Synapsis Family Bible Study

"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world"

This is fun, and it works. The full extent of how well it works will take years, maybe generations to know.

I hate to be cliche, but "this is really alot easier than it may appear."

It's somewhat like a TV gameshow (although we don't watch television) in that there are questions asked, and rewards or penalties given, along with sounds, like buzzers, alarms, bells and gongs. They usually don't get penalties, most often those are given for inattentiveness, making noise, or some other distraction. The rewards are usually sweets, although coins have been used. We use the little cinamon imperials (red, about 1/4 inch round) and skittles.

I have a plywood board I set on my lap, this has the electric buzzer switches, and enough space to lay an open large print bible, plus a small piece of paper to keep score. The paper also serves as a bookmark, and to note which verse(s) we left off on the day before. The plywood has two sides going down, this gives space to house the wiring.

The buzzer sound is perfect, it's merely a little buzzer from an electric clothes dryer. There's also a shrill sounding alarm from a home security system, plus two homemade gongs. The thing to remember about any of this is CUSTOMIZE IT to fit your situation. You could tap on two water glasses, one filled more than the other.

The questions are very much individually tailored to the ability of each child. The littlest of the lot are asked to repeat a one syllable word, such as "Lord", or "peace", or "Word". This child would very soon be asked two syllable words. All the children are pushed gently to the edge of their ability.

As they get a little older, the're asked to repeat half a verse, or a whole one that is shorter. At this age, a one word question gets a cinamon candy reward. A more difficult question gets a skittle as a reward.

Now for THE ESSENCE OF THE GAME. I'm trying to get their minds formed at an early, impressionable age to cross reference bible verses by concept, or the idea behind the words. This should help them in most other areas of life. The highest reward they can receive is three skittles and a 'dot'. They get this for telling me another bible verse that means the same thing, but has different words. The dot goes above a number 3, which is also part of their reward. Each child's initial is on the top of the score page, the numbers go below their initial. The numbers aren't as important as they once were. Back then, everyone needed to have at least 10 points to qualify for the final, after study treat, usually a cookie. But as the family has grown larger, I don't emphasize the number total so much. Sometimes, if interest starts to wane, or time is running long, 10 points isn't so important.The one thing that can keep one from the cookie is the dreaded 3 sad faces. If a child distracts, or does some other inappropriate activity, they get a sad face drawn in the colunm below their name. This is when I sound the dryer buzzer.

The second highest reward they can receive is 2 skittles, a dot, and two points. This is for telling me one of the categories written on a sign I made. The categories we use are: Cause & effect, Letter of the law & Spirit of the law, Self, Chain reaction, De facto, Make yourself into, Implication, Warning. If they can see that the essence of a verse is one of these categories, they get rewarded.

The numbers are adjusted as we play, for instance, if a phrase from the sign sort-of, kind-of fits the verse I just read, then I might knock the number down to one point, or leave it at two, but drop the treat to one skittle, while still giving then the coveted 'dot'. This is the latest hot item, it's a new addition. Whoever gets the most dots, gets two cookies, instead of one. Only one person qualifies per day, unless there's a tie. I keep the little ones in this part by giving them a dot for their harder questions. They would have a hard time understanding the phrases on the sign. However, that certainly doesn't stop them from trying. They are constantly asking something like "Daddy, was that cause & effect?" I stop whatI'm doing, once again explaining what cause means, as well as effect, then ask them what part was cause (or effect). They usually get it right. Such a reward for Mom and Dad to see them figure it out. We read two places in the bible per study, one is the ongoing location, that is, whichever place or chapter is next in the current book, and a reading from proverbs. Having this high repitition from proverbs gives them a selection of verses to do the 3 point part. Verses from other parts of the bible are constantly encouraged. They usually remember them from Psalms, or the words of Jesus.

We've been doing this for years, I can completely endorse it. If any of this isn't clear, please DO e-mail me.

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Some bible study ACTION here folks! These are actual pictures from our bible study on the morning of Wednesday, December 13th. I couldn't fit all the pictures in here, but there was interaction with the smaller children also.

Please note that where the children have their hands raised, they are initiating a question, offering a verse or category, trying to get more score, they aren't responding to a question I raised.

Notice: It appears from my webstats that this site might be regulaly visited by sickos, therefore I'm removing pictures with children's faces in them. The pictures on this page showed children voluntarily raising their hands to participate in our bible study. I will try to replace them.