This spring I was blessed to attend the Teach Them Diligently Convention, where the content is centered around how we can teach and train our children according to the Biblical admonition in Deuteronomy 6:5-7. I came home on a mission to improve our family’s focus on God’s word and living out His word in our everyday lives.
Since that time, I have been in search of a new family devotional to start our days and help us dig deeper into God’s word together, while being able to include all three of our daughters, ages 6, 10 and 12. In the past we’ve used a few wonderful devotionals, however they were mostly centered around reading a story together, discussing it, and memorizing a key verse. The one thing I have been looking to change is to spend more time and activity around key Biblical themes (such as Godly character qualities) and put God’s word into action more intentionally as a family.
Not long after, I had the opportunity to accept a free review copy of Learning to Speak LifeTM: Fruit of the Spirit, which is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. The description captured my attention immediately: “A fresh approach to family Bible time!” It felt like perfect timing, and I was thankful to get this opportunity to review the work of So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler founder Carlie Kercheval and her husband Michael, and see what their new Learning to Speak Life series would be all about.
I shared a little bit about how I couldn’t wait to see if Learning to Speak LifeTM: Fruit of the Spirit would fit in with other changes I have planned for the new homeschool year last week.
However, I’ll be honest: I’m not just looking for a “fresh approach” to family Bible time that is simply trendy or entertaining. In fact, I’m wary of anything that sounds too “fresh” or off-the-beaten-bath. Why? I’ve seen a lot of watering down of the scriptures and the authority of God’s word in favor of entertaining stories, attracting an audience, and blending in with the culture. That approach is NOT for me: I am looking for studies that teach God’s word with integrity, retaining its authority and relevance while helping us apply it in our daily lives.
I’m happy to report that Learning to Speak LifeTM: Fruit of the Spirit is far from a watered down, family entertainment approach! Instead, the central focus is God’s word as the starting point, and from that starting point, Learning to Speak LifeTM provide a variety of approaches to bring those words “to life” in your family. The new Learning to Speak Life series is designed to help your family develop a habit of speaking God’s life-giving words into your daily lives and circumstances, through meditating, writing and confessing Bible scriptures daily, and reinforcing this practice with hands-on family activities and prayer time.
Right off the bat, I was really excited about this approach. In my personal life, I’ve battled physical anxiety that required a focused effort of renewing my mind to overcome. I know firsthand how transformative the Bible is when we replace our thoughts with God’s thoughts and our mind’s “chatter” with His word of truth. I couldn’t wait to do the same with my daughters and work on renewing our minds with God’s word together, as a family.
Here’s the framework for how each Fruit of the Spirit is brought to life in a week’s worth of family activity:
- Scripture: Primary scripture is spoken out loud, with the goal of memorizing it each week. My youngest was able to write out key phrases from the Bible verse to help her understand its meaning.
- Explanation: The fruit is then explained and defined, using God’s word as the reference tool.
- Confessions: Five confessions of faith are provided for that particular fruit, again using God’s word as a framework for applying that fruit. They are meant to be spoken out loud as well — and often!
- Copywork: Writing out the Bible verses (or simplified phrases for the littlest ones) provides another layer of reinforcement in the process of renewing your minds with each particular truth.
- Role play: Family members get a chance to demonstrate their understanding for the fruit of the spirit by acting out situations that reflect what that fruit looks like when done God’s way.
- Auditory extras: Called “silly sayings,” these tongue twisters and fun poems will help solidify key themes for each fruit. I’m excited to see how these will help my younger two, who both possess auditory learning strengths.
- Short story & family discussion: Every week comes with a short story to illustrate the fruit of the spirit in action. Discussion questions are provided to help you create your own unique talks that meet the needs of your family. The key to this particular activity is that the entire family is together for this one!
- Family projects: Each fruit comes with suggested family projects that help demonstrate how that fruit is reflected in our daily lives. The ideas are well-suited to multi-age families and are closely tied to the Biblical truth being studied. In other words, they’re not just “fluff!”
- Prayer: Specific prayers are provided to reinforce what God’s word says about each fruit and how we can apply it, along with very helpful tips for working with the youngest children on prayer.
- Digging Deeper: I am a huge fan of “further study” — and so is my 12-year-old, who has my researching, analytical personality. The additional scriptures and ideas provide plenty of starting points for digging deep!
The Learning to Speak LifeTM: Fruit of the Spirit is designed to be used over nine weeks, for families with children ages 3-12. So far, my daughters are really excited about the new approach and the different ways we’ll work together as a family to renew our minds and put God’s word into action. Even my six-year-old kinesthetic learner stayed engaged with us throughout our morning devotion time — that was quite an accomplishment for me! I look forward to seeing how the rest of this series unfolds for our family over the next two months.
What are you looking for in a family devotional book or Bible study? What has been working for you? What changes would you like to make? Share your comments for two entry points in our free book giveaway below!