Friday, May 17, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Stepping Stones to Bigger Faith

Last year my Gesserine made a profession of faith and was baptized in October.  We really do feel she understands what she did and was sincere in her prayer.  We have truly seen repentance and some fruit in her life.  Since then I have been trying to help her learn how to have some independent devotion and bible study time which is something important for every Christian.  When I saw that I had the opportunity to review Stepping Stones to Bigger Faith for Little People Book and Audio Cassettes by Joyce Herzog I thought it might be the perfect tool for that, and boy was I right.

Stepping Stones to Bigger Faith for Little People is a family devotional that is written on a 2nd grade level but has applications for all ages.

There are 37 devotionals in all that are based upon Scripture.  These are solid, essential, and doctrinally sound devotions.  I love how it starts with basic doctrinal passages such as Romans 5:8 that tells us we are sinners.  There are Scriptures for God's Provision, Guide, Answer, Peace, Helps, as well as Sanctification, Depression, Giving and so much more. These really are passages that are relevant to any age.

Because the devotions are written on a 2nd grade level I had Gess, who has special needs, use this as more of an independent, rather than family devotional.  The print inside the book was large and there were full page beautiful illustrations for each one.  The devotion for Psalm 119:105 which used a flashlight as an example as to how God's Word acts our spiritual light really impacted Gess.  I think that it helped her to see it visually.  Just as the flashlight doesn't help you when it's on the shelf at home, God's Word doesn't help you if you don't use it either.  Gess was playing with the flashlight later that day and it certainly opened up conversations about how God's Word is a light to us.  We have enjoyed each devotional so far.

The passages themselves are quoted from the King James Version of the Bible and the songs seem to be sung in that version as well though at times they may vary just a tad.  The devotions are still compatible if you use another version, you would just want to read it out of the Bible instead of on the page which I like better anyway. I want Gess in her Bible so she will know and realize she is learning about what God's Word says when we are having a devotion.

We found the audio cassettes to be a great addition as it was nice to have the devotional read aloud to you. At the end of it they include a song of the Scripture you study that day.  This really helped Gess in memorizing them. The songs were sung by a young child or children and were catchy and fairly short.  The only words were the Scripture itself so it was a good way to learn the verses.

I had Gess do her devotional each morning as the first activity of school.  She would start by following along in the book as the devotional was narrated on the tape. Most of the time they read the page word for word but there are times they would skip a word or sentence and that really tripped Gess up so do be aware the audio doesn't always match up.  Then she would listen to and sing the song.  I would often rewind it so she could repeat the song again.  The next day I would have Gess read the devotion herself.  Then I would have her find the Scripture in the Bible and copy it onto paper. Sometimes we would do the song again as well.  She began to work more independently after she knew what to do and she would always end her time in private prayer.

We are loving this devotional book and I feel Gess is getting a lot out of it.  I even plan on using the Joyce Herzog Stepping Stones to Praise and Worship book when we are done.  I believe it is similar but written more on a fourth grade level.

I would highly recommend this product for any Christian home with children.  While it is working well for Gess' personal devotional time I think it would also be great as a family devotional as it is intended. There were some that we did together in that way.  The only reason we used it differently was because of Gess' special needs I really felt that she needed something to help her learn how to have some "quiet time" alone with God and this really fit that need perfectly.

The only thing we didn't like about it was the fact that the audio was on cassette.  While I do have a cassette player I know that many families today do not and so they would not be able to benefit from it. I would have loved having it on CD myself so that we could more easily find the songs when we wanted them.  While I love that the song is immediately following the lesson, I would love to just review the songs of past devotions which is difficult to do on a cassette.  As it is we have to play, rewind, play, rewind, etc.  It is a bit of a distraction and we use the tape less because of it.

Joyce Herzog not only has devotionals like this she also has many educational materials.  She has taught in both private and public schools and specializes in teaching those with learning disabilities so many of her materials are great for our special learners!  Many members of our Schoolhouse Review Crew were able to review some of her other products so be sure to check those out.  I know I am interested in seeing what else she has to offer.

You can purchase the Stepping Stones to Bigger Faith for Little People Book and Audio Cassette by visiting her website.  The Book sells for $12 and the pack of 2 Audio Cassettes sells for $14.  You can learn more by visiting the website or see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about this and some of the other Joyce Herzog products by clicking on the banner below.


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1 comment:

Erica B said...

This sounds like a great book! I have been looking for a devotional book for my 2nd grader, and this sounds like it might be the perfect fit! Thanks for sharing.


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