Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Come, Follow Me" for our Family...

My family and I are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently there have been some changes made within the different organizations of our church and in regard to our worship. Up until January 1, 2019, we had a three hour block of meetings we would attend on Sundays. That changed the first of this year, and we only meet for two hours at church -- one hour of worship service (Sacrament Meeting) and another hour for classroom instruction. However, with that extra hour we've been encouraged to deepen our conversion by learning and teaching the gospel to our family members in our homes. This teaching and learning at home isn't really anything new, but more emphasis was placed on it and a manual, "Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Family," was published to help families facilitate this study time. I love the program because what we study in our homes on Sunday and throughout the week will be the subject of our classroom instructions the following Sunday at church. This year's course of study is the New Testament.

The manual is wonderful, but it is only a guide for our learning/teaching. It is meant to aid us in our family and personal scripture study, but it is up to us to figure out how to teach those lessons in regard to our personal circumstances and our individual families. My husband and I looked forward to this challenge and the first few weeks we settled into the home study program, but I couldn't help but feel we were missing something. Then I went to visit my daughter and her family for a week, and I was able to see how she and her husband had implemented this program in their family. It was eye opening! In addition she created this chalkboard that sits in her family room to support the lessons.

My daughter, Shannon, and her husband, Seth, have four children ranging in age from 4 years to 11 years of age. Teaching a group like that is challenging, but they proved it was doable. Each week Shannon and Seth study the lesson manual and the scripture block beforehand zeroing in on a doctrine or principle they would like their family to focus on that week. Then they pick a scripture that the family can learn or memorize. As they give the lesson -- mostly stories and videos from the manual/scriptures -- the parents ask thought provoking questions to promote discussion with the children. As a result of these discussions, the children often ask questions. These questions are recorded on the chalkboard, so that the questions can be revisited and discussed later in the week (usually around the dinner table). Then the family forms a plan of action for the week. This is the way for all to learn to apply the doctrines and principles they've been discussing. You'll note that the notes on the chalkboard are age appropriate for their children.

I came home energized, because I knew this lesson plan was something that would work for any age and any family situation. So, last week my husband and I put it into action. Instead of reading through the material separately, we read through the scripture block and lesson manual together. As we read, we wrote down any questions that arose. Then we chose some of the doctrines and principles we noted in the lesson. There were many, but we zero in on a few that impressed us. After we were finished with our reading we chose a scripture, and I found a conference talk to further our study. At this point we pin-pointed a plan of action. Throughout this week at the dinner table, we've talked about our questions and listened to the conference talk. We also tried to put into action some of the things we've learned.

Because I'm such a visual learner I was really impressed with the blackboard Shannon made, so I decided to make something like it. I have terrible handwriting, so I didn't use a chalkboard. I looked for a magnet board, but couldn't find one in the size I wanted. Instead, I bought a framed print at Hobby Lobby at 50% off. It's about 18"x30".

It felt a little sacrilegious, but I covered up the scripture with enamel craft paint and distressed it a little...

Then I went to my computer to figure out which fonts and the layout for our board.  Once I decided upon the fonts a sweet friend of mine made vinyl lettering for the title and headings.

Each week after our lesson I will type up the bullet points, so we can be reminded of our study and plan of action for the rest of the week. The strips of paper were attached with a little washi tape.

I appreciated being able to be at my daughter and son-in-law's home at just the right time to be able to take advantage of their inspiration. I learn so much from my kids!

Have a wonderful weekend and try to stay warm!