I’m blessed to be part of a vibrant homeschool group. We have dozens of clubs and groups, monthly potlucks, opportunities for professional development and encouragement, and a wide variety of religious and catechetical activities. This year, I volunteered to head up two clubs: the book and writing club (which I’ll write about next week) and the 8-10 year old girls group.
The 8-10 year old girls group was originally designed as a social gathering. I wanted to continue that tradition, but I also wanted to encourage the girls in three vital areas:
- Love for Christ and the Church
- Love for others
- Love for themselves
Eight to ten year old girls are at an awkward point in their development. They are growing out of girlhood and heading toward their teenage years. This is the time when self doubt and mean girl behavior rear their ugly heads. I want to provide these girls with an arsenal of virtue to fall back on as they grow. I developed a syllabus involving Scripture passages, group activities, crafts and play time to foster a positive self image and friendship skills rooted in Christ and his Church.
For our first meeting, I focused on Psalm 139:14:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My objective? To help the girls recognize that they are indeed beautifully and wonderfully made, and that God formed them to be exactly as they are.
To begin, we started with a desert island icebreaker. I asked the girls to write down one book and one luxury item they would take with them on a desert island. We talked about the books they liked and their interests, which was a perfect segue into the qualities that made them unique. I passed out the text of Psalm 139:14, pictured below ( you can gain access to this printable by signing up for my monthly newsletter).
We read the psalm together, discussed what it meant to be fearfully and wonderfully made, then made a list of things in nature that fit that description. I set out two large pieces of cardboard and a bunch of markers so the girls could illustrate the items on our list.
The girls had a blast drawing on the cardboard. When they finished, I asked them to describe what they had drawn and explain its importance. We had lots of pictures of animals, some beautiful natural scenes (including a volcano!) and even stick figures to represent babies and younger siblings.
Next, I explained to the girls that we would look inward and figure out what made us fearfully and wonderfully made. Some of them had a hard time identifying their strengths, so I offered some leading questions:
- What are your hobbies?
- What makes you happy?
- How do you help around the house?
- What’s your favorite subject in school?
- What do you want to be when you are older?
- How do show love to your family and friends?
The girls transformed their lists of good qualities into self portraits on cardstock so they had a lasting visual of their God-given gifts. We ended with fifteen minutes of outside playtime and brownies (because it’s not a meeting without chocolate).
Our first club meeting was a success and I’m already looking forward to our next one. We’ll take the lessons we learned about our unique qualities and focus them outward, celebrating our friends and the ways in which they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
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