November 5, 2010

Baptism Prep

I've been wanting to post about Baptism Prep for weeks now, but haven't had the time I wanted to put the post together. I finally decided that I never have enough time for anything, so posting an imperfect post was better than continuing to not talk about this wonderful feature of this year's homeschool.

Since Miriam turned seven this June, I've been thinking about how to prepare her for baptism. It finally hit me that I homeschool. Does anyone else forget that? I made Baptism Prep an official subject that takes place every day during the younger kids' quiet time. I read my scriptures while Miriam reads silently for 20 minutes (this helps me prepare for Baptism Prep and let go of any of the annoyances of the morning and also helps impress on Miriam the importance of reading your scriptures), and then Miriam joins me at the table.

I decided to start with the fourth article of faith: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism; and fourth, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We start each Baptism Prep session with a prayer. At first, Miriam was really hesitant to pray with me. I said the prayer the first few days, and that helped Miriam figure out the kinds of things it was appropriate to say for the situation. Now we alternate days saying the prayer. After a prayer, Miriam recites the fourth article of faith. We've been working on it for awhile now and she almost has it word perfect. I think that is pretty good for only saying it once a day.

After reciting the article of faith, we move on to the subject we are studying that day. Obviously, we started with faith. The following are the resources I printed from the church website to help me teach the principles. There were a TON of resources to choose from. I picked what I thought would most help Miriam. I also printed a copy for my own Baptism Prep book. Meaning, I put together (or have started to put together) a book for Miriam as her own personal reference. Everything that we read or do that will fit in a binder has gone in it and will continue to go in it. I thought it might be a nice reference for her, or something I can tell her to look through on Sundays. I don't know that it will be useful, but I thought it might and so I'm putting it together.

I also put together a copy for me so I can make copies for my other children without having to do as much time-consuming prep for them. Seriously, you can look through lessons about faith on for months. I might find that I feel impressed to revisit different resources with other children, to fine-tune baptism prep to the needs of my other children, but I didn't want to misplace the resources I knew I wanted.

Sorry this is so long. Below are listed the resources I've used so far that I've liked and Miriam has really responded to.


Gift of Faith by Thomas S. Monson. President Monson tells the best stories. This one is about children in Samoa who prayed that the apostle who was assigned to visit them would shake their hands, each individually. You can figure out what happens. I admit, this one made me cry and Miriam shook her head over me. She's fairly used to my getting emotional, though. It happens often enough when I read the Friend.

I Can Have Faith by Shawny Ernst is a short poem about faith. I picked it for Miriam's binder because Miriam loves poetry and because it mentions some of my favorite scripture stories. Miriam read through it several times. Like I said, Miriam loves poetry.

Walk by Faith by Lena Harper is a collection of 20 scripture stories that illustrate the concept of faith. This was a great activity and took us two weeks to complete. Miriam can read so she looked up all the scriptures herself (while I reminded myself constantly that the point wasn't to go fast), and read the scriptures out loud to me. Then I let her pick the picture that the scriptures matched--otherwise she couldn't concentrate on anything else. Once she'd found the picture, I had her explain how the scriptures illustrated the idea of faith.

I loved all the scriptures. I loved that Miriam was able to practice looking up scriptures. I loved the discussion. HOWEVER, the pictures were very hard to match to the scriptures. In my arrogance, I thought I would be able to figure it out and didn't print out the answer sheet. Don't do that. Print the answer sheet. When we tried to put together the secret message at the end, none of the letters made sense and we eventually gave up. That was very frustrating for Miriam, who is a bit more of a perfectionist than I am. So, you've been warned.


Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel Lead Me to Jesus Christ by Sandra Tanner and Cristina Franco is a sharing time activity. Along with the instructions comes a paper quilt divided into four squares. The four squares are faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost respectively. I made a copy for Miriam and then cut it up into pieces. Miriam figured out how it went together and then she glued it to her own paper and filled in the boxes with information about each topic. After she was done, we talked about why a quilt was a good metaphor for the first principles/ordinances of the gospel. A great hands-on activity that was then taped on the wall (Miriam insisted). Eventually it will go in her Baptism Binder.


Logan's Baptism by Jane McBride Choate could easily fit under the faith category, or repentance, or baptism. This was one of Miriam's favorite stories. It is about a talk that a man gave at a baptism. The man put seven squares of paper on the floor and talked about the steps you have to take to get back to Heavenly Father. Each square of paper represented a necessary step. Because I am lame and did not do enough pre-planning, I didn't have paper ready, but that didn't stop us. I read the story while Miriam stepped from one imaginary piece of paper to the next. Despite the imaginary nature of her walk across the room, she still got the point and enjoyed it. Highly recommend this story (and having squares ready!!).

Returning Safely to Heavenly Father
by President Uchtdorf. This is a shortened piece from a longer talk that was published in the Ensign. Some of it was over Miriam's head, but it allowed for a good discussion on whether or not obeying the commandments keeps you safe. Plus, the "Things to Think About" section at the end spurred a good conversation.

Friend to Friend by William R. Bradford. Elder Bradford talks about a time when his son got covered in mud and he helped clean him off. The son talked about how great it was to be clean again, and Elder Bradford took the opportunity to talk about dirt that you can't wash off--sin.

Sweet Repentance by Ann S. Bushman. Miriam and I just read this together today and it was a powerful teaching tool. Highly recommend. It is a story of a girl who steals her sister's candy the week she is supposed to be baptized. When her sister calls her a thief and a liar, she realizes that she is not worthy to get baptized. She postpones her baptism for another month while she works and earns money to get new candy for her sister and go through the repentance process.

A short fill-in-the-blank about repentance. It comes from the September 1974 issue of the Friend.

All Clean by Darlene Young about a young boy who wishes he could be baptized over again. His father explains to him about repentance. The main point is stated thus: "When you take the sacrament you are showing Jesus that you have repented of the things you did wrong that week. And then, as you eat the bread and drink the water, you become clean, and you are ready to start over."

I'll keep posting about what we do in Baptism Prep and what I think is working and what is not working. What have you done to prepare your children for baptism?


  1. i thought you'd like friend homeschools the year before each kid is baptized - to really help them focus on the gospel and the choice they're about to make. i thought that was cool. i'll have to tell her about this post.

  2. I get emotional when I read the Friend, too. My kids don't bat an eye anymore like they used to! haha

    What a great idea to do this for the next year...My daughter just turned 7 a few weeks ago, so you've given me some great ideas. Thanks! :)

  3. Thank you for sharing your great ideas. My daughter will be 8 in Nov. and though we have been reading the scriptures together and memorizing the Articles of Faith, I have felt it wasn't enough. I'm excited to start a Baptism Notebook for my daughter and thanks to homeschool I'm grateful to have the time with her to teach her more. Thank you!