Monday, November 29, 2010

Tithing FHE Lesson

NOTE:  If you're looking for our family blog, go here.  This blog is now 100% FHE lessons and parenting topics.  :)
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Just in time for tithing settlement....


I love the one-of-a-kind tithing wheel that goes over what our tithing is used for and I love the sweet story about Emma who isn't sure her small amount of tithing will make a difference.  Your kids will love the ice cream game to help them practice figuring out what 1/10th is and you will love how smart your kids are when the bishop starts asking them about tithing during tithing settlement!




Click here to view the index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons (with a new one published most Mondays).


Tithing FHE Lesson                                                            

And here's a bonus activity that my kids love when we learn about tithing.  I thought it was a little much to include in the lesson, so I've made it a separate document, so you can print it off if you want.  It's a cute activity from the June 1999 Friend (before they started posting their pictures/activities online). 

Tithing Around the World                                                            



PS For optimal printing performance, it is best to create a free account with Scribd.com and download the PDF file before printing. As always, feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you are having troubles viewing or printing these lessons. I also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future lesson topics. 


It has been brought to my attention that some of my older lessons have been moved into the Scribd archives, which means that you have to pay a fee to download them.  The fee is nominal ($5 to download as many lessons as you want in 24-hours), but if you'd like me to send one or two of them to you as an email file let me know.  Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection (30+ minutes to upload each lesson), I would not be able to email more than one or two lessons to you, but I'd be happy to do it if you let me know.  


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Faith and Courage: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego FHE Lesson

NOTE:  If you're looking for our family blog, go here.  This blog is now 100% FHE lessons and parenting topics.  :)
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Another note:  I will probably be a little more sporadic in posting these lessons over the next few weeks during the holiday season.  I'll post what I can, but I anticipate not being able to do so every Monday.  


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  I love this story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their faithfulness and courage while their lives were in mortal danger.  I think that it's important for kids to know that most likely they will never be placed in a life or death situation in defending their faith, but that the spiritual battles we face every day are every bit as dangerous to our eternal lives as a fiery furnace would be to our mortal lives. 

I also find it very interesting to ponder on the story of Abinadi in relation to this story.  They were both faced with very similar trials of their faith, but each had a very different outcome. It may be a fascinating discussion for older kids to talk about the differences, emphasizing that  Abinadi was no less faithful than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but that the Lord simply had a different overarching plan in place.  

Click here to view the index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons (with a new one published most Mondays).

Faith and Courage: Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego  FHE Lesson                                                            


Here are the videos I mentioned in the lesson: 

Retelling the story:





A fun song:


Goofy: 


PS For optimal printing performance, it is best to create a free account with Scribd.com and download the PDF file before printing. As always, feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you are having troubles viewing or printing these lessons. I also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future lesson topics. 


It has been brought to my attention that some of my older lessons have been moved into the Scribd archives, which means that you have to pay a fee to download them.  The fee is nominal ($5 to download as many lessons as you want in 24-hours), but if you'd like me to send one or two of them to you as an email file let me know.  Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection (30+ minutes to upload each lesson), I would not be able to email more than one or two lessons to you, but I'd be happy to do it if you let me know.  


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tips For Starting Your Own FHE Lesson Exchange Group

Over the years, I've been in several FHE lesson exchange groups with a myriad of different people.  Each one was different and had their own "personality", but I have found that there are certain common elements that are the likeliest to result in happy participants.   Here are a few tidbits I have learned over the years.

First, you need a strong leader.  

You will need someone who is excited about family home evenings and who is willing to take the effort to make the group successful.  They will need to be able to call a planning meeting, send email updates regularly,  communicate expectations, enforce the deadline, and, in general, keep on top of keeping the group running smoothly. 

Second, set up your expectations and make sure everyone clearly understands them.  (see below for specific things to include in your expectations)

  I think many people are afraid to take charge in a situation like this and don't want to act bossy, but I absolutely believe that it's the single most important thing you can do to make sure that people are happy with their experience in the group. Call it being a benevolent dictator. 

It's not about telling people exactly how to do things, but rather letting them know what the expectations are so that everyone is on the same page.  In loosely structured groups where specific guidelines aren't given, you tend to get a broad spectrum of quality.  Some people will knock themselves out with lots of laminated visuals and hours of research and others will print some outline off the internet the night before with a 1-inch fuzzy picture.  It isn't really fair for either participant and the person who did little work will feel guilty, while the ones who put in hours and hours of work will feel gypped.  Guilty or gypped--neither is great for repeat participation or happy members. 

You can't assume that everyone has the same idea about what entails a good lesson, so it is essential that you communicate it from the VERY FIRST MEETING.  Type up the expectations in a concise manner and distribute them to every member.   Make sure new members receive them before deciding whether to join or not. (SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFIC THINGS TO CONSIDER IN CREATING THE GUIDELINES)

Third, make the deadline firm--without exceptions.  
 I may come off as heartless on this one, but I've been in enough exchanges when I say absolutely that the deadline needs to be firm.  Of course, there will people who have conflicts and may not be able to attend the exchange, but they will need to make the effort to get their lessons there ahead of time (and to pick up their lessons afterward).  If someone does not have their lessons done in time for the exchange or does not make the effort to get their lessons there DO NOT, I repeat do NOT, start making accommodations or holding lessons or hold someone responsible for distributing theirs later.  It sounds simple at the time, but trying to track people down at a later time to distribute late lessons is always a pain and is completely inconsiderate to the people who did it what it took to make the deadline. 

My experience shows that if the deadline is loose, there will always be someone (often the same person time after time) who inconveniences everyone with their procrastination/lack of preparation.  You do not need this extra stress in your life and it sets a precedent that will be very difficult to keep up with.  

 If you simply say that the lessons absolutely MUST be there the night of the exchange or the person does not get to participate you will save everyone a whole lot of trouble. Simple as that.  It's not cold-hearted, but rather fair and compassionate for the rest of the group who has made the effort to get it done on time (and frankly for the procrastinator who knows it's a firm deadline).  In the groups I participated in,  where this was expected, there was never, in 3+ years, a person who missed getting their lessons there.  

If there is someone in the group who has a true emergency (like a death in the family or a large medical issue), then consider asking the members of the group to donate their lessons as a service, rather than waiting for that person to recover or excluding them from the group. 

Finally, enjoy the lessons and use them. 

Consider them a treasure of take good care of them.  Find a filing system, so you can find what topic you're looking for quickly.  Be cautious about loaning them out. I've learned this the hard way.  If you do loan them out, consider a checking out system where you keep track of the person (and date) of when the lesson was lent.  I'm still sad about some of the lessons that were never returned to me and I have no memory of who I loaned them to several years ago.  

I've heard people say that their kids outgrew the lesson packets, but I'm a firm believer that these lessons can be used well into the teen years.  Now that we have a wide range of ages (5-15) we still use the lesson visuals and outlines as a starting point and often finish with a whole new focus.  I've used parts of lessons for primary lessons, sharing times, and even YW lessons.  Visual aids, object lessons, and real life applications never go out of style.  I plan on keeping mine for many years and passing them on to my own kids someday.  :)

More tidbits and some things to consider when constructing your expectations:

What to include? 
What to include is up to you and the personality of your group.  I've been in groups where people wanted shorter, simpler lessons and other groups where it was expected to jump through rings of fire to participate.  My favorite group was a happy medium.   We had a communicated expectation that each lesson would at least include a story (or scripture story) with visuals and some kind of activity/game/object lesson with visuals.  Visuals would be colored and laminated.  Lesson outline would be typed and in  a sheet protector.   Small pieces would be kept in ziploc bags.  Black and white originals (see below) would be included.   It took time and effort, but at the end they were  well-rounded lessons and still among my most loved and well-used lessons.  

Age focus. 
I have found that an elementary school focus is about right.  They can be simplified for preschool aged kids and discussed in more detail for teens.  Lessons could also include enrichment ideas for ways to adapt to younger and older groups. 

B & W originals? 
Again, totally up to your group, but I really like having the black and white originals.  I've had pieces get lost or destroyed by a young child, and I liked being able to go back and recreate it.  

Laminated or not?  
It's up to you and your group, but I feel like having them laminated as part of the exchange is something you won't regret.  Some people will have to borrow laminators to make it happen, but after putting so much effort into  creating the lessons, it's really, really, really nice to have them already durable and totally ready to go. 

Colored? 
This sounds silly, but if it matters to you, then communicate this.  I was in a group where it was required that things were colored the color they were supposed to be, rather than people copying black and white visuals onto colored cardstock.  Although it is more work and expense to make color copies (or hand color them), I actually really liked this requirement, because the visuals are way more fun and interactive for the kids when they're colored correctly.   Again, if you don't communicate this specifically then be prepared to accept a variety of ways. 

Paper?
Do you want all visuals to be printed on cardstock for increased durability?  What about outlines? Tell them what is expected.  I personally recommend hands-on visuals always be printed on cardstock (then laminated).  Outlines can go either way.

How to store? 
 Manila envelopes are probably the easiest to file and having them be able to be clasped shut is nice for not losing pieces.  
Parts of the lesson with small pieces should be stored in small ziplocs and/or in sheet protectors. 

Labels?  
It's nice to have this be a part of the requirement.  Make sure labels include the title of the lesson, what parts are inside, what materials need to be gathered, and who created the lesson. 

Reminder emails.  
A leader should be sending regular emails, reminding them of the upcoming date and giving people encouragement and enthusiasm.  I have found that reminder emails are huge for conveying the seriousness of the due date and making it harder for people to "forget" what they signed up for.  Send a weekly email  starting a month before the deadline and at least one or two the same week reminding them of the upcoming meeting. 

How often to hold the exchanges? 
I have found that quarterly meetings are the best for keeping happy participants.  More often than that can get overwhelming quickly and less often and people get out of the routine.  I liked February, May, September, and early November.  It misses the summertime and major holidays and if that's what you always do, people will know to gauge their time accordingly. 

How many people in a group? 
I think anywhere from 6-12 participants is about perfect.  I'd hesitate going higher than that and I would consider making it a set number, so people know how many lessons to plan on for the future.  I often was working on lessons several months in advance and I really liked knowing how many to count on.  Make a waiting list when your group is full. 

Topics? 
Do you want it to be whatever random topic people think of?  Or based on the church FHE manual?    Lessons from my index?  :)   
Each group will have its own preference, but I think you get a higher quality when people are allowed to choose a topic that they're feeling passionately about (or feel inspired to share).  Yes, it's possible to get repeats this way, but I don't mind having a couple lessons on the same topic from different perspectives, so I can choose the focus that I want to share with my family.  The few times that I have received lessons that were very similar, I would just give away the superfluous one as a gift.

Feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you have any specific questions about starting your own group.  It is something that was a huge part of my life at one point and I love to share my ideas of which things worked and which didn't.

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See also:
What is an FHE Lesson Exchange Group and Why Should I Start One?
Making and Storing FHE Lessons 

Coming soon: 
A sample set of FHE Lesson Exchange Group Guidelines. 


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Monday, November 15, 2010

I Can Be Courageous Like Jesus Christ

NOTE:  If you're looking for our family blog, go here.  This blog is now 100% FHE lessons and parenting topics.  :)
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Courage is one of those nebulous concepts that seem to belong to other people--to heroes and legends--and not so much to us living our every day lives.  This family home evening lesson is to disprove that way of thinking and make courage the stuff  of daily living.

It starts off by showing examples of how Jesus Christ showed courage throughout his life, then moves on to real-life applications on how we can follow Christ's example in situations we may face.  Every time I give this lesson, I like it even better than before.

Hope you enjoy it too! 

Click here to view the index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons (with a new one published most Mondays).

I Can Be Courageous Like Jesus FHE Lesson                                                            

PS For optimal printing performance, it is best to create a free account with Scribd.com and download the PDF file before printing. As always, feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you are having troubles viewing or printing these lessons. I also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future lesson topics. 


It has been brought to my attention that some of my older lessons have been moved into the Scribd archives, which means that you have to pay a fee to download them.  The fee is nominal ($5 to download as many lessons as you want in 24-hours), but if you'd like me to send one or two of them to you as an email file let me know.  Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection (30+ minutes to upload each lesson), I would not be able to email more than one or two lessons to you, but I'd be happy to do it if you let me know.  


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What is an FHE Lesson Exchange Group and Why Should I Start One?

What is a Family Home Evening Lesson Exchange Group? 
It's a group of moms that are all excited about having more meaningful and creative FHE lessons in their family, so they gather together to form a group to exchange lessons. 

How does the exchange work? 
 Let's say a group of 10 people decide to form a group.  Each person is responsible for creating an all-in-one lesson (including outline, visuals, activities) about one topic.  They make 10 copies of their lesson, including cutting everything out, so that it's all ready to use.  Then on a pre-chosen night everyone meets together,  each with 10 copies of their one lesson and exchanges them, so that everyone goes home with 10 completely different lessons. 

Why should I start my own group (or participate in an existing one)? 
Because each person is only focusing on one lesson topic at a time, you get their full creative efforts for each topic.  In other words, for the time commitment you're getting quite the bargain for 10 amazing lessons. 

Isn't it really time consuming to put together several lessons at a time? 
Yes, if you put your heart and soul into it, it really can be time consuming.  BUT considering what you receive back as "reward" for your efforts, the reward being several weeks worth of well-planned, fun lessons that are ready to pick up and teach, it is well worth the efforts.  I'm the kind of person who would have struggled researching, cutting, and laminating every week just for my family, but I found the pressure of the deadline and wanting to share a well done lesson with the other members of the group, as a very motivating push for me. 

A word of caution.   Do your research before joining a group.  Every group has its own dynamics and expectations and you want to know what you're signing up for before you commit.  If you're forming your own group, think about what elements of the lesson are most important to you and clearly communicate the expectations to anyone that is considering joining. 


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See also...
Making and Storing FHE Lessons

Coming soon....
A Complete Guide on How to Start Your Own FHE Lesson Exchange Group.


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanksgiving and Service FHE Lesson

NOTE:  If you're looking for our family blog, go here.  This blog is now 100% FHE lessons and parenting topics.  :)
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Mondays always used to be my weekend recovery days.  I'd clean up, get caught up on laundry, menu plan, etc. and wait for my kids to come home, all the while putting these lessons together.   This year, however, I've found that Mondays are one of my craziest days of the week.  I'm feeling lucky to get this lesson done today and wondering whether I should choose another day to be my lesson typing/scanning day!  Finally after driving the carpool to Activity Days,  I just ran to the library (with girls still in tow) where I'm uploading the lesson in only 20 seconds instead of 20 minutes at home!  :)  

This lesson ties the concepts of gratitude with service.  The lesson is loosely based on Matthew 25:31-45, where you'll read, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me."   I love teaching my family that gratitude is more than just saying thanks or making lists, but also is selflessly looking for ways to reach out to others.  While big, time-consuming service projects are wonderful, I want my family to understand that it's the small, daily acts of service that can be the most meaningful. 

I hope you'll enjoy "Erin, the Good Samaritan" with its cute visuals and the pictures to accompany Matthew 25:31-45.  My kids loved the service matching game to get their creative juices flowing in thinking of ways they can show service. 

Click here to view the index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons (with a new one published most Mondays).

Thanksgiving and Service FHE Lesson                                                            


PS For optimal printing performance, it is best to create a free account with Scribd.com and download the PDF file before printing. As always, feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you are having troubles viewing or printing these lessons. I also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future lesson topics. 


It has been brought to my attention that some of my older lessons have been moved into the Scribd archives, which means that you have to pay a fee to download them.  The fee is nominal ($5 to download as many lessons as you want in 24-hours), but if you'd like me to send one or two of them to you as an email file let me know.  Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection (30+ minutes to upload each lesson), I would not be able to email more than one or two lessons to you, but I'd be happy to do it if you let me know.  


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Monday, November 1, 2010

Jesus Christ in the Americas: Scripture Story with Flannel Board Figures

NOTE:  If you're looking for our family blog, go here.  This blog is now 100% FHE lessons and parenting topics.  :)
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It's been a fun, but very busy weekend here at our house.  Adam's baptism day was on Saturday which brought family from near and far to join in for the occasion.  It was a beautiful day, both weather-wise and spiritual-wise.  Later that night was our ward's fall festival which brought me to baking pies, cooking soup, and baking cornbread most of the afternoon.  Sunday morning dawned early with a happy little 10-year-old very excited about her Halloweeny birthday.  It was another jam-packed day squeezing in our church callings, Emma's birthday festivities, a big family dinner, and answering the doorbell for the few trick-or-treaters that came our way (only about 12-15 or so). 

Our family has started heading home today and I'm already sad about the "quiet" that's creeping back into our house.  Not that it's really quiet or anything, but the silly Grandpa teasing and the ensuing giggles are quieted.  The conversations with Grandma while snuggling on her lap are gone.  They barely left and we're missing them already. 

Because of the crazy weekend and the fact that the kids are off of school today and tomorrow, today I'm posting another scripture story, which are much less time-consuming to pull together than the full lessons are.  This story and visuals are one one that my friend, Jen Johnson (she moved to Dallas a few years ago and I still miss her), compiled.  I love the fun, whimsical visuals that accompany it (I think the visuals might be from Val Chadwick Bagley). 

Hope your autumn and Halloween festivities have been fun
(and only a little spooky)!!!
 

 Click here to view the index of my other ready-to-print FHE lessons (with a new one published most Mondays).


Jesus in the Americas Scripture Story with Flannel Board Figures                                                            


PS For optimal printing performance, it is best to create a free account with Scribd.com and download the PDF file before printing. As always, feel free to email me at wawadehut@gmail.com if you are having troubles viewing or printing these lessons. I also love to hear your feedback and ideas for future lesson topics. 


It has been brought to my attention that some of my older lessons have been moved into the Scribd archives, which means that you have to pay a fee to download them.  The fee is nominal ($5 to download as many lessons as you want in 24-hours), but if you'd like me to send one or two of them to you as an email file let me know.  Unfortunately, due to my slow internet connection (30+ minutes to upload each lesson), I would not be able to email more than one or two lessons to you, but I'd be happy to do it if you let me know.  


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