Junior Church, A Format for Everyone

If you wonder why the homeschool blog posts have been a little lacking on Layered Soul, I have been pouring a lot of my energy into the new junior church format at my church. I never dreamed I would use my homeschooling skills outside of the homeschool community, but the past 3 months I have been able to serve the children of my covenant community.

Junior Church

Guest Post from IRL friend, Kristen McGinnis

Thirty kids, special needs, no budget, small church…What do these all have in common? Trinity Church of Smyrna‘s new junior church.

Junior church is a time after praise and worship where the children age 4 years to 10 years come down stairs during the church service. Since our church meets in a local school we have to address some interesting challenges.

(The following video was presented to the congregation last Sunday. For copyright, basic background music was added from iMovie for Youtube. Originally the video had the song, King of Glory by Chris Tomlin.) [Read more...]

Handling Sensory Issues and Haircuts

Sensory Issues and Haircuts

How I have had to learn to handle sensory issues and haircuts.

Personally I don’t hate getting my haircut, but I can’t stand to have my hair washed. My family never understood why it drove me crazy but there is something about my head being wet and my body being dry that overloads my senses. Thankfully I can skip the hair wash and just get the haircut.

When my oldest was a baby, I learned how to do basic boy’s haircuts. This skill has served me well, since my younger two boys have sensory issues and haircuts can become a stressful event. Here’s a list of 20 tips for helping with sensory issues and haircuts.

Now that my boys are older and want more stylish cuts, they need someone else to cut their hair. Nothing produces anxiety like telling them today is the day they are going to get their haircut. [Read more...]

5 Activities that Helped Us Homeschool Occupational Therapy

Homeschool Occupational Therapy

Can you homeschool occupational therapy? First I am not a trained Occupational Therapist, but I am a homeschooling mom who has brainstormed and tried ways to address delays in my boys. When my health insurance would not cover OT, I had to figure out ways to help my sons. One book that really has helped  The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, Revised Edition

My third son was 5 when we had him tested. It was half through the school year when I realized things weren’t going the way they had with my older 2 kids. Now that he is 12 we have benefited from some great activities that helped him address his OT delays. [Read more...]

5 Tips for Helping a Struggling Learner from a Struggling Mother

5 Tips for Helping a Struggling Learner

Are you helping a struggling learner? Of course there are a vast number of reasons why a child struggles with learning and often, behind a struggling learner there is a struggling mother.

My second son, at an early age, struggled with things like blowing bubbles and riding a bike, in addition to his school lessons. I spent months researching ideas to help him learn. This school year I have struggled to help my youngest son understand math. We have spent 2 years trying to master the addition facts. At first I tried some of the tricks that worked for my other son but the gap continued to grow.

So what do you do when “mom is struggling to teach” and “the child is struggling to learn?” When I am struggling to teach, my brain just shuts down and can not focus on new ideas. I feel so defeated. For the past 2 months I found myself working through these tips to help me and my son. [Read more...]

Bible Study for Kids, Meeting Their Different Needs

Band of Brothers

Meet my band of brothers, this semester they are doing the Grapevine bible study for kids on the Resurrection. We started with the free lesson available for the beginners level on the (affiliate link)  Grapevine Studies website. What a great way to test out a new program! [Read more...]

Teaching the Lord Prayer to Non-Readers

I have the privilege of co-teaching Sunday school to a group of 3 to 7 year olds. The beauty of the class is the mix of ages and abilities. Our kids don’t have to move up to the next class until they are ready. Since I have been doing this for a few years, it is great joy to watch our special need students blossom in their knowledge of God’s word.

For the first half of the year, we are going to spend a week on each verse of the Lord’s Prayer. Since I am a visual thinker, I like to place pictures above words to help the non-readers in the class recite their scripture verse. Our goal, that they understand the concepts and don’t get hung up on unfamiliar words.


My pictures are simple clip art and I chose ones that I think this age group would understand. Here is the PDF of the whole prayer.

Lord's Prayer Part 1 (1959)

Lord's Prayer Part 2 (1219)

Lord's Prayer Part 3 (1070)

The size will fit onto the sentence strips that are sold at the Dollar Tree. I matted one set of strips onto a foam board with corner mounts. That way we can add the new strip each week.

I just read a great blog post on using moveable visual schedules over at The Inclusive Church blog. I think this will be a great help to our class. If you are looking for a few more activities for the Lord’s Prayer, I found some sites with lapbooks, mini books  and coloring pages. I think I have a few more verses I want to work on for them.

Here is how our church re-did Jr. Church to better serve the needs of all children.