Tag Archives: fruit of the spirit

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

Well, we didn’t exactly finish our Fruit of the Spirit unit with a bang, but we did make it all the way through, and I’ll just have to be satisfied with that. 🙂 Certain things fizzled out along the way, like our “tattoos,”  the Fruit of the Spirit board game (although we did play this one quite a bit until just recently), and the Memory Match game from Christian Preschool Printables.  As far as the books we used throughout the unit, 9 Fruits Alive by Mindy MacDonald was a big hit, especially with Elijah.  He’s requested it several times a week for the last couple months. Jesus in Me by Dandi Daley Mackall, however, pretty much just sat in our basket after the first couple weeks.  (Truth be told, I forgot about it.  I probably could have pulled it out and they would have enjoyed it.  Oh well.)

For this final week on “Self-Contol,” we really didn’t do anything extraordinary.  In fact, it mostly consisted of videos. {*cringe*} I intended to watch the Pleasure Island scene from Pinocchio and discuss the consequences of doing whatever you want and not exercising self-control.  We may not turn into donkeys, but it’s definitely not good for us and prevents us from being all that God has made us to be.  However, we never got to that one.  We did watch the older storybook animation of the self-control from Character Builders.  I loved this line from it’s song: “Get yourself some self-control or self will give you trouble.”  So true!  And of course, Ian wouldn’t let us get through the week without watching the episode on self-control from our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit.

We read one of Ian’s favorite books from Before Five in a Row, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.  This book was as much a hit with Elijah as it was when I first read it to Ian when he was two.  Both of them requested it several times throughout the week.  We tied it in with the fruit of the Spirit by talking about the man’s reaction and discussing whether or not he demonstrated self-control.  They enjoyed this book so much I might just have to keep it out and do some of the activities from the B4FIAR manual since we didn’t really “row” it this past week. (Post to come!)

Our “Listening Lesson” was shorter than it’s been, mostly because I’ve just about had my fill of some of the songs that we’ve used throughout the unit!  Here’s what made the final cut

I’m so glad we did this whole unit.  It was a great fit for summer.  It kept us in the Word without requiring a lot of planning time, and it laid a solid foundation for deeper study in the future.  I don’t think either of my boys will ever forget the nine traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and we’ve built a lot of fun memories along the way!

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

This past week was one my favorite parts of our Fruit of the Spirit unit.  Gentleness is not something my boys manifest terribly often without prompting.  Having a baby sister (and a mama with a severe aversion to chaos, especially the loud variety) has given them plenty of practice, however, and I am so proud of how well they do at setting aside their nature “rough-and-tumble” nature and putting on gentleness.  Actually, I’m kind of in awe of it.  These boys adore their sister, and my heart just melts every time they snuggle in next to her and start speaking so softly in a higher pitcher “motherese” voice.  Are they always that way? No.  But on the occasion one of them is just too wild and she burst into tears, they are quick to respond and make things right.

We didn’t do a whole lot extras this week.  For Bible, I chose to focus on the idea of the Lord as our shepherd.  We watched the “gentleness” episode on our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit.  And we read Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets, one of the books from Before Five in a Row (though we didn’t do anything out of the B4FIAR manual, just read it several times).  Ian loved this story about a little girl who learns that running after animals and trying to catch them isn’t nearly as rewarding as sitting quietly and being still.  It never uses the word “gentle,” but I think it’s a beautiful picture of gentless, and Ian saw the connection right away.

Because we had memorized Psalm 23 back when we studied David last year, much of our “Listening Lesson” this week was a review:

There is so much more we could be doing with each part of this unit, but I’m content with what we have done.  I wanted to keep being intentional about staying in God’s Word, but at the same time I wanted to feel like we were getting a break.  I know we’ll come back to the Fruit of the Spirit in a few years, so I’m saving lots of ideas and enjoying taking it easy for a while.  One last week coming up on self-control, then we’ll take a week off before diving into our next Bible adventure!

Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

It’s hard for me to believe we’re coming close to the end of our Fruit of the Spirit unit, but last week we finished up faithfulness, which only leaves us two more weeks to go!  To help Ian understand faithfulness, I defined it as “keeping your promise no matter what,” whether that be a promise to God or another person.  To illustrate this trait, we spent time talking about Ian’s favorite Bible story: Daniel in the lion’s den (found in Daniel 6).  Daniel chose to worship and pray to God alone, even when it meant he would probably be eaten by lions.  What a powerful picture of faithfulness!

For our Five in a Row book we spent the week with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, which I wrote about in a separate post.  Mike was faithful to Mary Anne, continuing to work with her when newer and better construction equipment took over most of the jobs.  He even stays with her at the end of the story, when she’s no longer used for digging.  It’s a great demonstration of being a faithful friend.

We spent a lot of time on Mike Mulligan, but somewhere in the course of the week we also watched one of the two episodes related to faithfulness on our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit.

Auto-B-Good Faith Collection: Fruits of the Spirit

Our “listening lesson” was pretty long this week because we included a lot from a CD of  Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel from Maestro Classics, as well as some music from our first “composer study” (post coming on that soon).  Here’s the part related specifically to our faithfulness lesson:

We’re in the home stretch now!  Coming up next: Gentleness.  With two rambuctious little boys, this could be a challenge!

Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

We continued our Fruit of the Spirit unit with another light week because we’d just come home from camping and I headed to a homeschool conference Thursday, but we did manage to spend enough time that it felt like we’d covered goodness.

What is goodness?  I think of it as things being as God originally intended.  I love what C.S. Lewis said about good and evil in Mere Christianity:

“ …badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness . . . Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.” C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, II, 2, para. 10.

“Goodness” and “badness” are not two equal and opposing forces.  If there had never been good, there would have never been any possibility of evil.  “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31.  The only reason we’re not all oozing goodness is because sin entered the world when Adam and Even chose disobedience in Genesis 3.  So when we do the opposite of what they did, when we turn from sin and live God’s way, we are manifesting “goodness.”  What beautiful fruit!

As we talked about it for this lesson I didn’t want to focus on DOING so much as BEING.  But how do you describe the essence of “goodness” to preschoolers?  I liked some of the ideas in the song “Goodness” on the Music Machine: Fruit of the Spirit CD:

“Bees make honey and it sure tastes good. Did you ever smell a flower? Well it sure smells good…”

Auto-B-Good Faith Collection: Fruits of the SpiritThat seemed as good a place as any to start about having God’s goodness in us.  The idea was reiterated when we watched the video on Goodness from the older version of Kid’s Character Builders on YouTube. (The newer version, with updated animation, is also available on DVD.) The video says your heart is like a honeycomb that God wants to fill with “goodness.”  After watching it we enjoyed honey sticks and talking about how good they were.  We also watched the episode on goodness from our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit (still a favorite around here).

For our “listening lesson” this week I added a couple poems just for a little something different:

And that was pretty much it!  Most of our summer disruptions are over (at least the planned ones), so I’m hoping we’ll be able to dig in for the next three weeks and have a strong finish to our study of the Fruit of the Spirit!

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

The latest installment in our Fruit of the Spirit unit was kindness.  Between my nieces visiting, the 4th of July holiday, and a quick camping trip, it was kind of a light week for us as far as school.  As I was preparing for our lesson, I saw that lots of people combined “kindness” and “goodness” when going through the Fruit of the Spirit.  I considered doing the same because of the factors I just mentioned, but I decided against it.  There’s obviously a difference or else Paul wouldn’t have listed them separately in Galatians 5:22-23.  I really wanted to do some study on the two Greek words (just for me, not necessarily to share with the kids), but that just didn’t happen.  (Big surprise.)  I chose to discuss kindness as the choices we make as far as what we DO, whereas when we discuss goodness, we’ll focus more on the essence of who we ARE.  I honestly have no idea if that’s anywhere close to the biblical definitions, but it will work for us (for now).

There are so many great Bible verses that can be used to discuss being kind.  I LOVE the  “Kind” clothing collage and hanger ideas Amanda over at Impress Your Kids shared that help illustrate Colossians 3:12, So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes.” (NIrV). Another great verse for this week is the “Golden Rule” (“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  Matthew 7:12).  Along those lines we watched Veggie Tales: Are You My Neighbor?  I’m afraid that’s about as close as we got to any sort of Bible study this week.  We also watched 2 videos on kindness from the older version of Kid’s Character Builders on YouTube. (The newer version, with updated animation, is also available on DVD.)

Our literature connection for the week was The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (see my separate post), but we also read a fun book about encouraging others called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  After we finished it the first time I made a point to say something encouraging to each of the kids who was listening.  My 5-year old niece immediately broke into a smile and exclaimed, “Hey!  You just filled my bucket!”  It was a great tool for demonstrating kindness.

For our “listening lesson” this week we pretty much just kept up with the same CDs that have been getting us through this whole unit:

The boys and I are loving this whole study.  Ian looks forward to each week’s new “fruit,” and Elijah can recite all nine of them faster than my husband or me!   If you’re doing a similar unit, I hope you’ll share about some of what you’ve done (or post a link if you’ve blogged about it).  I’m keeping a notebook with all the ideas I’ve collected (including many we’re not using), because I know we’ll come back to this whole concept in a few years!

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

We continued our Fruit of the Spirit unit this past week talking about patience, which I defined for the boys as “waiting without complaining.”  There were two Bible verses we focused on:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God…” Philippians 2:14-15

“Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

Ian knows the first one well already from a song (see our iPod playlist below), and I was surprised how much he enjoyed the lesson all week.  I guess I thought it would come across as nagging, but that must be from my own childhood baggage (*grin*).  I must have been an impatient little girl, because I remember countless times when my mom broke into song:  “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…”  Quite the catchy tune.

Even if you don’t think you’ve ever heard the Music Machine album (I had the vinyl as a kid, but we do have a CD now), if you’re from my generation you’ve probably heard the song on it about patience.  It must have been a favorite, for most of my friends seem to know that one.  It tells the story of a snail called Herbert, who in his younger days was a little too speedy and wreaked havoc as he crashed through spider webs and collided with crickets.  But his wise father taught him a little ditty that helped him mend his ways and take his time crawling through life (though it made the ants mad and the beetles, well, “they would fume.”  The point of the song is that when you start to get impatient with other people, remember that not only is God patient, but there are times when other people have to wait for you as well.  (We watched this video on YouTube for more about Herbert.  If you like it, check out the newer version with modern animation on from the DVD set Character Builders.)

Ian loved the song, and I decided it would be fun to spend some time with snails up close.  So one morning we went out snail hunting.  The day was already hot and dry so it wasn’t as easy as I’d anticipated, but at last we managed to find three little friends to join us for our morning lesson.  We put them on dark paper so we could see the slimy dotted trail they left behind them.  The boys were fascinated!  We talked about the different parts of the snails anatomy to squeeze in some “official” learning, but mostly we just had fun watching them.  Ian set up races (a great chance to practice patience!), had fun redirecting them whenever they’d get close to the edge of the paper, and really would have liked to keep them around a lot longer, but alas, Mama wasn’t really keen on that idea.


For more Bible connection, we also discussed the story of Simeon, the man who waited to see God’s promised Messiah (see Luke 2:22-35).  It was a story Ian had never heard before, which made him curious and therefore very attentive.

For literature, we read the book The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (part of Before Five in a Row).  I asked Ian why he thought I had chosen that book to go along with our lesson. We had planted seeds a while back in anticipation of doing this book, so he had no problem connecting it to patience.  We were rewarded for ours by seeing our little green shoots and lots of roots!

Here’s what was playing all week for our “Listening Lesson”:

It will be two weeks before I write about our lesson on “Kindness.”  There’s lots of stuff going on around here (visitors, vacations, and of course, 4th of July), and since we’re halfway through the Fruit of the Spirit, it seemed like a good idea to take a break!

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

This week for our Bible lessons we continued our Fruit of the Spirit unit by talking about joy.  I’m finding it hard to break out of the pattern of what we’ve been doing for Bible over the last year.  I really want this to be a simple, fun overview, not an in depth study.  So if all we do is listen to our songs about joy all week, I want that to be enough.  And actually, we did more than that this week, but I don’t want to feel like I have to do a lot for each “fruit,” especially since I know these first few weeks are the “easy” ones, for which I’ll be able to find lots of things to do.  So I have to keep reminding myself not to feel guilty if we don’t do anything but listen and sing!

On Monday we put on “joy” tattoos, but Ian didn’t want to wear one this week.  Instead he offered it to his sister.  Since our Arianna Joy does live up to her middle name, I went along with his idea.  She got it on her belly, where it made me smile every time I changed her over the next few days.

And we watched the “joyfulness” episode on our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit, as well as playing our Fruit of the Spirit board game and Memory Match game from Christian Preschool Printables.

Fruit Of The Spirit Faith PostersIan’s learned to read “love” and “joy,” and I’ve been hanging the appropriate poster each week from the set I got from Oriental Trading Company. Each poster has the word, followed by a related Bible verse. There are only these six, so there will be a few weeks we miss, but I still like having them on the boys’ bedroom door each week.

Thanks to our iPod playlist, both Ian and Elijah have pretty much memorized Galatians 5:22-23 (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.)  We had lots of fun songs to add about “joy” this week, and one of our favorite joyful activities was breaking out the rhythym instruments to play along.


We also did lots of joyful dancing (like Gerald in Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, our book of the week)


They requested “our lesson” over and over this week, both in the car and at home with the instruments, so I’d say it was a hit!  Here’s what it included:

Coming up next, peace!  I think we should just nap all week.  In a hammock.  By a bubbling brook with a gentle breeze blowing over us as we rest.  Somehow I have a feeling our lesson won’t quite look like that though.  Stay tuned!

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

When I first starting putting this Fruit of the Spirit unit together in my mind I planned to use one Bible story each week to help illustrate whichever “fruit” we were discussing, covering it in a way similar to what we’ve been doing.  However, as I started planning, I realized that was going to draw the focus away from the point I was trying to make.  This week, for instance, I want Ian to know that our Bible lesson is about “Love,” not about Mary anointing Jesus with perfume.  So while I do plan to use Bible stories throughout this unit, I won’t be covering them as in depth as I usually do since we’re using them mainly to make a point.  In addition to a Bible story and a children’s book (this week we read The Little Rabbit, which I posted about separately), there are also a few things I found that we’ll be doing for each week throughout the whole unit.  We put on “tattoos” to help remind us about “Love” all week.  And we watched the episode on our Auto-B-Good DVD Fruits of the Spirit that had to do with love.  (The boys really enjoy this show!)

  Auto-B-Good Faith Collection: Fruits of the Spirit

As I thought about the broad topic of love I wanted to narrow our discussion down a bit.  Since the fruit of the Spirit is about what’s being produced in our hearts, I decided to steer away from talking about God’s love, except as it is the basis for the love we show to others.  Mary showed love for Jesus by using her expensive perfume to anoint him.  Sarah (in The Little Rabbit) shows love for Buttercup by providing for her, spending time with her, and caring for her.  Ian and Elijah show love for each other by sharing things, speaking respectfully to each other, and helping one another.  (Okay, so we’re still working on all that.  But really, they do have a wonderfully loving relationship.)

We also wanted to practice showing love to others by reaching out.  I loved what Amanda at Impress Your Kids did for this by sending something to their sponsor child.  This spring when we decided to sponsor a child, I looked for one who shared Ian’s birthday so he could feel some connection.  We were blessed to find a little boy in Brazil who is the exact same age as Ian (and he even had on a Lightning McQueen shirt in his picture, so Ian liked him right away)!  We haven’t yet taken the time to write to him, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  We made “scratch and sniff” paint from unsweetened Kool-aid powder and used it to paint a picture of a heart.  I looked up our Bible verse on BibleGateway so we could write “God is love,” on it in Portuguese.   “Deus é amor” 1 João 4:8  I hope he enjoys his sweet-smelling picture!  A word of warning if you want to try this activity: let the “paint” sit for a while so ALL the powder dissolves.  I only waited about five minutes, and it made kind of grainy pictures.  Also, I would water them down quite a bit.  Ours took a few days to dry to the point of not being sticky!


We also made pictures for our own “Fruit of the Spirit” notebook, though I haven’t quite decided how I’m doing that.  For now, I’ll just save the pictures.  In addition to reading the story about Mary in The Beginner’s Bible (by Karyn Henley), we also read The Best Thing is Love by Dandi Daley Mackall , which is based on 1 Corinthians 13.  Ian really liked the repetition on each page and read it with me after he’d caught on to the patter.

Throughout this unit, the only real “memory verse” I expect Ian and Elijah to have down is Galatians 5:22-23 (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.)  Still, I am planning on have a verse the relates specifically to the “fruit” of the week, especially if I can find a song about it.  So this week we did 1 John 4:7-8, which I will forever know in the King James Version because of this song.  “Beloved, let us love one another.  For love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love.

The boys have really been enjoying the songs for this unit, so I kept most of the general “Fruit” songs around to help them memorize the verse and mixed them in with some new ones related to Love:

We listen through the list at least once a day, and I’m often getting requests to “do that one again,” especially from Elijah.  They really like singing along, and I think both of them will definitely have their memory verse down by the end of this unit!