Monday, April 4, 2011

Living the Gospel in Latter-Days: Family Scripture Study

My family is quite young, with our oldest being 4 1/2 and our youngest being only a month old. Because of this, family scripture study isn't always the most spiritual experience. But they key is to be consistent.

In the October 2009 General Conference Elder Bednar said: "Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results... Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes."

Remembering to be consistent is what sometimes keeps me going despite my "Bedlammites." Not all scripture reading sessions are a spiritual experience (in fact, very few of them are), but we are building the foundation.

So, how DO you do scripture study as a family when you have young children? For us, the answer is different depending on each child. Right now, honestly my 1 month old baby is not involved in scripture study. If she's in the room while we are reading, it's great, but if she's asleep - so be it!!

My 2 1/2 year old son is read to every night from this Board Book set of scriptures. This is how we started with my daughter as well. He listens to one page (which for a long time has been all he could do) and we talk about it (time permitting). We started reading to him from this book when he was about a year old (perhaps younger, I'm not sure). Now that he is older, he is almost ready to move on to more difficult text. When my baby is ready this is the text we'll start her out on.

My 4 1/2 year old daughter is read to from the illustrated scriptures each night. We read her one story and also talk about it. We started using these scriptures with my daughter sometime between ages 2-3 (again, mommy memories are not perfect). Soon we'll stop using the board books with my son and have him read with his sister out of the illustrated scriptures.

*With both of these sets of scriptures everyone is in the room together at the same time and we follow up scripture reading with a prayer. We also have purchased all 4 books of the Board Books and all 4 books of the Illustrated scriptures (Old Testament, New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon). We rotate through the different books.

When my daughter begins to read on her own, I fully intend to switch her scripture reading to the actual Book of Mormon. Eventually all our children will be old enough to read it.

I know however, that some families start right off with the scriptures, instead of the illustrated or board book versions. Whatever works for your family is what is right for you!! But, please, share your ideas.

How do you read scriptures as a family?
Do you read each night or morning?
How did you decide how to do your scripture reading?
Do you read with your spouse as well either before your children wake up or after your children are in bed?
What are some ideas for making scripture time as a family enjoyable and memorable?

Scripture study in our home only takes about 5 minutes, but the key part is that we are doing it and we are together as a family. I know that as we persevere in this we will see the promised blessings down the road.



Laura said...

I like the idea of using the board books. It would be nice if my daughters could get some kind of meaning/story when they really don't understand much of the scriptural vocabulary yet.

One thing we do is listen to the Book of Mormon. I have audio files on a hard drive that we can listen to through the computer or tv. It's nice to have playing while I'm cooking or cleaning and the girls are playing. I know they don't really get a lot, but like Tannie said, consistency is important and who knows when they will start catching on. :) It's also nice for me because with as busy as life gets, I don't always get to sit down and have the same meaningful personal study I'd like. Listening is definitely better than nothing on those days.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because my mom, by profession, is a story-teller, but I don't ever remember being bored with listening to the scriptures as a toddler/preschooler before I could read. She would read a short part, and then tell it in our language. Then read a short part and tell it. They were exciting! Just like any other story she told! Like Tannie, it wasn't a long session, but we got both the "real" scriptures, and then the everyday language version. I remember understanding what I was reading from the pages of the B.O.M. when I started reading in kindergarten. Apparently, her method worked because I understood the language by then, it was just a matter of learning to read by that point.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I LOVE the idea of reading a little and then telling it in plain terms. What a great idea.

On The Go Family said...

When my kids were 2 1/2 and 6 months, we visited my cousin and saw them reading from the actual scriptures with their kids. They stopped every verse or two to explain vocabulary, context, doctrine, etc. I felt the spirit so much and was impressed to try with my own kids.

It took us over FOUR YEARS, but we finally finished reading the Bible last fall. The kids are now 6, 4 and 1. We went very slowly -- reading a passage, then breaking it down into terms they understood. We reinforced the stories and doctrines we were learning with FHE lessons, board books, readers, DVDs, etc.

When we finished last year, we had a party. We did charades, told our favorite story about Jesus, hung pictures from the gospel art kit all over the room, etc. We also presented each child with a certificate of completion. Then of course the next day we started reading the Book of Mormon!

We read during breakfast. Their mouths are full, we're all together -- it works well for us. Some days we finish an entire chapter. Other days we only make it through a couple verses. We do everything we can to make it a positive experience they look forward to every morning.