Sunday, November 25, 2012

How We Do...Bible, Part 3 - Personal Bible Study

In Part 1, I shared some of my general thoughts and background to how we are approaching Bible teaching in our family.  In Part 2, I shared about the things we do together as a family.   In this post, I'd like to talk about how I am starting to guide Michelle gently towards studying the Bible on her own.   Michelle is reading quite well, and likes to read for herself from her Bible, so I felt like this was a good time to start encouraging her to get into the Bible on her own on a regular basis.

In her schools, Charlotte Mason had her students reading concurrently from the Old and New Testaments.   She had her students read and narrate the Bible passages.  She would divide the readings up into short sections that included a complete thought.  Then she might read an appropriate section from a commentary to highlight the background or bring up interesting points for discussion.  She tried not to force personal applications.   There is a good summary of her methods in these two blog posts: here and here.   You can see a sample of the actual reading schedule used in her schools here.  I opted not to use the Year 1 selections since it is just selected Bible stories, most of which she is already familiar with, but I will probably pick up with the reading schedule described here in Year 2.

Because we've spent a large portion of this year in our Family Bible Reading on the Old Testament, I decided to start Michelle on an overview of the Life of Christ.  We will use the New Testament reading schedule laid out by Penny Gardner, although I am breaking some of the passages down into even smaller chunks to keep things reasonable for her.   We've been doing this for the past month or so, and it is going well so far.   This is the basic idea:

- Michelle reads the selection on her own.  (I'm trying to keep each section under 10 verses while at the same time breaking at natural points in each story.)
- She copies the title of the story into her "Bible Journal" and draws a picture to show what has happened in the story. 
- Later, when we get a chance to sit down together, I have her use her picture to narrate to me what happened.  If she has questions, we'll talk.  If I think of something interesting to add, I may, while being sensitive to not being too preachy.  I've been mulling over trying to work in a weekly mother-daughter tea-time, and this might be a good time to look at her journal together and discuss what she is learning. 
- We'll add major events and characters to our history timeline.  I want to emphasize the idea that the Bible stories are real, historical events just as much as the people and events we study for "history".  I also want her to be able to make connections with how other world events at the time helped shape the culture of the people we meet in the Bible.

And that's all.  As she gets older we may add in the use of commentaries, Bible background material, Bible Study methods, theology and apologetics, and so on.  It's exciting to think about the possibilities.  But if there's one thing I've learned in these first couple of years of homeschooling it's to keep things simple to begin with and build from there.   The idea is to develop a life-time habit of studying the Word.  No need to overwhelm her all at once!

Hope that these musings are helpful to someone!

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