Obviously this isn’t the main purpose of church, but it can be such a great supplement to homeschooling! The children get a lot of fun and age-appropriate biblical teaching, of course, but other than that, they get so many other great opportunities!
One of the main homeschooling myths is that homeschooled children don’t have opportunities to develop social skills. That’s a whole different post, but in terms of this particular post, I will state that church is a wonderful opportunity for children to make friends, practice sorting through conflicts with peers, respecting authority other than Mom and Dad, and learn group behaviors such as standing in line and following teacher directions in a group context. Between Sunday morning church, Wednesday evening church activities, my Thursday morning women’s Bible study, and my regular MOPS meetings, Drama Queen and Mr. BANG have up to four opportunities a week to spend time developing social skills with a core group of children. (And love it every time!)
Another great opportunity is making fun crafts and artwork. I must admit, I’m not a craft person. As they get older and are able to do crafts more independently, we’ll definitely incorporate that type of thing into our homeschool curriculum more. At this point, though, I mainly let them do open-ended artwork with a variety of materials: paint, colored pencils, finger paint, crayons, collage, etc.
The projects Drama Queen did this weekend at church were really neat, and would be easy to do at home. (Which I don’t have to do because she had the opportunity to do them at church! 🙂 ) The first is a picture of Jesus walking on the water, approaching the disciples stuck out on the sea in a big storm. The cool thing, though, is that Jesus is made into a popsicle stick puppet, which the child can move back and forth through the waves. What an awesome idea!
The second project she did was make a rainstorm, including lightening. She said it was from the Noah’s Ark story. Isn’t it so cute?!
I love that these art projects help the kids be able to retell the Bible stories more easily, but I also just love that they get to have fun experiences with artwork!
My favorite “side benefit” of the children’s program at my church, however, is the children’s choir. When Drama Queen started children’s choir this fall, she was very hesitant about it. When I picked her up afterward, though, she was positively giddy! She kept asking, “Do I get to go to choir again?! Did you sign me up for choir?!” She loves it! So at first, I was simply pleased that she was having a positive experience with learning some music skills. Then I saw one of the older children’s choirs perform in church. I was BLOWN AWAY!! These children were precise in their pronunciations, had perfect mouth formations, and were very crisp in their cut-offs. I loved watching their director – she wasn’t just moving her arms up and down and mouthing the words, she was directing! It was without doubt the best church children’s choir I’ve ever seen. In my mind, it compared to the auditioned children’s choir my baby brother was in as a child – and that was a choir which performed in Carnegie Hall!
I was prepared to pay for my children to be in some type of class where they can get some solid music instruction. Now I’m thrilled to learn that they’ll get such a fabulous musical experience for FREE at church!!
What about you? If you’re part of a church, do you feel like your children experience great “side benefits” in terms of instruction you might not feel equipped to give them on your own? If you’re not part of a church, do you have another type of community organization that provides similar “side benefits” for free?