Let your children know the history of special days or the reason for celebrations. God commanded His people to do this in Joshua 4:20-24: At Gilgal Joshua set up the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan.  He said to the people of Israel, “In the future when children ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’  the children should be told that Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.  The Lord your God dried up the Jordan ahead of you until you had crossed, as he did to the Red Sea until we had crossed.  The Lord did this so that everyone in the world would know his mighty power and that you would fear the Lord your God every day of your life.”
We are familiar with February 2 being called Groundhog Day. But did you know it is also called Candlemas? It is celebrated forty days after the birth of Jesus Christ. In Luke 2:22-35, it is recorded that Mary and Joseph took infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for the ritual purification of Mary after childbirth and in order to present their first born which was required by the Law of Moses. As they presented Jesus to Simeon, he prophesied: “Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of manyhearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
Celebration of Candlemas Day began by Roman Catholics with lighting candles and parading through the streets as a commemoration of the presentation of Jesus and the prophesy of Simeon. German immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to America in the 18th century.
But where does Groundhog Day come in? Candlemas occurs half way between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. Ancient thought was that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime on this day. Traditionally, it was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. But if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal “sees its shadow,” it must be sunny, so more wintry weather is predicted.
So now you know and can tell your children. Be sure and read Luke 2:22-35 and tell in your own words about Jesus going to ‘church’ for the first time. Then just have some fun with groundhog crafts:
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/popuphog/ (my personal favorite!) Sing this song Mr.-Groundhog when you finish this craft.
Presidents’ Day is intended to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are both in February. Their birthdays were observed separately until 1971 when Congress decided the two would be combined into one national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.
This is a great time to teach your children about the godly character of these two men. God tells us to remember how He dealt with our ancestors: 1 Cor. 10:1 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea.
Tell them about the truthfulness of George Washington even as a young boy in the story of the cherry tree. Here is a site that tells the story and has printable coloring pictures:
George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.” These are good rules to teach your children. This site depicts them in cartoons.
Read at this site and then share with excitement in your own words about how God divinely protected George Washington during the French and Indian War. You can read the entire account of this in the book The Bulletproof George Washington
Tell your children why Abraham Lincoln became known as ‘Honest Abe’. Read about it here and get printable coloring sheets as well.
Read this article about the faith of Abraham Lincoln. This is what he said before the Battle of Gettysburg” . . . oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His, and our cause His cause . . . Then and there I made a solemn vow to almighty God that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And after that, I don’t know how it was, and I cannot explain it, soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul. The feeling came that God had taken the whole business into His own hands, and that things would go right at Gettysburg . . .” from Abraham Lincoln: The Man & His Faith
Here’s an excellent interactive site for both presidents.
We can use this day to pray for our current president and leaders as well. They have been placed in their position by God: Daniel 2:21 He changes times and periods of history.He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. Download this coloring sheet that gives suggestions of what to pray for our leaders.
Children learn —
10% of what they read
20% of what they hear
30% of what they see
50% of what they see and hear
70% of what they say in their own words
90% of what they say while they do something
With this in mind, we should provide learning opportunities which incorporate seeing, hearing, saying, and doing. The Here A Little, There A Little lessons on this blog are designed to teach a Bible verse using as many senses as possible.
Some interesting statistics:
Children can recall 3 hours later 70% of what we tell them, and only 10% of it 3 days later.
They can recall 3 hours later 72% of what we show them, and only 20% of it 3 days later.
Children can recall 3 hours later 85% of what we tell and show them , and 65% of it 3 days later.
“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives.  His preaching will turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
I believe this sums up what to look for in any ministry. God’s plan is to work in children’s lives through the parents. Anything that tries to do otherwise is wrong. Don’t let anyone rob you of the joy of leading your child to Christ, or training your teenager in spiritual matters, or being the wise counselor for your adult children. Find a church that understands this. Luci West so aptly expressed this in the Dudley Baptist Church Children’s Ministry Statement: “partnering with parents to lead their children into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”. This is done by making sure the parents have the resources and the training they need to lead their children.
Not only does Malachi point out that the preacher was to turn the parents’ hearts to the children, but it is just as important to turn the children’s hearts toward the parents. For example: the Youth director should not be getting the youth to rally around him, but should be continually pointing them toward their parents, just as the pastor’s goal is not to have the people dependent on him but to continually point them to a personal daily relationship with their Heavenly Father.
The message in this Scripture appears to be very serious in God’s eyes. Look at the consequences of not turning parents and children toward each other – a curse on the land. Hmmm.
Hear these stages explained in a sermon by Dr. Billy Daws Fathering and Family
Seven Basic Stages of Life
1. Foundation Stage - (birth through 6)
Focus on Discipline
Mother primarily works with child during this stage. Father’s responsibility is to keep mother happy.
2. Training Stage (6-12)
Focus on Information
Father has the important role in this stage. Begin Life Notebook
3. Skill Stage (12-20)
Focus on Self-Control
4. Apprenticeship Stage (age 20-30)
Focus on Serving
5. Ministry Stage (age 30-50)
Focus on Ministry
6. Counsel Stage (age 50 to End of Life)
Focus on Guidance
7. Heritage Stage (Left to Others after Death)
Focus on Written and Living Epistles
We have had our four children in Christian school, public school, and home school. We started home schooling when the youngest began kindergarten and the oldest started 10th grade. They all went on to college; three have bachelor degrees; one has an associate of arts degree and is presently working on a bachelor degree.
Recently, someone who is starting to home school in the fall, asked about socialization when you home school. This is the number one question people ask when the subject of home schooling comes up. My answer is that socialization is not always a positive thing. What about the negative behaviors that children pick up from one another?
When you home school, you have more control over who your children socialize with. We always enjoyed having friends over to our house. While still having them socialized, we could monitor any negative socialization going on and deal with it immediately before a bad behavior took root. Sunday School and other church activities provided the majority of our children’s socialization. There were also extracurricular activities such as ball, dance, etc.
Whether we home school, use public school, or send them to Christian school, our responsibility as parents is still to teach our children as we go:
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NKJV)
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Make every situation a teaching moment with your children!!