I can’t remember a time when Awana was not a part of my life. I first attended Awana clubs as a kindergartner in Sparks. Over the years, my Awana club, as an extension of my home church, became like a large close-knit family to me. I learned so much of God and His word, the Bible, through memorization of Bible verses and through relationships with those who served Him as Awana leaders.
When I was 10 years old, my parents became Awana missionaries and we were an Awana family – cue years of awkward family prayer card pictures! (see above! eek! ) It’s hard to fully express the effect this had on me…not the pictures, but the ministry life. Besides seeing my own parent’s commitment to serving God and to sharing Him with others, I saw the commitment of so many others to the same cause. I did not see any perfect people, but lives dedicated to serving a God they loved and telling others about Him. Their faith was real. As it’s said, they put feet to their faith. I knew God more intimately because of them.
Needless to say, the ministry of Awana has always been important to me. My husband and I wanted our children to hide the Word of God in their hearts. When our oldest came of Awana age, we were excited to find a local club for him to join. As a family, we’re part of a new, local church plant without established ministries in our schedule such as Awana. We’re grateful to have found a great club at another local church that has welcomed our family and friends we’ve invited.
Besides attending Awana on club nights, we use Awana as part of our homeschool Bible curriculum. We start each morning reading the Bible together as a group. For at least two days of the week, our reading is one of the Bible verses my littles are currently memorizing from one of their Awana books.
After reading, we “picture, ponder, pray” the Bible passage or verse. For picture, my littles quite literally picture an image in their minds for the words of the passage. It teaches them to focus while listening and demonstrates to me their understanding of our reading. They draw their picture in a spiral bound art book. For ponder, we discuss the passage together and I encourage connections through my own testimony, their life experiences, or other passages in the Bible. For pray, one or more of us prays the passage. When we first started with the three “ps,” I modeled each step for them. I generally still direct the ponder step.
After we read the Bible, I work with each of my children individually in their Awana books. Starting with my youngest clubber, a Cubbie, I first read the pages from his Cubbie’s book for that week to him. We discuss it and I answer any questions he asks. If there is an activity, he completes it with my help. Next, I read the verse with reference to him and have him repeat it to me. We do this a few times in a row. Usually, my littlest, who is not yet a clubber, joins in during this time, including trying her best at saying the verse for the week. It’s a joy to watch her imitate her brother in this way! After a few days of review, he usually knows his verse well and we move on to the apple tree review for that week.
While I’m working with my Cubbie and littlest one, my two older guys are reading their verses to themselves and working on memorization. Sometimes they quiz each other. My oldest is in T&T for the first time and my second oldest is in his second year of Sparks. I always love when I’m reviewing with one and another chimes in, because they remember the verse from their time spent in Cubbies, Sparks, etc. Teaching them together allows for constant review of verses previously memorized. What a great advantage they’re gaining for lifelong retention!
We are not year round homeschoolers, but we do like to keep our minds fresh and active even during the long summer break. So, we use the extra books Awana has made available for those times. We usually slow our pace down to suit our summer lifestyle, so each little works to memorize one verse a week.
This is how Awana works in our homeschool. I’d love to hear how you use it!