sure why or when we stopped, but we did and we need to start up again. We currently use the 9 note recorder method, but are getting close to being finished with it, and will need a new book soon. As for recorders we usually learn one song a week, or so. Once everyone learns the song well enough we move on. The A's have to practice their songs everyday, as part of their IS. Even the little A's are doing these. They stand facing another A, or Mama Bear and watch their fingers to follow along. Though I tend to have them watch A2, she's the best on these. Mama Bear usually leads, since her recorder skills...are, well.....lacking!!! I am trying to learn, but I am usually the one who messes up! So my thoughts on this, we will take one day to learn the song, and then it will only take a few minutes to practice together. Along with their IS practice.

So I figure if I do one of the main "lessons" a day, {Artist/Picture Study, Music Appreciation/Composer, Character/Book of Virtues, Scripture Story and Recorder Lesson} There are 5 main lessons, to do, and I do it within about 15-20 minutes.... then that would leave 5-10 minutes to do the review/practice time.

Now that sounds like a plan!!! And we all know... I LOVE PLANS!!!!!!


  1. Wow! My head is just spinning after reading this. With only two kids ages 1yo and 4yo, I can't even imagine doing what you are doing for your devotionals, even if I spread it out over the whole day. But if I understand, you are using devotional time also for group instruction time? That makes a lot of sense with so many kids. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us!

  2. Thanks for sharing about your devotional time- thinking I need to kick mine up a notch.

    Maybe off the topic- but I'm strugging with chores and when to have kids do them- what jobs to your kids do? When do they do them?

  3. Tracy,
    Yes something I probably forgot to mention this is currently our only together time, all together. I will be adding in a short 30 mins history reading and snack time, later. I do spend one on one time with all the A's except A1 throughout the day. He doesn't need it!! He does ask questions or get help once in awhile. A2, A3 and A4 do Science together, with me.

  4. Andrea,
    great idea "Chore Time" I will post about that next week, as for now we are off on vacation and no posts until next week.

  5. Melinda,
    You are awesome, I am so inspired.


since August 13, 2009

since August 2009
Website Traffic Statistics
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6