10 Reasons Why We LOVE the Come Follow Me Study Guide by Red Headed Hostess

Sometimes a product comes around that is an answer to prayers, and this Study and Activity Guide just happens to be that for me. As a creative person I find myself with ideas swirling around in my head constantly and I was having a heck of a time organizing them all.

So when I ran across this Study/Activity Guide by the Red Headed Hostess, I KNEW that I needed to try it out.

And I am fortunate enough to have received this product free to review for you guys. And oh my goodness… I am in bible planning HEAVEN. So much so that I wanted to share 10 reasons why I highly recommend purchasing this manual!

  1.  There are TONS of places to take notes. This is important, because the Come Follow Me program will work best as you personalize it to your family’s needs. I know as I was studying week 1, impressions would come to mind on how to teach my little family in a way that would be meaningful to them. If I didn’t have the space to jot those ideas down, they would be forever lost on a sticky note or list somewhere. 

2. I LOVE the family home evening planning spaces each week. As you study the scriptures for the week ideas will come to you. Once you have some ideas written down in your notes in your Come Follow Me Study/ Activity Guide you can easily put those together to create a family home evening plan.

I am going to use little sticky notes to add in our Ancestor of the Week. I feel like connections to Family History are important for our family and this is a simple way to make this happen.


3. The dates are on the pages! So you don’t have to wonder when you are supposed to be teaching this with your family.


4. I love the FEEL of the guide. The cover and pages are a nice quality. And the binding is great because you can fold it in half as you are taking notes… making it easier to write.


5. There are some great additional ideas listed for you to use during your family home evening lessons or daily scripture study. They would also work well during morning devotional time!


6. The Study/Activity Guide works great with our existing materials and activities in our blog. The scripture passports can easily be added with the library pouch in the front of the manual, and all the calendars and organizational ideas work seamlessly as well.


7. I love the uniformity of the planning pages. You know exactly what to expect- 4 pages a week, family home evening planning guide, and places to take notes as you study the scriptures.


8. Because it’s an Activity Guide for the entire year, you can go ahead and jot notes down that you don’t want to forget in advance! For example. I have an inspirational easter egg hunt that I want to do with my family. I wrote it on a sticky note and placed it on the Easter Week FHE planning page. Easy Peasy and now I know I won’t forget!


9. The Study/Activity Guide is a great size. Easy to stick into your church bag so you can take notes while you are waiting for Sacrament Meeting to start. I love the idea of reading through previous weeks during Sacrament Meeting as well- what better way to ponder the importance of the sacrament then rereading your notes on His Life.


10. There are going to be additional resources you can purchase that will go with the Red Headed Hostess’s study/activity guide ! Of course you don’t need the guide to use these resources, but it’s a cool extension option that will soon be available.

I wouldn’t wait any longer if you are on the fence on purchasing one of these books… they would make a great Christmas gift for family members and you can start the New Year off with an organized plan on how using the new Come Follow Me curriculum.

Check out the Red Headed Hostess for more amazing products, too! I will be blogging about her darling lesson journal for kids VERY soon!!

Happy TEACHing!

Come Follow Me: Christmas Gift Idea

With the holidays coming up what better way to share your excitement of the new Come Follow Me curriculum than with a journal gift! It doesn’t have to be expensive and yet it will help your family and friends chronicle their learning of the New Testament as they draw closer to Christ.

Materials needed:

JOURNALS

This can be anything from a ruled notebook, sketch book, bullet journal, or binder.

SUPPLIES

Find a pouch and add journaling supplies like pens, markers, stickers, glue sticks, and scissors.

Don’t forget to print off some journaling pages and scripture passports to get them started on their journey!

Add a cute bow and you are all set!

Merry Christmas and Happy TEACHing!


Come Follow Me: Ideas for Mixed Faith Families

I am typing this post because this very topic hits close to home for me. Anna at IvoryBloom and I are hoping that we can share some ideas with you if your family’s religious beliefs are not all the same. I think the key things to remember is RESPECT and LOVE. And building your family foundation on common ground.

Maybe your spouse belongs to another religion or a sibling has chosen not to be a Christian. You can still use the program in your home. Do what works best for you. We can follow the Savior on different levels- even if it’s just pulling out the moral of the story and applying that into our lives.

Click on the images below to download some ideas to help your family navigate the new Come Follow Me curriculum for your mixed faith family.

Some ideas for families with young children:

Remember that Christ loves all members of your family. He will help you as you prepare these lessons to meet the needs of the family that He loves deeply and unconditionally.

As always, Happy TEACHing!

Come Follow Me: Ideas for Teens

The new Come Follow Me curriculum is meant for everyone! Sometimes we come across ideas online that would work great for families with young children. We wanted to share with you some ways that you can make the Come Follow Me curriculum work for your older children and help them to develop a closer relationship with our Savior.

Click on the image below to download an idea sheet from IvoryBloom to help you navigate this curriculum with your teen. There is a great interest survey on the bottom of this printable to help you understand how to better teach your teen.

As always, listen to the Spirit while planning your lessons. Not every child, no matter the age, will learn the same way. God will help guide you as you prepare to teach your family.

Happy TEACHing!

Come Follow Me: Traveling Through the New Testament

Themes can be a great way to make your bible lessons more engaging and fun. “Traveling through the New Testament” would be a great theme that would work for families of all ages. Check out some ideas from our blog and IvoryBloom!

Prepare your family for this learning adventure by printing out the Scripture Passports.

These passports will be stamped (or stickered) off as passages are read each month.

You can use library card pockets or print your own passport holder

Make sure to chronicle your adventure in your travel journal! This will be your personal guidebook of your journey throughout the New Testament.

Pack your bags! Pack special travel bags with journals/ journal supplies and bibles. Don’t forget some travel treats for your journey. 🙂

Use maps! Print out maps of different New Testament locations. Use google earth to zoom in on what these locations look like today. Click on the image below to visit lds.org where you can download this New Testament map. 

Here is a planning sheet that you can print to help you plan your travels through the New Testament.

Have fun on your travels! Happy TEACHing!

New Year, New Testament: Come Follow Me Kick Off Party

What better way to kick off your study of the New Testament than with a New Years Eve party? New Years Eve just happens to fall on Monday, so it makes a perfect family night activity. Just tweak your festivities a bit to include the New Testament and you are ready to go!

Testimony Time Capsule

Our favorite idea is to create a Testimony Time Capsule with your family. Have each member of your family write their testimony and/or their prior knowledge of the New Testament on a piece of paper. You can also have them write questions of things they want to learn about in the New Testament. Place the papers in a container- I used a shoebox we had laying around- and hide it away until the end of the year. At the end of the year have your family members rewrite their testimonies and/or what they now know about the New Testament. Pull out the time capsule and see how their learning has grown!

Click on the image below to download the free printable!

Countdown to the Bible

If you are crazy like us and *try* and stay up until midnight, add in some fun bible activities throughout the night. Make a paper chain countdown with favorite bible verses to read throughout the night. Put together a puzzle of the Savior. Watch little clips of bible videos while snacking on treats. Wear party hats while reading stories from the New Testament. After setting off confetti poppers talk about how God can make our hearts pop with love as we learn more about Him and follow His example.

Remember to make this a fun experience for your family! Anna at Ivory Bloom and I are both so excited to help your families be more converted to Christ. 🙂

Happy TEACHing and celebrating the bible!

“Come Follow Me” New Testament Curriculum 2019: Prep

You might have heard about the New Testament Come Follow Me curriculum the church has released for 2019. Maybe you are overwhelmed about the whole thing and don’t know where to start. Or maybe you are excited and just want more ideas to add to your teaching tool belt. If so this blog post is for you!

We are following the lessons provided in the Come Follow Me manual. If you aren’t a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints it’s OK- this curriculum is for ALL who want to be more converted to Christ. It’s a bible based curriculum and is written for anyone that wants to learn more about Him and His teachings.

First things first, don’t be stressed out thinking you have to do a bazillion new things or that this curriculum is designed for professional educators. This program is designed for YOU. For your family. Doesn’t matter where you are religiously, your family dynamics, or your current knowledge of the New Testament.

In fact, if you look at it closely, it is actually a simpler approach to what a lot of you are already doing. This curriculum is family scripture study and family home evening lessons rolled into one  (with the added bonus of church teachers going over the same topics on Sundays). For those of us who are old enough to remember the old family home evening manuals you know how easy they are to use. This program is similar and aligns beautifully with the New Testament and our goal of conversion to Christ.

In this post we interchangeably use the phrases “family scripture study” and “family home evening” but they both refer to the same thing- a special time each week where gospel learning takes place in the home. We plan on using this new curriculum on Sunday and then spend one day during the week doing an activity that corresponds with the lesson. Do what works best for your family.

One of my FAVORITE quotes by Steven Covey is to “begin with the end in mind”. We ultimately want to begin with the end goal of conversion- no matter where we are individually on our spiritual journey, the goal is simply growing and strengthening that relationship with the Savior.

To help carry out that principle of beginning with the end in mind we find that it helps to have a game plan before beginning the program. This blog post covers some basic tips that can help you plan your year- to ultimately make this the best year of family scripture study EVER!!!

Bible Preparation

Scripture Passports

You are about to embark on a journey of the New Testament with your family. You have your scripture suitcase and your excitement to read … all you need now is your passport.

The scripture passports list each week’s reading passages. Kids can get stickers or small stamps to place on their passport as they complete the weekly reading assignment. It would also be super easy to just color in the circles. Just think- by the end of the year your child could have 12 completed passports that show their adventure with the New Testament.

Click on the pic below to download the Scripture Passport PDFs for January- June.

You can use these passports as bookmarks- easy peasy! You can also place them in cute little library card pockets and place them in little bible books or bible journals for your kids. What is a bible journal? Read on…..

Journals

Our kids might say something like this if they could articulate some of their worries about church:

Mom, I am having a difficult time connecting topics from week to week in church and would really like a strategy to help me make those connections. It would be great to document my learning in a fun way that is individualized and yet can help me remember the scriptures.

We know making personal connections and reflecting on your learning is an INCREDIBLE tool we can use during family scripture study.

And what better way to document all of this than with a cute journal or bible book. 🙂 This will be the place where kids can write questions, summarize the scriptures they just read, draw pictures of their favorite bible stories, add pictures of faith centered family field trips (more info on that at the bottom of this post), insert stickers, cut and paste little charts and information about the weekly topic… whatever works for you and your family!

The goal of this journal is to have a physical reminder of each family member’s conversion to Christ through the New Testament.

Everyone will journal differently, and that’s OK. My husband has agreed to write notes and reflections on a google doc. That is what will work best for him. My daughter will probably include dragon pictures on several pages of her journal and that’s ok- this is a book of her conversion, not mine- and I want to keep this a positive experience and not one where I am dictating my personal opinions.

We will have printables for each weekly theme for your family to use in their scripture journals as they see fit. You can have them make a collage of their favorite quotes, answer some of the questions, … whatever will work best for your family.

To download the introductory journal pages, click on the image below. This will include some printables you can use in your scripture journals before 2019 to prepare for the year. There is also a list of some ideas of what to include in your journal/ supply kits.

 

Connections

We can’t emphasis enough the importance of making connections to solidify your learning. Whether it’s through previous experiences or things that you are going through today, take the time to reflect on how the scriptures and gospel topics connect to you. The scriptures will mean more to us if we can make them connect to us.

Connections to Family History

We can make connections to our scriptures through family history! We are both genealogy nerds and want to share what we have learned about our ancestors with our families. One way to incorporate family history connections in your gospel study is to find a story of an ancestor that goes with each weekly theme. You can place the story and a picture of that ancestor (if available) in a family history binder.

Imagine- by the end of the year you could have 52 stories of ancestors! If you can’t find stories that go along with each weekly theme, share conversion to Christ stories or stories that you feel will benefit your family the most.

Click on the  Family History Binder image below to download the cover.

Connections through Service

You can also make great connections to the scriptures through service! Christ was the ultimate example of serving others. Let Him guide you to others in need of a helping hand.

Allow others to serve your family by sharing their conversion stories with you. Take advantage of grandparents or people in your ward. Be sure to include what you learned in your bible journals. We also had the idea to take pictures of your child with the person they interviewed to help them remember their experiences.

Click on the  January 2019 Questions for grandparents  link to download a list of interview questions. It’s a good idea to share this list first with grandparents or those your child will be interviewing so they can have time to ponder on how to best answer the questions.

Organization

Keeping your ideas organized can make for a more efficient family home evening or scripture time. Believe me- I have wasted so much time sorting through ginormous stacks of papers looking for things. Organization now can be a wonderful framework so you can focus on the meaning of the lesson and not have to worry about those handouts that mysteriously disappeared.

There are several ways you can organize your printables, learning materials, and ideas. Choose a system that works best for YOU. And don’t be afraid to change it up a bit if it doesn’t work for you… For us, organization makes us happy (and partially sane) and so finding the right system was important. But not everyone is like that- you might thrive better when things aren’t so structured and that’s totally ok! Just take what works for you and OWN it!

Here are a few ideas that we came up with:

File Folders

This is a great solution in keeping those handouts, lesson plans, pictures, etc. sorted.

Pros? Folders are inexpensive and store materials neatly. This system allows you to easily add materials for upcoming lessons- you could even organize materials for the whole year if you’re feeling adventurous!

Cons? A lot of extra work if you don’t plan on having handouts or extra materials.

Download the Come Follow Me file folder labels by clicking on the image below.

Plastic Drawers

I love the idea of grabbing our plastic drawer for the week full of activities and journaling supplies, plopping down on the couch, and starting our family scripture time. That’s the beauty of the plastic drawers. They are clear so you can see what materials are inside, they are big enough that you can add some craft materials or a church DVD, and you could plan a few weeks in advance.

Pros? It’s beautiful, organized, and allows you to add bigger items that a file folder can’t .

Cons? Expensive. And there’s not a drawer for every week of the year (that would be REALLY expensive) so you would have to change out contents of the drawers regularly. But it’s so cute that I think it might be worth it!

Download the Drawer Labels by clicking on the image below.

Accordion Folder

This is a great option for those that want the efficiency of file folders but with the added perk of portability. You can easily grab this and carry your family home evening plans without papers falling everywhere.

Pros? Prices range depending on your budget, it’s easy to carry, and you can close it.

Cons?  Like the plastic drawers, there aren’t enough spaces for every week so you will have to update your files every so often.

Teacher Planner

Mapping out your activities and ideas is a great way to organize your thoughts. As you read the lesson each week in preparation to teach your family, impressions will come to mind on different strategies or materials to use that will make a difference. Write these down. The Spirit will guide you on how to teach this curriculum specifically for YOUR family.

Our family home evenings will follow a basic outline- song, prayer, lesson, reflections, etc. Nothing too over the top. Using a simple structure like this each week will help our children to begin teaching gospel centered family instruction.

Click on the Monthly Planner or Weekly Planner links to download the PDFs.

Monthly Calendar

You are not alone if this whole curriculum thing sounds a bit confusing. A calendar is a great way to visually map out when you are teaching each topic and when you are learning about that topic in church. It’s also a great way to add special family activities or service projects during the week that correspond with your weekly lesson.

Click on the image below to download the calendar for the first three months of 2019.

 

Getting the Kids Excited

Your new family home evening/family scripture study curriculum can be EXCITING for your kids! How, you may ask? The first thing is to be enthusiastic yourself. Find something you are genuinely excited about- maybe it’s the extra time spent learning the gospel with your family, organizing the materials, making bible journals with your kids, or helping your kids be more converted to Christ. Let that excitement- however small- be the spark for your family night flame.

Here are some other ideas to spark excitement:

Mission: New Testament

If you choose to do scripture journals with your family, why not make getting their supplies a great adventure!

Prepare your kids by making this activity like a top secret mission. You can create intriguing invitations with manilla envelopes that explain their mission (escape room or scavenger hunt), special security name badges, … all very official to peak your child’s interests.

We came up with a fun little escape room that is sure to get even teenagers excited. If an escape room seems like too much work, we came up with a simpler scavenger hunt that can be used in your home. Both of these activities have the same prize at the end: their new scripture journals or notebooks and supplies.

Click on the image below to download the  Scripture Scavenger Hunt/Escape Room activities.

Tic Tac Toe Boards

Give your family the power of choice while learning gospel topics. A basic tic tac toe board allows kids to choose three activities to complete (as long as they are in a row). Anna had a great idea to laminate the boards and reuse them every so often.

Click on the image below to download the Tic Tac Toe activity boards.

Learning Celebrations

Use the power of parties to make learning fun! Have a New Year’s theme party to kick off your study of the New Testament. Host a little heart party in February to get your kids excited to do service for others. Grab some glow sticks and have a night party in the dark talking about the power of Christ’s light in our lives. It can be as simple as inviting neighbors over and munching on popcorn while watching bible videos.

You may want to have little celebrations with your family as they complete their scripture passports or memorize scripture verses. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

Sharing Time

Teaching is a great way to learn. Give your child time each week/month to share their favorite parts of the lesson or their favorite pages in their bible journals. We plan on having small neighborhood sharing times which will work GREAT for me since my tween is all about her friends right now. I imagine our sharing times like a combination of show & tell and a mini book club. I don’t think it will take longer than 15 – 20 minutes to share and eat treats. Keep in mind what will work best for your family- maybe a community sharing time is too intimidating for your shy child or your teen would enjoy having an online sharing time using social media.

Faith Centered Family Field Trips

Mix it up by taking your family on a special outing to help them deepen their understanding of the gospel principles discussed each week. If you talked about the beautiful earth God has given us- head over to the park or outside in your garden and chat about their favorite things about our world. If you talked about temple work- drive to the temple and walk around the grounds. Stop by the laundromat and talk about how just like washing clothes, repentance can make us clean. While learning about the miracles of Jesus, go to a bakery to pick out some yummy bread (or visit a local fish market) and talk about how Christ was able to feed a large crowd with just five small loaves of bread and two fish. If you are at a loss on field trip ideas have no fear- we will have some suggestions for each weekly theme.

Again, do what works best for YOU. Don’t worry about what the neighbors’ are doing because their family needs will be different than yours. And worrying about keeping up with someone else might prevent you from getting those specific impressions from the Spirit that will help you and your family be more converted to Christ.

Happy TEACHing!


A LITTLE BIT ABOUT US

I am SO blessed to be working with a professional graphic designer on this project. Anna‘s initial enthusiasm for the new curriculum got me super excited (I get easily excited when it comes to lesson plans haha). We are two moms with two different talents who wanted to use these to help you implement this program into your home.


LOOKING FORWARD TO UPCOMING POSTS…..

Here are some upcoming blog posts that might help your family implement the new curriculum:

  • Using the Curriculum with Mixed Faith Families
  • January Activity Plans

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For more information and ideas, visit the following links:

comefollowme.lds.org – this website has pretty much EVERYTHING  you could ever need to start the Come Follow Me curriculum: the manuals, links to media resources, instructions… please check it out.

pinterest – we have created pinterest boards that might aide you and your family in using the new curriculum at home. There are so many cute bible ideas that are out there on the web! We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to our lessons. 🙂

General Conference Puzzle

Who doesn’t love an interactive activity for kids to work on during general conference? I thought it would be fun to make a little puzzle. The plan is my daughter will fill out a few of these during conference talks. She will cut them out and place all the pieces in one baggie. During our next FHE (or in-between sessions) we will try to put the puzzles together- and my daughter can check to make sure we did it right. This will also be a great review for her since she will be checking our work. You want to make sure that there are at least two complete puzzles, otherwise it will be way too easy to put the puzzle back together.

Enjoy!

Happy TEACHing!

LDS Baptism Binder Freebie

When my daughter was approaching her 8th birthday, we wanted to properly prepare her to accept the invitation to be baptized. I had heard of families inviting the missionaries over to teach the discussions so they would know exactly what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think that is so cool! As a former missionary myself I thought I could  teach my daughter the discussions. I wanted her to have a way to be involved in the lessons, so I made some handouts to go with each of the discussions.

We read the scriptures on each handout, filled in the blanks, and then added a picture that corresponded with the topic. It was super easy and by the time we finished I felt she was more prepared to accept the invitation to be baptized.

For the cover of our binder I used my daughter’s baptism picture. In the pdf I am uploading to this post I have created a baptism binder cover that you can use as well.

Most of the pictures I chose for the baptism binder were found on the church’s website. I added some pictures of our family and my daughter in her baptism dress on a few of the pages. You may decide to have your child draw their own pictures. It’s totally up to you!

I am uploading the PDF I created to share with you! Just click on the link, download, and print!

Baptism Binder Freebie

Happy TEACHing!

 

*clipart by Melonheadz, P4 TriOriginals, and Teacher gumbo  *Font by KG Fonts

 

 

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Roots and Wings: Family History Book for Kids

THE STORY BEHIND MY LATEST FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT FOR KIDS

I was a teenager when I had a dream about a little blond girl who was holding my hand as we went on crazy adventures. The dream was so real that I woke up, grabbed an empty notebook, and scribbled it down before I could forget anything. From that point on I always kept my eye out for the little blond girl that I knew I was meant to find. While serving my church mission or teaching a classroom of second graders I kept my eye out for her. And while I was able to help some amazing kids, I never had that connection that I experienced in my dream. A blessing poured in my life when my husband and I adopted the most beautiful little baby girl. I knew pretty early on that she was the little girl I dreamt about. When she got old enough to hold my hand, the memory of the dream would come rushing at me and the feeling of connection was so strong that it shook me to the core.

When my daughter was about 4 she started asking my husband and I to tell her stories of when we were kids. She loved to hear about our ups and downs of childhood. In a way I think that helped her to relate to us. That is when the seed for this project started. I wanted to write a collection of our stories. Stories of how I dealt with embarassing moments or times I was terrified. Stories that would make her laugh. But also stories that would connect us as a family. Stories of how we were destined to be together and the miracle of her adoption. Our stories. Over the years as I became a little more forgetful I would feel that desire to write the stories down, but life was always busy.

Our family experienced some pretty big changes about the time my daughter became a tween and my whole heart desired to give my daughter the one thing that I knew would help her through these adjustments- roots. Because that’s what you need when the ground is shaking. She needed to know not only who she was, but who our family was and what we believed in. She needed to have our stories. She was starting to wonder more about her own biological ancestors. If thoughts and feelings could scream, I was getting yelled at constantly. She needed this gift. She needed her roots.

And she needed another gift that I was beginning to recognize. She needed me to start trusting her with more responsibilities. She needed me to slowly and carefully prepare her to conquer the world from a loving and supportive sideline position. She needed to work on her wings to fly- one feather at a time.

She needed her roots. And she needed her wings. And in true teacher mom fashion, she needed me to put them in a book that she could read over and over and reference back to when life got hard. So I got to work creating a template that we could fill out as a family. A book where we could write our stories. A book where we could write our family’s beliefs and mission statement. A book that we could document our deep family roots with stories and information of our ancestors. A book that would provide my daughter with the confidence and knowledge that she can fly.

A book of roots and wings.

And I thought, if my daughter needed this maybe some other family could benefit from it as well.

This is a book about YOUR FAMILY, so I wanted to give you options when it came time to making your book. There is a hefty appendix section with a TON of additional pages and some cover options. And I am open to suggestions if you have additional page ideas!

This book would be a great family night project. I’d just work on one page at a time, doing your best and putting a lot of thought and love into it. The more love you pour into it, the more meaningful it will be to your family. Encourage your kids to get involved in creating a family mission statement or drawing a family flag. There are pages for them to write/draw their own stories.

If you have multiple kids, I would have them each create their own book. This may be more work to begin with, but each child will benefit from having their own. There are pages for the parents (or check the appendix for other significant loved ones) to write love letters of encouragment to each kid. Kids can also write their own personal bucket list or quotes that inspire them. It’s meant to a personal, individual project. I also think it would be a great idea to have siblings contribute stories and love notes to each other in their books!

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