These lessons are based on the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. It is assumed that the grown-up working with the child on these lessons is a student of Christian Science, or someone who is not opposed to a Christian Scientist’s point-of-view with regard to the Beatitudes. It is also helpful if there is a Bible available for study, along with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and her other books contained in Prose Works. This is not mandatory, however, because most of the citations are included within each lesson. Further study is sometimes recommended, but the books are not required when reading the individual lessons.
Parents or teachers will want to read through the lessons and choose the ones appropriate to the child’s age or ability to read or understand. Children do not usually develop the ability to understand abstract concepts until about age twelve. The youngest ones are generally very literal-minded. You can read them the citations, but they may not be able to grasp the significance without a concrete illustration, or “parable,” to think about. I have tried to include these whenever I could, but you will know your child best, and may have some good ideas how to help get the points across. Many of the more abstract or absolute statements of Christian Science are there to provide authority for the comments I have written for the children. You can choose which ones to share with your younger children.
Although I have defined the terms that are central to each lesson, I was not able to offer definitions for all the more difficult words that are found in the citations, due to space limitations. I have left it up to the readers to take time to look up those words where there is a need. I do not recommend skipping a lesson if there are too many big words, since one way a child learns the vocabulary of our textbook, as they would for any new subject, is simply to hear the words spoken in context, even if they do not understand right away. Depending upon the age and interest of the pupil, you can stop and look up new words.
You will notice that each of the lessons in the “Question and Answer” sections ends with an idea of how to put the lesson into practice, or a recommendation for further study. These are only suggestions, and it is good if you and your child can come up with ideas of your own. In order to make these practice ideas work, you might want to check in with your children later in the day to remind them of the ideas you discussed in the morning, or go over the lesson again at night, and discuss how they might have used the ideas that day. Practice makes perfect! Or, as one of my children’s piano teachers used to say: “Perfect practice makes perfect!”
Although the lessons generally focus around one theme for the day, some of them may have a number of ideas to juggle, and you can certainly spread one lesson out over several days, or use only what your child can handle. You can also choose to go over all the lessons based on one particular Beatitude before moving on to the next set, or you can mix them up. For your first time through, I recommend going over the lessons in order as they appear in the book.
(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume Two: The Beatitudes” Copyright 2002)