Facts of Life - Handling delicate topics Bible, Science, Art

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Kim Schroter
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:17 am

Facts of Life - Handling delicate topics Bible, Science, Art

Unread post by Kim Schroter »

Facts of Life - Surprised with "How are babies REALLY made" talk

Okay... WARNING TO ECC users... page 16 of the Usborne Living World Encyclopedia ("male mammals and some other male animals, push their sperm into the female's body.") triggered my 8 year old daughter's MANY questions!

It started like an innocent school day...

I open the science book with my 6 and 8 year old girls and start reading (I did not proofread beforehand) and we have a general talk about animals and my 8 year old says "we're mammals" and the 6 year old says "no we're not!, we're people" and my 8 year old gives a great lesson to her younger sibling on how we're mammals and mommy has milk for the baby, etc. Then we are all in agreement that we're mammals and my 8 year old reads "male mammals push sperm into the female's body" as she looks at the picture of the mating lions, and then the conversation explodes into "HOW?!?! With his hand, with what, how does it GET IN THERE? Mom, tell me, how are babies REALLY made?" I sidetrack the 6 year old and told the 8 year old we'll have a private talk about it after lunch.

So now it's about 11 AM and I'm trying to finish up some school work and my mind is spinning and all I can think of is THIS IS THE DAY! I DON'T FEEL READY! SHE'S TOO YOUNG!

I leave the room and secretly call my husband at work and told him about the last 10 minutes and what happened. He's laughing a bit and I'm freaking out. I asked him to pray for me to have the right words.

I have thought ahead about this, but you never expect the actual moment. A wiser, seasoned friend of mine always told me to wait until they had questions and not give them more than what they were asking. She also gave me a book called THE WONDERFUL WAY BABIES ARE MADE which I've had on a shelf for the past 2 years. [editor's note: This book is part of the RTR package.]

I gave the girls free time and I went into MUCH prayer and preparation. I'm a nurse and I didn't want to give her too much medical terminology, but I wanted to present it factually, biblically and beautifully. The book was exactly what I needed. If I had to say all of that from my own brain, I think I would have hesitated a lot and thought too hard about my choice of words. Honestly, I would have backed down and said "we'll discuss more when you're older". The book started with a beatiful story of creation and progressed into God's choice to have animals reproduce. It even ends with how Mary's pregnancy was a miracle because she was still a virgin.

I allowed the Holy Spirit to lead me and trusted that He would reveal my daughters heart to me as I talked to her. I went into it not knowing what to expect, not sure if I'd read the whole book, and I ended up sharing about her period, ..., puberty... basically everything except all the scientific details like the estrogen, progesterone, etc.

We cried and giggled a bit and really grew closer this afternoon. It was a beautiful conversation and God was present. I could feel His delight in presenting this topic to her in His way with His design. There was a sweet spirit in the midst of our talk and I'm so thankful that when we cry out to Him in our "freaking out" moments, He's there.

The part we cried about was when I told her about when a man and woman marry they get many wedding gifts from family and friends. Then I told her how God has the best gift of all and that's making love.

After the whole talk, I asked her if she had any more questions. She sat there very still and said, "I have no more questions." Then she went on with her day. Oh, she also said... "Hey mom, I would never do that until I'm married."

I almost fell off the couch in emotional and mental exhaustion as I gave praise to God for getting me through that conversation in the way I always wanted to. She's my first daughter, maybe the next 2 will be easier?

All families handle this topic differently and it also greatly depends on your child's development, maturity, etc. BUT, if you're not ready for a potential "... talk", then paste pages 16 and 17 together of the ECC science book!

I'm very thankful tonight. Not knowing when I would have this conversation, but knowing it would be soon... thanks Living World Encyclopedia for the platform!

Last edited by Kim Schroter on Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Married to John 12 years
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Unread post by Rives »

We read those same pages a week ago and I'll tell ya -- it went right over my 8 year old daughter's head as well as my 6 year old son!!!!! They didn't even question it!!!!!!!! I guess we're not ready for that talk yet here at my house!!!!!
Mother to Rosemary 8, Stuart 6, and Dorothy 4
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Unread post by RachelT »

What a funny and sweet story! I'm laughing (because I'm not there, yet) and I'm hopeful that this thread gets put in the archives for when I do have to have that conversation! Thanks again for sharing!

Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

Blessed Beth
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Unread post by Blessed Beth »

There are some great books on this subject, "How and When to Tell Your Children about ...," for the parents and 4 age appropriate books to read to your children.

I agree with the author that it is best to introduce them to the subject early when they are comfortable talking to you about it and before they hear it from their friends.
Exploration to 1850
Wife to David, Mom to Michael (1999) and Stephen (2001) and a future Ethiopian daughter.

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »


I could feel your nerves coming through the post...ACK!

We've just finished week 1, so I am purchasing the book TODAY. I have a feeling Max & Halle will be like Rives' kids & it'll go over their heads, BUT I want to be prepared, just in case.

Thanks SO much for sharing this & I will totally join in saying, "GO GOD!" at how He blessed that moment.

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Unread post by netpea »

Blessed Beth wrote:There are some great books on this subject, "How and When to Tell Your Children about ...," for the parents and 4 age appropriate books to read to your children.
My kids are 4 and 7 and we've read "The Story of Me" several times. It talks about labor and delivery briefly. My kids were fine with it and asked questions. But the next book discusses conception and I'm waiting for the 7yo to ask more questions before I bring that one out.

Another book that we read when they were younger was "Contemplating your bellybutton". It was really good.

Lee Ann
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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

I'm at least thankful we have these wonderful Christian tools to take advantage of when teaching our children.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
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Unread post by Lucy »


What a great thread to encourage and share your experiences in this area of life. I do not think this was mentioned but if it was I am sorry :).

The book The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made is so multilevel. You will see that there is larger print written in a poetic form for less information for younger kids and more detailed information in smaller print for later when you and your child(ren) are ready to have more information about this subject. So you may use it now and find that by the time you reach RTR you will be ready to read it again but at that more information stage.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Hi Kim :) I am joining in a bit late here, but I so wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your sharing here. What a precious story! It is a joy to read about the Father taking such gentle care of your heart and the heart of your sweet dd. Again, thanks! Love, Q
WLiC, Quinne

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Julie in MN
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Bible - Advice for young child reading ALL Bible subjects

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Jami wrote:Okay, so my seven year old first grader son has started reading the Bible straight through about a month ago. He's reading the Old Testament and is now beginning the book of Leviticus (so has read Genesis and Exodus). He was reading the NIV version but I recently bought him the NIrV (even though we'll get it soon when he starts ADV but I can give that one to my younger son).

Anyways, I just think there are heavy subjects in the Bible and I'm not sure he's old enough to understand some things or be subjected to them. For example, he's about to read about animal sacrifices, and the book of Leviticus is pretty detailed about how it is to be done. This is my BABY and it talks about pulling birds heads off for God!!! And I know there's other parts that are detailed and more mature.

Do I sound crazy and too sheltering (which I do have a slight problem with knowing when to give him more space and freedom)? I'd hate to tell him there are parts he can't read, and I LOVE that he is so into reading the Bible. It's really helped his reading skills and what a more awesome book to be reading to do that. I don't think he gets everything he's reading, but he gets a lot of it and asks questions about why this and that?

So basically my question is, this is the BIBLE...do I sensor it for my young son? Thanks.

[Editor's note: Read the "end of the story" below]
Hi Jami,
I think I'd just watch your ds. My oldest ds got very upset with the Old Testament stories, so we stopped. But if he had not, we would have continued. As I recall, that ds was a little younger, maybe 5, and just getting it that death is really forever. Maybe if I had re-tried at age 7, it would have been different...

Anyways, to me he's already done the hardest part -- Genesis. That book has so many tragic events and so little detail telling why. The rest of the OT is much more in-depth, so I feel your son will see much more of God working in the upcoming stories.

The great thing about the OT is that *we* are in there! They are real stories, about real people, with real failings. And God still loves them and continues with them! I think even a 7yo will recognize himself in many of the stories. And hopefully he will be reassured that God still thinks he is pretty important!

When it comes to rules about sacrifices & such, I try to keep the emphasis on the fact that God was very careful about teaching *how* to do such things. If people would have followed his rules from the beginning, they would have had far fewer problems. My younger son did a science presentation on germs & the Bible verses (from Leviticus?) were directions on hand washing that included all the basic ingredients of modern soap!

Well, those are just my thoughts. I know you will hear from some more protective moms than I tend to be. But in my experience, boys are more aware of these realities than us city girls :o)

I also of course would pray -- that God's Holy Spirit directs him to what his little self would best learn through these diligent efforts.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

My incredibly sensitive 6yo dd would not be able to handle some of the things you're concerned about in the OT. I'm in those parts myself in my One Year Bible now, and it's hard enough for me. I loved Julie's answer. Your ds may be ready for it, but I would keep a close eye on it in case he needs some discussion.

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
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7 year old reading Bible straight through

Unread post by Scott »

In Jesus' day, children started memorizing Scripture at age 6. The first book memorized was Leviticus. They believed that it was important for children to understand how we are sinful and how God had provided a way to be cleansed of sin and how those sacrifices foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice of the Messiah. By age 10 most children had the entire Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) memorized.

I am always humbled by that fact when I think of how little of the Scriptures I have memorized.


Unread post by cbollin »

I appreciate that the MFW's 1st grade program chooses to use a Bible story reader as an age appropriate overview of Genesis to Revelation. Then in CTG and other years, we read more when they are older. And then finally the entire Old Testament and New Testament in high school years. Some things can wait until they are older. It not an issue of censoring the Bible as much as saving some parts for a different time in their lives.

I don't feel like I'm sheltering or isolating my young kids that way. They will hear all of the Bible, but in the right time of life. It's nice for the younger siblings that way too. With my oldest I would have been over-explaining scripture and content at first grade. But with younger sister, I have the freedom to be able to more gently explain things when she listens in to older sister's program too.

I'm also glad that the MFW 1st grade works on scripture memory with Proverbs first.

Just one opinion, as usual :)
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Unread post by Lainie »

Hi Jami,
The one thing we do here is to remind ourselves and our children of God's heart when we read the Scriptures. We use His love as a lens to read the Bible through. It helps with difficult passages to keep His character and the Bible as a whole in the front of our minds.

The OT is "gory" when not understood for its purpose. Since the OT is a "picture book" of NT truths, Jesus is truly found in the volume of the book. We keep bringing the OT stories back to Jesus.

Leviticus is definitely rich with Christ. He is our Burnt Offering (in the totality of His sacrifice), our Grain Offering (His flawless humanity), Sin Offering (He bore our sins), the Bird that was killed (leprosy being a picture of sin), etc...

We have also found that the Spirit protects the little ones' hearts in that things they are not ready for they don't seem to notice or ask. If they do ask, they are content with a simplistic response. Then one day when they are older, a passage they know will suddenly generate a deeper question and we have peace that they are ready for the answer.

I hope this reply makes sense. If not please ask for clarification. I am trying not to be too long winded! We are praying for you and your family!
Lainie (Oregon)
"Sanctify them in truth; Thy word is truth" John 17:17

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Unread post by AES »

Hi Jami,
You have received some wonderful, insightful reponses and I may not be able to contribute much. I have all girls and the first Bible I read as an adult was actually a children's Bible and I had the very concerns you have. Although my girls have their own Bibles now, they are not attempting to read it all the way through. However, when they are ready to, I trust the Lord will show me how to handle certain topics. For example, my now 6 and 8 y/o were soooo insistent on watching 'The Passion of the Christ' that I really wrestled it for a while. At first I didn't let them see it, then I did (with editing of parts) and then I did again while explaining the edited parts. They asked lots of questions but I was genuinely amazed at how well they handled the material.

As an aside, we have various Bible translations that we use. I bought a Bibleman bible (it's the NT only) because I thought it looked interesting for the 6 and 8 y/o, but I am using it more than them (sometimes they think I'm just a big kid!). There are bubbles that refer back to OT scripture, things like 'comrade in arms', 'gross, gory, God', decoder glasses for a decoder section, etc. I don't have any boys, but just thought I'd mention it.

Amy E.
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Unread post by RachelT »

Hello! I really agree with Crystal in her quote:
cbollin wrote:I appreciate that the MFW's 1st grade program chooses to use a Bible story reader to be an age appropriate overview of Genesis to Revelation. Then in CTG (and other years too) we read more when they are older. And then finally the entire Old Testament and New Testament in high school years. Some things can wait until they are older. It not an issue of censoring the Bible as much as saving some parts for a different time in their lives.
We are now on Day 127 and I feel like we have had such a good overview of the Old Testament with most of the stories. We've just followed our MFW schedule and it has helped us stear clear of more mature or scary topics. I like the Bible reader or using children's Bible picture story books right now, because I feel like they can get more of the meat later. However, I think it's awesome that your child wants to read the real Bible on his own! Maybe you could call MFW and find out if the NIrV Discoverer's Bible would be much different? We are going to use Adv. next year, too, but don't have that Bible yet. Maybe it would be a better fit? Sorry, I can't really help you with that.

I am sure that God will work in the heart of your child wherever he is and if you don't feel comfortable with something, He will give you wisdom and discernment to lead you to what is best.
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19


Unread post by cbollin »

Jami --- chiming back in here.

Among everything that has been mentioned, I want to make sure you are reading ahead of your child. For one example, Chapter 18 of Leviticus may be too mature for a 7 year old. I know I’d blush if my 6 or 7 year old child went around quoting some of those verses. ((((blush)))) I guess in 1st century times, it wasn’t an issue to have 6 year boys recite those verses from chapter 18. There must have been very different cultural norms for how children interacted in adult life back then compared to now. But just because it may have been the first memory work back then doesn’t mean that our children are ready for it given the cultural norms that we live in our houses. (and no, I don't really want anyone to research that topic for me.)

As for the blood, guts and gore, Boys will be boys, as Julie implied. And they will enjoy the stories and the gories. But not all of them are ready for the mature topics. I just want to make sure that you and your husband read ahead to chapter 18 and be ready for it. I’d just hate for you to be caught off guard on that.

Prayers and ((hugs)) in your decision.

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Unread post by dhudson »


I think it's great that your child wants to read the Bible all the way through. My oldest son is very much like that. He loves to read Revelations on his own time. When he was younger and I felt that some of the topics were too mature for him I bought several story Bibles. We have one that is in a Comic format and one that was mine from childhood which tells the stories but in a much more child safe way. All three of mine have read through these Bibles and it has allowed them to gain an overview of the entire Bible as well as a love for the Old Testament without introducing them to topics that they are too young too handle.

They are many good story Bibles out there, so I think you could find one to suit your child.

God Bless,

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our experience

Unread post by my3boys »

I didn't read everyone's post as I seem to be coming in late here. I just wanted to share our experience. My 8yo ds is reading through the Bible on his own for the first time - he really wanted to. I was concerned more about all the s*x in the Bible then the gory stuff. I'm reading Genesis right now and this week alone I've had to think about Sodom and Gomorrah and insest between Lot and his daughters. Anyway, I found something called 'My Bible Journal' - you can find it at Amazon. It takes children through the Bible more in a story by story way then a verse by verse way - it tells them what to read out of each book and gives them a good overview with application questions. This way he can read through the Bible independantly and still miss the inappropriate stuff.
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Cautions for reading the entire Bible independently?

Unread post by Jami »

shawnswife wrote:My 8yo dd decided a few weeks ago that she wants to read through the entire Bible. She is using the Explorer's Bible that comes with Adv. So far she has made it into Deuteronomy (I'm very impressed she stuck it out through Leviticus and numbers, I never have). So yesterday she wants to read outloud to me and chooses Esther. I thought "Oh, my!" I just hadn't really thought about how many stories have a questionable element to them (such as Abraham and Hagar, Joseph and Potiphar's wife, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the list goes on). Plus there is a Bible dictionary in the back (which I know she has read) that defines these words. I don't want to discourage that or handle it incorrectly. I'm considering paper clipping shut pages or blacking out a few words in the dictionary portion. Any other ideas?

Gee, what a problem, my daughter loves reading the Bible! :)
I posted a question just like this at the beginning of this year!

My seven year old son is also reading through the Bible and started with Genesis. He was reading my NIV version but we ended up buying him a NIrV like is included with ADV.

Like a previous poster, I believe the grace of God lets him read His Word without learning too much mature 'stuff'. My son understands most of what he is reading and I know this because he asks me about things and I ask him about things, but he has never asked me about any of the ... stuff. He doesn't know what any of that means because God guards his heart and mind through it.

I would continue to let your daughter read it as it is the best book she could read.
Jami - AF Wife

8th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, Pre-K

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Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

This is one of those subjects that every familly will deal with in a different way... but so far in our home it has not been a problem. I have been surprised to find that my boys generally don't ask questions about things that are beyond them.

I have three who are reading now, and they all have responded the same way to these sorts of situations in the Bible. They just don't ask a lot of questions. When they do become curious about something, there is usually an answer that will satisfy their curiousity without giving them more info than they are prepared to handle at their ages.

The truth is that real life brings up just as many questions for my dc as the Bible does... cousins or friends at church with a single mommy and no daddy around... magazines or books or friends at church (!!) using words my kids can read but don't need to understand... the list goes on.

I hope you find the right balance for your children.
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
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Unread post by shawnswife »

I'd like to thank everyone for their thoughtful replies. At this point I have decided to paperclip the pages together of a couple of different passages that are very explicit. I really like what a few of you shared about God protecting them from what they're not ready for when they read, which is why I'm not going to shelter from every passage I'm uncomfortable with, just the most obvious ones. It's nice to know that others are dealing with this as well and that others care.

Jennifer F.

Wife to Shawn since 1997
Mom to dd (2000), dd (2001), ds (2002), ds (2006)

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Completed parts of CTG and Story of the World (2010-2011)
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The ... Topic

Unread post by Yodergoat »

sbbrown425 wrote:Hello everyone!
I have a 13 yr old dd and 11yr old ds and a 19 month old dd. Well it was wonderful being able to share the pregnancy, labor and delivery with my older children. Some how we have managed to keep the ... talk very simple. God puts the baby there. Now my 11 yr old son is wanting more specific answers. Exposures to several close relatives/friends make the questions come more frequently.

I have the books God's Design and the WWBAM but haven't used them yet. Praying and preparing. My son is so sensitive. Please share. Any bad experiences?
Nothing much to share here, but it is also the case of relatives, I don't think we're going to make it much longer. Listening in with curiosity to see how others address this.
Last edited by Yodergoat on Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
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Re: The ... Topic

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

We aren't going to make it that much longer either, Shawna. I fee like I'm going to have to discuss it very soon.

OP - At this point, I would probably go ahead and open the discussion...gently. Maybe just say, "if you ever have questions of how it actually happens, please let me or dad know and we'll discuss it with you." That will probably open the door right then and there.

Beyond that, I have no advice as I'm wondering the same about my almost 8 year old son. He is teetering on the edge. He also thinks people get married and then God just puts the baby there. He has asked some probing questions at inopportune times though. It is coming........
Wife to an amazing man
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Julie in MN
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Re: The ... Topic

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Funny, I haven't seen this topic on the board in a Loooong time. It used to be a frequent topic :)

I dug up some of my old posts to refresh my memory, and I'll link them below. The links also have quite a few other chatters to join with the experiences shared here:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 642#p43642

It's been a while since I looked at facts-o-life books, but as I recall, the RTR book is just right, and the God's Design books go into a few more things that maybe kids would rather read about on their own. Read through them when you have a chance, they aren't too long.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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