1. Baptism Binder. I designated a three-ring binder for Baptism Prep wherein we kept all of the things we did during the year. By the end of the year there were articles/stories from the Friend, crafty things Miriam put together, coloring pages, etc. During scheduled Baptism Prep time, Miriam brought the binder and the official Baptism Prep scripture quad to the table along with any book we were reading. It kept us organized.
2. Baptism Check-List. After going through several books about Baptism, I created a list of things Miriam should do/know. The list included things like memorize the Articles of Faith, give service daily for two weeks, and be able to explain the Plan of Salvation. Every Sunday (or most Sundays--you know how it goes) Miriam met with her dad and they discussed/checked off items on the list. It was a great way to stay focused and include our Priesthood leader.
3. Seven Years Old and Preparing for Baptism by George Durrant. This book is excellent. Each chapter focuses on a character trait that a person needs to develop to be like Christ. Durrant teaches these values through stories of his experiences as a child. (Small note--Miriam and I read almost all the books aloud together, but if I was pressed for time, she read to herself and we discussed them after.)
4. Baptized and Confirmed: Your Lifeline to Heaven by Elaine Cannon. This book is quite old. In fact, the copy Miriam and I read together is the copy I received from my parents on my baptism day. However, I still liked it the most because Cannon included so many scripture references in her explanations. Miriam looked up all the scriptures and we discussed them. At first, I had to remind myself constantly to be patient and not find the scriptures for Miriam. It was worth it--she is very familiar with the scriptures now.
5. How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel? by Michele Leigh Carnesecca. I didn't love this book, mostly because the illustrations aren't my style. Regardless, it was worth the investment of time and money because every page explains a role of the Holy Ghost and includes scripture references. I really liked the reliance on the scriptures. For my next child, I am going to try to find stories from our ancestors that illustrate the different roles the Holy Ghost plays (ie--Comforter). I think that will solidify the concepts for my children.
6. The Great Plan of Happiness by David Bowman. We received this book for Christmas and it instantly became a family favorite. Miriam read it every day for a week in order to check off "Explain the Plan of Salvation" on the checklist.
7. Baptism is the Key: My Baptismal Covenant by Jeni Brinton Gochnour. This is not really a book. Each page has an activity to be copied, colored, and put together. I think it was originally created for sharing time or possibly FHE. Whatever its original purpose, it worked wonderfully for Baptism Prep. Once Miriam and I had discussed baptism for several months, I copied the 13 activities in the Gochnour book and put them in Miriam's Baptism Binder. Every Monday for the following 13 weeks during Baptism Prep, Miriam put together an activity and a very brief "lesson" about baptism that she then presented during FHE. I loved this because Miriam likes to create and she likes to lecture her younger siblings--win, win. Seriously, we often learn things best by teaching them.
Reality Check: Although I think Baptism Prep was a great idea, it did not always go smoothly. There were days that I was super grumpy and days that Miriam was super grumpy, and then there was the birth of number five in February that threw us off for months. Miriam didn't memorize all the Articles of Faith (three left), and she usually ended up mad at FHE when we wouldn't let her go over ten minutes with her supposed-to-be-short baptism lessons.
Despite all that normal life stuff, I'm still so glad I tried. Even though we didn't have Baptism Prep every weekday like I wanted, and even though it didn't always go well, I was able to put my arm around Miriam on the couch and spend time talking about sacred things more days than I otherwise would have. I was able to bear testimony. I was able to talk about the Savior. I was able to impress on Miriam the importance of the step she was going to take and I was able to strengthen our relationship.
Elder Robert D. Hales stated: "I urge all parents to prepare your children, and missionaries to prepare your converts, for the sacred baptismal ordinance. Teach of its significance so that their baptism will be impressed upon their spiritual memory for the rest of their lives. Take them to sacrament meeting weekly to renew their baptismal covenants through the ordinance of the sacrament. Be a good example for them to follow. Teach them that because of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, the way they look at the things of the world should change. A mighty change must take place in their hearts and in their minds so they will be able to turn from temptations of the world and from that time forward put their 'heart, might, mind and strength' (D&C 4:2) into being citizens in the kingdom of God."
Andrea is a homeschooling mother of five; ages 8, 6, 4, 2, and 6 months. She is a "retired" school teacher who still teaches a class or two at the local university, is the RS president, and maintains two blogs. She is constantly in danger of losing her sanity altogether. She loves books, books, and more books! She also loves writing, cooking, hiking, dancing, singing, hanging out with her family, and anything pro-redhead. You can read more about her homeschooling efforts on the blog Frolic and Farce.