The Missing Puzzle Piece:
A Lesson from the Law of Gravity
This my favorite and most successful approach to not only parenting but also life. It's a weekly tool for healthy conversations with both children and adults. Simple and effective!
Fantastic Finds For Parents And Children
When I became pregnant with our son, I was assured that "mother's intuition" would kick in. While I do believe we moms have a special sense for the things that concern our children, I wouldn't say that sense "just kicked in" for me. In fact, when it finally does appear, it's usually after the fact, and the child is already onto the next step of development, yanking me up with him.
So, when it comes to parenting, I'm a huge believer in two things:
1) cling to the Lord and His Word, and
2) stay humble and willing to seek advice, suggestions, and ideas from other parents.
Here are some of the many resources that have helped my husband and me along this unique and treasured journey called parenting.*
* I didn't set up direct links for BOOKS on this page, but you can quickly find them through an online search by title and/or author.
Beholding & Becoming:
The Art of Everyday Worship,
by Ruth Chou Simons
This will change your life. It was sent to me as a gift last Christmas, and I've gifted it to several others since! Our family chose to go through it together as a breakfast devotional. It's one more fabulous resource to keep us accountable in living out our worship of the Lord every minute of every day.
Every Moment Holy: Volume 1,
by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
A prayer guide like no other. Also given to me as a gift, this book of prayers is full of deep, heartfelt intercessions on a variety of real-life issues. I'm so glad my dear friend shared it with me!
by Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler
This is one of my favorites for 2020-21! I just finished going through it with several other moms. It's beautifully written to encourage, equip, and challenge moms to live the Gospel in everyday life.
Mama Bear Apologetics,
by Hillary Morgan Ferrer
This is another latest fave! In fact, I haven't finished reading it yet. It was introduced to me by a group of moms, and we're now going through it together. So far, it's proven to be an excellent guide for discipling our children in the Lord, in the midst of a culture that is post- (and now often anti-) Christian.
For Instruction in Righteousness,
By far, this is in my opinion one of the most important tools for any parent-- second to the Bible. In fact, it's all about Bible verses, but the Scriptures are organized by topic (issues we and our children face everyday) and accompanied by wonderful ideas to assist godly living. I use this almost every week! With older children, you can have them sit down with you and read/apply it together as a team. Excellent resource.
100 Devotions about God and Science,
by Louie Giglio
This is a terrific breakfast or dinner devotional. Everyone in the family will not only learn something new every day but also be left in awe of God all over again. Louie Giglio also has a second devotional like this one, if you like it and want more.
What a Son Needs from his Mom,
by Cheri Fuller
We are training our son to become an independent young man who is dependent upon the Lord, and as you know, that's a tricky balance. Add to that the challenge of training him to be a man after God's own heart, who will one day step into the role of being head of his own home, leading with love, selflessness and humility. There are many wonderful books out there, but this is one that a friend suggested years back, and it's been a helpful go-to when I've needed a quick dose of guidance with the mother-son relationship.
Movies, Audio Adventures & Organizations
"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes..." Psalm 101:3a
There is a lot to discuss regarding what movies to watch and which ones to avoid. I haven't found a perfect formula, as parenting can be complicated depending on various situations, family dynamics, life seasons, and children's personal limits. Maybe I'll address this issue in greater detail in the future. For now, it seems one simple question can be the starting point:
Would I be at peace watching this show or movie, if Jesus were sitting beside me?
Because He is.
If you're looking for alternatives to Disney and Netflix, a couple are Pureflix.com and RightNowMedia.com. There are also options like Vidangel and Clearplay.com that can filter out junk (like language, use of God's name in vain, alcohol/drug use, nudity, etc.) from a ton of movies. These databases have been so nice to access, with our son moving rapidly through middle school and becoming interested in bigger kid movies.
As for specific shows and other entertainment, here are some of our family's favorites. Let me know yours, as well! We're always looking for more.
I could not express how thankful I've been for Bibleman. Our son even had a Bibleman themed birthday party. (Yes, that was a few years ago. He's outgrown this somewhat, but the Bibleman team will always hold a special place in our hearts. Wonderful role model, clear Bible truths, and exciting episodes. We personally preferred the animated ones-- they're cool and updated. There are DVDs, books, devotionals, lego-style building toys, and other accessories. Excellent for church ministry!
The Chosen: Seasons 1 & 2
This series is incredible! It's the first-ever-multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Jesus through the eyes of those who knew Him. Our son has watched all of Season 1 so far, except for Episode 1. (It would probably be okay, but we decided to wait, as it may be too intense. All others are fine.) Every episode leaves our family filled with more love, joy, and appreciation for our amazing Friend and Savior, Jesus. I'm so happy Season 2 has been released as well!
Pilgrim's Progress: 2019 Movie
If you think this is the Pilgrim's Progress movie from years ago, think again. This one is an absolutely wonderful presentation of the allegory, having recently premiered in theaters. It's one of our son's favorite movies, and I refer to it frequently while training him to make wise choices. Check out the movie trailer for more information and to see if it suits your children and family.
Jonathan Park Audio Adventures
These are excellent in both content and quality, delivering the excitement our 11-year old enjoys. The adventures follow a couple of families as they travel the world searching for evidence for the Biblical account of history. The stories are fictitious yet cleverly written, incorporating Christian and family values in action-packed adventures based on real places, events, or discoveries. You can purchase audio CDs or join the monthly club for unlimited online options.
Brinkman Family Adventures
Another awesome option for audio entertainment with good morals. The creators take the wacky adventures of a fictional American family and mix them with exciting true stories of heroes from around the globe. Full of humor and excitement, these adventures strengthen your faith and family, along with giving kids a healthy appreciation for missionaries' challenges and experiences with God.
Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith
Voice of the Martyrs has developed some excellent books and videos. They've done a classy job introducing children to missionaries and heroes of the Christian faith, while balancing accurate history with age-appropriate content. DVDs and books, along with additional resources, are available.
Answers In Genesis
There's no way I could speak all the great things to be said about this apologetics organization. They have so much to offer, from books to DVDs to online activities to complete curricula to the Creation Museum to the Ark Encounter. Peruse their website, and be inspired by GOD. Make sure to check out their boxed set of books, "The Answers Books for Kids." There's a set for younger readers and one for older.
Good Books for Kids: Elementary School
"Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23
I'm a pretty picky parent regarding what our son reads and watches. There seems to be an agenda behind everything. Because each child is uniquely designed with different tendencies and sensitivities, these books do not include age range recommendations. That said, though, because of my own son's age, my current favorites fall within the age range of 12 and under.
Stay tuned! I'm always discovering more. In addition, we've recently made the rapid transition into middle school, which is bringing on an entirely new and different list of needs and resources. What are your book suggestions for grades 6-8? I readily welcome your ideas, if you'd like to take a moment and email them to me.
Note: The Torchlighters, Bibleman, and Pilgrim's Progress books are not listed below, as they appear in the Movies & Audio Adventures category above.
The Berry Patch, by Denice
Endearing story about a group of stuffed toys called the Stufffeds, who learn a valuable lesson of forgiveness; vibrant illustrations and Scripture bring reality to the relevant topic of restoring relationship
by Denice Goldschmidt
A follow-up to The Berry Patch, this book features the Stufffeds in a new situation, struggling through jealousy and hurt feelings; confession of sin brings forgiveness, which leads to joyful and lasting friendship
Float-Boating, by Denice Goldschmidt
The third of the Stufffed stories, Float-Boating addresses the issue of fear, by narrating yet another captivating adventure; all three Stufffed books serve as excellent tools for parents who want to bring Jesus and the Word into everyday reality for their children
Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss
One of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, with a clear message about defending the weak and those who cannot speak for themselves
Uncle Wiggly Longears,
by Howard R. Garis
An entertaining classic about a family of rabbits, with timeless lessons
by Starr Meade
Terrific read about siblings who learn from Grandpa about God's hand in every phase of human history
The Miller Family Books, by Mildred Martin
Sweet stories that follow the parents and children of a Mennonite family and their commitment to obeying God: there are about 12 books in total
50 People Every Christian Should Know,
by Warren Wiersbe
There are always more amazing people to study, but this book provides a wonderful foundation for teaching children about the lives of admirable Christian fore-fathers and mothers.
Choice Stories for Children, Stories Worth Reading, and Tiger & Tom: Stories for Boys
Written in the 1800's, these 3 books behold short stories like none other; they provide a nice read-aloud option as well, giving parents an open door for instruction and dialogue
by Irene Howat
Simple synopses that highlight the childhood and upbringing of historical Christian figures and God's extraordinary work in their lives; 5 books, each about 10 famous men
Keepers: Ten Girls, by Irene Howat
A mirror image of the Ten Boys books, but written about famous females, their roots, and their positive impact on our world; 5 books, each about 10 famous women
Teddy's Button,by Amy LeFeuvre
A story following the conversion and beginning steps of sanctification in the life of a precious young boy named Teddy
Christian Heritage Series, by Nancy N. Rue
Historical fiction, broken into 5 mini-series, including the Williamsburg Years, Charleston Years, Salem Years, Santa Fe Years, and Chicago Years
by Adventures in Odyssey
Delightful adventures of two cousins who travel back in history; currently there are 22 books, and every single one is a keeper!
Religious Heritage Series, by Louise Vernon
Great historical fiction, with ten books highlighting the lives of people like Tyndale, Wycliffe, Guttenberg, list more
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, by M. J. Thomas
Another series of historical fiction, revolving around the lives of two siblings and their dog as they travel through time and experience key moments in biblical history
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See below for Math!
When my son entered fourth grade, math became a struggle. I recall one morning, begging God to help me, asking, "What on earth am I supposed to do?" The Lord responded to my question with a question: Is math a struggle because he doesn't understand it, or is it difficult because of how it's being presented?
Great question. The answer came fast. My son did understand the concepts, but the way I presented them didn't fit his learning style. In fact, my approach was opposite his style. Now, let me pause and clarify: all of us need to learn how to do things when they're done in a way that doesn't suit us. Life doesn't hand us perfect boxes in which everything fits perfectly. I get that. But I had a situation on my hands where a student, who understood math, hated it; and I, the teacher (who happens to like math), had the opportunity to redesign the way it was taught. So, I took the challenge. The next question I sensed God leading me to ask was, What is his personality, his learning style?
That too was a no brainer. My son is extremely playful. He always has been. If he could play his way through the day, he would. In fact, I'd already incorporated playfulness into our schooling for years, but somehow I'd missed doing that with math. Hmmmm. It's amazing what happens when we stop and ask God for help, eh?
I searched and found math games and math 'stories.' Not only did this save the math day, but it also brought serious fun into the mix. If you're in need of some fresh math ideas, here are a few that have worked for us. Look for them online, and have some fun with numbers!
Scrabble-style math game to practice simple multiplication and division
Pizza To Go
Fun with fractions; don't be surprised if your kids ask for pizza after playing this!
Logic game with little cars that need to exit the roadway; this can be played independently and has 3 levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced
Very clever way to do story problems, with student answering which option is a lie (incorrect answer) -- Funny, engaging scenarios
Card game to work on simple division
Two-sided game board: one side practices addition, the other side multiplication
Believe it or not, any logic game is great for math! (So is piano, but that's another discussion.) Similar to Connect 4, Sequence uses a board, chips and cards to form rows
Head Full of Numbers
The cup to roll the dice is designed like an Einstein-looking head; you then use the dice to add, subtract, multiply and/or divide
Card game to work on fraction equivalence, comparing graphs and charts to fractions with numbers
Let's Go Shopping
Draw cards from the stack, read the shopping scenario, then do the math to calculate money
Sir Cumference Math Story Books,
by Cindy Neuschwander
These books are ingenius. From diameter to circumference to fractions to place value to graphs to Pi, the author plays on math words as she tells stories with knights and dragons and castles...all the while presenting and solving math problems. The concepts are explained so well, that I continue to use the books as teaching tools or for leisure reading.
Life of Fred Math Books, by Stanley Schmidt
We LOVE Fred! These books are a gift from God. For real. They're the perfect balance of silliness and seriousness, with more of the former than the latter. And yet, they comprise a complete curriculum from kindergarten to calculus. You can't help but love Fred, the star of each book, while appreciating the inspired author, who knew exactly how to reach kids like mine...and yours?
The Thinking Toolbox, by Bluedorn & Bluedorn
We have enjoyed this as a read-aloud. It has 35 lessons that help build reasoning skills, and it's full of enough intrigue and humor to help young minds not only follow the line of thought but also pay attention-- I should note that we just began this book, in 6th grade. When I create a separate section on this site for middle school, I'll probably move this item there.