Scripture Journals: New Testament {First Year}



In January I decided that I wasn't getting enough personal scripture study time but I couldn't think of how to fit it in unless my kids joined me.  My kids are young, but I felt like they were old enough to start doing their own personal scripture study too.  Except I was pretty sure that if I said, "Okay, 15-20 minutes of quiet study time for us all...GO!" They would have no idea what to do and it would end in chaos.

  How does one "study" the scriptures?  How do you go beyond just reading them to learning from the scriptures and then applying what you learn too?

I wanted to help my kids do that and I thought if we did it together I would have the time I was craving in the scriptures too.

And that's how our morning scripture journal time was born.

I've blogged once or twice about our morning devotionals.  This past year that morphed to morning memorizing time as we worked to memorize the Family Proclamation using these helpersBut I felt like we were ready to something different now that some of the kids are older (they range from age 9 to 2 years old.)

At Primary this year the study focus has been the New Testament, so I thought that we would start there.  It would give us a chance to build on what we were learning at church each week.

I'll share how scripture journals has worked at our house.  Feel free to adapt it however you need for your family!

Our Tools:
1- Each of us has our own composition notebook and we decorated them (a must!) so we could all get excited about using them.


2- A Box:  All the Scripture Journals (composition notebooks), pens, and glue sticks go into a box so we were always ready to go.  All of our scriptures are also in one place, ready to use.  This saves sanity :)

3- I printed out {these} scripture prompts to help give the kids a nudge about what they could write about and I just cut them out as we went.  You could also print them on sticker paper.
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4- The scriptures: we each have our own scriptures.  My two youngest shared the New Testament Stories book with pictures.  

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We also have a New Testament for Families book that is the scriptures with maps and facts and definitions of words at the bottom of each page. 
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My oldest two really love reading with that.  The pictures in it are beautiful as well.

How it Works:

We start with a prayer (and use birth order to help us remember whose turn it is.)  


Then we sing a hymn together.  We learn a new one each week.  This has added more time to our journal time.  If you have limited time, you could certainly stick to the ones you know.  But if you want to add it in, this is how we do it:  On the first day of the week with our new hymn each child takes a turn reading the words to one verse of the hymn.  Then we sing that verse.  Then another child reads the next hymn verse.  Then we sing it, etc.  The kids enjoy having their own turn to read for each verse.  After the first day we just sing all the verses through each day.  By the time we have Family Home Evening the next Monday we all know the new hymn and can sing it together.  We are working our way through the hymn book this way. 

 
I used the New Testament Stories book to help us organize our study.  We didn't actually read from this book, I just used it to help me decide which verses/chapters to read with the kids.  It was overwhelming to me to try and cover every verse and chapter in the New Testament with the kids.  Using this book helped us cover many of the main messages and stories.  The scripture prompts above had one for each chapter in this book which was perfect since that is how we were organizing ourselves.  There were plenty of times when I added extra verses in for something that wasn't covered because there were things I didn't want to leave it out.   But I loved the help this gave us in organizing our study.

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(There are also videos of them as well that the kids like to watch too or on Sundays.)


The kids and I take turns reading each verse of the chapter we are studying.  But we stop after each verse and talk about what happened and if there's a broader message we can build on we talk about that too.  We do lots of talking about what we are reading, which is different from our family scripture study where we talk mostly at the end when each person says one thing they noticed in the 2-3 verses they read that night. We talk about feelings and how we might have felt, how Christ felt, how those in the story felt.  We talk about their choices and the consequences; and what that means for us TODAY.  We are trying to remember that the scriptures are for us now.  


But the biggest thing that is different from our family nightly scripture study is the WRITING.  This is where it also gets personal.  After we finish our reading I pass out the writing prompts and we glue them in and start writing.  I feel like talking about these things is a big part of our study.  Having a group to bounce ideas off of is a neat way to study.  But there is something about writing that makes you own what you were just talking about.  As I write I feel like everything we have talked about gets magnified and I see patterns and greater meaning during the writing time than I did just reading.  

My 5 year old's scripture journal

I don't make my kids write a certain amount, or for a certain amount of time.  I want them to WANT to write and participate.  And so far they do.  And I have been surprised at how much they want to write.  They even compete to see who writes the longest on some days.  I don't check their work, or read what they wrote either.  It's their journal.  It's for them.

But I DO talk about what they COULD write about.  Or mention some things I want to write about.  And I do remind them of the themes we talked about as we studied.  I don't want writing to be painful for them so I try to give them plenty of ideas, and so far they enjoy it.  Sometimes my 5 year old just copies out a scripture verse.  Most of the time she draws a picture because she loves to draw.  My 2 year old loves to participate too.  He glues all the prompts in and "writes" too.  Sometimes our scripture time is not really a peaceful time and I often get out a quiet toy for him to play with.  But I can't give it up because I have seen the scriptures come alive for us and so we persevere anyway!

Keeping it real.  Jammies and all.
How LONG does it take?

How much time does it take us to do all this?  I try to keep it short, and it ranges from 15-45 minutes depending on what we are discussing and how much time we have. (The more time we get, the happier I am :)  Our scripture journal time has turned into my favorite part of the day.

When it comes right down to it, of all the learning and working we could be doing....the thing that matters the most to me at the end of the day is if I have helped my children have a chance to grow their testimonies and feel the Holy Ghost.  Because in the end, our conversion to Jesus Christ is the thing that matters the most.


Isaiah 54:13 "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children."

Hopefully that all made sense!  Feel free to share your ideas or questions below!

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