Long Story Short: God Creates the World
Well, here we are, back at the beginning! I started this blog right after Ian turned 3, when we began going through the Bible lessons in the ABC Jesus Loves MeThree-Year Old Curriculum, which took us on a chronological journey through many of the best-known stories in the Old and New Testaments. This past spring I wrote a post about what our next step should be, and I’m so excited about the route we’ve chosen. This week we started going through a fantastic family devotional called Long Story Short by Marty Machowski. (Seriously, read the reviews at Amazon or Timberdoodle and you won’t be able to resist either).
The book is broken up into 78 weeks of stories from the Old Testament (the New Testament is covered in the sequel, Old Story New (scheduled to be released this Fall), which also has 78 stories, so together it will take us at least three years to get through all the material, probably more since I’m scheduling in breaks around holidays and vacations). Each week consists of 5 ten-minute devotions designed to be used with kids from preschool through high school. While the main story may be from the Old Testament, each week you also look at how it is part of the overall “Gospel Story,” so there are New Testament passages to read as well. I wasn’t sure if our children were quite old enough for it, but if this week is any indication of how things are going to go, I think they’re going to get a lot out of it. And maybe in the future we’ll go through it again and they can process things at a deeper level.
This week’s lesson covered Genesis 1. We started Sunday night so that we could dive into some school activities on Monday. Daddy read the Bible passage while I helped Ian follow along in his ESV Seek and Find Bible. Then I walked us through the questions. If the question was too hard, I just shared the answer as part of our discussion. Then I told them what the suggested prayer topic was and asked who wanted to pray. Usually we just had the boys pray, but sometimes Daddy or I would pray as well. They boys really enjoyed this nightly “Bible time,” and they were sad the two nights we didn’t do it. There are only 5 per week, but it worked out really well because we were out late at a Bible study one night and playing miniature golf as a family another night, so it would have been hard to get more than 5 done. On weeks when we’re not out late, I’ll use The Gospel Story Bible (also by Machowski) or a related Scripture to carry us through the end of the week.*)
After the first night, our Bible story was constantly on the boys’ minds. All day on Monday they kept exclaiming, “God made ______ [dirt, trees, cows, the sky, etc].” When we had lunch, I prayed, “Thank you, God for making grapes,” which led them to ask about the other foods, which taught them that even if God didn’t make something in the form we see it, He did creat the materials for it. So then they started saying, “God made the stuff to make ___.” This continued throughout the week!
The first night it was a little difficult to keep Elijah engaged, so after that I tried to come up with ways to keep everyone listening. For example, when we read through the days of creation, I asked the boys to raise their hands every time they heard “God said…” We talked about how even though only God can create by speaking, we also can create things. We just have to start with paint, playdough, or some other sort of material. (And then, of course, we had to get out our paints and spend one morning creating our own masterpieces.)
We have several Bible storybooks, but since there are lots of other fun books related to Creation, I decided to set those aside for this lesson. Here are some of the books we read or looked through this week:
- Who Made the World? by Kathleen Long Bostrom
- God Made it for You!: The Story of Creation by Charles Lehmann
- The Real Story of Creation by Paul L. Maier (The text is too advanced for my preschoolers, but I liked having it out for the pictures.)
- The 7 Days of Creation by Mindy Macdonald (Elijah really likes the books in this “God Counts!” series)
- Shiny, Touchy, Smelly Creation Story from Make Believe Ideas, Ltd
- The Creation Story for Children by Helen and David Haidle
- The Creation Story from DK Publishing (illustrated NLT text)
I want to help Ian practice his reading skills by finding things at his level related to our Bible lessons. This week I had two good resources:
- We Learn About God from Rod and Staff Publishers (a beginning “reader” that’s right at Ian’s level)
- The Young Reader’s Bible by Bonnie Bruno (still a little too hard for Ian to read on his own, but he got good practice following along as I read.)
The other thing I did was print out our Bible verse and then cut up the individual words. (I laminated the cards to keep in my Creation file, but that’s just so I can use them again with the other children). I did something similar to the reading lesson Charlotte Mason described in Home Eduction (Volume 1 in the Original Homeschooling Series) Part V, chapter 4 “Reading“. He was already familiar with Genesis 1:1, and he knew a few of the words by sight already, so I didn’t read it in order to him the way I would have with something new. Instead I just mixed all the cards up and asked him to put them in the right order. I helped him recite the verse so he’d know where to start, but then I was amazed how quickly he laid out the whole verse. After he was done, I had him read it to me, pointing to each word as he read. He was so proud of himself and immediately mixed them up and did it again. He also took great pride in repeating the feat for Daddy that evening. When we did “Bible time” before bed, he turned turned to the first page of Genesis in his ESV Bible and read the first verse as he pointed to the words. He was a little confused why it didn’t say “Genesis 1:1” after “earth,” which opened up the door for talking about chapters and verses. I pointed out the title “Genesis” and the big and small numbers, and soon he understood.
I really liked making a notebook as a record of our journey through the Bible the last time around, so I decided to do it again. This time I’ll be doing them with both boys, so I’m going to try to do different activities than I did with Ian the first time. This week I printed out out the mini-book from Christian Preschool Printables to use for the boys’ Bible Notebooks. I made up a page that had the Bible verse and a number for each day. For Elijah, I cut out only the pictures and had him glue them next to the number on the page. I had Ian trace the words and numbers for the day before gluing them over the printed numbers. (He’s been asking how to write letters a lot lately, so I want to start having some sort of “copywork” for him each week. This seemed like a great starting place.) It was nice being able to make the same activity developmentally appropriate for each boy. They were both incredibly proud of their work, especially Elijah (“Grandma, I glued!”), since it’s the first official “schoolwork” he’s done.
There are lots of wonderful activities from Christian Preschool Printables, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the boys, so I tried to restrain myself. I printed and laminated the Memory Match Game. The boys did a good job just matching them up, but we never got quite confident enough to play “memory.” We also each colored a Creation Wheel from Oriental Trading Company, which Ian loved turning to reveal each day. Elijah only colored the top page and then lost interest. I was a little irritated that they put a rainbow on it, since that’s a prominent part of the story of Noah, but we talked about how God created that too, just later on.
I really wanted to give the boys a chance to observe some animals, but with temperatures in the triple digits I just didn’t feel up to a trip to the zoo. Instead, we took a field trip to a local pet store, where we saw cats, dogs, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, snakes, iguanas, and lots of varieties of fish (and even got to pet most of the mammals). Both boys loved it, and they soon were back to their gleeful exclamations of, “God made ___!”
I found several resources online that Ian enjoyed playing around with:
- “Create a scene” game
- video of the Creation story.
- a fun PowerPoint presentation that goes through each day
- Creation story on Charlie Church Mouse Preschool CD-ROM
Our “Listening Lesson” had a few more items on it than the last time we discussed creation. This year I want to start being intentional about learning both traditional hymns and also some of the worship songs we sing in our Sunday services. This was an easy lesson to incorporate a number of such songs into our iPod playlist:
- “Children Listen/Creation” from Songs from the Beginner’s Bible“
- “Genesis 1 The Beginning” from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing
- “Song- Creator God” from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing
- “This is My Father’s World” from Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Vol. 1
- “All Creatures of Our God And King” from 100 Ways to Know God Loves me & 100 Songs to Love Him Back
- “In the Beginning (Genesis 1:1)” from Scripture Rock (Vol. 1)
- “Awesome God (Your Voice)” from Holy (Vineyard Music)
- “God Made the Universe” from The Singing Bible
- “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” from a CD of Bible songs by Great American Kids I found at the 99-Cent Store
- “In the Very Beginning” from that same CD
- “Creation Calls” from Light the Fire Again
- “Six Days” from TrueRassic Park VBS (which our church used a few years ago)
- “God of Creation” from Great Big God 2: Tiny Little Me
- Karen & Kids podcast episode “My Father’s World”
I’m so excited to be starting this journey! By the third night, Ian was begging for “more Bible time!” By fourth night, both boys were eagerly volunteering to pray at the end of our time (when both have been extremely reluctant in the past). Okay, so Elijah’s prayers in any setting are now about thanking Jesus for rocks, and the sky, and every animal he can think of, but I love that he’s excited about prayer! “Bible time” is now something we all look forward to at the end of the day, and I love that they’re going to bed treasuring God’s Word in their hearts and minds.
*Here are a couple of ideas I came up with for filling in extra nights:
- Psalm 19:1-6
- Psalm 95:1-7
- Romans 1:19-20
- Psalm 104 (for older kids)
- Job 38-39 (for older kids)
Posted on August 19, 2012, in Bible lessons, Charlotte Mason, Long Story Short, Preschool, The Gospel Story and tagged family devotions, family discipleship, homeschool preschool, Preschool Bible, preschool curriculum. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.