Friday, March 29, 2013

April Family Home Evening Plan

My two favorite things about having a family home evening plan last month were:

1. Even though I still seem to wait until sometime Monday to get everything ready, because I've already put time and prayer into topics and finding lessons, I'm not sacrificing content due to my procrastination.

2. Because I've found cool lessons, I'm printing them out, laminating them and adding them to favorite lessons I already have floating around.  That means after this year, I'll have so many awesome family tested lessons to choose from that are already READY! 

Now, onto my April lessons...

Week 1
We'll review our goals again (I finally put them up on the wall next to our dining table so we can see them EVERYDAY) and see if there are smaller goals we can set to work towards our bigger goals during the month of April. 

Seeing as this is the family night before General Conference, we're going to talk about and get ready for General Conference. 

I love General Conference and I'm really excited to help my kids understand what a gift it is (or can be) in our lives.

I've found two different FHE's I like that are very, very similar.  The first is from Chocolate on my Cranium and the second is from Parenting in the Latter-days

They both use the theme of Watchmen on the Tower, which I LOVE!  Chocolate on my Cranium is simpler and quicker while Parenting in the Latter-days has more options in the stories and activities department.  I will probably do bits from both.

Sometime during family night we'll put up pictures of all our apostles.  I don't have them yet, but I plan to run down to distribution (attached to the Deseret Book's around here) and pick up an 8.5x11 of each of them for only $.50 each.  If you don't live near a distribution, you can order them online here (they probably won't be there in time for General Conference, but I think it's so important that our children recognize and know who they're prophets are).  We'll leave the pictures up all week and then have the kids move the picture of the apostle speaking to the top of our tower during conference (I'll be posting about exactly what we're doing as a family for conference next week).

Week 2
Every month I try to do a lesson (or have my kids do one) on either Faith in God or, now that my daughter is going to be 12 next month, on Personal Progress.  This week we're going to talk about Faith Experience #2. 

We'll get it started as a family and then Makenna will work on finishing it throughout the week.  We're going to talk about the story of Helaman and the stripling warriors and the faith they had.  I'm not certain if we'll watch any of the video yet (my kids love the LDS Living Scriptures videos) because they've seen it a lot, but they do love it, so maybe I'll try and find a short clip we can watch to emphasize the principle of faith.

Then I'm going to use bits and pieces from this lesson I found at LDS Family Fun.  We'll review the story and read some scriptures (the experience asks that you read Alma 56:45-48 and 57:21) then talk about how Helaman's Stripling Warriors' faith helped them.  In primary this year we're talking about the armor of God and so we'll relate faith to a shield.

Quote: “We were dressed in our home each morning, not only with hats and raincoats and boots to protect us from physical storm, but even more carefully our parents dressed us each day in the armor of God. As we would kneel in family prayer and listen to our father, a bearer of the priesthood, pour out his soul to the Lord for the protection of his family against the fiery darts of the wicked, one more layer was added to our shield of faith. While our shield was being made strong, theirs was always available, for they were available and we knew it.” L. Tom Perry, Ensign, May 1974

I think we'll end with a treat (which I'm too lazy to do normally).  During the day I'll make up some sugar cookie dough and we'll cook it after school.  Then, it'll be ready to turn into shields after our lesson.

Short and sweet!

Week 3
Years ago I did a bunch of family home evening lessons for a church activity and since then they've spent more time sitting in a box than being used. I'm working on changing that.

I've been reading books on Christ off and on for the last several years and my love for Him has grown so much that I want to share it with everyone, especially my children.  So, I've chosen one of those buried lessons titled Seeking Christ to do for this week.

It suggest using either "Seek the Lord Early" (pg 108) or "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" (pg177) for your opening song.  I love Teach Me, it's been a favorite since I was in primary so I'll try to convince my kids we should go with that one (not that it really matters, they're both really great). 

Read Proverbs 8:17, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."  A really great scripture.  Does anyone else come across quotes and scriptures and have the urge to start sticking them all over the walls in their home?  I think if I actually followed through, my walls would be coated...

The lesson starts out with all the lights off (or have a blindfold handy if you can't get your house dark enough).  You need to ask a family member to do a simple task in the dark (write a sentence, put something away...) and then show the difference when the same task is done in the light. 

Read John 8:12 and talk about how Jesus is the light of the world.  How does He give us His light and how does it make it easier for us to make the right choices (or does it)?

Then you do a fun activity to show how we can find Christ in our lives.  My kids love scavenger/clue hunts (I may have mentioned this before) and I love that this one involves reading scriptures (this make me think of KIX, kid tested and mother approved...).  Each clue in the scavenger hunt has a tip or idea to be used in finding Christ in our lives based off a scripture, along with the clue to the location of your next tip and clue.  I like that not only are the tips scripturally based, the clues are also scriptures.  Getting my kids in the scriptures is always a good thing!

Week 4
Elder Bednar talked about testimony and how it relates to conversion in his Sunday afternoon General Conference address in October and we're going to use it for the inspiration for this week's family night.  He said, "Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony.  Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion."  So good!!!!

We'll talk about Elder Bednar, share a quote from his talk and then we'll talk about which is the first step?  I think they're very inter-related, perhaps more cyclical that actually one leading to the other, but I think it would make sure a great family discussion.

Then, I'll use a lot of the awesome testimony lesson found on Parenting in the Latter-days.  We'll talk about how we can gain a testimony using the steps from their lesson.  I'll also tell the story of the tomato seed.  We use seeds a lot in teaching the gospel to children (and even sometimes to adults) and I was really excited to see that this story is a little bit different.  It doesn't just talk about how we need to take care of our seeds (testimonies) to help them grow big and strong, it keeps the story going and says that when our plants are grown, we aren't done.  We have to continue to help the plants, to work hard to keep them healthy and producing good fruit.  I think we often focus so much on shorter term goals, we forget they are in fact short term.  Gaining a testimony is great, but keeping it strong and growing it bigger is a lifetime goal.

We'll also talk about why we should have a testimony, expanding on our faith family night from two weeks ago, and how it can be a shield and protection to us.  I love the testimony wheel in this lesson and we'll give that to our kids.  We'll also go into when we should bear our testimonies because I think we often forget it can be in our hearts, journals, to our family and friends, and not just on Fast Sunday.

If I'm feeling extra ambitious, we'll end with the testimony cookies.  I love how each ingredient helps to reinforce and reteach in a new way all the principles we've already talked about in the lesson.  And I've never met a kid who didn't like to help cook in the kitchen.

Week 5
Yep, there are 5 Mondays in April.  And we have a tradition for our 5th Mondays.  They are officially family game nights.  We have lots of board and card games, but maybe we'll celebrate spring by taking our game playing down to the park to play soccer, baseball or who can nap fastest under the tree (there's really no point, my husband wins every time).

Good luck with your month!

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