Helping Families Grow in the Gospel

The Church’s curriculum is designed to promote family gospel discussions.

Sixteen-year-old Laura is giving the family home evening lesson. She begins by saying: “Brother Schneider told us in Sunday School what Jesus said about contention. I noticed some contention in our family recently. For family home evening, I want to talk about how we can do what Jesus wants us to do.”

When he is asked to express a thought, her father says, “Sometime back our teacher also went over some scriptures about contention. I thought that we haven’t been dealing with contention in the home as well as we could. I’m glad we’ve both had our hearts prepared on this matter. I see that we can work on ways to do better as a family.”

This type of interaction—on a variety of topics—could take place in many Latter-day Saint homes because of the Church’s worldwide coordinated curriculum for different age-groups. That coordinated curriculum was initially announced at the end of 1994 and is now in effect Churchwide. This class curriculum is designed, in part, to make it easy for families to talk together about things they are learning in their Church classes. In many instances, family members study throughout the same year the same scriptural books.

Further, Church curriculum materials are designed to be the same for all areas of the Church, so families in Arizona or Canada, for example, will be studying the same things as families in other parts of the world.

In addition, the coordinated Church curriculum relies on the home as the center for gospel learning and gospel living. Lessons taught in Church classes support home scripture study and teachings of the living prophets.

The Church’s coordinated curriculum is organized into three phases. Phase 1 is used in areas where the Church is new and there are few members. Phase 2 is used where Church units have sufficient numbers of members to divide into classes for gospel instruction. Phase 3 is used in areas where the Church is well established.

The courses in Phase 3 for 1996 are divided according to age. Primary children younger than age eight are taught from manuals titled I Am a Child of God (for ages eighteen months through three years) and Choose the Right A (for ages four through seven). Children ages eight through eleven are taught from the Book of Mormon. Youth ages twelve through thirteen are taught from Preparing for Exaltation. Those age fourteen and over (including adults) study from the Book of Mormon.

The title of the Primary children’s annual sacrament meeting presentation for 1996, “As I Have Loved You, … Love One Another” (John 13:34), reinforces in the home various gospel teachings about the Savior and will guide Primary activities in all units of the Church. In addition, children will be taught to recognize and feel the love of Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ through weekly sharing-time themes about love and service as demonstrated in the life of the Savior.

Parents may desire to discuss the weekly Primary theme with children on the way home from church, plan a family home evening around the theme, organize related service projects, use dinnertime conversation to reinforce the theme, or help children learn the new songs they have heard in Primary.

This approach is typical of the way the Church’s curriculum lays a common foundation for family scripture study and quality gospel-based discussions at home.

Parents are encouraged to communicate with their children’s teachers and ask the children about what they are learning in class. There can be a renewed effort to bring more effectively the scriptures and teachings from living prophets into the lives and daily conversations of each family.

It is hoped that, by providing greater opportunities for parents and children to interact about what they learn at church, the coordinated curriculum will aid in building families and individuals who are spiritually strong.

[illustration] Illustrated by Larry Winborg