A Solid Foundation is a resource for parents hoping to establish the basics for a faith in Christ in their young, preschool-aged children. As a former Chapel leader for a private Christian school, I have a heart for children's ministry and for growing my children in God from the very beginning. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, that has become my full-time job. Please start at the Introduction in my sidebar and use all of my material as you wish!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Something a Little Different...

In preparation for the Christmas season, I've really been praying about how to lead the discussion of Christ's birth. This is the first year that my daughter is old enough to understand the basics of the coming of the Messiah, and I've been struggling to do it justice.

God has really laid the Jesse Tree devotional on my heart this year. A good friend contacted me about creating the ornaments together and exchanging them. I spent the good part of October and November creating half of the ornaments, 2 copies each - one for her family, and one for mine. I mailed the package off Monday, and her package of the remaining ornaments for us should be arriving soon. I've sat countless times trying to come up with a curriculum for this season that would compliment the Jesse Tree devotionals that we will be doing as a family, but to no avail. I just think they are entirely complete on their own and need no supplement.

So, instead of finishing out this year with my traditional lesson plans, I want to encourage you to find a family devotional revolving around the birth of Christ. I'm going to be popping in from time-to-time with links to various activities and crafts and songs that I think will compliment the devotions. But I'd like for these to stand on their own.

If you're curious and looking for some ideas, there are some amazing (free!) resources available. Here are just a handful that I would highly recommend:

Please google something along the lines of "Christmas devotionals for the whole family" and you will find something that suits you and your household.

Be blessed this Christmas season. And remember to thank Him daily for each and every blessing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week Nine

I hope you and your family have a wonderful week of celebrating planned. This is a great time to re-group and re-focus. I hope this week serves as a deep breath before the holiday season kicks into full-gear. And I hope that it gives you the opportunity to sit back and remember the foundation of the next 6 weeks. Let's commit to focusing our energy and hearts on Him and take the stress out of this time of year. Wouldn't that be a great foundation to lay for our kids?

This week's lessons focus on the story of the first Thanksgiving. The lesson plans link to a great version of the story for young hearts. The activities are abbreviated this week as I'm sure your week is already full.

Supplies Needed:
colorful faux feathers
styrofoam balls
bubble wrap
red, yellow, brown, orange paint
white cardstock
green construction paper
waffle cones
white paper plates
colorful construction paper
ingredients for making your favorite Thanksgiving menu item from scratch

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Here's the permanent link to Week 9.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week Eight

Welcome back! Let's jump into another week of equipping our kids' hearts for a faith foundation.

Week 8 is all about Abraham and Sarah and the promises God made - and KEPT - to them. God always keeps His promises and is the epitome of faithfulness for us. The activity page links to a site with a great and simple children's version of the story. I challenge you to read the story in the Bible for yourselves to better equip you for going further with your kids.

Supplies Needed:
White paper
White crayon
Black or blue watercolors
Old cereal box or other scrap cardboard
Aluminum foil strips
Play food, dishes, restaurant set-up for pretend play
Large cardboard box
1 strand of Christmas lights
Glass bowl
Children's scissors
Supplies for a gift basket for a friend/neighbor in need

Happy teaching!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Taking a week off

I just wanted to pop in to say that we're taking a week off of scheduled lessons the week of October 31st. We'll be back to regular activities next week. Enjoy your week with your sweet kiddos!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week Seven

Welcome to the 7th week of lessons!

This week focuses on Fall traditions. We will be studying the book of Ruth. It's a book that could be way over their heads if read aloud straight from the text. So here's a link to a kids' version of the story that would be a great starting-off point. In the book of Ruth, Boaz honors his cultural traditions while still honoring God. While he wants to marry Ruth, he knows that in his culture, the first person in line to marry a woman must give him permission. Even though it is probably something he could have gotten away with, he chooses to be mindful of his culture's traditions while still honoring God. Let's make this the focus of the week. I want this lesson to show that there are many cultural traditions that are not Biblical in nature, but that we are called to live in this world, among these things, and to glorify God through it all. Since our own personal convictions lead this to look very different among us, the lessons focus on Fall broadly: pumpkins, apples, crunchy leaves, etc. You can dive as far as you feel comfortable into the topic of Halloween.

Supplies Needed:
2 carving pumpkins and the tools needed to carve
butter and spices for pumpkin seed roasting
raw potato
orange paint
white paper
fallen leaves
crayons, peeled to use to rub leaf imprints
fall-colored construction paper
contact paper
fall-colored tissue paper or crushed fall leaves
5 of your favorite apples
cinnamon and sugar
supplies for a thank-you card or poster

Monday, October 17, 2011


Next week the lesson plan activities are going to center around Fall traditions - pumpkin carving, leaves falling, candy corn, etc. Halloween traditions vary so much from Christian to Christian that I will not talk about Halloween specifically, though. You can choose to go into as much detail as you'd like with your kids about the holiday. But, in case you are like I was a few years back and really wanting to dive deep into the history of Halloween, I wanted to share a blog post I wrote about my research years ago. I hope this brings some clarity to your heart about your family's decisions about the holiday.

Halloween is such a hot topic in the Christian circles. There is such debate over whether it’s biblical to celebrate. I just thought I’d throw in my two cents on the topic. As the chapel leader of the school I used to teach for, I had people ask/tell me all the time about how they felt. People begged me to address the sinfulness of the holiday in chapel with the children. I had never even thought about the holiday’s origins or the reason we celebrate. So I really felt led to pray and research before sharing anything on the topic. And I am so, so grateful for what I learned – the truth about the origins of the holiday. This post is in no way intended to change your opinions. I believe that we must each take steps to become more educated and to follow our personal convictions about things like this. But maybe it will help those who chastise others for celebrating the holiday to become more informed. So, if you're interested, here is the history of Halloween:

Halloween began as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Samhain celebrated the end of the Celtic year – October 31st- and the beginning of the new year. This beginning was associated with harsh winter climates and death. So it was not something the Celtics looked forward to. They believed that the transition between one year and the next was very supernatural. It was a time when the boundaries between the living and the dead were blurred. Spirits of the dead would visit bringing clarity to the Druids (the Celtic priests) allowing them the ability to prophecy about the coming winter. The Celtics relied heavily on this prophecy for hope throughout the coming months. The evening of October 31st everyone in town would extinguish the fire in their hearths and come together in town to build an enormous bonfire. Being together on this night of blurred boundaries protected them from harm. The fire was a spiritual ritual where animal sacrifices were made in exchange for protection from the evil spirits. After midnight everyone would light torches from the bonfire to carry back to light their individual hearths. This common fire was believed to protect them throughout the winter.

By 43 AD, Romans had conquered most of the Celtic lands. They adopted the festival of Samhain as a Roman holiday. They changed it into a two-day celebration. The first day, Feralia, was set aside to honor their dead ancestors. The second day was a day to honor the Roman goddess of the fruits and trees, Pomona. This day marked the end of the harvest.

By the 800s, Christianity had spread widely through the Celtic territory. The pope now claimed their ancient celebration and redeemed it for church purposes. November 1st was now declared All Saint’s Day – a day to honor all the saints and martyrs. It was also called All-Hallowmas. October 31st was deemed All-Hallows Eve, then later Halloween.

In 1000 AD the church added November 2nd to the celebration – All Soul’s Day. This was a day to honor the dead by dressing in costumes as either saints, angels, or devils. This is where the tradition of dressing up began – in the Catholic church.

I have received countless e-mails and publications from churches declaring Halloween evil. They recount the origins of Halloween as a day where men would dress in masks and go door to door asking shouting “Trick-or-Treat.” The treat would be time with a virgin daughter of the homeowner – most stories recount horrible things like rape and brutality. If the homeowner refused, he would be tortured – the trick. This legend has no basis in reality. If you trick-or-treat with your children, you are not condoning this ancient myth. In fact, the origins of trick-or-treating began during the Catholic’s All Soul’s Day celebrations. Christians would walk through town begging for soul cakes, small bread-like cakes made with currants. Each soul cake symbolized a prayer the Christian would say on behalf of the giver. The more soul cakes each person received, the more prayers would go up. The tradition grew to include children. People would offer more than just soul cakes – including money, fruits, and sweet breads – in return for prayers for protection against the devil’s tricks.

Incidentally a lot of people who shun Halloween and judge others for allowing their children to participate in a holiday of pagan origin also celebrate Christmas on December 25th. Christmas began as a pagan, hedonistic day celebrating and worshipping Roman gods and the winter solstice. The Roman god of the sun, Mithra, was believed to have been born on December 25th. This time of the winter solstice and celebrations included heavy drinking. Again, the pope tried to redeem the day hundreds of years after Christ’s birth. It is believed that Christ was actually born in early spring as shepherds did not herd sheep in the middle of winter, and His birth was not even celebrated until this time. In fact, the reason for declaring December 25th to be Christmas was strictly evangelical. Christians believed that, since people were used to celebrating on that day, Christ would more easily be embraced. Easter was already celebrated in the spring, so the pope came up with another aspect of His life to celebrate on the 25th of December.

This is all to say that Halloween in and of itself is not evil. If you choose to celebrate that day with your children, you are not a horrible person. I think Christians can easily and intelligently join the celebration of the harvest, fall, costumes, and candy without compromising their beliefs. And I don't think we have to do all that under a different name like "Fall Festival" or "Harvest." A day cannot be innately evil, and I think Halloween is a great opportunity for learning and for having fun. A lot of the holidays that we celebrate are not Christian in origin. But we can teach our children a lot through customs and traditions. It is all about the heart of the parents in my opinion.

So we will take our children Trick-or-Treating (we already go every year with our nephews). We will allow them to dress up (in appropriate costumes, of course). And we will eat candy until our bellies hurt and take pictures and carve pumpkins and laugh and make memories all to the glory of God. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Glimpse into our Day

I've had a handful of inquiries about what our days look like curriculum-wise. It's easy to picture us sitting around the dining room table formally studying Scripture, quickly flipping through flashcards, and completing worksheets. But that couldn't be further from the truth! Kids simply do not learn best through formal instruction. Instead, they learn best through play, experience, and hands-on interaction.

Here's an example of one of our days when we were learning about Creation.

The kids woke up and ate breakfast. My 3-year-old drinks soy milk, and she was asking what animal makes soy milk. I explained that it is made from soybeans which come from a plant. "Do you know who made soybean plants?" "That's right, God did. The Bible tells us the story of how God created the whole entire world. Do you want to hear it?" So, right there at the breakfast table, I opened my Bible and read Genesis 1:1-19. We talked about what it meant, and I told her that she was going to be learning lots of new Bible verses and that I had a trick to help us remember them. I then sang, "In the beginning God created, God created, God created. In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. Genesis 1:1" to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Since she, like most 3-year-old girls, loves music, she picked it up immediately and started to sing.

After breakfast, we headed outside to play on the playground. While swinging, she noticed some acorns in the trees and wanted to pick some. They were too high, so I explained that acorns are oak tree seeds and that God made them to grow on trees just long enough to get big and strong enough to start new oak trees. One day, when they're ready, a wind will blow or a squirrel or bird will land on the branch and shake the tree just enough for the acorns that are ready to fall off the tree and land on the ground. With water and sunshine, they grow roots that plant themselves into the ground. The roots are like little straws that the plants use to drink water and nutrients from the dirt. When they're ready, a little shoot grows out of the top called a "seedling." We then decided to go on a treasure hunt to find seedlings and fallen acorns. We went for a walk around the neighborhood looking under every tree. She collected a handful of "tree seeds" along the way and tried to match them to the trees from which they came. She also collected a handful of leaves to take home to paint with.

By this point, it was time to run some errands and come home for lunch. While I got lunch ready, I set up the table for painting. I showed her how to paint the back of a leaf with a paintbrush and to use it like a stamp on her paper. She completed her masterpiece while I fixed lunch.

Along the way, we talked about how amazing and creative God is to think of just the right way for plants and trees to create more plants and trees and thanked Him for providing the water and light needed to grow them. We also randomly sang the Bible verse all day long.

So. as cliche as it sounds, the world, and not just our dining room table, is our classroom. We simply incorporate our lesson into what we're naturally doing that day. Because of this, it's never hard to include my 18-month-old as we go. He just tags along and absorbs what he can.

I hope this helps you to think outside of the classroom box! As always, I welcome your questions and comments, so keep them coming!