Jenny's blog

A Home Study Seminary Teacher?

This week is a weird one. The kids are off Wednesday and Thursday for exams. The other teacher is having a surgical procedure this week, too, and so his class isn’t meeting Friday, which means mine isn’t either. Next Monday is a school holiday (which I forgot). And yesterday, the federal government called a 2-hour delay because of ice, which meant the schools did as well, and so Seminary was canceled. So I went from thinking I was going to do four lessons during the next few days to having to do my best with just one, so I rewrote my lesson yesterday. I suppose it was a lot like being a home study Seminary teacher, in that I have a lot of reading material assigned and I had to choose just the very best stuff to cover. I figured that I would go a little into the future as far as the reading chart is concerned, and cover 4 days worth of reading. I generally don’t like the group and report method, but again, when you’re in a small group (less than 15) then it’s manageable. From a class management perspective, the entire class is involved in active participation for a larger percentage of the class period, too. They’re actively involved when they look up the information and when they report. They’re passively engaged when listening to other’s reports, so it’s a decent use of class time, when done in small groups. I’ve only ever seen this done only once effectively during a Relief Society lesson, which has tainted my ideas about this method. I’m finding it to be pretty effective for Seminary, but it would get old if overused. As an aside, I can see now why the old home study manual was arranged like it was (4 days of lessons per week, 1 day off for class). I don’t think you can reasonably cover more material than that in a single 35-40 minute lesson. I was sick today, and so Jared subbed for me. He kept the kids late. Apparently it was a great discussion. I am always VERY careful not to make them go over, and so I was a little annoyed that he kept them long. But really, I’m starting to wonder if we might move class back to start at 6:15 and go to 7:05. The bus doesn’t seem to come for the kids until later now, and it’s pretty rough for them to wait outside in the cold. They are always lingering in the house to avoid going out too soon. I will talk to the kids about it next week. I printed 3 copies of each of the following 4 topics. Jared put the papers in a hat and let the kids draw out their topics. This randomized the discussion groups into 4 groups of 3 each. Some of these questions came from the manual, some didn’t. I use the manual as a way to ensure that I’m also asking “apply” questions of my kids. Because the apply seems so obvious to me, I don’t always ask them to formulate the application, but I think it’s necessary for some of them. I’m trying to be better all the time.

Recognizing the Lord’s voice (1 Samuel 3)

  • Why do you think Samuel didn’t recognize the Lord’s voice at first?
  • How could you describe the Holy Ghost or voice of the Lord to someone who hadn’t felt it before? What would you tell them to do when they heard it?
  • Has there been a time you responded to a prompting of the Holy Ghost and were blessed? Please share it with the group if you feel comfortable doing so.
  • List ways we can more easily recognize the Lord’s voice: (See 1 Nephi 17:45; Alma 5:57; D&C 1: 14,38; D&C 18:34–36)
  • Why is it essential to learn to recognize when God is speaking to you?

Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2)

  • Read the following quote by David O McKay: “If I were asked to name the wold’s greatest need, I should say unhesitatingly wise mothers; and … exemplary fathers.”
  • List some qualities that made Hannah an exemplary mother. (See 1 Samuel 1-2)
  • Where did Hannah go when she experienced problems, like being made fun of by a family member or being required to wait for righteous desires to be fulfilled? What did she do there?
  • What did Hannah want most?
  • What is the importance of having children in the plan of happiness?
  • What are some of the things wise mothers and exemplary fathers do? (See D&C 68:25–31)
  • How can you prepare to perform your duties as a wise, exemplary parent?

Who is your King? (1 Samuel 8)

  • Read 1 Samuel 8:4–7. The Israelites wanted a king. Who did the Lord say the people were rejecting by choosing a human king?
  • List some of the dangers Samuel described about human kings. (See 1 Samuel 8:10–18)
  • Read 1 Samuel 8:19–22. What reasons did people give for rejecting Samuel’s warning? What problems do you see with this reasoning?
  • Read the lyrics to Hymn 339. What do the lyrics of the last verse in this song tell you about the author?
  • Read Article of Faith 10. Jesus Christ will reign on the Earth during the Millennium. What do you think it will be like when he is literally among us? See D&C 38:17–22

How to defeat your enemies

    Read 1 Samuel 7:3–13. Make a list of things that Samuel and the people did to prepare to meet and conquer their enemies.
  • In 1 Samuel chapters 4-6, the people tried other ways to conquer their enemies. What did they do? Why do you think it didn’t work?
  • What “enemies” do you face today? What “enemies” might you face in the future?
  • How can you use what you’ve learned from 1 Samuel 7 to help you overcome enemies you face?

Jared gave them 15 minutes to work, but that was too long and didn’t allow time for discussion, which made class go over. I think 10 minutes would have been better. The kids will get to King Saul and to David, too, I think before we meet again. It will take some doing to summarize all that I think.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.