Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Keepers of the Faith program

I just love this program!  More importantly, Abbie is loving it too.  For those unfamiliar with it, the Keepers program is an activity program similar to scouting, but is based on Biblical values.  There are 2 programs within Keepers of the Faith.  The girls' program is Keepers at Home and the boys' program is called Contenders for the Faith.  It began as a program for children 7-16 yrs of age.  There was a desire for younger siblings to be able to participate also along with their older siblings.  This brought about the Little Keepers at Home and the Little Contenders for the Faith programs for children age 4-6 yrs.  The program can be done as a family, a church youth group, a homeschool group, or a club.  There are no registration fees or dues to pay.  Once you get the materials, a manual for the children and the parents/leaders manual, you can use the program without having to answer to a national organization.  The only costs beyond the manuals are the individual awards (badges) that the children can earn and any supplies needed to complete the requirements for each award.  You can read more about the Keepers program at their website.

The first thing we did when we got Abbie's Little Keepers manual and the parents/leaders manual was to have them spiral bound.  If you plan to use them on a regular basis, I strongly suggest this.  I bought a length of broadcloth fabric to use to make Abbie a little banner to pin her awards onto.  Joe and I are big into having a way for a child to see their achievements and progress in a method that is motivating to the child.  An awards banner is something that Abbie will enjoy.  I am planning that we will give her the awards she earns in a special way.  Saving the awards until Joe is home so that he can be the one to give them to her.  It is also another way to have Joe very involved in her schooling.

We are using the Little Keepers program as a part of Abbie's Life Skills education.  It also covers academics and Biblical teachings.  Even at this young age, Abbie will be memorizing Bible verses, learning to pray for others over an extended time, do compassionate service towards others, learning children's Sunday School songs, handcrafts and art using various mediums from painting to mosaics to needlework, cooking & baking, cleaning, gardening, saving money, and about various animals & wildlife.  It is meant to be a well rounded education presented in a way that gives the child time with each activity or skill to learn and develop it.  In many of the areas of things like personal hygiene, cleaning, and even the more spiritual development of Bible reading, verse memorization, and daily prayers the child  is developing a habit that will serve them well in their lifetime.

Abbie is finding so much to enjoy in this program.  We are able to tie into it her schooling.  Learning about butterflies, for example, will meet requirements for one of the academic awards as well as being used as a science project for school.  To meet the requirements for the award, she has to find and identify 3 different butterflies and learn about their habitat and what they eat.  To extend it to be a science project, we can take it further to include a butterfly life cycle, the difference between a butterfly and moth, and if possible the migration as with monarch butterflies.

What excites me beyond the Biblical views of the program is that it falls right in line with the Charlotte Mason method of teaching.  Ms Mason believed that in teaching a child a life skill or handicraft, instead of giving them "busy work" just to keep them occupied, you should teach them things that require the child to take time and care. It teaches them the important skill of perseverance and in completing a project over time.  Today, we live in a society with a "microwave attitude" expecting even our handicrafts & projects to be done quickly.  We have lost the self discipline of taking time to complete these things.  Children are taught crafts that are done in minutes.  They don't learn patience this way.  Through this program, Abbie will do some crafts that are a bit faster to complete, such as decoupage, but the one she chose to do first is to learn how to do simple embroidery.  She is anxious to learn to sew. 

If you are looking for an alternative for your children to teach them Biblical values and character traits, you may want to look into the Keepers of the Faith programs.  Whether you work towards the awards or not, the activities in this program are wholesome and of value.  They will become an important addition to your child's education.