How to Stop Abdicating Your Spiritual Role as A Parent

How to Stop Abdicating Your Spiritual Role as A Parent


Reading Time: 5 min 40 sec


As Christian parents we all want our children to grow up to know and love God. We want them to behave well, get good grades, and live a moral life. We believe that if we can only keep them in a church, they will develop a faith that will keep them from drugs, teenage pregnancy, and overall bad decisions.


We quickly fall into the trap of believing that it is the primary role of churches to develop the spiritual lives of our kids. Our feelings of inadequacy and perceived lack of time and energy drive us to make sure our children are being taught about God from the professionals.   


So we jump from church to church desperately trying to find a children’s program or youth group where our child can truly connect.  We find safety in the belief that our role begins and ends with a ride to church and money for summer camp.


This mindset is doing a great disservice to our families.  Studies have shown year after year that parents, (not youth pastors) are the number one influence in the lives of their children.


As a former youth pastor, let me be completely honest with you, it is impossible for pastors to raise children to know and love God because we only have them for an one maybe two hours a week.


There is a reason why God encourages us as parents to take a primary role in the spiritual life of our children. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6  A life with God is modeled for kids by their parents, who live life with them.  


The church still plays a crucial role in the spiritual development of your child. However, it was not meant to serve as the primary spiritual influence in their lives.


So how with all of our misgivings, inadequacies, failures, and humanness do we raise our children to know and love God? 

We are going to be talking about three ways that we parents can serve as the primary spiritual influence in the lives of our children.

1. A With God Life


2. You Are Not Alone



3. Take A Breath



1. A With God Life  


I was engaged in small talk at a birthday party, when another mother interjected, “Oh, my. Now I know where your children get it.” I looked at her puzzled, “Get what?” I ask. “Their manner of speech. They sound just like you.


As parents, whether we like it or not, our children pick up not only our mannerisms, but our outlook on life. When we make our relationship with God a priority it sends the message (louder than all our rants) that God is to be taken seriously. 


Your actions literally speak louder than your words. When you make the choice to spend time with God, to pray, to wrestle with real-life problems with God in front of your children, you are helping to set the foundation for their spiritual development.


In Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Moses tells the Israelites to, “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.


When a life with God is a priority, not an afterthought, not something we work in into the margins of our lives, our children sit up and take notice.  When you live your relationship with God in front of them, you are giving them tools for the rest of their lives.


This can be as simple as natural conversations about God. Apologizing when you have blown it. And treating your spouse with respect.  Our children need us to care and invest in our own spiritual development.  Our life with God speaks louder than all the sermons in the world. Trust me, I should know. smile


2.  You Are Not Alone


Okay, before those feelings of discouragement and pressure threaten to overwhelm you know that you are not alone in this parenting journey. You don’t have to have all the answers (it’s better if you don’t). Woohoo!


God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we don’t even know that our child is struggling, he does. He knows exactly what our children need and when they need it. Our job is to partner with the Holy Spirit in inviting our children into a life with God. He is the one who works in their hearts as they come to know God.


“As they are ready, children construct or form their understandings for themselves, with the gracious presence, encouragement, and guidance of God’s Spirit.” Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May, Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey.


So how do we partner with God? We can do this by creating elbow room for the Holy Spirit to move. We can create opportunities by slowing down and inviting Gods to speak to our hearts, through prayer, quiet, conversation, and reflection.


3. Take A Breath

As parents, we need to understand that children learn by experience, not data. As much as we would like to fill their head with all these facts about God, they need to experience the lavish love of the Father, in order to have a living breathing relationship with him.

And so, the phrase, “Just because I said so” doesn’t work in the spiritual formation of your child. We need to allow them to wrestle with real-life issues. Information about God and the Bible is an important part of our faith. However, at this stage in their spiritual journey, experience is how they encounter a relationship with God.


Children are most like adults in their feelings. They are least like adults in their thinking. More information does not make them think like us.” Catherine Stonehouse


When children have an actual relationship with God, they make decisions of faith. Here are some practical tips to create elbow room for the Holy Spirit to speak to your child. 


 1. When reading a Bible story or passage do not be quick to point out the moral. Allow your child space to think about the story. Trust that the Holy Spirit is planting seeds.


2. Model talking to God like a friend. Trusting him with the little and big stuff of life. All throughout the day. No deep voice required. smile 


3. Spend some time in silence.  Tell your child that you are going to spend some time being quiet and just spend time with God. Remind the children that he is present with them right now.

Pray and Invite God’s presence and allow for a short period of silence (start with a minute). Close with a short prayer.

Talk to your child about their experience. If they didn’t experience anything, let them know that it happens. Tell them that they brought God great joy by showing up to spend time with him.


4. Allow your child to interact with the story in a variety of ways. You can use toys, puppets, food, drama, books, and art etc.

If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 


How To Banish The Fear Of The Boring Christian

How To Banish The Fear Of The Boring Christian


Reading Time: 5 min 45 sec


I fell to my knees, my soul crying out for more than my controlled paper-thin Christianity. I hungered for the life of meaning and significance that King David and countless others in the Bible experienced. I started to cry out my desire to God but something had a stranglehold around my neck.


What if he actually answers my prayer?” I thought.  “What does a deep life with God actually look like?  What will I have to give up?  I’m not sure I want to give anything up. What will my friends think?… What if this God-life means I can’t have any fun anymore?


There are several things that can keep us from experiencing the transforming power of a WITH God life. Fear is one of the key culprits.  It can easily overwhelm us; the loss of control, fear of the unknown, fear of what others think, the fear of boredom. It can keep us in pinned down barely able to move.


I feel bad even thinking this, but let’s be real, what if life with God is actually lonely and BORING?  I don’t want that… Will I be stuck at home reading my Bible while my friends are all out having fun? This is too overwhelming,” I tell myself.  “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”


This war between the desire for more of God and the fear of the unknown can not only play havoc in our lives, but can keep us from living a life of joy and freedom.


So, what do you do when you are afraid to go deep with God because you are not sure you are willing to pay the cost? There are three things about God we need to understand in order to move forward in a relationship with him.


1. A Relational God


2. An Invitational God



3. A Conversational God



1. A Relational God 


The first thing we need to understand is that God is relational. He lives in relationship with  with the Son, and Holy Spirit.  God created us in his image and as such we were designed to live in relationship with him.

We can sometimes have this idea of God where he is distant, harsh, or demanding. Where he is always calling us to account and frankly, he can feel like a killjoy.


We forget that God, while to be respected, created us to live in a love relationship with him.  As a Father, he delights in spending time and giving good gifts to his kids.


In Matthew 7:8-11 it says, “If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So, don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?


When we limit him to a list of do’s and don’ts we are taking him out of the context of a loving relationship.


God showers us with unconditional love and acceptance just as we are today. Imagine living life under a waterfall of his never stopping, never giving up love. We don’t have to get cleaned up to walk in intimacy with God.  We can come to him with our doubts and fears and be met with love and acceptance. How freeing is that?


God demonstrates his love by being present to us every moment of every day. He is a master listener, totally engaged in our every word. He puts out his hand and invites us to spend time with him, to live life with him, while we fold laundry, participate in a 5k obstacle course, and play games with friends.


C.S. Lewis said, “God has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. You are as much alone with him as if you were the only being he had ever created.”


God takes delight and joy out of spending time with you. A life with God is built on the foundation of a love relationship. Every interaction with God, every nudge, every invitation, is God reaching out, loving, protecting and caring for his precious child, you.



2.  An Invitational God 


What’s amazing about pursuing a deep relationship with God is that he doesn’t push or pull you towards a life with him. What can be scary about pursuing God is the fear that our whole life will change overnight. But God isn’t a vicious dictator that forces you to do things you don’t want to do.


Have you ever visited someone’s house who was an excellent host? You walk in the door and they shower you with kindness.  They usher you to a comfortable chair, encourage you to put your feet up, offer you tea and some warm chocolate chip cookies.

As a guest, you don’t have to worry about making a meal, doing laundry, or running errands, you get to completely rest.  How does that experience make you feel?


God is like a gracious host who sees to your every need showering love on you through his words and actions.  He does not yell, demand or cajole. He graciously offers, again, and again. He demonstrates his overwhelming love for us by giving us a choice to say yes to him. Not just one time but countless times but every day.


He asks, “Will you trust me? Will set down your cell phone and be present to me right now? Will you fall in love with me?”


He doesn’t stop there but lovingly challenges us to a deeper experience of him. He wants us to experience the depths of his lavish love. He invites us to live a life of excitement and surrender. When you say “yes” to God you want to follow his leading.


Paul in Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”


When we learn how to live a life of love we experience freedom and adventure far beyond our wildest dreams.


3. A Conversational God 

God is a talking God. He wants to spend time engaged in ongoing dialogue with YOU.  He wants to hear about your thoughts and feelings even if they are scary, overwhelming, and shameful. Nothing you can say fazes him, his love for you is not conditional on your performance.

There is nothing you can do to make him love you any more or any less than he loves you right now.

Prayer is the human response to the perpetual outpouring of love by which God lays siege to every soul.” Richard Foster


He encourages you to have an ongoing honest conversation with him. God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your circumstances, relationships, your pain, and your joy.  He doesn’t just lay down the law and demand obedience he invites you to walk with him towards a life of freedom.


I would encourage you to stop right now and spend some time talking to him about your desires and your fears. 


1. Name the things that are keeping you from going for it in your relationship with God. It could be the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure or that you will feel isolated or bored.


2. Spend a couple of minutes in silence (some find it helpful to set an alarm on your phone for 2-3 minutes). Allow the Holy Spirit elbow room to speak to you by just sitting with God.


3. Finish by asking him for his grace, a deeper desire for more of him, courage, wisdom, and perseverance.


Do not underestimate the power of prayer. “In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He Loves, to will the things He wills.” Richard Foster


We follow a God who is relational, conversational and always overflowing with grace. When fear threatens to stop us in our tracks we remember that we are not on this journey alone. We can stop, name our fears, and take them to God in prayer. As we live in daily surrender he is faithful to draw us into a deeper relationship with him.



If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 

  What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to pursuing a deep relationship with God?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!   


How To Have Time With God When You Feel Awkward

How To Have Time With God When You Feel Awkward


Reading Time: 5 min 15 sec

I tiptoe through the house, and with a cup of steaming hot coffee in my hands, I pull out my Bible and sink down into the couch.  I bask in the feeling of accomplishment that I actually woke up before the sun, ready to spend some quality time with Jesus.  


I glance down at my Bible and instantly feel overwhelmed. Now what? My mind is filled with questions; Do I just start reading? Should I start with prayer? How long does my prayer need to be? Do I need to use a devotional in order for this to count? Should I try opening my Bible and point to a verse?


I know my pastor must have said something about how to meet with God, but nothing is coming to mind and a feeling of desperation comes over me. I stumble through a prayer, feeling foolish. Who knew that having devotions could feel like so much work? I know I’m supposed to spend time with Jesus. But this just feels plain awkward.  I’m at the point where l almost feel sorry for God.  


My bed starts to look really good as my eyes feel weighted down. I start feeling resistant to continuing to try and meet with God. I read a chapter or two from Matthew, mumble a quick prayer and close the Bible quickly. Whew! I feel relieved that I can cross that off my list today. 


A feeling of dread sweeps over me at the thought of having to go through the process again tomorrow.  There has to be a better way… What do you do when no one has ever taught you how to spend time with God?


Have you ever felt like this?  Don’t worry you are not alone. 


The goal as Christians is not to learn more about God (though that is super important), but to develop a deep love relationship with Jesus.  We start developing that relationship by meeting with him each day


There are many different ways and tools that you can use to meet with God. However, we are going to be specifically talking about three practical steps that you can take to experience God every day:


1. Learning To Be Present

2. The Power of God’s Word

3. Pausing To Reflect



1. Learning To Be Present


You are reading your Bible and suddenly you realize that you have been staring into space for the last five minutes thinking about how you need to pick up milk, deposit cash, and  write a thank you card to a friend.


Distractions are a great way to keep us from connecting with God. We will always have something (or a lot of things smile) that our minds want to fixate on.  


For the sake of clarity, God wants to hear about your thoughts, pain, triumphs, questions, and concerns, but if we are not careful, that can quickly become the extent of our relationship.


One way that I have used to be present with God is to realize that the way I come into a time with Jesus is important.


There are times  where I am almost bent over with the mental and emotional anxiety that I am lugging into my time with God.  It could be a never-ending to-do list, a conflict with a co-worker or friend, anxiety about finances, or frustration over past disappointments.  


If I’m not careful, I can quickly become distracted, and find that my thoughts drift over and fixate on my latest conundrum.  As we grow deeper in our relationship with him, our goal is to live in such a way where we are present with the one who is ever present with us. We can’t be with God  if we focused on trying to figure out to solve the latest crisis.  


One of the most helpful steps, that we can take when we meet with God, is to call out the elephants in the room! smile  We can do this by acknowledging our distractions before God and laying them down for a time, knowing that they will be there when we are done.


This can happen through a simple prayer:  


“God, I invite you into this time. My desire is to know you and experience a deep love relationship with you. I feel very distracted by…  I lay my distractions at your feet. I ask that you will help me be present with you during this time. I thank you for your grace and love, Amen.”  


As you find your thoughts drift (and they will) during your time with God, gently bring your thoughts back to him.  God is ever gracious and delights in your effort to hang out with him.



2.  The Power of God’s Word 


The Bible is all about God’s desire to have a love relationship with us.  The purpose of daily time with God is not about learning more about him, but actually learning to experience a relationship WITH him. How exciting and humbling that the God of the Universe desires to have a best friend relationship with us!


There is no substitution for time spent in God’s word. Books, devotionals, and bible studies are great and can be helpful but they cannot replace the transformative power of the Bible. We want to spend this time reading the Bible for transformation, not information.


We want to create elbow room to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives through the power of God’s word. One way we can do this is by reading slowly, reflectively and incorporating silence into our time with God.  


What I love about this approach to reading the Bible is that it forces you to slow down. Your purpose morphs from getting it done, to allow God’s word to transform your soul. This idea sounds deceptively simple until we find ourselves rushing to get through our time with God, in order to move on to other things.


In our accomplishment driven culture, we can so easily turn daily time with God into another thing to check off the to-do list.  We see this come into play with the many Read the Bible in a Year studies. We do need to know the Bible but not at the expense of a living, breathing relationship with God.   


3. Pausing To Reflect

It is important to stop and reflect on God’s transforming word. We want to soak in the truth of the Bible allowing it to run deep within us, transforming us from the inside out.  

We can do this by slowly reading the passage of scripture several times. I have found that Psalms, Proverbs or the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are a good place to start.


1st Time) Read the entire passage.

2nd Time) Read slowly- Paying attention to new perspectives.

3rd Time) Read slowly- Ask God to highlight a word or phrase.

4th Time) Read slowly- Reflect on the word or phrases and ask the Father to speak to you.


Pray and tell God your thoughts. Ask what is the Lord inviting me into?  How can I respond?

You can incorporate times of silence, journaling or drawing to reflect upon your experience.


When you spend time with God: Invite His presence, lay down distractions, read the Bible slowly and reflectively, and spend time in prayer asking the Father to speak to you through his word.


If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 


 What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to spending time with God?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!   


How To Stop Destroying People With Your Words

How To Stop Destroying People With Your Words


Reading Time: 6 min 1 sec

Have you ever walked out of a situation wanting to kick yourself over your careless words? More often than I would like to admit, I leave a situation shaking my head, wondering where those words came from.  Why did I feel the need to shred that person to pieces behind their back? Why did I brag about my latest accomplishment? Why did I think it was okay to make a joke at some else’s expense?


We justify speaking carelessly, using phrases like, “I’m verbal processer,” or “I don’t want to say anything bad about this person but…”.  We use prayer requests as a weapon to eviscerate others while gaining support for our victim status and to satisfy our need for vindication.


We have these images of this picture-perfect Proverbs 31 woman who exemplifies the fruits of the spirit and we wonder HOW ON EARTH DOES SHE DO IT?  It seems like every time we decide not gossip or brag, we last about twelve hours before we blow it.


Is guarding your tongue unattainable? Can we actually live lives where our words are full of grace, wisdom, and life?   Where we can walk away from conversations full peace and without remorse?


Have you ever met those people who seem to glow with godliness? Where every word seems to radiate with God’s presence? My grandma is a person who gives me hope that reigning in my reckless tongue is possible for anyone.  She is a woman who speaks with wisdom, generosity, bringing peace and life into every conversation. You walk away encouraged, inspired, peaceful and hungry for more of God.


So, let’s talk practically about how we can love others well through our speech.

1. Interior Chaos

2. Words of Life

3. Helpful Tools



1. Interior Chaos 


Before we can talk about how, we need to talk about why. Why do we so often speak death over others instead of life?  It could be any number of reasons but some of them might be:


1. The need to make ourselves look good

2.The need to be considered valuable


3. The need to convince others that we are right


We are filled with this interior chaos because we don’t know or truly believe where our true identity is as children of God.


 “Chatter crowds out inward conversation with God.” -Jan Johnson


I experienced this myself a couple of years ago, while I was on a retreat, I was invited to participate in an exercise. From 9pm to 10am, we were to have a time of silence as a way to be present with God, with limited distractions.


I thought, “How hard could it be?” I never realized how much time I spend talking; trying to advocate for my desires, and trying to manage other people’s impressions of me.


The next morning was equally illuminating when I discovered that it is hard to have breakfast in a cafeteria in silence. We are programmed from infancy to exchange pleasantries. I wasn’t sure whether to acknowledge other people or totally ignore them. smile


It was awkward, humbling, and in a way, freeing.  I could sit there and just rest in God’s presence, stripped of my ability to manage others impressions or expectations of me.


I would encourage you to pause and reflect. Bring to mind a recent conversation where you walked away feeling remorse, where you were uncomfortable, or stirred up inside. Remember that God is with you in this moment. Talk to him about your answers to these questions:


1. Why did I say what I said?

2. Why was I so stirred by their comments?

3. Why do I care what others think of me?

4. Why do I feel the need to prove my worth to others?



2.  Words of Life   


My father always told me that the mouth always gets you into trouble, and boy is he (and the Bible) spot on.  I love the Message translation of Eph. 4:29 it says, “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”


We can all remember situations in our past where someone’s careless words devasted us. Can you imagine if we brought the idea that each word is a gift into every conversation?  Understanding that our words can bring death or life to others?  That our very way of speaking is an act of love to others?


When we are intentional in what we say, it cuts out the noise and allows us to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice.  He has a lot to say about the importance of guarding our tongues. I would encourage you to spend some time with these Biblical passages.


Invite God and ask him to speak to you.  Understand that he is with you in this moment.  Choose a passage and read it over slowly. Ask God to highlight a word or phrase. Then spend some time in conversation with God.


Proverbs 10:20, “The speech of a good person is worth waiting for; the blabber of the wicked is worthless.”


Proverbs 10:32, “The speech of a good person clears the air; the words of the wicked pollute it.”


Proverbs 12:6, “The words of the wicked kill; the speech of the upright saves.”


Proverbs 14:3, “Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech evokes nothing but respect.


Matthew 5:33-37, “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.



3. Helpful Tools

So how do normal people walk this out in reality?  This is where spiritual practices and partnering with the Holy Spirit come into play.  Spiritual practices are not some magic formula, they are a way of actively participating in the Holy Spirit’s work in your life.  

As much as we would like God to miraculously give us life-giving speech (though it could happen) he most often uses our daily decisions to transform us into the image of Jesus.  Good intentions don’t form Christ-like qualities, the minute it gets hard we give up.


The beauty of spiritual practices is that they give us a practical structure to actively work with the Holy Spirit in the transformation of our souls.  We have to be intentional. An example of that would be to set reminders on our phones, to remind us to be present.


It can also be helpful to blow our cover to a spiritual friend. God designed us to grow in relationship with him, in community with others.  It can be encouraging and helpful to discuss how God has been moving in your life.


One caveat that we need to be aware of is the temptation to fall into spiritual pride.  Be mindful of your heart motives as you talk about Gods invitation to you to practice a specific discipline.


Shower yourself with God’s grace. This experience will be challenging, and at times discouraging. You will fail, again, and again, and again. And that’s okay.  Ask God for grace, and perseverance to get back up and try again today (never tomorrow).


If you are feeling drawn to submit your speech to God, then I would encourage you to pick one (maybe two) practice(s) to engage with at a time.

Spend some time in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to practical practices. Understanding that you are not committing to use these practices for the rest of your life, but for this season.

The goal is surrender, not perfection. Spiritual practices help us surrender our will to the moving of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we are intentional in what we say, it cuts out the noise and allows us to hear to God’s voice.    When choosing a practice, simple is best.


There is an amazing story about Dallas Willard, a famous theologian and professor who gives us a practical picture of surrendering his speech to God even when it hurts.

In one of his classes, a student challenged him with statements that were both offensive and incorrect. Dallas paused and told the class that that was a good place to end their discussion. Somebody asked Dallas afterward why he had not countered the students’ argument and put him in his place. “I’m practicing the discipline of not having to have the last word.”-John Orteberg


Here are some ideas that might help get your wheels turning:


1. Start your day with prayer surrendering your speech to God. Asking him for his grace when you blow it and perseverance to try again.

2. Practice not interrupting others.

3. Practice being present by truly listening to what others are saying.

4. Be Succinct in order to remove the clutter.

5. Post cards around the house with favorite memory verses or phrases. 

6. Try practicing the discipline of silence.

7. Take a note from Dallas and refuse to have the last word in a conversation.

8. Carry something tactile (a paperclip, hairband, small cross) in your pocket (or purse). Every time you place your hand in your pocket it let it serve as a reminder to surrender your speech to God.

9. Refuse to gossip.

10. In the evening, reflect back over your day. Ask God for his grace and forgiveness when you spoke out of turn. Celebrate the moments where you listened to the Holy Spirit and surrender your will.


Hopefully, these ideas will be a great jumping off place for your own practices. I pray that as you reflect over your motives, surrender to Jesus and actively work with the Holy Spirit that God will help you to love others well through your words.


If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families. 

What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to watching what you say to others ?   Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!   


Amazing And Affordable Curriculum Ideas for First Grade

Amazing And Affordable Curriculum Ideas for First Grade


Reading Time: 10 min 32 sec


I don’t know about you, but I love planning for a new school year.  It can feel like a treasure hunt as I comb through various places to find just that right tool to help learning come alive for my child.  I have compiled a list of my favorite resources for a Pre-K and 1stGrade student below.


As interest-led, eclectic homeschoolers, we seem to thrive on borrowing from all the different homeschooling approaches and blending it up into something that fits our family just right.  (Yes, it does sound like we are the smoothie of the homeschooling community).  


I have found that boxed curriculum doesn’t work for my family. I would find a curriculum that I thought would be a good fit, shell out a couple hundred dollars, only to find to out that I loved the math, was “ehh” about the social studies, and absolutely hated the language arts program.


I came to understand that I know my child, I know their strengths and weaknesses, I know the vision and values of my homeschool, and I have found that I am the best person to hand select curriculum. By choosing your own curriculum, you also get a lot more control over the price tag.


Our goal is to foster a love of learning in our children. We do that by surrounding them with stacks of beautiful books, interest-led unit studies, interesting people, a plethora of games, real-world experiences, and tons of time spent outdoors.


We do use some textbooks, but we don’t feel compelled to finish each one for the sake of completion. We watch carefully for signs of burnout, and might switch to a different tool or resource midway through the semester.


We also try to “teach” most subjects together as a family (with the exception of reading lessons).  My children are close enough in age that this really worked well for our family. I say “teach” because a lot of what we do is very interactive, so it also fits our Pre-K child’s attention level.  I have never put together a formal teaching plan for Pre-K because I found that they pick up what they need to know just by living life. smile


Here is an overview of some of our top affordable curriculum resources for a 1stgrade (and Pre-K) student.  I have only listed the resources that we have LOVED!


I hope this serves as some inspiration for your homeschool adventures this fall! Happy Treasure Hunting! 


1.    Language Arts

2. Mathematics

3. Science

4. Social Studies

5. Bible 

6. Art & Music 

1. Language Arts 

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons


This is such a stress-free, zero prep, way to teach a child to read. This book employs the steady, drip, drip, drip mentality. IT WORKS! I love how this book includes not only reading but writing lessons as well.  Worth its weight in gold! 

Poetry For Young People

This is an entire series, that we have used as a part of our weekly poetry tea times. Each book is a compilation of age-appropriate poems from famous poets throughout the years. The Emily Dickenson book was our favorite.


Read-Aloud Rhymes For the Very Young

This was a fun book that I would use in addition to the Poetry for Young People series as a part of our poetry tea time.  This book really helped to spark an interest in poetry in my children. They found it very engaging and often hilarious.


Cahier d’ecriture-Handwriting

I have always loved the beautiful style of handwriting from France. This book is all in French (you don’t need to know French to use it) and it teaches the fundamentals of great handwriting.  My children have used it a little bit each day and it has so improved their handwriting skills. 



Story Cubes


This is a fun game that uses visual prompts to help foster the imagination and inner storyteller in your child. There are nine cubes with six images on each cube. Each person rolls the cubes and creates a story based on the images. My children have laughed their way through this game.



We read literally hundreds of books, so it would be impossible to list them all. Here are a couple of our top favorites from this past year.


A World Full of Animal Stories

 This is a beautiful book full of folk stories from different countries around the world. This book not only sparked great discussions but also introduced the children to different cultures and ways of thought.  One of my children literally couldn’t get enough of this book. Win!

Favorite Audio Books


Audiobooks are my favorite way of not only expanding my children’s vocabulary but introducing them to great literature. Children can comprehend far above their own current reading level when they don’t have to take the time to sound out the words. Start small with Curious George, Madeline, or Amelia Bedelia, and transition into longer books like A Bear Called Paddington.  I have found that Audiobooks (when you have young children) work really well in the car when you have a captive audience.


Foreign Language


YouTube was our friend this year. We loved utilizing a Year of French with Tonton videos.

2. Math

Logic Lollipop Series

 I knew I wanted a supplement to our many logic games. WOW, these books are image-based, fun and perfect for young children. We actually went through the entire series in one year (there are three books) because my children were obsessed with it. LOVE!



Math Workbooks

We used several math workbooks that I grabbed from our local Dollar store. The workbooks were not necessary (we teach math many different ways) but my kids asked for them, so why not!  They were short, fun and covered the basics of simple math.  You can’t beat $1.00 for a math workbook! 

Life of Fred Series 

Is an amazing alternative to a traditional math book. Written in story form, it follows the adventures of a 5-year-old prodigy named Fred who shows children how math applies to real life.  At the end of every chapter, there are several math questions that pertain to the lesson for your child to answer. My children love this series and beg for more “Fred, Please”!


Here is a list of our favorite math games from this year.

Math Picture Books

(Check out this article for a list of our favorite Math Picturebooks)

  1. Science

The Periodic Table: Elements With Style  

My children wanted to learn more about the Periodic Table thanks to a Magic School Bus Episode on Chemistry. This is a fun book that has one-page profiles for each of the elements. My children loved finding the elements on the Periodic Table each day. Great Resource!

Magic School Bus Chemistry

This kit sparks a love of chemistry. It includes 51 experiment cards and tools, and an observation notebook to record results. You do have to provide some of the supplies. My kids had so much fun conducting experiments. This is a great way to encourage a love of science.




Wildcraft is a group game where players learn how to identify wild herbs. This is a cooperative game where everyone works together to travel to the top of the mountain to collect Huckleberries for Grandma.

Throughout the game, players run into various first aid crisis, and they learn how to identify 27 different wild plants and how they can be used to treat various medical issues.  This a great game that my children have played again and again.

Here are some more of our favorite STEM games.


Here are our favorite shows that spark a love of Science. Animated Hero classics has dvds for a number of different scientists.


4. Social Studies

Around the World Stories

We LOVE AWS! This 30-minute audio story series focuses on a new country and culture every four weeks. It combines geography, social studies, history and language arts in an engaging format that sticks with your children.

This has been one of the best resources I have ever purchased for homeschooling. My children ask MULTIPLE times a day to listen to their favorite stories. You can choose from three different packages (Europe, Asia and Artist series).  It also includes a parent guide for additional resources. LOVE!!


Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book At A Time

 This book is a must-have resource for every homeschooling family. It is an amazing time saving tool that helps you gather the best children’s literature from around the world. It is full of curated book lists that are based on age range (4-12) and organized by country.

Draw Europe

This is a wonderful (and FUN) step by step tool to not only memorizing but learning how to draw Europe. We used this book over a semester and would draw a couple of countries a day. It has been amazing to see how much my child has become familiar with European geography. This is only one book in an entire series on different countries and continents



Travel With Kids

We LOVE this series. In Travel with Kids, you follow a family with two little boys who travel all over the world.  Children are exposed to different cultures all from the comfort of home. My children want to travel the world due to this series.

4. Bible

My First Hands-On Bible

I appreciated this children’s version of the Bible because instead of paraphrasing it actually uses Biblical text.  This was a well-loved Bible for many years.


Praying In Color Kids Edition

Have you ever heard, “But I don’t want to pray? I don’t know what to say? I’m embarrassed to pray out loud?” This is a revolutionary resource for children who want another try another way to spend time with God. 

The author Sybil Macbeth gently leads children in understanding what prayer is, common prayer problems, how to pray, and step by step of how to pray using art.  Love it!


What’s In the Bible Series

These videos are part of a 13-part series that helps kids big picture look at the Bible as a whole. Phil Vischer (the creator of Veggie Tales) pulls out all the stops as he invites kids to wonder, explore and discover the Bible in a whole new way. It is full of fun characters, interesting questions, great animation, and of course fun music.


Nest Bible Animated Classics

We have really enjoyed the Animated Bible Classics. These videos are a great complement to devotional time as they allow children to see Bible stories happen right before their eyes. There are thirty-six different stories and they are geared towards ages kindergarten-third grade.

Picture Books

The Boy And The Ocean

 Oh, my word, hands down, probably my favorite Christian picture book. The illustrations are beautiful, the words are life-changing, and what an amazing book to pull out at bedtime.   The story draws parallels between Gods creation and his vast love for his children.

God’s Great Love for You

 This book is all about Gods overwhelming love for his kids told in such an imaginative way. Written by Rick Warren, the book shows a young girl on different adventures discovering God lavish love. The illustrations are adorable and though the book can be read to girls and boys, the book is specifically geared towards young girls.

Shh… God Is In the Silence

This book is a great introductory book to one of the ways that we hear God’s voice in the silence. In a time where we value filling up every available moment with something, this counter-cultural book reminds us that God was in “a gentle, quiet whisper”.  (1 Kings 19:11-12).

  1. Art-Music

The Amazing Musical Instruments

This book is very comprehensive and is a wonderful foundation for understanding the history and sounds of major instruments.

This resource really breaks down the parts of a classical orchestra into bite-size pieces and allows you to really appreciate the contribution of each instrument.  This is an interactive book that comes with a CD-ROM so you can hear different sounds and songs from different instruments.

Impressionism By Linda Bolton

This is a great behind the scenes look at Impressionism. Each artist has one or two pages full of background info, and samples of their most famous works of art. We would focus on one or two artists a day and then supplement with more hands-on activities. Great resource!



Van Gogh and Friends Art Game

This is a fun memory game that focuses on Post-Impressionists.  We use this as a memory game, although it is designed to be played like Go Fish or Concentration.   It really helps the kids learn the names and works of art of the different artists. It covers Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat, Rousseau, and Toulouse-Lautrec.


Classical Kids Series

This is a phenomenal series!  You get to know different classical composers, through a captivating story set to that composers’ music. This series has helped spark curiosity, and a love of classical music in the hearts of my children.  We listen to this series, again, and again!


Beethoven’s Wig

This is a great sing-along series set to classical music. The lyrics are filled with facts about the composers and are hilarious.  My children can now identify classical music because of this amazing series.

Kids Meet Composers

This cd covers twenty different songwriters and their most famous pieces. Each song starts with a dialogue between the narrator and children, where you learn some history and fun facts about the composer. This is an amazing resource if you are studying various composers.


Picture Books


Anholt’s Artists-Laurence Anholt

This author through fun stories brings to life famous artists throughout history. We have learned so much about art and history from this series. I love this series because the author does an amazing job of sparking curiosity, and a love of art in children.


Katie and Ella Bella Series By James Mayhew 

James Mayhew is another great author/illustrator that makes classical art, and ballet accessible for kids. They will never see art as boring after growing up reading his stories about the adventures of Katie and Ella Bella.  The illustrations from the Ella Bella Ballerina series are stunning. An amazing resource for helping children engage in and love art history.

Drawing Books



 What about you? What are your favorite ways to foster a love of learning at home?  If you try any of these resources, let us know! Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Workon Pinterest!



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