Friday, February 18, 2011

Visual Cues (and Friday Favorites)

I've been thinking about visual cues over the past couple of days quite a bit.  Back when I was teaching older children, I would occasionally have them refer to the pictures in a story book to help them gain comprehension of what they were reading.  For instance, the book might say: "Janie waltzed acrossed the floor." If they didn't know the word waltz, I could say, "What's Janie doing in the picture that would help you understand what waltzing is?" Answer: She's dancing.

However, today when Diego sees this picture:

He immediately thinks the word should be sand- and then tries to read the word sand in every word that is put in front of him until he finally reads the word: dig. Then, and only then does he stop trying to read the word sand. But listening to "/d/-/i/-/g/-sand!" for five minutes (and me telling him 30 time in that five minutes, that "no, this word isn't sand" is enough to drive me batty. To avoid that I'm trying to remove as many visual cues as possible at this time and only give him the word to read.  (That is--unless he's having a moment in which he can't remember what sound the letter g makes, and then I'm back to pulling out flashcards. "Oh, yeah, /g/-/g/-goat.")

So, while Diego trying to "read" funny or hair (when the word is wig) can be a frustration.  I do recognize that most visual cues are good.  And that, even though right now, he's not using visual cues appropriately, at least he knows that visual cues can help with understanding.

Yesterday, while we were at the zoo, Emily's daughter, Evie drew a cross in the dirt.  Then Emily asked her what the cross reminds us: "That Jesus loves us," was her response. What a wonderful moment I witnessed between mother and daughter as Emily's eyes welled with tears and Evie took one more step toward understanding the grace that God lavishes on us.  This is the type of visual cues we need to instill in our children. 

And this is one of the reason's I love My Father's World curriculum.  This week, we've been studying goats.  Each week the topic we study becomes a visual cue.  The visual cue, goat, from now on will be connected with the understanding that: "Jesus died for my sins." The intentionality of pairing visual cues that will help my children remember who God is, how He loves them, and why they were created. That makes me a happy momma!

I love Jean Fleming's thoughts on this in her book, A Mother's Heart: "Our days are full of opportunities to share spiritual truth with our children.  We can use everyday incidents as a springboard for this. We can explain how Jesus washed away our sins as we give them a bath, or talk about the parable of the good soil as we work in the garden, or tell them Jesus knows the number of hairs on their head as we comb their hair."

I want to be more intentional like this with my children.  Too often, I let days slip away from me in which I could have said more, done more, taught more to my children.  Please, don't think I have it all together.  Most days I fail miserably.  Often,  there are days when the schooling portion is the only time I instill the Truth in them.  And there have been many days recently where we just haven't gotten around to teaching.  However, I really appreciate that MFW helps me to be intentional in sharing my faith with my kids.

(Our Old MacDonald had a Farm puppets.)

So, today I thank God for: goats, learning to read, curriculum, Jesus' sacrifice, and visual cues to teach my kids spiritual truths.

How you do you teach spiritual truths to your kids?

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