In preparation for homeschooling our firstborn, who is 4 years old now and attending a local preschool, I’ve been observing how he responds to our first Advent Tree calendar. I love how we have the Advent Tree story time every morning, and after each story, he would get a coloring piece, color it in, and paste it into his notebook. Then we get him to draw the scene, for example, for the story of Noah’s Ark, he would paste the colored picture of the ark, and then he would draw other animals or perhaps the floodwaters into the notebook page. We would also ask him to tell us what the story was about.
And then today I stumbled across the Charlotte Mason method of education. She is apparently a Christian educator, and part of her method is the emphasis on using “living books” and storytelling:
Advent calendars are a great way to look forward to Christmas Day. This is the first year that my family started using an advent calendar in the form of a Jesse Tree which I got for free from A Holy Experience. My older son is 4 years old, so we tweaked the concept a bit, and instead of hanging one of the ornaments per day, we made a cardboard tree and pasted all the ornaments in. (When he’s a little bigger, or perhaps when I’ve had more time to prepare, we hope to use a real tree and make real, 3D ornaments!) Everyday, when he wakes up, we have our story for the day, and then he goes over and looks for the corresponding ornament, then takes a coloring page, colors it in, and pastes it into his Jesus Advent Tree notebook.
When our second baby, whom we adopted at two months, was about five months old, we had a difficult time feeding him. He would squirm, cry, and just about do anything to reject his bottle, even at times when he was obviously hungry. It took a few weeks of trying everything: different positions, different bottles and nipples, different formula milk, but still every feeding time was a battle. What made it worse was that nobody else could feed him!
My hubby and I recently had a fun talk with another couple whose kids are the same age as ours. Their kids go to a Christian school, so they have their regular dose of Bible memory verses. But since our older boy goes to a non-sectarian preschool, we were sharing about how we were the ones who gave him Bible verses to memorize—-and how we paraphrased them so he could understand what he was memorizing! It reminded me to list down more of the verses we’ve had him commit to heart:
1. The Bible points to Jesus (Luke 24:27). On the road to Emmaus, Jesus meets two disciples who were depressed because the Messiah they believed in had been crucified. They don’t recognize Him, so He lets them vent their frustrations before taking the Scriptures and expounding on how all the Scriptures pointed to Him! This is one truth of Scripture that I wish I’d known when I was younger: instead of looking at the Bible as a set of guidelines, my heart would’ve grown more in love with Him as I encountered Him in the pages!
2. Jesus enjoys listening to me (Song 2:14). This was actually shared by another mom-friend whose preschool-age son loves to chatter endlessly. She shared how, one night, her son asked her to tell her more about his Heavenly Father. She went on to describe how much He enjoys him, even when he was being his usual chatty self that other people might find annoying. She described how He would be listening intently to every word he would say. The next morning, he went on his usual chatter, and then paused, turned to his mom and said, “God enjoys my chatter, doesn’t He?” I love how that instills a holy kind of love in our little ones!
These are the most recent additions to my preschooler’s list of Bible verses. They may seem short, but I believe the power it has of instilling His love and enjoyment into little hearts is incomparable, and will go a long way in establishing them in the truth that the Creator of the universe actually enjoys them!
Adopting a child may sometimes be straightforward, but there are also times when the Lord makes His hand so visible that there’s no mistaking His involvement. These are the times that especially make us stand in awe at how precious adoption is to Him, if only for the picture it shows us of our own adoption into His family!
One example is this story in the blog of an adoptive mom of four (at the time of this writing), Will You Midwife This Child?
Scoot on over to that blog for the moment, I’m sure you’ll be blessed!