While I do not officially homeschool my children, we try once a week to do something that we like to call “Orthodox Homeschool.”
My desire is to equip and teach my young ones the rich treasures of our Faith and the Bible so that they continue to grow and embrace the beautiful Orthodox faith. Also, we focus a lot on being missionaries for Christ.
We try to make it a lot of fun! We also focus on the church calendar, a saint for that week, and the Bible. There are a lot of websites out there that we use for inspiration.
Here are a few of the things we have done. I will update this page as we do more.
Please share with me your creative ideas as well!
We have created a little prayer box for all of our prayers. Also, we have a prayer journal where our children write out verses and pray them.
For example, recently, we looked up verses about Anger and wrote them in our journals so that we can pray for more patience.
We try to do the Agpeya prayers in the morning. Right now, this is just simply praying the Thanksgiving Prayer – which we have tried to memorize. And if time a Psalm and then Lord Have Mercy’s with Metanias. Then, we conclude with personal prayers.
Currently, we are trying to memorize the Orthodox Creed.
We focus on daily Bible reading. We read through a book of the Bible. We have read through Ruth. My son is currently reading Nehemiah with Mom and the Gospel of St. Matthew with Dad. Sometimes we do a chapter, sometimes half a chapter. This is usually done in our nighttime routine. We like this Bible the best (also comes in pink for the girls)! Some Christian bookstores will even personalize the Bible with the name of the child on the front leather cover.
We have recently started doing a Bible Study at church for our younger children. I am in the process of creating a Bible Study on the Gospel of John which I will make available here soon! It is designed for ages 6-9.
For teenagers and older children, this is a great resource for a Bible Study. It does not have much application, mostly knowledge only, so if you use this site, I think it is a good idea to add some practical application questions.
To keep our children focused during Liturgies, there are a lot of things we love.
We were recently introduced to a new book that a good friend of mine, Sandra Mattar, has created. It is a wipe and clean workbook to be used in the Liturgy. My 6-year-old son loves it. And what is great is that a version for younger children is coming out very soon!
This book is colorful and useful in the Liturgy.
My children also love to learn about the liturgy in this DVD.
My kids absolutely LOVE this book. They are tickled when the kids do funny things on the pages like blow out the candles in front of the icons as if it is a birthday cake! I think they love it because it has the name “Josiah” in it – so we change the little girl’s name to “Mary Grace” instead of “Julia.”
My older niece has a great book on keeping up with the Sermon notes and readings for Sunday. That keeps her really engaged.
To learn about the Sacraments and the history of our church, there are some great animated DVDs out there, such as Holy Pimoly and The Adventures of Professor Brainiac.
During his commemoration on May 1, we love to focus on the life and lessons of St. George.
Using ALL of our stuffed animals, we put on a little play about the life of St. George. We don’t include all the tortures. We do focus on him praying to God while he is imprisoned and how Jesus delivers him generally from his trials.
We like this video about the tale of St. George and the dragon. While it isn’t Christian, it has a good moral to it.
St. Moses the Strong
Around his commemoration on July 1, we teach his life. We especially love his story because it gives us hope that the people in our community can change and return back to the Father!
We read his story from this children’s book available from Orthodox Bookstore. Then, we created a “Before Jesus/After Jesus” sign (taped back-to-back on a stick) about his life using two pictures from the book (the first picture of St. Moses surrounded by robbers and carrying a sword and the second picture of St. Moses surrounded by monks and carrying a cross).
During the commemoration of St. Abanoub on July 31, we love to remember this child saint. We focus not on the tortures, but rather on how through his life, he was a missionary to others to believe in Jesus. Many believed in Jesus through St. Abanoub.
We memorize the verse 1 Timothy 4:12 to remember that no matter how young we are, we can be an example to others. We color a picture of St. Abanoub also.
Feast of the Ascension
We really like this book when we are learning about this feast. Once using play-dough, we created the entire Ascension “characters.”
Feast of Pentecost
Once we created a “tongues of fire” hat to wear on our heads. We focused on mission to others as the Apostles started off their mission. To the hat, we added stickers of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, because when the Holy Spirit is in our lives, we show much of His fruit.
Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace
When we read this story in the Bible, we created out of construction paper, a “fiery furnace.” And we had little people (as little figurines) represent our three youths and were thrown into the fiery furnace. We acted out the story with these little figurines.
We then learned the part of the Midnight Praises of the song of the Three Youths.
One of our favorite Bible characters is Moses. We love his humility and passion for the people he was leading. We watch cartoon movies about his life. We have tried to memorize the Ten Commandments. We also learn the parts of the Midnight Praises about the crossing of the Red Sea. We also act out parts of the story of his life.
Using this book as our guide, we created our own little book about the life of St. Mina. It was fun to draw, color and write out the story of his life.
We are in the process of making a little book about St. Demiana’s life. It is based on this book.
After we read his story and learn about his life from the Synaxarium, my son built a monastery out of legos. He built the church, the cells for the monks and other parts of the monastery.
There are some amazing activities out there about the Great Lent. Here are a few things we have done the past few years:
- Created this poster and have kids cut out pictures from magazines of things they will “do more” of and “do less” of during the fasting time.
- Made a picture calendar of the Sundays of Great Lent.
- Used this idea to create a Treasure Chest of treasures or good deeds children can do to store their treasures in Heaven.
- For older children that can read and write, we filled in this worksheet of their Great Lent plan for fasting.
There are many activities that are so much fun for Holy Week and makes this week alive to the children as they follow the last days of Christ before the crucifixion.
- Lazarus raised from the dead – fun activity involving toilet tissue!
- Holy Week Passport – it is slightly different from our week so we just added blank pages for our days and drew the picture and changed the days of the other days (i.e., marked out Tuesday and wrote Monday).
- We have done something similar to this Holy Week Calendar. Only we make it more of an outdoor hunt – and the kids look for palm leaves (or any leaves) for Palm Sunday, a real stone for the tomb, real coins, and other objects to stick onto the days of the week.
- During Pascha services, my older son reads his Bible and other books about the cross and Jesus to read and meditate on during the longer hymns.
- We watch cartoon movies about the life of Jesus, especially from Palm Sunday until the Resurrection. This movie is one of my son’s favorite movie.
- There are some great Holy Week resources for kids and teens (and even adults too!) from my good friends at STSA Church.
- My friend and blogger, Tasoni Laura, has so many wonderful Holy Week resources at Coptic Dad & Mom.
- When we celebrate the Resurrection, we love to use these cute plastic eggs called Resurrection Eggs. We even let the kids open the eggs and say the story.
Object Lesson on Obedience
When we are learning various topics or character traits we would like to focus on, we look up verses in the Bible and find object lessons about the topic. This science experiment was a fun activity we did to teach the point on obedience. We also discussed Noah and how obedient he was.
We love the story of St. Nicholas and his generous life. We read his story from the Synaxarium. We have made Christmas ornaments with his picture (or any saint) on it. There are a few movies that we love to watch about his life. Although the Veggie Tales one does not show St. Nicholas as a Bishop, my kids love the movie. We also like this one you can find on YouTube. There are a lot of resources that I love to use from this website dedicated to this wonderful saint. I have shown this documentary to our Youth group that was featured on the Coptic Youth Channel.
And to show how much we love to give like St. Nicholas, our children buy and donate their toys and clothes. They distribute these gifts along with food to the poor communities. At their homes, we share the Bible with the children and pray.