Jonah and the Big Fish
This week we talked about the story of Jonah. It’s so familiar, but I actually got a lot out of our lesson as the repeated exposure brought new insights into my mind. Somehow I developed more empathy for Jonah, yet at the same time I felt more frustrated by his lack of mercy than I’ve ever felt during previous readings.
We did tell the story with our flannel board set, but only two or three times (we usually do it several times throughout the course of a week). It was just a hard story because the scene kept changing! Actually, Ian liked helping with all the changes, but I found it challenging to keep all the pieces in a place where I could help the story flow smoothly. We got plenty of exposure this week in other ways. All four chapters of the book of Jonah were on our iPod playlist (see below) and Ian surprised me with how quiet he got almost every time we listened to the Bible reading. This was one story that was in all our Bible storybooks, but we only read it in The Beginner’s Bible (by Karyn Henley) and The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers. I had the pages marked, but we never got to the versions in Classic Bible Stories: A Family Treasury, The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, or The Rhyme Bible Storybook. Hopefully we’ll hit those next time, because I know the boys would love the pictures.
I was thankful for the ABC Jesus Loves Me 4-Year Old Curriculum (lesson 25) on Jonah which provided some fun ideas of things to do throughout our week, such as a dot-to-dot of the fish spitting Jonah back out. This was a really good activity for Ian. We practice counting every night with our calendar activity (most people do this in the morning, but we have found it much easier to be consistent at bedtime), so he recognizes the numerals and is almost able to count up to 30. I helped him find each numeral the first time, and then he wanted to retrace it over and over. I’d never thought of doing that, but it was good practice. (And Elijah worked diligently alongside us, which was good practice for him!)
Ian also played the game that goes with the story of Jonah on Charlie Church Mouse: Preschool. When I first found out about the CCM computer games, I read reviews online (generally pretty good) and downloaded the free demos (which include one story from each CD-ROM). To be honest, I was a little disappointed. The animation seemed rather outdated compared to some of the kids’ games I’d seen. But Ian really enjoyed playing the games. So I went on Amazon and bought cheap copies of the Preschool and Kindergarten games from a Marketplace seller. That was a few months ago, and he still plays them a LOT, and Elijah loves watching. I know Ian’s caught details from the stories through them, as well as practicing some important skills. So my opinion on them has definitely changed for the better. I’m pretty sure I’ll buy the Early Elementary level once I think he’s ready for it. (And Elijah’s just itching to be able to do “Church Mouse” all by himself. He asks for it every day!)
For our Bible notebook page, we used a craft from sunday-school-fun-zone.com. There were two pages to print out: the whale (with a lift up flap so you can peek “inside”) and a bunch of Jonahs. (Ian got in some good scissors practice to get one of him praying.) Simple, but so cute (at least before Ian decided to use almost every color marker he had on Jonah)!
I chose Proverbs 3:5-6 as our memory verse for this lesson. It was a little long, but I always hear both verses together, and I think it’s an important passage to have memorized. So we worked on just verse 5 this week, and next week we’ll add verse 6. The memory songs on our iPod playlist include both verses, so I don’t think it will be too hard for Ian to learn the whole passage.
We watched two videos related to the story. The first was Jonah and the Whale from the Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible series (which I recorded on the DVR a few months ago and saved for this week). I have some reservations about this movie. They took quite a bit of creative license. It starts with a fictional back-story to explain Jonah’s antipathy toward the Ninevites. There’s also a very unrealistic seen of Jonah in the water before the fish swallows him, and some odd moments inside the fish as well. I found it confusing how they seemed to go back and forth in calling it a “whale” and a “big fish.” And like the rest of this series, the men are wearing really short tunics with nothing underneath, so at least half their thighs are exposed, which just doesn’t sit right with me. Ian’s never commented on the clothes though, so I try to bite my tongue. He did get a lot out of watching it, and it prompted some good discussions about what really happened. It also really captured Elijah’s attention and had him asking questions about the story, so he seemed to get more out of the story this week than I think he usually does. At the end of the week we watched Jonah – A Veggie Tales Movie (available streaming on Netflix) for fun, which obviously takes a lot of license as well (but since I was expecting it with Veggie Tales, it didn’t stand out as much to me). It was actually helpful watching two interpretations, because Ian really noticed the things that they had in common, as well as some of the differences. It drove us to dig into our Bibles for the truth!
We had a rather long iPod playlist this week, but we listened to it a lot as we worked, played and rode in the car:
- “Trust in the Lord With All Your Heart (Proverbs 3:5-6)” from Scripture Rock (Vol. 1)
- “Trust and Obey” from 100 Ways to Know God Loves me & 100 Songs to Love Him Back“
- Jonah and the Whale” from The Singing Bible
- “Trust in the Lord” from Sing the Word from A to Z by the Harrow Family
- “Trust in the Lord” from Hide ’em in Your Heart Vol. 1 by Steve Green
- Karen & Kids podcast: “Jonah” (I blogged about Karen & Kids in this post a while back.)
- Jonah Chapters 1-4 from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing (includes song “Go Jonah Go”)
- “I Will Obey” from I Want to Be Like Jesus from Vineyard Music (an older CD, but still a favorite of mine)
One thing I really loved about this week was seeing Elijah really participating. I don’t know whether he’s just entering a new developmental stage or if something about the story really captured his attention, but he seemed like part of our lesson this week. He kept asking questions, pointing out Jonah in the movies, and singing the Karen and Kids “Jonah” song over and over and over (at least “Jonah, Jonah.. Hey, Jonah! Jonah, Jonah….). It’s so fun to see him learning and interacting with Ian about the lesson.