Friday, October 12, 2012

"Children in Church" - a book review

Curt and Sandra Lovelace are the authors of a new book called "Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship". The book is being published by Great Waters Press, who also published "Raising Real Men".

A little about Curt and Sandra Lovelace: This couple has served The Lord in many different capacities over the last four decades. They have served all over the world from the United States, Europe, Africa and the Carribean. They currently live and serve in the Czech Republic. They have raised 2 daughters and have a very Biblically based approach to child-rearing.

"Children in Church" gives a Biblical basis for bringing children in to the main worship service instead of having a separate children's ministry for them. They point the reader to many Biblical reasons as to why our children should learn from the very beginning to worship with the entire family. They also give practical ways to integrate children in to the service.

The Lovelaces tell many stories of how they have been received in various ministries for keeping their children with them during the service. There are several anecdotes about how they spoke to leaders of ministries and shared their reasoning behind what they were doing, as well as the different responses they have gotten from various church leaders. The anecdotal stories of how children acted in church were quite humorous. They give real examples of kids who get a little unruly in church and how that should be dealt with. They give some great ideas on how to keep kids occupied but not disruptive during services.

The chapter titles are:
1-Bringing Them In
2-Understanding the Elements
3-Counting the Cost
4-Laying the Foundation
5-Getting Ready
6-Packing the Bag
7-Drawing the Word
8-Preparing a Plan
9-Facing the Challenges
10-Growing as Disciples
And a section written directly to church leaders

The Bible is used throughout the book and it is obvious the Lovelaces are passionate about this topic. However, they are not "pushy" and simply lay out the facts as they feel the Bible presents them. They then leave it up to the reader to pray and ask God what is best for their family. I love this aspect of the book. I don't necessarily whole-heartedly agree with their take on the issue but I still really enjoyed reading and seeing a different perspective from my own. I think there is a time to integrate children in to the service, and we do that in our family.

Personally, our kids have their activities on Sunday mornings and they attend the service with us on Sunday evenings, beginning at age 3. We do not allow our children to color or play or do anything else during the service. Our first was great with this. Our second child was a little more of a challenge, but now that he's 7 most Sunday nights he sits quietly and behaves. He fidgets alot but he knows the rules and the consequences. Our third, being a girl, can sit still without any issues and does great. For us, its a balance of allowing them to be kids in their morning classes, which are still structured Bible study times where they have lessons on their level and also allowing us to have some uninterrupted concentrated time to listen to the preaching on Sunday mornings. Then on Sunday evenings we are in the main preaching service together, and we love that time with our entire family together. Next year, as a 7th grader, our oldest will then be in the main service with us for all services. He has been learning to sit still and listen for many years now, but he has also had great Biblical teaching on his level. Now that he is old enough to move on to more in depth Biblical teaching he is ready for the main preaching service all the time. He has learned a great deal from the wonderful Sunday School teachers and Children's Church workers he has had over the years. Some of them have provided great role models for him and a young boy can never have too many strong Christian male role models. I know that wasn't necessarily part of the review of the book, but I had to share that there are different ways to integrate children in to the service when they are ready. It also shows that even though I have a different approach I would still recommend this book. It gives you alot of Biblical facts to process, and "chew-on" to decide what is best for your family!

Disclosure: I received a copy of the above book for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions given are my own, honest opinions.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Zoo Whiz - a review

Zachary loves animals, actually I think love isn't a strong enough word. He adores animals and knows alot about them. He is constantly blowing us away with his knowledge of strange animals. He pours over animal books for hours each day. So, when the opportunity to review an online educational "game" called Zoo Whiz I knew it was definitely something we needed for our homeschool.

Zoo Whiz is designed for students between ages 5-15. It is a wonderful educational tool that works on math, reading, grammar, vocabulary and word skills. There are two ways to sign up. You can be a zoo keeper and have access to a great many of the features for FREE! If your child loves it, like mine does, you can easily upgrade to a Premium Membership for a limited time for $14.95 for the entire year, and your child becomes a zoologist. Check out what you get with the Premium Membership

When your child logs on for the first time they get to pick their "character". Zach picked the little boy on the far left since "he looks like a zoologist" according to Zach!

They are then taken to the "map"

There are 4 places they can visit.

"Learn and Earn" is where they choose what educational activity they want to work on. Now, the parent must go in when setting up the account and choose what level they want their child working on. I love that each subject can have a different level. Since Zach's Math levels are not quite where they "should" be but his Reading skills are quite accelerated I was able to set them at different levels so he could work on the skills he needs to work on. The students earn coins for completing activities. There are lots of skills to work on at all levels.

They can also visit the "Biodome", which is Zach's favorite place. This is where he buys his animals and then can go in and learn all about those animals. There are real and mythical animals to buy. Zach loves the real ones because, like I already mentioned, he LOVES animals. He has also enjoyed saving for the "bigger" animals and it has taught him a little about saving.

The "Arcade" is another fun place to visit where the student can use their coins to play games. Some games are just for fun, and some are educational. Zach did not use this feature often because he did not want to "waste" his coins. The coins were precious to him for purchasing his animals!

The "Milestones" is where students and parents can go to see what they have been working on and the progress they have made

This program could not have come at a better time for our family. Zach loved it from the start! Now, with me on hospital bedrest and Daddy trying to "hold down the fort" it is a great way for Daddy to keep some schooling going and make the kids happy at the same time. I cannot tell you how much Zach has loved this program, he is learning without even realizing he is learning, and then he gets to learn about the animals that he loves learning about so much!

Disclosure: We were given a 12 month premium subscription to Zoo Whiz for free in exchange for an honest review on my blog. There was no other compensation given for this review. All opinions given in this review are my own, honest opinions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad