Sunday, April 17, 2011

Family Home Evening at our House

Memorable Monday Moments

Heather at Women in the Scriptures is doing a series of posts on "FHE at MY house" and it's wonderful. It's been quite motivating reading about how other families do family night. Each family is unique, yet there are so many common experiences as well. I love the universality, yet individuality, of our church. I'd encourage you to do some blog-hopping. It will really get your own creative juices working.

Family home evening for us has definitely changed over the years (see Evolution of Family Night) yet the principles have remained the same. We gather together on Monday night and start with our regular daily family scripture study and opening hymn and prayer. Then we go through the upcoming week's schedule and share any announcements that need to be made. For several years we had a "talent" portion of our family night where one of the kids would share something, either sing a song, recite a poem, draw a picture, or show a model/creation:

Then comes the lesson, which usually doesn't last very long and includes any activities or games if that's on the schedule that week. Finally we sing another hymn, have family prayer, give each other hugs and kisses, and then eat refreshments. When we're using a "chore wheel" (see Assignment Wheels), our refreshments are much more exciting. There's something to be said for planning ahead.

For the most part our lessons are quite simple, although not always. I guess I try to work on the "I'm always preparing so I can pull something together at the last minute" theory, yet I'm frequently amazed at how much preparation our children put into their lessons when it's their turn. In addition to the scriptures, Duty to God, Personal Progress, For the Strength of Youth and Preach My Gospel have all furnished great ideas for lessons, particular those given by teenagers.


Over the years we've also enjoyed doing a series of lessons - like focusing one on of the ten commandments for ten weeks in a row, or doing the same with the 13 Articles of Faith. This year we went through the Teacher Development Course and that was a great experience. Next we plan on adapting our lessons from the Temple Preparation Seminar. Often our stake president or bishop will issue a challenge and we use family night to accomplish that goal. Of course, the official "Family Home Evening Resource Book" is invaluable.
Some of our favorite lessons include everyone finding a scripture from the Topical Guide (usually on the same subject) and then sharing them with each other (see Vacation Planning), doing the same thing with a game like Boggle (see Letters and More Letters), writing "I Love You Because . . ." notes to each other (usually around Valentine's Day, see I Love You), family service projects (see Service with a Smile), and even attending Monday night school events as a family (see Rewarding Family Nights). Many years ago I participated in a FHE group (see the explanation here) which was a wonderful experience and helped me develop a file of ideas to make the weekly preparation time easier. I'd also collect ideas as I read the scriptures, listened to conference, and paid attention in church. Many times sharing time and seminary lessons were recycled as family night lessons. Often the most difficult part of family night is coming up with an idea. That's why I appreciate the wealth of possibilities that are available. As I flip through books or files or websites, the Spirit can whisper to me what our family needs and how I can adapt it. Go to A Year of Family Nights to see some of what we've tried. (You could also click on the FHE label below.) Early on my husband and I decided that we wanted Primary and Sunday School and seminary lessons to be review classes for our children, that we wanted to be their main teachers. Family Home Evening helped us achieve this goal. We love FHE and know it's an inspired program. Try it, you'll like it!

3 comments:

Heatherlady said...

Wonderful! I love the idea of using the teacher development manual and the articles of faith for lesson ideas! It is nice to hear from women who have a lot more experience than I do.

Annette said...

I loved reading about what your family does! Thanks!

Jocelyn Christensen said...

We've tried doing a small talent portion, I think in a few years this'll be a beloved part of FHE!