Long Story Short: summary of our weeks on Joseph
Contrary to what my recent blogging record implies, we’ve been plugging away at our Bible lessons as usual. I continue to be so thankful for Marty Machowski’s Long Story Short. During a season of minimal schooling, I am confident our children are still getting a steady diet of Bible knowledge thanks to the thoughtful devotions in this book. I haven’t been doing a lot of extras, just our nightly devotions and a “listening lesson” for during the day, which we primarily use as we drive around town. Even so, as we’ve gone through the last few weeks on the story of Joseph’s life, both boys have learned a lot, and Ian especially has it firmly engraved upon his heart.
The more we read about Joseph, the more in awe I am of how God works in our lives. It really is an incredible story. God took something horrible (broken family relationships, near murder, selling a brother into slavery and deceiving their father) and used it to save countless lives during the famine that came years later. And one of the pivotal events of the Bible, the Exodus, wouldn’t have happened Joseph (and later his family) hadn’t gone down to Egypt.
The story lends itself to so many discussions, and we often used our extra night (the book includes 5 devotions each week, plus we do one night in The Gospel Story Bible, also by Machowski) to read through what the Bible said about pride, trust, forgiveness, etc. I used Parenting With Scripture to easily look up verses on each topic, but a Child Training Bible would also be a good tool. (I just didn’t want to take the time to flip through all the verses to pick out which ones to read with the boys, so Parenting With Scripture was handy because the verses were all laid out on one page.)
Go-Along Books The story of Joseph is found in most children’s Bible storybooks. We read it in several over the weeks we spent on the story, but I also really liked this book: Joseph by Brian Wildsmith. It is a thorough retelling of the story, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. Ian especially liked the hieroglyphics (thank you, Little Einsteins, for introducing them!)
Bible Notebook I have to admit, we haven’t been working on a memory verse, but we did talk about Romans 8:28 so I put it on our Bible notebook page so the boys could review it whenever they look through their books. For the craft, I considered repeating what we did the last time Ian and I talked about Joseph, but I didn’t want both his notebook pages to be the same. Instead I just had them color on coffee filters and then use an eyedropper of water to help the colors spread out. We cut out two wedges for the arms and then bunched the rest up for the coat and glued them on top of people we drew. Ian thinks they look like dresses. I have to agree. At least they’re colorful!
We watched several related videos over the course of our study:
- Joseph: King of Dreams DreamWorks took a few liberties with the story (mostly about the timing of Rachel’s death, how long Joseph was in prison, etc.), but overall our whole family enjoyed watching this together and comparing it to the biblical account.
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat While the cover of the DVD touts it as the “classic family musical,” THIS IS ONE TO KEEP THE REMOTE HANDY ON! We completely skipped the scene with Potiphar’s wife because the costumes were so inappropriate. There were a few other scenes that had some questionable costuming as well but I let them pass because it wasn’t as obvious and Ian didn’t seem to notice. It’s really too bad, because the music itself is very family friendly (with the exception of Potiphar’s wife saying, “Come and lie with me, love,” but since that’s pretty much what the Bible records, I’m not going to complain).
- Veggie Tales: The Ballad of Little Joe Ian has seen this one before, but I don’t think he’d ever realized it’s (loosely!) based on the story of Joseph. This time he definitely caught the similarities.
I had so many things to use in our “Listening Lessons” to go with Joseph. I broke it down and tried to only use the ones that specifically applied to the part of the story we were focused on each week. Here’s a summary of all the things we listened to:
- “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past” from Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Vol. 1 (our “hymn of the month”)
- “All Things Work Together” (Romans 8:29) from Scripture Rock (Vol. 1)
- “Joseph’s Dream” from The Singing Bible
- Gen 37-41 (specific chapters each week) from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing (also available as iTunes podcast)
- “SONG Joseph” from the ESV Audio Drama Children’s Bible from Faith Comes By Hearing (also available as iTunes podcast)
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Karen & Kids podcast episode “Joseph Part 1 &2”
Ian and I closed out our time on Joseph by going to a live theater performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (one we had been assured was appropriate for kids). It’s a fast-paced show, so it kept his attention the whole time. We really enjoyed our special “date” together! Oh well.