Monday, May 19, 2014

How We Homeschool: Scripture Study

One of the most frequent comments I receive when people learn that we homeschool is along these lines: "I don't know how you can do that!" or "I would love to homeschool, but I don't think I could do it."  I want to give you a glimpse of how we homeschool, not because what we do is the one right way and will work for everyone, but to show you that this lifestyle is a constant process.  We frequently (it seems to align with changes in the seasons) tweak our routine and our curriculum to allow our learning time to mesh well with the rest of our day.

Scripture study is very important to our family.  Guiding our children as their faith develops is one of my top priorities.  We are blessed to do that as we homeschool, but these tips for studying the scriptures can be incorporated into study time for any family.


Some simple tips for successful family scripture study:
  • Start with a song and a prayer. 
 We sing the same song every day for a month. We focus on the songs our children are learning in primary each month, but any song that helps to bring the Spirit will do.
  • Use scripture journals

One thing that has made a huge difference in how well our study goes is keeping little hands busy.  I don't know if you've noticed, but sitting still and listening  is not a strong point for many children.  Our kids each have a scripture journal. Nothing fancy; it's just a notebook really:


 While we read aloud directly from the scriptures (or from scripture readers or The Friend magazine) the kids draw a picture about the story we're reading. Ellie writes in details herself and Ethan narrates back to us what he remembers from the story. Jason or I will then write his narration under the picture he drew:


  • Narration (especially for non-writers) and Discussion

I am a firm believer that the combination of listening, drawing and narration helps the lessons to become more solid to our little people.  We use this in many aspects of our homeschool and it works really well for us. To learn more about narration, start here

Narration naturally leads to discussion.  Ask questions and make sure your children understand what is being read. It doesn't matter how many verses you cover each day.  If you only get through one verse because you were discussing it in detail, that's fantastic!  Think of how well your little ones understand that concept now!

  • Snacks (sometimes)
We study as a family as part of our evening routine.  Sometimes those couple of hours after dinner and before bed can be really difficult around here.  Please tell me I'm not alone? We'll often give the kids a small snack to munch on while we read.  It keeps their mouths quiet (hooray!) and helps them focus a little more on what's being read and discussed than the overwhelming desire poke each other or to jump down the stairs.

  •  Be consistent
If you read at the same time each day, in the same place and require the same behavior your children will respond to the consistency.  They need to know what is expected before it will become routine.


  • Gather in love
Make sure the tone of this time is one of love and learning.  Children are drawn to us when we are peaceful.  It is doubtful that they will learn much if there are harsh words and frustration in the air.

  • It doesn't have to take long.
You don't need to spend a long time in order for it to be beneficial.  Our scripture study time lasts about 15 minutes total. But there's nothing wrong with spending less if that is what works for your family.


A glimpse of Ellie's journal:


I am far from being an expert in this area.  But this is something I have put a lot of time, effort, planning and research into. I genuinely look forward to our study time each day, and not just because that means it's almost bedtime. I love this time to learn together and draw closer as a family as we read and discuss beautiful words from our Heavenly Father.  

I would love to hear your scripture study tips!  What makes this time successful in your home?

2 comments:

  1. Hi! A new reader here. We are a homeschooling family, too, and I love your ideas. I will have to try note booking during scripture study!

    Our family has tried various scripture study techniques (we have 7, 6, 4 yr olds and a 7 mo. old). One thing that has worked has been to just consistently read aloud. Even if they don't really comprehend it. We have tried just doing a few verses a night, but then I don't feel like we are getting enough of the story. I want my kids to just get used to the language of the scriptures and used to hearing it read-aloud. Anyway, that's what works right now. It's always changing!

    Thanks for all your ideas on your blog. I love it!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome, Natalie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think little ones can understand so much more than we give them credit for, even if the language is not what they are used to hearing all the time. And I know what you mean about always changing your techniques. We have to do the same! :)

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