The Most Important Subject: Books That Will Dazzle Your Children With Jesus
*Note: I'm a homeschool mom, but this one's for everyone...because all Christian mamas have the responsibility (joy!) of educating our kids with God's Word and dazzling them with Jesus*
I imagined myself being a much more creative homeschool mom than it turns out I am. I used to daydream about immersing my children in art history by splattering paint ala Jackson Pollock or studying ornithology by birdwatching in the sunshine or exploring engineering by walking around the city. We would go on field trips and watch plays and draw and live happily ever after. The end.
Enter another child...and another child...and another child...and another child and homeschooling has become less about “immersive, child-driven, hands-on exploration” and more about just getting it done. Spelling, check. Grammar, check. History, Writing, Math, Science...check, check, check, check. We pull out our books, we study and learn, and we move on. But there’s one subject I want to take our time on, one subject that will always take precedence over every other.
Because homeschool mom or not, far above everything else my child will learn, comes the most important study: the study of God’s Word. Because more than being intelligent or successful or well-rounded, I want my children to be absolutely, mind, body, and soul dazzled by Jesus.
The Big Picture Story Bible (ages 2-5)
This is the very first Bible I read to each of my children when they’re young. It reads like a young children’s board book with colorful illustrations and small portions of simple (yet powerful) text on each page.
This book will help your kids see the “big picture” of the Bible: that God has always been about rescuing His people and bringing them to His place and blessing all the people of the earth. That theme, of God’s people in God’s place, is repeated throughout nearly every story, from Eden to Canaan to Calvary to Heaven. Rather than a collection of separate “Bible stories”, the Big Picture Story Bible reads as the one great story of God’s plan for His people. I can almost guarantee it will help you make connections that you’ve never made before. You can learn good theology right along with your three year old.
Adam and Eve chose to doubt God’s goodness. They chose to disobey God’s word. They did not let God be king over them. They ate some fruit from the tree. They listened to the voice of Satan instead of the word Of God. What a very sad day.
This is a book that all of my kids (2,3,5,8) will listen to and engage with. The short lessons are stories of an average brother and sister who face different struggles and apply God’s Word to them. The stories are pretty corny and after-school special-y, but my kids eat them up and really make the connections. So, who cares, right?
Each lesson has a memory verse and simple questions attached to the story. The verses are just the right size for little minds and mouths and just the right content for little hearts. It’s common for my five year old to remind himself (after I remind him to remind himself) that “A soft answer turns away wrath” and for my three year old to tell her arguing brother and sister, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (she’s a little, well, bossy) and for me to remind everyone (for the bazillionth time) to “Do everything without arguing or complaining.” These words are hidden in our hearts because of this book.
Missy was frustrated. Some harsh words were about to jump out of her mouth. She started to say, ‘You are just mean and selfish! You don’t know how to share.” Then something very wonderful happened. Missy remembered Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
This book. Oh, this book. Do you think it would be frowned upon if I read a children’s Bible for my own devotional time? Because I want to. Because that’s how good this book is.
The Jesus Storybook Bible is powerful and poetic and beautiful enough to bring tears to your own eyes, while also being accessible enough for your children to really enjoy and “get it.” Similar to the Big Picture Storybook Bible, this book will help your child (and you!) understand how every story in the Bible is tied to Jesus. It will help them see how every word in the Old Testament points to His coming and every word in the New Testament celebrates the redemption He brings. This book has helped my kids better understand God’s Word and His love in sending Jesus, and it’s helped me be awed by it. Be warned: You will cry. Your children will stare. It will all be okay.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan--a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children--with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him, always, and long for him--lost children yearning for their home.
This book is so cool. Cool, as in the cover and illustrations and fonts and layouts are cool. And cool as in it being just exactly what you want to fill your kids’ head up with kind of cool. The Radical Book For Kids reads like a magazine full of tidbits about God’s Word, heroes of the faith, what it looks like to follow Jesus, interesting things about church history and the Christian faith, and the like. It is so readable and accessible, your kids will pick it up by themselves. It will teach them so much, but more than that, it will spark big thoughts and big conversations.
Some highlights: • “What to do when you’re angry” • “Learn the Hebrew Alphabet” • Mini missionary biographies • “Parents Aren’t Perfect” (my kids, in particular, need this one) • An Intro to Augustine’s Confessions • A list of movie and book characters that are modeled after Jesus (“It’s as if the human heart were created with the need and desire for a rescuer, a king, a friend.”)
This book will help your kids to see God’s Word as cool and fun (aka “living and active”). It will help your kids gets excited about studying God, theology, and church history. It will give them a better understanding of how the Bible was written and how to read it. It will teach them about living for God. It will dazzle them with Jesus.
The Bible says that only God himself is substantial enough to stand at the center of your life. When he is at the center of your universe, all the “planets” are held in place--you can enjoy fiends and sports, school and technology. All these may fail you, but if God is most important, then losing those good things will hurt but won’t wreck you.
So read your children these books. Dazzle them with Jesus. And be dazzled yourself.
“Dazzle your children with the message of Christ's love and welcome, and then when you think that surely they must be tiring of it, go back and drench them with it again.” - Elyse Fitzpatrick