During the “school year”, we enjoy a Morning Circle Time at the breakfast table.

Typically, I read from a devotional book as the girls eat. Afterward, we find the date on the calendar, and do a couple of exercises that correspond with the girls’ readiness (i.e. we talk about the weather, make the date with coins, do some skip-counting together, etc.).

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how “identity determines biography“. Who we are – or, who we believe we are – informs our thoughts and behaviors. Thus, my passion to establish a firm foundation of biblical identity in our children.  I’ll be incorporating these couple of additions to our Morning Circle Time this year:

* Our Family Ways

We’ve loved learning the first 12 lessons in Clay Clarkson’s “Our 24 Family Ways“. We’ll save the second half of the curriculum for the Spring, but until then, we’ll review one of the 24 Family Ways every morning. I typed out each Family Way, wrote the corresponding memory verse on the backs, and laminated them. I’ll attach a velcro circle to each Way. Then, every morning, one of the girls will select an oval and attach it to our Circle Time bulletin board. We’ll look up the Scripture reference on the back, giving the girls an opportunity to navigate their way around the Bible. I’m looking forward to this regular review so that I can hide these virtues in my own heart.

* The Learning Parents’ Character Trait Cards

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to review The Learning Parent’s Character Concepts for Preschoolers this year. (I’ll keep ya posted about how it works for us!) But I’ll tell you this much, I’ve looked over the curriculum and can’t wait to get started. We’ll spend four weeks on each character trait, according to the lesson plans provided by TLP. I laminated the Character Trait cards and will attach velcro circles to these as well so that we can begin each day reviewing that month’s character quality. We’ll hang the month’s card next to a colorful piece of paper, where we’ll attach stickers whenever we share examples of ways in which we grew (or didn’t, but realize we should’ve) in that quality.

If I remember, I’ll post a photo of our bulletin board when I get it all ready for the end of August! In the meantime, though, I just wanted to get these ideas out to you in case you’d like to include them in your own home.

Posted in First Grade, Our 24 Family Ways, Preschool | 1 Comment

Because I’ve been posting from my archives, and haven’t been posting as regularly lately, I’ve neglected to share our ideas for Our 24 Family Ways.  But, I want to catch you up to speed, just in case someone is looking for ideas to accompany the book.

Week #4 “We listen to correction and accept discipline with a submissive spirit.”

We had many occasions to put this one into action right away! All week, we looked for opportunities to turn bad habits of defensiveness, into good habits of repentance.

We reviewed the importance of one of our family expressions: “I can learn from that!” In fact, last summer, Lia helped me to make a little vlog about those magic words. Do you remember how to “Face Mistakes Like a Champ!”?

Songs: “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”

Week #5: We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness and respect.

Another instantly applicable family way! Oh, the many times I heard myself saying, “Remember, girls, we love one another…”

Songs: “Beloved, Let Us Love One Another”, “Ephesians 4:32”, and “I Love You, Lord”

Week #6: We serve one another humbly thinking of the needs of others first.

We looked for opportunities to help each other, and I was pointed out some times when I did this throughout the day, just to put words around actions. We did some “secret chores” for neighbors and friends.

Songs: “If You Wanna Be Great In God’s Kingdom” (from Psalty’s Singsational Servants album), “This is how we know what Love is” (Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Heart), and “Make Me A Blessing”

Week #7: We encourage one another, using only words that build up and bless others.

Songs: “Encourage One Another” (Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Heart)

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“We honor and obey our parents in the Lord with a respectful attitude.”

We enjoyed Week 3 of Clay Clarkson’s devotional, Our 24 Family Ways .

Through the week, we talked about ways in which to honor one another, as well as ways in which to obey our parents. We brushed up on our “Obedience Is” song, continued to learn “Trust and Obey,” and sang the good old stand-by “O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E” together.

To get “Family Fun Night” rolling, we colored in the week’s coloring page. This was fun! To apply our Family Way, I told the girls what to do each step of the way, and they answered with a joyful, “Yes, Mom!” For example, I’d say, “Find a blue crayon, and color in the Father’s pants.” Then, “Place your picture on the kitchen floor and color in the Mother’s apron.” Then, “Choose your favorite color, take it with you to the bottom step, and color in the flowers.” “Carry your picture on your head to the art table and color in all the shoes with the same color marker.” They LOVED when I told them to grab some crayons and finish the picture out on the sunny porch.


The evening wrapped up with Dr. Seuss Night at our sweet local library!

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“We read the Bible and pray to God every day with an open heart.”

We enjoyed Week 2 of Clay Clarkson’s devotional, Our 24 Family Ways .

After our mom-and-daughter-made potato bar dinner, the girls recited Family Way #2 and their verse for their smiling Daddy.

We colored our pictures. (They added buttons this time; to spice things up, ya know.)

THEN, we watched The King and I. Yes, we did. The old one. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

And the girls loved it. (Who knew?)

As it turns out, this was an applicable movie to watch since the Buddhist King is reading and questioning the Bible, as he agonizes over cultural issues such as slavery and hierarchy. Also, Miss Anna represents the English-speaking countries that espouse Christianity.  Though I didn’t unravel all of the subtext with the girls, it was interesting to see how the musical lined up with our week’s focus of reading and believing the Word of God as a light for our daily decisions.

This week, I found it helpful to:

* Add some simple hand-motions to the Family Way. Here’s Viv with an example:

YouTube Preview Image

* Sing “Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet” and “Trust and Obey”

* Watch “I Have Hidden Your Word in My Heart” and “Your Word” from Steve Green’s Hide Em in Your Heart DVD

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“We love and obey our Lord Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion.”

That’s our very first Family Way.

We’ve finally begun Clay Clarkson’s Our 24 Family Ways and have decided to integrate them into Family Fun Friday.

Because Ryan has been following a Bible reading plan for our evening devotions, I decided to incorporate the weekly lessons during my morning devotional time with the girls, which is during breakfast. So, during the week, I follow Clarkson’s curriculum with the girls. Each day is quite simple: an opening question, a brief Scripture reading, an application, and prayer. We drill the “Family Way” and the Verse all week long. Tonight, the girls proudly recited them for their Daddy. Afterward, we all colored the corresponding pictures, hole-punched ’em, and put them in the glossy new folders the girls picked out at WalMart. (In the back of the book, you’ll find a coloring page for each family way. I photo-copied all of them, so they are ready to go each week.)

(Of course, following that, we cuddled up and watched a fun little video and munched cookies.)

Here’s what I found helpful during the first week:

Family Way #1:

Review the Way and the Verse every day – at breakfast and at lunch.

Watch Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart “You Shall Love the Lord Your God”

Sing “I Love You Lord, and I Lift My Voice”

With such little ones, ask, “How do you know I love you?” (They answer, “You talk to us! Hug us! Spend time with us!” etc.) Then, ask, “How do you show me that you love me?” (“I tell you!” “I make you cards!” “I obey you!” etc.) It becomes quite simple then, to explain that those actions are exactly how we show God that we love Him. And that – I proclaim by faith – is what our family is all about!

Also, I found it helpful to write the “Family Way” and the corresponding verse on a large index card, so the girls could decorate them one morning after breakfast and place them in an empty recipe book. I’ll leave the two right-hand sleeves open each week in hopes that we find a picture or memento to slip in as an example of the “Family Way” in action! It’s nothing fancy, but it is something else we can page through together as a physical reminder of what we are all about.


“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

Matthew 22

Posted in Family Fun Friday!, Our 24 Family Ways | 2 Comments