This change came when one day an article in the Ensign caught my attention. The article said family home evening lessons are the most important lessons taught all week.
At the time, I taught Relief Society from the Teachings of Heber J. Grant manual. I considered how many hours I put into my Relief Society lessons, and compared that to the fifteen minutes I put into family home evening. My Relief Society lessons were definitely the more successful of the two. So I decided to analyze the source of their success.
I noted that Church lessons follow a set curriculum. The first lesson of the month is taught by the presidency; the second and third Sundays are Presidents of the Church lessons; the fourth Sunday is Teachings for our Times; and the fifth Sunday is a joint meeting.
When it was my week to teach, I always had a lesson topic given me. I just needed to research it and put it together. So, I decided to do the same thing for my family home evenings.
I shared my new resolution with my husband, and together we talked about some goals. We wanted our children to get to know the scripture stories. We also wanted them to learn some basic principles of the gospel. Together we came up with a curriculum that we hoped would give us variety in our family home evening lessons and also give our children a broader knowledge of the gospel.
After some planning, we created our own family home evening curriculum and weekly schedule, and made a list of acceptable resources. The Wallgren family core curriculum materials now include Church magazines, President Hinckley’s “Six Be’s,” Standing for Something, the missionary discussions, the gospel art kit, and, of course, the scriptures.
On the first week of each month, our lesson is taken from The Friend, usually the poster article that goes along with the primary theme for the month. There are, however, many additional ideas for lessons on the back cover of the magazine. For families with older children, The New Era is a great resource.
Weeks Two and Three
The second and third week of each month follows our current family study theme. Right now, we are studying President Hinckley’s “6 Be’s.” Other possible topics for an FHE study theme are the Ten Commandments, the Articles of Faith, the principles from the missionary lessons, the ten virtues from President Hinckley’s book Standing for Something, the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, the Primary gospel standards, the Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women’s themes, and anything else that lends itself to study over a period of a few weeks.
On the fourth week of each month we share with our children a scripture story and talk about the principles it teaches us. We illustrate the story with pictures from the gospel art kit. The story is summarized on the back of the picture which is helpful for teaching smaller children; for older children, you can read the story straight from the scriptures.
Often we have chosen lessons based on a gospel principle on which the family needs to work on. Making family goals at the end of the lesson and posting visual reminders (such as verses of scripture or a catchy phrase) will help family members improve on the principle throughout the week.
If there happens to be a fifth Monday in the month, we decide on a more secular theme we feel could benefit our family, but which doesn’t fit into our other curriculum categories. Ideas could include safety, first aid, emergency preparedness, or civic awareness. Another idea is to hold family service projects or a super activity on the fifth Monday of the month.
Having a Plan
The nice thing about a family home evening curriculum is that no matter who is teaching the lesson, everyone knows what the topic is each week and what materials to use in putting together the lesson. Other family members who may be in charge of music, a scripture, or an activity will also know the topic and can plan their contributions appropriately.
A family home evening curriculum is easy to get started. Make a list of the topics you’d like to cover, and set up a rotating schedule indicating which weeks will cover which topics. Designate a basket or a corner of the bookshelf as your family home evening resource collection for easier lesson planning.
For my family, repeat lessons and on-the-spot lectures are a thing of the past. Setting up a family home evening curriculum was easy and has helped our whole family become better gospel scholars on a variety of topics.
Other FHE Resources
Apart from the resources mentioned in this article (the scriptures, Church magazines, Standing for Something, the missionary discussions, the gospel art kit, For the Strength of Youth and President Hinckley’s “Six Be’s”) you can also take advantage of some of these useful tools.
Family Home Evening Resource Book:
This helpful manual contains five sections: “Lessons” (including lessons for special occasions and holidays), “Making Home Evenings Successful,” “Lesson Ideas,” “Building a Strong Family,” and “Family Activities.”
On the home page, click on the “Home and Family” link. This link provides a variety of resources on improving family life, including twenty-five different family home evening lesson topics.
In each issue of LDS Living you’ll find an easy-to-follow lesson plan. Also, on [ldsliving.com] you can register to receive weekly emails; each Monday email will provide you with a fun and easy FHE lesson.
From the homepage, follow the following chain of links: “Religion & Spirituality” to “Christianity—Latter-day Saints” to “Family Home Evening.” On this page you can print out FHE assignment charts, get a wide range of lesson and game ideas, and even exchange lessons with other families.