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Our Lenten Homeschooling Goals

Photograph of Trees


Every Lent it’s the same thing.  I think long and hard about what to give up: television (way too hard), my computer (I wouldn’t last a day), cooking and cleaning (I wish!) and then I usually settle on giving up chocolate (my one true love!).  I think I’ve given up chocolate almost every year for the past decade.  I tried giving up sweets as a whole, but that didn’t work (I just don’t have the willpower for it).  This year instead of giving up chocolate, my daughter and I agreed to give up ice cream (she was quick to tell me that Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent – that’s my daughter, “the little lawyer”, always finding a loophole).

In addition to giving up ice cream (my second love), I have also decided to add something into our lives… religious instruction.  I always start my school year with the intention of teaching it, but other subjects quickly take priority (language arts, science, social studies, mathematics, etc).  The only piece of Christian curriculum we currently use is Abeka Mathematics, everything else is secular.  And as you can imagine, there isn’t a lot of religious instruction in our math books.

That isn’t to say that my children’s lives are devoid of religion, I just haven’t taught them personally.  Every Sunday we attend church and every Sunday my daughter goes off to Sunday school.  In my mind I haven’t shirked my responsibilities, I’ve just outsourced them.

My goal this Lent is to start with the basics:  meal time prayers, bedtime prayers and Bible readings.


Meal Time Prayer

The meal time prayer that I grew up with is long and often leaves me tongue tied.  At first, I thought maybe I’d make one up, but why reinvent the wheel.  After twenty minutes on Google I found the prayer listed below. From what I can tell it is most likely a Lutheran prayer in origin and it might possibly be used in Australia (if you have more information, please share!).  What I like is that it is short, precise and something that my children can easily learn.

Come Lord Jesus be our Guest
Let this food of ours be blessed.

Bedtime Prayer

The only bedtime prayer I know is the one that says “if I die before I wake” and I have never liked the idea of using that for my children.  On the few occasions we have said bedtime prayers; it usually just turns into one big rambling mess because we start praying for every family member imaginable.  The bedtime prayer we will be learning this Lent is Father, We Thank Thee by Rebecca Weston.


Father, We Thank Thee
By Rebecca Weston, 1890

Father, we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.

Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good;
In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.


Bible Readings

I’ve tried reading children Bible stories to my children in the past, but I’ve never been able to do so consistently.  Usually we read Bible stories for a night or two and then lose focus and switch over to some other reading material.  My plan right now is to read one or two stories every night after our bedtime prayer and before our other books.

Here are the three children’s Bibles I will be using (I already own them, so why not make use of them!):

The Catholic Bible for Children by Ignatius, Magnificat (2011).

The stories in this Bible are super short (you can read them in less then a minute), but there are quite a few of them (over 90 stories).  The Bible is broken up into ten chapters:

  • When God Created Heaven and Earth
  • When God Set His People Free
  • When God Gave His People The Promised Land
  • When God Spoke to His People
  • When God Sent His Son, Jesus
  • When Jesus Visited His People
  • When Jesus Told Stoies of the Kingdom
  • When Jesus Performed Miracles
  • When Jesus Gave his Life For Us
  • When the Spirit of God Sends A Mission

This is a great book for very young children.  The illustrations are colorful and vibrant.  There are also summaries of the most important people, places and events in the Bible, in the back of the book.  This Bible has stories from the Old and New Testament.

A First Bible Story Book  Retold by Mary Hoffman.  Illustrated by Julie Downing.  DK Publishing (1997).

This book includes the most popular stories from the Bible (15 in total).  These stories are short and as a result, good for young children.  The illustrations are thoughtful and engaging.  This Bible has stories from the Old and New Testament.

The Children’s Illustrated Bible Retold by Selina Hastings.  Illustrated by Eric Thomas. DK Publishing (1994).

With maps and photographs of people, plants, artifacts, animals and geographic locations, this Bible is more than just the retelling of stories. This added information helps children better understand the Bible. With longer stories, harder vocabulary and beautiful illustrations, this is a good Bible for older children.  All of the major events from the Old and New Testament are included (over 140 stories).  A Who’s Who in the Bible is also included in the back.

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