- Personal Scripture Study: Talmage is reading really well. He and Grant will sit up at night and read the Book of Mormon after the lights are off in their room. Since they have a desire to read the scriptures we thought it best to build on that. Talmage now has a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon before he is baptized. He has a little over a year to do so. Grant is reading the scripture mastery scriptures (one per night) as well as Chica. Once Grant gets through all 100 he will probably move on to reading the entire book too. Talmage decided to read an entire chapter a day. He has been doing really good at it and should be done before the school year ends. He does it all on his own after school before scripture time that night as a family. He therefore helps Grant with his reading.
- Scripture Journals: Along with studying, journal keeping is important. You gain more from reading if you can capture the thoughts and impressions and write them down. It helps to let the scriptures sink in and bond with your life. We felt it important to promote this habit too. After the kids read their scriptures, they write down their thoughts about what they read. It is only a few lines but it has been great to see them put stuff down. This has also been nice to do because it gets them writing down the scripture references they read. They have been shown where the abbreviations are found in the Book of Mormon and are learning to use them and how to write chapter and verse (ie 3:7).
- Personal Journal: We had begun a personal journal for the kids a while ago on the computer and it has been a little sad that we have failed to personally keep up with that; despite reminders from the kids at times. We have made it so they can also write each day about something that happened and keep their own journal along with the scripture journal.
- Gratitude and Prayer: A while ago Pres. Eyring stated in Conference that he would make a list of a few blessings or ways in which God blessed their family before he went to bed at night. We felt this would be very wise to have our kids to start doing (us too). After listing 3 blessings, they list 3 things someone could maybe need help with. The best part about doing both sets of "3" is that then it works perfectly to help them set out in their head what could be included when they pray before bed at night. It has worked nicely so far. We hope this helps them recognize ways they can be of service and also to recognize God's blessings in their lives a little more.
- Writing: Along with all of these other things, it has been nice to see this whole thing also serve as a way for them to practice writing. It was nice to be there with Grant and help him in how to write certain letters better and teach them. Practice has and will be helpful.
- Family Council: We have designated a certain Sunday each month to be our family council. I should probably have been better at this. We organized all the following activities before but never in a foraml setting like family council. In this council we assign out the responsibilities for the family home evening lesson (kids and parents rotate through teaching the lesson) and topics, topics for the Campfire Night (currently Book of Mormon prophets), coordinate family activities (at least 2 a month), and general scheduling. The first Monday of the quarter is our family testimony meetings to help them learn how to bear a testimony in case they want to do so at another time. There are more details but that is the general idea.
As you can imagine, the nightly routine of reading and writing can take some time. This currently has seemed to take over the time we would spend reading as a family but maybe we will let that happen for a while until they get more independent like Talmage in reading and writing on his own. Grant won't be too far behind and then that may allow enough time to get family reading going again. To help with the writing, they each now have a journal binder and Sharla made a paper with room for all the things they should be writing about spoken above. Below you will see a picture of it.
(P.S. - Talmage reads and writes all of it on his own without our input on content. The exampe above was his first entry)
Keep in mind that these are changes we are making to improve our family. We have not been as diligent in promoting these good habits. We are not perfect parents and we for sure know that. We share it with all of you to serve as an idea of some things you could do with your kids while they are young (or older). It takes time and some effort to do but we feel it has and will continue to be worth it.