We are not quite sure how it happened, but in our house, two visual learners gave birth to an auditory learner. Since we homeschool, I had to change my teaching from my preferred learning style to the one best suited for my daughter. Even the way she studies most effectively is very different from what worked for me.
Shift to most Sunday morning children’s and teen classes and the mode is almost entirely auditory. An adult tells the story and perhaps asks questions or makes an application. An activity is provided which may or may not actually be what an educator would call “hands-on” learning. Once in awhile, the teacher may pull out some old flannel graph or the unit might come with a poster or coloring page.
If your child is a visual learner, they probably reacted the way I did to Sunday School. “What did the Tabernacle actually look like? I can’t tell from the way you are describing it.” “Where is Assyria? I don’t remember seeing that on a map before.” I couldn’t picture a lot of the things I was reading about, because there was nothing in my town or my culture I could compare to it. Since I couldn’t visualize many things, a lot of what I read and heard did not have as much meaning for me as it could have had.
Have you ever tried to love something you thought might be good for you? What if that something seemed like it would be very boring?
I know treadmills are a great way to get cardio workouts during bad weather. As much as I want to like the treadmill, I just can’t make myself get on one. The one time my treadmill loving husband got me on one, I was off again in less than a minute, complaining of boredom. Knowing it will make me healthier is just not enough motivation.
Unfortunately, for many older children and teens in Christian homes, the Bible is their treadmill. These kids are being raised in homes by parents who love God and want to serve Him. They take their children to Sunday school and Church on a regular basis. Yet, their children think of the Bible as a boring book you are supposed to read. In fact secretly, many of them also think God is pretty boring, too – if He even exists.
Educators love their buzzwords. One of the latest trends in education is project based learning. Instead of the stereotypical classroom with paper, pencil and rote memorization, students participate in hands-on projects to learn the same skills and information. Trends in education come and go, but this one may have some staying power.
This particular trend has an invaluable tool for Christian parents, teachers and ministry leaders. Have you ever helped a child with a school project? You know, the one where you have to make a paper mache duck-billed platypus by Friday and you don’t have any idea how to make that gooey stuff?
Almost every Christian parent would say they want their children to read the Bible. Some may even read it together as a family. Yet how many of us have children who regularly pick up a Bible without prodding, and read it? How many of us still struggle with our own Bible reading?
Over the years, I started to realize there are some things we do, which actually discourage our kids from reading the Bible. Sometimes our Churches may make the Bible seem boring or irrelevant in the life of our children. What can we do to get our children interested enough in the Bible to read it for themselves?
People often have a hard time understanding the Bible, in part because they have no frame of reference. What is a cubit? How does it feel to wander in a wilderness? Why is it so exciting to find a well?
We can show pictures and tell stories, but the most vivd learning our children and teens will do is from what they experience. You may not live close enough to a wilderness to let a group of teens wander around for a few days, or have a nearby oasis for a field trip, but there are some easy things you can do to bring the Bible to life.