Category Archives: Homeschooling

Free Resources for Pew Packers (or Family Devotionals)

Nearly every Sunday evening, I get the privilege of sitting down front with some of our elementary and preschool children at 9th Avenue and leading Pew Packers. While you just never know what might happen during those 10 minutes, it is a joy to watch these students sing and learn Bible facts.

Pew Packers is considered by some to be outdated, but that is only if we treat it as such! Instead, I see it as 10 invaluable minutes each week with these precious children. As such, we are always looking for ways to improve Pew Packers and to make it a helpful time for our students.

Today, I am pleased to let you know that we have compiled a good amount of the information we have used, are using, and plan to use in Pew Packers and we have made it available on our website…for free!

At Polishing the Pulpit last year, I heard someone give an idea for a “Bible Passport,” and immediately wrote down the idea as something for our Pew Packers to do. We waited until after the Lads to Leaders convention to start our “Bible Travelers,” but I think the kids are really catching on.

Each week, we sing some songs, then we rehearse a few Bible facts. If a student memorizes a list, they are given a stamp that reads “9th Avenue Pew Packers Bible Traveler” in their passport. They also can get stamps for memorizing Bible verses.

With that in mind, you will find 3 pages of information on our Pew Packers page:

Bible Adventures Achievement List. This page lists the requirements for students to earn stamps in their passports. Some are very easy (sing the books of the New Testament), because we want quick “wins,” and also because we have some preschoolers in Pew Packers. Others, however, are more difficult. I’m sure that, over time, we will add more lists so our students can earn even more stamps.

Pew Packers Songs. We sing a lot in Pew Packers. Most of the songs are well-known, but we still wanted to provide a recording of the song, as well as the lyrics, just in case some do not know them.

Memory Verse Songs. Since students can earn stamps for memorizing Bible verses, we want to have a resource for families to help their kids with this. So, we have a page where we put short, simple, and memorable songs that teach Bible verses to kids. This list is growing constantly, especially as we emphasize memorizing verses from 1st and 2nd Corinthians this year for Lads to Leaders.

We hope this page is one you bookmark and will use often. Certainly, there are so many other things that can be done in Pew Packers or other similar programs, but we hope this at least gives you some more material to use. If your congregation does not have a program like this, these pages still contain information you may want to use in your family devotionals.

Either way, we hope you will take advantage of our Pew Packers information and help precious children learn the Word of God.

To access the page, simply click here.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 81: End of Homeschool Year Spectacular 2017 [Podcast]

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On release date for this episode, Adam and Leah’s homeschool year is ending. So, they take this episode to catch you up on what is going on in their lives, as well as some of the ups and downs of homeschooling through the 2016-2017 year. We hope you enjoy their interaction.

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Why We Like Year-Round Lads to Leaders Events

The national Lads to Leaders convention has just been completed. Countless hours were spent preparing for this big weekend, and our kids had a blast! We came home excited…but also exhausted.

So why am I already writing about preparing for the 2018 convention?

Because we love the year-round events, and today I want to encourage you to be involved in them (even if you are not involved with Lads to Leaders!).

What are Year-Round Events?

When most people think of Lads to Leaders, all they consider is the convention that is held annually on Easter weekend. At that convention, young people are involved in speech, debate, song leading, oral Bible reading, art, Bible bowl, and puppet theater. These events gain a lot of attention, of course, because they happen at the convention itself and so much work has been put into preparing for these.

However, there are many other events that young people work on throughout the year at home. Personally, we like these events a lot. They can be done on your own time, at your own pace, and you can start working on them right now.

Some of them take a long time to complete, while others can be done in just a few hours’ time. Thus, they are “year-round,” because they are not done at the convention, but at home throughout the year.

What Can We Do?

Our family tries to emphasize several of these events with our kids each year. Sometimes we complete them; sometimes we don’t. Either way, they show our kids that Lads to Leaders is more than just “a trip,” and it also is teaching them to be involved in growing in their faith 12 months out of the year; not just in preparation for one weekend event.

Here are some of the events we have tried, with a short explanation of each. [For a complete explanation, you can download the pdf of the Lads to Leaders rulebook here.]

Centurion of Scripture. This is my favorite event for the kids to do. In Centurion, students memorize 100 verses of Scripture. They can even do this one verse at a time! This is perfect for family Bible time, and it is a joy to watch your children meet this challenge.

Good Samaritan. We have done this event off and on, but the students earn “points” for doing acts of service throughout the year.

Junior Leaders. This event for K-5 is one that was new to us this past year, and I was honored to teach our congregation’s Junior Leaders. Students meet for a class on leadership four times during the year, learning about a different Bible leader. Then, they also complete at least four service projects as a group. I loved meeting with our leaders!

Keepers. Based on Proverbs 31, Keepers helps young ladies prepare to be able to do certain things in their homes in the future, such as table setting, sewing, gardening, and more. This is a wonderful event to have mentors for, so there is intergenerational interaction in the congregation.

Providers. This event is the same as Keepers, but is for young men, and emphasizes some skills they will need in their adult years, such as basic plumbing, financial basics, and more. Make note of the fact that boys can do one Keepers event each year, and girls can do one Providers event each year. For example, this past year, all our Keepers and Providers learned about First Aid kits.

Know the Books. Starting with learning how to sing either the Old Testament books or New Testament books, students grow by being able to say the books without singing them, then learn a theme for each book. We have worked on this in our Pew Packers at 9th Avenue throughout the years, and it is amazing to see the kids learn these long lists!

Read the Word. The event is just what it sounds like. Students are challenged to read the Old Testament, New Testament, or both during the year. I’m proud that our two have both done the New Testament the last two years! This year, Turner is trying to read the Old Testament, and Mary Carol is making a run at the whole Bible!!!

Teach to Teach. Technically, Mary Carol was too young to be involved this past year, but we let her try it, and she will be involved this year. In this event, students learn how to teach a Bible class by sitting in with a teacher, then helping, then (eventually) teaching a lesson. A great mentor event!

Year Round Bible Reading/Study. We started this for last year’s convention, but did not finish. Students read the Bible to others, but must complete a certain number of readings by the deadline. This event’s highest level also incorporates the Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press, which we wrote about in this article.

Year Round Bulletin Board. Students change their congregation’s bulletin boards a certain number of times each year. We have a zillion bulletin boards in our church building, so several of our Lads to Leaders participants have been “assigned” a board. Mary Carol and Turner both try to change their board about once each quarter.

Year Round Song LeadingTurner completed this event this year and was so proud. Students simply lead a few different songs throughout the year to different audiences. There is also an event for young ladies, and we hope Mary Carol will do that this year.

Bible Bowl Test. In addition to the Bible Bowl team event at convention, there is an individual test given in February over the same material. We also have our kids take this test as a way to see where they stand in preparation for the test at convention.

Mass Media. This has many different categories, and both Mary Carol and Turner wrote an article/editorial this past year. (Mary Carol’s won 3rd place!) We hope they will want to do an audio presentation this year, too. This is a great event for students who want to expand their knowledge of ways to present the Gospel.

There are other events that are also year-round that we have not yet done. Here they are:

GIFTS is an event for girls in grades 6-12, where they study a book together and complete projects. Mary Carol wants to do this this year.

GUARD is a similar event, but is for young men, grades 6-12.

Headed to the Office is for young men and is meant to prepare them for, one day, desiring to be an elder.

Second Langauge helps students learn to use a second language to speak simple phrases, as well as to teach the Gospel. (One of the coolest things I’ve seen was a couple of years ago where a student earned an award in Second Language, and her “second language” was English!)

Year Round PowerPoint Presentation lets students help in making presentations for sermons or classes at various times throughout the year.

Year Round Speech lets students present various speeches at different times during the year.

Pearls is a classbook that is based upon the Bible Bowl books for the year, but is more of a “topical” study, and a test is given in February on the book’s material.

Why Should We Try These?

That list can seem overwhelming, no doubt, but we love emphasizing these year round events. Picking even one or two can be of great benefit, even if your family is not involved in Lads to Leaders.

Why? Because they are organized, and provide you something to shoot for!

For example, if you choose to work on Centurion of Scripture, instead of just saying, “We’ll memorize some verses together,” you now have the challenge of memorizing 100 verses during the course of a year.

But if you are involved in Lads to Leaders, let me challenge you to pick a few of these events and get started! They help instill in your children the need to grow daily, and they continue to be thinking about Lads to Leaders throughout the year!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 78: Lads to Leaders 2017 [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah are joined by some very special guests to talk about Lads to Leaders and why we are looking forward to going in a few days.

Below, you will find several resources about Lads to Leaders to help you think about this good program for your family or the congregation where you worship.

Resources

Lads to Leaders [homepage]

Lads to Leaders Facebook Page

How Lads to Leaders Can Help Families” [A Legacy of Faith; May 15, 2015]

A Tool for Growing Families” [The Colley House; April 9, 2010]

Five Minutes with Bartimaeus” [blog post about “Bartimaeus” event at Lads to Leaders; A Legacy of Faith; April 6, 2016]

Resource: Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press” [Advanced Bible Reader can be done as a Lads to Leaders event; A Legacy of Faith; June 29, 2016]

A Family Challenge: Memorize and Entire Book of the Bible” [Podcast]

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Episode 77: The Church and Coffee Bars, Stay at Home Moms and Education, the Heart of Hospitality, and More! [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah roll through a bunch of topics, ranging from how the church needs to have a priority on preaching the Gospel (and not on coffee bars) to how hospitality starts with our heart. And there is a lot more, too. All the links can be found below. We hope you enjoy their candid discussion of issues, both serious and fun.

Resources

Why The Church Doesn’t Need Any More Coffee Bars” [A Young Widow’s Story]

No, Stay at Home Moms Don’t ‘Waste’ Their Education” [The Federalist]

The Real Reason Your Child Might Leave the Church” [Jeremiah Tatum; A Legacy of Faith]

How to Have a Hospitality-Ready Heart” [Of the Hearth]

The Six Gifts of Hospitality by Laurel Sewell [Amazon]

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Episode 76: Reflections on Louisville, Dealing with Entertainment Choices, You Can Get Your Family to Worship on Time, and More! [Podcast]

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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah talk about some recent goings-on, they discuss how Christians can deal with entertainment choices, and encourage families with tips to get ready for worship.

Plus, they talk a little college basketball. It is March, after all!

Resources below.

Links

Is Genesis History? [Homepage]

To Go or Not to Go…” [Amber Tatum; A Legacy of Faith]

6 Tips for Getting to Church On Time” [Of the Hearth]

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Swift Transition

Many are familiar with a song that begins with these words:

Time is filled with swift transition –
Naught of earth unmoved shall stand.

The past few weeks or so have demonstrated the truth of those words on so many levels. Globally, the transition was from one year to the next. While we all could prepare for and plan for the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, the actual transition took place in a second (or maybe a fraction of a second).

After a seemingly endless “election cycle,” our national government made the transition from one presidential administration to another. While there was so much preparation and anticipation, it seemed sudden to me when the Chief Justice of The United States Supreme Court administered the oath of office to Mr. Trump and then said simply, “Congratulations, Mr. President.” One man was no longer our president and another man now held that office – again in almost the blink of an eye (or less).

What was true on that level was also true in other branches of our federal government and in a variety of state and local governments. Various elections and appointments on a variety of levels caused “swift transitions.”

On a personal level, when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2016, I was no longer one of the preachers for the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY. In fact, after over thirty-eight years of preaching, I am now no longer preaching “full-time.” As I type these words, I am still trying to come up with an answer to a question that I’m being asked repeatedly: “How is retirement?” My “stock answer” is that I’m still trying to figure that out.

Again, there was prayer, conversation, planning, anticipation, etc. involved in this decision. Even with all of that being true, from the perspective of looking back on how the events transpired, my “retirement” was/is, indeed, a swift transition.

It seems to me that so many things in life are swift transitions. There is a moment in time when a child is no longer in the mother’s womb to somebody who needs our attention in order to survive. A moment in time is really all it takes for that child to transition to not being formally educated to becoming a student in a public school system or in a home school environment.

Years later, that same child makes the swift transition from being a student to a graduate. He or she may change from being single to being a spouse in what seems like a split second.

The transitions that happen in life involve relationships, geography, employment, age, and a host of other factors. They all seem to be swift.

I have been with members of my own family as they made the transition from time to eternity. I have been with members of other families as they have had the experience of making that transition. I have received those phone calls that inform me of a sudden and unexpected departure from this life. Whenever and however death comes, that last heartbeat and/or breath is a signal to those left behind that there is a transition for which we all need to be prepared.

The Bible speaks of an event that will take place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…” (1 Cor. 15:52). Contrary to the teaching of some, this event will take place without warning and without any subsequent opportunities to change our eternal destiny.

Knowing that, the rest of the first verse of the hymn referred to above contains some valuable, practical, and much-needed admonition:

Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.


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AUTHOR: Jim Faughn

Our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

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In past years, we have released a couple of gift guides that were very random (one year, we even included a toy car-making machine!).

This year’s gift guide is meant to be more focused, as most of the ideas listed below are meant to instill the Word of God in the hearts of your family. A couple of things are for more specific groups of people, but we hope you find everything below to be helpful in learning God’s Word.

[Disclaimer: Any links below that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. All other links are not affiliate links.]

Polishing the Pulpit Flash Drives. In past years, Polishing the Pulpit has had some flash drives with all the audio lessons for attendees. However, after the convention, there are some drives left over, and they keep them available for sale, so long as supplies last. They are $100 each, but each contains over 400 lessons! To learn more, call PtP at 877-338-3397, or visit this page.

God, Give Us Christian Homes [Book by Jim Faughn]. Every family needs encouragement. Jim Faughn wrote this 13-chapter book to help families, or to be used in a Bible class. It would make a great gift for a family, or just a “gift to yourself,” for your family to study together. Currently, it is $11.95 on Amazon and can be found here.

Shaping Hearts for God “Class in a Box.” We use Shaping Hearts for God as our curriculum at 9th Avenue from 4s-5s through 4th grade. However, their “Class in a Box” is designed for 2s and 3s and can easily be used in a family devotional setting. There are two “classes,” and each is $39.99. Talk about a great gift for a young family that you see trying to teach their kids about God! Find out more and make your order here.

Shaping Hearts of God Bible Timeline. Okay, so this would take some space in a house, but if you know a family who homeschools, or who has a room where they hold family devotionals, this would be an awesome gift. It is a LONG timeline that shows the history of the Biblical narrative in a wonderful way. (Personally, this is my favorite thing that Shaping Hearts for God puts out.) The timeline is $29.99 and can be ordered here.

A gift for your elders: Rest in Green Pastures. Why not get your elders a small token of your affection? This book is written by elders, for elders. It is a quick read but provides so much encouragement. On Amazon, it is currently $12.00, and can be found here.

Advanced Reader: Amazing Skin Designed by God. Our kids love the “Advanced Reader” books from Apologetics Press, and this one is fresh off the presses. These books are for smaller kids, but even up through “tween-age” will probably find them interesting. This book is only $2.00 and can be ordered through Apologetics Press here.

Advanced Reader Series. If you want to dive into the whole Advanced Reader series from AP, you can order all 8 books in the series for the price of seven. For $14.00, that’s a great investment (and can be a wonderful stocking stuffer). Order them all here.

Pryor Convictions, The Book of Genesis. We are currently using this book in our family Bible time and we love it! Each of the 13 lessons is designed to be taught over the course of a few days, and includes a reading guide, review questions, crafts, games, activities, and more. The books produced by Pryor are intended for home use, so you will find them very useful. A great gift for a family. The Genesis book is $14.95, and you can find out more here.

CD: “One Voice: Praise & Worship.” Even though we are living in the age of Bluetooth, our family still listens to a lot of CDs when we travel. This is one of our favorites. It contains wonderful old hymns of praise sung by an amazing male quartet. This would make a great gift for a gift exchange or a quick, last-minute gift at a party. It is $15.00 here.

Hymns of the Heart. Okay, if you don’t mind, I’m going to include my own book here! This book walks readers through 35 of the Psalms and is meant to help the reader learn more about the wonderful God we serve. As of this writing, it is $11.41 on Amazon, but they regularly mark it down from that. You can find it here.

One Word Study Guide. These devotional books walk readers through one Biblical word (e.g., “grace,” “God,” “justification”) each week. Written by ministers of the churches of Christ, the goal is to share five short devotionals about each of the words, one for each week of the year in 2017. Many churches (including 9th Avenue) are going to give these out, but if your congregation is not, it would make a wonderful gift for someone. And, even more amazing, the book–which is tremendously designed and put together–is only $3.00. Order several copies here.

Well, there you go! We hope you find some of these resources to be great gifts…or you just decide to get some for your own family!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Episode 67: Our 2016 “Thankful List” [Podcast]

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, our little family sat around and counted our blessings. There is no way we could share a full list of all the ways in which God blesses us, so instead, we made a list of 16 blessings from 2016.

Below is the list, or you can listen along as Leah, Mary Carol, and Turner all join me for this podcast.

LOFpodcast

Our 16 Things

  1. Getting Spot
  2. Time with our cousins (including cousin’s camp)
  3. Vacation to Chattanooga
  4. Painting the living room
  5. Pumpkin patch trip (with covered bridge)
  6. A good school year
  7. Time with grandparents
  8. Doing better going on dates
  9. Getting a new Bible
  10. Getting to know friends better
  11. Our new car
  12. Working on Lads to Leaders (finishing 100 verses)
  13. Our garden
  14. Learning about canning
  15. Junior camper awards at Maywood
  16. Mary Carol becoming a Christian

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Episode 64: Some Thoughts about “The Me-Time Myth” (with Leah Faughn) [Podcast]

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Many people–and, it seems, especially mothers–talk about “me time.” A couple of years ago, a blogger wrote a powerful article about how having true “me time” as a mother is a myth. She took a lot of heat for the article, but it sparked some good discussion.

On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah talk about the article [which you can find here] and about how mothers need a little “me time,” but how the ideal of this concept is really a myth for mothers who truly want to impact their children.

LOFpodcast

Resource

The ‘Me Time’ Myth” [Your Mom Has a Blog]

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