Here’s the flow:
- Get there early to set up
- Challenge Verse
- Start of Class
- Memory Verses
- Homework and Break
- Question Time
As the kids’ piano teacher used to say, “Now we’re cookin’ with gas!” We’ve covered what happens before class and at the beginning of class, so let’s get to the bulk of the time we spend together—going over the homework.
Again, keep in mind that I have an hour and half with my class, so if you have less time than that, you’ll need to tweak my system.
By this time, we’re only about 10 minutes into class unless there are a lot of Memory Verses. And as a side note, don’t ever feel like you need to rush through the Memory Verses to save time. Working on those verses and reciting them publicly is important and should be treated as such.
Occasionally, I’ll have some other class business (“What would you like to study next?” Or, “Don’t forget there’s no class next week.”) or a relevant news item or something like that. But generally speaking, we head right on into the material.
Listen up, because this is important. The kids’ Precept books (Discover 4 Yourself series) have the homework divided up just like the adult studies, which means there are 5 days of homework every week. I have found that the sweet spot is to have the kids do three days of homework every week. For younger kids, it takes longer to do the homework, but three days is manageable. For older kids, they have more school homework and extracurricular activities, so three days is manageable. We don’t skip any days, which means my syllabi are wonky. Here’s an example:
Kids’ Precept: Fast-Forward to the Future (Daniel 7-12)
Syllabus, Spring 2015
February 4 Overview of Daniel, review of Daniel 1-6,
. review of Inductive Bible Study
February 11 Week 1, Four Ferocious Beasts: Days 1-3
February 18 Week 1, Four Ferocious Beasts: Days 4-5 and
. Week 2, The Little Horn: Day 1
February 25 Week 2, The Little Horn: Days 2-4
March 4 Week 2, The Little Horn: Day 5 and
. Week 3, A Vision of a Ram and a Goat: Days 1-2
March 11 SPRING BREAK
March 18 Week 3, A Vision of a Ram and a Goat: Days 3-5
March 25 Week 4, A 70-Week Prophecy: Days 1-3
April 1 Week 4, A 70-Week Prophecy: Days 4-5 and
. Week 5, A Man Dressed in Linen: Day 1
April 8 Week 5, A Man Dressed in Linen: Days 2-4
April 15 Week 5, A Man Dressed in Linen: Day 5 and
. Week 6, The Battle of the Kings: Days 1-2
April 22 Week 6, The Battle of the Kings: Days 3-5
April 29 Week 7, A Time of Distress: Days 1-3
May 6 Week 7, A Time of Distress: Days 4-5
May 13 The Student Becomes the Teacher; Graduation
I know it can be confusing, which is why I really spell it out on the syllabus. But it’s totally worth it because five days of homework in a classroom setting can be too much.
We go through the homework, blank by blank, question by question. If someone didn’t get an answer, or maybe didn’t even have time to do the homework that week, this is their chance to get their blanks fill in and keep up with the material. I add discussion and extra information whenever I can, and with a study like Daniel where we are covering prophecy in different visions, I’m big on repetition and review. Example, “So we just learned about the ram, right? So, which kingdom did Gabriel say he represented? Yes, the Medes and Persians. So, let’s look at the statue again and see where we are- right here at the silver chest. And which of the four beasts was that? Yes, the bear with the ribs in his mouth.” Be sensitive to the teaching process instead of worrying about getting through every blank. Chances are, you’re going to get all the way through it, but it’s better to do a good job and cover less material than skim through all of it. Any visual aids you can have on hand will make this easier on you and on the kids. And by the way, those kids LOVE to help put together visual aids. More on that in another post.
Helpful Hint: In preparing for class, look up the pronunciations of any difficult words. I personally like Blue Letter Bible because I can actually listen to the pronunciation on my computer. Then I write it out phonetically in my book so I remember. Do the kids know the difference? No. But you want to give them the best information you can, and it’s great if they know the right way to say these words.
As we make our way through the homework, I like to pause from time to time to see if they know which of the Three Steps of Inductive Bible Study we’re in. Always ask them first before you tell them; remember, you’re trying to work yourself out of a job. As they become more familiar and comfortable with inductive Bible study, it will become second nature, but you need to remember to connect the theoretical process to what they are actually doing so they see it in action.
Give Me a Break!
About halfway through, I give the kids a 5-minute break. They’re kids. They need it. And let’s speak the truth in love here–sometimes I need it! In my class, we are in a room situated between two hallways of other classrooms where other classes are taking place. My kids’ class is held among the adult classes, not in the children’s area, so it is important that my students are respectful of that. To that end, I tell them that we are now going to take a very quite 5-minute break. But when I say, “very quiet 5-minute break,” I barely whisper it. That makes them be quiet to hear me and reinforces that the break needs to be ninja-quiet! I’ve also had to make a rule that kids can only leave the classroom to go to the bathroom or get a drink if they have an adult go with them in the hallway. Enough said.
After the break, we finish up the homework.
(Next up, Activity)