“Your Children: What Are They Learning in Church? How Can You Help?” Ensign, Sept. 1974, 85
As your child participates in Church programs, what is his most valuable learning resource? Have you ever thought it could be you? The prophets have stressed the overriding importance of the parents’ role. Parents can be the most influential teachers children have. So by working as a team with our children’s Church teachers, we can supplement and reinforce the classroom learning experience in a way no one else can.
A good attitude is a good foundation to give our children, and it’s one best taught by example. When Dad says how grateful he is for Sunday School, when mom expresses her appreciation for Relief Society, children remember. Later, they are likely to reflect these same attitudes. Children need to hear our testimonies of the various Church programs and see loyalty demonstrated in both words and actions.
Have you thought about how important a good teacher-child relationship is to successful learning? There are many “extras” you as a parent can do to aid both your child and his teacher. Introduce three-year-old Cindy to Sister Adams ahead of time, and she’ll move into her first Primary class more easily. Invite Brother Larson, the Scoutmaster, to your home so your son can get to know him in a more informal setting. Don’t wait until the teacher reports discipline problems to discuss classroom behavior. Instead, stress to your children the positive aspects of helping a teacher, such as participating in class, being reverent, and being on time.
Take time to meet with your children’s teachers. One interested mother initiated a meeting in her ward where her son’s Sunday School teacher explained the year’s course material to parents. Following this with occasional parent-teacher conferences gave the teacher a better understanding of her students and provided parents with additional information to aid their children at home.
Does your child have a course manual available, or can you borrow one from the meetinghouse library? If so, look through it and become familiar with main concepts so you can strengthen them in your home. For example, the accompanying chart shows that your seven-year-old will discuss the first four principles of the gospel in both Sunday School and Primary this year. (The correlated programs guarantee that the two auxiliaries reinforce each other.) Knowing this can help you plan to use these same concepts in your home.
Family home evenings are excellent opportunities to encourage your children. Use 12-year-old Steve’s presentation of the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon to supplement a lesson on prayer. Have Dan and Nancy, who are studying the Articles of Faith, give a lesson on the Godhead. In large families where several children are covering similar material, such as the life of Christ, let them prepare a series of special lessons. It’s exciting to share ideas in a family setting. Reports from all family members on what they have been learning not only increase everyone’s knowledge but give children a sense of worth as they help others learn.
Base some family activities on your children’s lessons. Let Janice demonstrate the embroidery techniques she is learning in Primary, or have big brother Mike show off some of his fire-building skills from Scouting. Younger children can share activities from class such as songs and simple games. Schedule a family service project to clean up Sister Wilson’s yard or entertain children at the hospital when related ideas such as helping others and loving our fellowmen are covered in class.
Try some family projects utilizing lesson materials. One family broadened its understanding of the scriptures by having each person memorize a scripture each week from a lesson he had enjoyed, and then having them share it during dinner on Sunday. Another family encouraged the children to keep a journal where they record something Significant they have discussed in a class. These journals are learning experiences now and also provide an early start on a personal history filled with spiritual experiences, sure to be a cherished possession in the future. A “Family Perfection Program,” where each member challenges himself every week or month to work on a principle from a lesson, helps one family use class material to improve their own lives.
When Jenny is asked to speak in church, why not have her draw upon class material as a basis for her talk? If you are aware of lessons being taught, you can be ready throughout the year with testimony-building stories and examples.
Your actions and interest are vital in helping your children take full advantage of their classes, so they can apply the gospel, not just learn about it.
I Have a Heavenly Father
Children will discuss the purpose of families, the beauty of the earth and God’s creations, and the blessings the Lord gives to the world.
We Learn about Our Heavenly Father
The lessons cover God’s role in planning for man and creating the earth, each individual’s importance, and how learning to make correct choices shows love for him.
My Heavenly Father Loves Me
The lessons deal with God as a real person, the guidance of commandments, and his blessings. The children learn to show love to others.
We Learn about Our Savior
These lessons emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ, our relationship to him, and the love he has for each person.
Membership in His Church
The children prepare to become responsible members of the Church through lessons on faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and other basic principles of the gospel.
Come Follow Me
Basic gospel concepts such as honesty, forgiveness, fasting, the sacrament, and the priesthood are covered for this age group.
Epic of the Latter-Day Saints
A brief history of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith is presented. Modern-day programs such as welfare, family home evening, and genealogy are discussed.
Fundamentals of the Gospel
Merrie Maids A
Articles of Faith 1 through 4 and 7 through 9 are used as the basis for these lessons.
In addition to the Articles of Faith, the girls learn embroidery and crocheting and plan special parties to honor their parents.
The Articles of Faith are also discussed here. The boys participate in camping and crafts programs, and plan some of their own activities.
Living to Be a Light to the World
Merrie Maids B
Articles of Faith 5, 6, and 10 through 13 are studied and discussed by the class. Preparation for the priesthood is emphasized.
Girls will memorize the Articles of Faith and study them further. They will learn how to knit, and they will plan several parties and activities.
Boys will prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood through their study of the Articles of Faith. As they begin the Scouting program, they will have many camping and outdoor activities.
Young women ages 12 to 18 will be assisted in keeping themselves spiritually aware and in tune with God; maintaining physical health and vigor; keeping in touch with the world of nature; searching for truth and knowledge; perfecting the skills and attributes of womanhood; homemaking; compassionate service; cultural, social, and personal refinement; and being of service to God and others.
The following emphasis is given in specific age groups:
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is the student’s manual in learning gospel principles.
Discovering her world and her place in it.
History of the priesthood, duties of a deacon, setting goals, and maintaining high personal standards will be covered.
The boys follow the national Scouting program, with emphasis on campouts, outdoor activities, personal achievement, and athletics.
The Way, the Truth, the Life
The life and mission of Jesus Christ from the New Testament will be presented as it applies to the lives of the students.
Her place in a group, family, friends, church, and mankind.
Duties of a teacher, Church government, service projects, planning for the future, family life, and morality will be discussed.
Athletics, service projects, summer jobs, the Word of Wisdom, dating, and communication will be discussed. Also receiving emphasis will be sports and outdoor activities.
My Religion and Me
This course seeks to answer questions such as “Who am I?” and covers ideas such as personal revelation and eternal life.
Goal-setting, leadership skills, dating.
Magnifying priesthood callings and preparing for a mission and the Melchizedek Priesthood will be covered, along with honoring women and being of service.
Along with participating in many outdoor activities, camping trips, and “super-activities,” the boys will discuss careers and dating.
All students except released-time seniors will be studying the Book of Mormon. A new program designed to increase each student’s testimony of Jesus Christ will be introduced, using an in-depth study of stories from the Book of Mormon. Ways to relate these ideas to the lives of students today will be discussed. Each student will be encouraged to establish his own study program.
Senior students who have already completed the Book of Mormon course will study the Old Testament, including ways to apply teachings of the scriptures in their lives.
This is an adult age group. Their coursework in Melchizedek Priesthood, Relief Society, and Sunday School parallels or approximates coursework studied by parents, thus presenting excellent opportunities for gospel discussions in the home. In addition to these lessons, the many activities and classes in the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA and in the institutes of religion provide other opportunities for gospel learning and growth.
In His Footsteps Today
Lessons systematically cover the life and teachings of Christ, giving guidance and direction in developing perfection.