this year it's this one), followed by hymn study, followed by history, which is Bible centered, and if that's all we get done I try to be satisfied. And with so many little emergencies popping up (does anyone else notice that assembling the children for lessons has a laxative effect on the ones still in diapers?!), that might be all we get through. So naturally, I was quite interested to hear what Charlotte Mason had to say about this subject in the education of children and I wasn't disappointed!
We are apt to believe that children cannot be interested in the Bible unless it's pages be watered down- turned into the slipshod English we prefer to offer them.
We are probably quite incapable of measuring the religious receptivity of children. Nevertheless, their fitness to apprehend the deep things of God is a fact with which we are called to 'deal prudently,' and to deal reverently.
I think that her's makes for an interesting case in regard to selecting which version to use in your school. Might many popular modern day ones just be classified 'twaddle'? Food for thought to be sure!
Children between the ages of six and nine should get a considerable knowledge of the Bible text. By nine they should have read the simple (and suitable) narrative portions of the Old Testament, and, say two of the gospels.
The Old Testament should… be read to the children. The gospel stories, they might read for themselves as soon as they can read them beautifully. It is a mistake to use paraphrases of the text, the fine roll of Bible English appeals to children with a compelling music and they will probably retain through life their first conception of the Bible scenes, and, also, the very words in which these scenes are portrayed.
Children are more capable of being bored than even we ourselves, and many a revolt has been brought about by the undue rubbing-in of the Bible, in season and out of season, even in nursery days. But we are considering, not the religious life of children, but their education by lessons; and their Bible lessons should help them to realize in early days that the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and therefore, that their Bible lessons are their chief lessons.
Read aloud to the children a few verses covering, if possible, an episode. Read reverently, carefully, and with just expression. Then require the children to narrate what they have listened to as nearly as possible in the words of the Bible…. talk the narrative over with them… let the teaching, moral and spiritual, reach them without much personal application.
These words were very convicting to this mama who often will "ahem" or lift an eyebrow to some particular child during the reading of some applicable passage of a sin they're dealing with in their life.
This sort of impression is not to be had from any up-to-date treatment, or up-to-date illustrations; and the child who gets it in early days, will have a substratum of reverent feeling upon which should rest his faith.
The learning by heart of the Bible passages should begin while the children are quite young, six or seven. It is a delightful thing to have the memory stored with beautiful, comforting, and inspiring passages, and we cannot tell when and how this manner of seed may spring up, grow, and bear fruit.