Ensure a successful VBS for your children

As a Christian, you may be teaching Biblical lessons to your children every day. However, if you are looking to enhance the teaching of God’s Word, Vacation Bible School may be worth looking at. Vacation Bible School (VBS) is typically a weeklong summer day camp experience for youngsters that takes place throughout the summer and before traditional schools reopen for the fall session. The structure of Vacation Bible School, especially the “vacation” part, may seem odd, surprising, or even daunting to homeschooled kids. You may want to prepare your child for Vacation Bible School. 

A young boy holding a Bible with his mother sitting next to him

Although many homeschooling families send their kids to Sunday school, adhere to local public school vacation schedules, and allow their kids to participate in local youth sports leagues or scouting, others do not. For those kids, a VBS program can be a bit of a shock to the system, as they now must learn how to interact with children other than siblings.

If you plan to send your children to your church for summer VBS week, here are some things to do to prepare for Vacation Bible School that can help ease the transition.

Talk to Your Children About Goals for Vacation Bible School

Before Vacation Bible School begins, talk to your kids about why they’ll be attending VBS. Additionally, let your children know what you hope it will do for them. Mention how this a a great way to make new friends and be exposed to differences among Christian families. This experience can foster empathy and strengthen your children’s belief by showing them that other ways of worshipping or reading the Bible are valid and don’t threaten their faith.

Boosting confidence is another essential goal. As your children meet new people and navigate a different setting, they will gain confidence in their social skills and abilities.

If you have a child with special needs and you think they may be ready for the social and sensory challenges of attending VBS, it’s especially important to prepare them with what to expect. You may also choose to work with your church to provide appropriate accommodations. Will they provide or allow you to send a vetted and background-checked aide to assist your child during the session? Have a backup plan in case of meltdowns or behavioral issues that might arise in reaction to an unfamiliar environment.

However, the most important goal of VBS is to help your child hide the Word of God in their hearts.This week of VBS can be a life-changing experience for your child. 

Theming and Bible Stories

In our area, there is an abundance of local church VBS programs to choose from. While my children attended the VBS at our home church, there were times they were invited to other summer programs with friends and family members. It is helpful to know the theming. Many churches purchase premade VBS curriculum from publishers such as Lifeway Kids. This means that several churches in your area may have the same theming. Also, the Bible teaching and the same Bible stories may be told.

However, there are other churches that prepare their own lesson plans and theme. While there is not one correct way to do a successful VBS, my kid’s favorite years were when church members and church staff were fully engaged in the curriculum. They actually transformed the church into Bible times, a pirate theme, or under the sea to enhance learning and fun.

Add Lessons in Personal Safety

Danger is a harsh reality of our complex world. Kids who have been learning in the secure environment of their own homes will need instruction about keeping themselves safe. It’s also critical to confirm that the adult program leaders and volunteers have had background checks. Furthermore, they should be thoroughly vetted before working with children.

While you don’t want to frighten your children or erode their faith in God’s love and protection, you should teach them practical ways of keeping themselves safe. Ensure they know to stay on church premises. Furthermore, teach them to never wander away or talk to strangers, never get into a stranger’s vehicle, take action if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and never leave with anyone other than you.

Help Your Church Plan for Vacation Bible School

Churches are always looking to recruit volunteers for VBS. Homeschoolers have unique skills that are valuable in the planning process for Vacation Bible School. Suggest a VBS theme built around particular Bible verses or story that will engage children while teaching them valuable lessons. Offer your skills and talents in curriculum planning, music, sports, or crafts to enrich the program and provide a diverse range of fun activities for the children to enjoy. 

Additionally, there are always tasks to be done. For example, designing a registration form, creating VBS activities or snacks, or purchasing snacks for children with food allergies. 

Preparing a homeschooled child for a successful Vacation Bible School can help them cope and even thrive in a new environment. They’ll learn essential life skills, create meaningful relationships, and gain a deeper appreciation for their Christian faith. Furthermore, this spiritual growth and knowledge will stay with them all the days of their lives.

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