The boys and I enjoyed our Truth in the Tinsel time during the month of December so much that we decided to continue reading daily devotions after the program completed. Truth be told, we may have never decided to do daily devotions if not for Truth in the Tinsel. Because it had a definitive start and end date and the story elements motivate you to keep at it every day so that you don't miss part of the story (there is an alternative time line if you know you can't commit to it daily) it was a great way to develop a daily habit. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit (this is disputed, but we'll go with it) and Truth in the Tinsel provided 24 days of devotions.
The format of Truth in the Tinsel, a brief reading straight from the Bible followed by a hands-on activity and a casual paragraph from Mom while we work, was perfect for us. I wanted something similar to bring us into the new year. If you have recommendations for devotions like that PLEASE put them in the comments section of this post. You may help out another family and I will certainly need something new next year. I stumbled across God's Mighty Warrior Devotional by Sheila Walsh while researching online. She hooked me with the hands-on activities and the following sentences:
God created little boys to be mighty warriors...even when they feel small. Boys are full of energy and imagination. They are (in their minds) the protectors of the fair (their moms and sisters)...guardians of the wild forest (their backyards)...tames of savage beasts (their pet dog or cat)! Little boys long to be brave and tough...to be Mighty Warriors.
There is another book by the same author for girls titled God's Little Princess Devotional. Both say "Bible" on the cover, but they are devotional books NOT Bibles. You can look at quite a bit of the interior of these books on Google Books if you want to take a good look.
Both books contain the entire Bible reading for each devotional right in the book. The translation is from the International Children's Bible. We are choosing to read the Bible passages from a different Bible because Kal-El is learning Bible navigation. After a LOT of research and some time hands-on in a Christian book store I chose the NIrV Discoverer's Bible for Early Readers to be our family Bible for a few years.
The translation is NIrV which is supposedly written at a third-grade reading level (perfect for Kal-El). the winning feature was that it is a LARGE PRINT Bible. Our first runner-up, the Adventure Bible for Early Readers (also NIrV) lost out despite a cool lenticular cover because the print is just so small. I am still finding that print size makes a huge difference in Kal-El's reading ability at his age (barely 7). Both Bibles are complete and broken up into books like an adult Bible which was what I was looking for at this stage. Kal-El has already been through a beginners Bible and an early reader Bible that were just collections of stories. It was time for a complete Bible. The only drawback to either of those Bibles thus far is that when we memorize Bible verses we generally memorize the King James version. I would have liked the verses to be the SAME when the boys find them in the Bible. I know that Awana uses the New King James Version for the Bible verses in their program. The boys are not in Awana right now, but we are memorizing the verses in the same translation anyway in case they join later on. I have heard that the New King James translation is estimated to be at an eight-grade reading level and we were not ready for that around here. I don't mind reading TO the boys from a NKJ or KJ Bible and I know a lot of my readers have had great success with their kids' vocabulary and education using just a KJ Bible. However, I found that I personally prefer Kal-El to be at reading level when he reads the Bible alone.
Anyway, back to the devotions. Like Truth in the Tinsel there is a reading from the Bible, followed by a short discussion with Mom or Dad, and often followed by a hands-on activity. You won't be making a "craft" every day like Truth in the Tinsel. Sometimes it is acting out a story, sometimes it is throwing rocks (like Goliath) at a tower of aluminum cans, sometimes it is even a craft. The only drawback from my standpoint is that there isn't an activity for EVERY story. I'll have to be creative and come up with a few to fill things in.
Yesterday we read from the book of Genesis about how God assigned man to be caretaker of the animals. The activity was to make a pinecone bird feeder and take care of the birds in your own backyard.
Kal-El slathering his pinecone with peanut butter.
Me Too bundled up to hang his birdfeeder outdoors. It's COLD!
I read the devotions right during breakfast and we do the activity immediately afterward. When we started Truth in the Tinsel I would be the one to find our place in the Bible. I recited the books of the Bible from the appropriate testament as I searched. As a result Kal-El and Me Too have memorized the first 16 books of the New Testament already without me even asking them to. After about a week Kal-El asked to take over finding our spot. I am taking the same approach now that we are doing some reading in the Old Testament.
After we finish our devotions it is time to visit the school room. Yesterday Me Too assembled a doggy audience for his addition charts.
He makes them ask him questions in little doggy voices and the dogs take turns choosing the next equation. It is the opposite of a distraction, he finished his work three times faster than usual and was a lot happier (He doesn't like the strips, he would rather use his fingers...and I let him. He only uses the strips when he runs out of fingers. I anticipate he will like the finger boards a lot better.).
Me Too took this picture of Kal-El working with the stamp game. Me Too loves to take pictures. He is always asking for a camera because he's "found a great shot." We haven't had it out for a while and Kal-El is reviewing exchange procedures for all four operations before I introduce the bead frame or dot game (Which one is first in AMI? They are in different "groups" and I'm having trouble figuring out the coordination across the groups. I "think" the dot game is first. I know it is in AMS.). He is great at addition and multiplication and forgets how to exchange for subtraction and division at first. I don't want to move on until he remembers right from the beginning of a session. Otherwise we will get ourselves in trouble.
Here are a couple more photos Me Too took yesterday.
He always finds the fraction skittles photo-worthy. He takes a lot of photos of these.
He took a lot of photos of the insides of different manipulatives drawers. This was his best one.