For a full list of the current Growing Families International curriculum and other resources, please visit: growingfamiliesusa.com/curriculum/
With the exception of Childwise, each of these video classes is designed to be taught in a small group setting (6 to 8 couples, ideally), preferably in a home. The Childwise class (the newest in the series), is designed to be offered in schools, community centers, etc.as well. In actual practice, these classes have been offered in just about every setting imaginable--from YMCAs to pregnancy assistance centers, from midwife clinics to churches, from schools to military bases overseas and more. The classes vary in length, from close to 20 weeks for Growing Kids God's Way to only 5 weeks for Preparation for the Toddler Years. Class format is similar for all of the classes; each lesson consisting of video teaching, discussion and review of homework, question and answer time, as well as fellowship and refreshments. Two hours is the minimum recommended class time, and classes usually meet weekly--generally in the evenings or on weekends when moms and dads can both attend. These classes are not recommended for the Sunday School setting, due to time constraints and other considerations. Under normal circumstances, both spouses should attend the class together. (Parenting is a team activity, and both parents need to be on the same page in order to be effective in the training of their children.)
One of the real strengths of these classes, when conducted as recommended by the ministry is the emphasis on parenting discipleship--that is, the class leaders are to hold parents accountable for homework, for missed lessons, for participating in class and for applying what they are learning. They are not (or should not be) spectator classes. Leaders are strongly encouraged to require faithful attendance and class participation from each class member. Of course, the local church and individual class leader are responsible for setting the standards for their own classes, and as a result a wide variation in accountability levels occurs.
Not everyone who goes through the classes can (or will) have the same level of commitment and ability to apply what they're learning, and not everyone absorbs the same amount of information. In fact, some have likened going through GKGW to drinking from a fire hydrant: there is so much information that no one can take it all in the first time through. We highly encourage parents to take these classes more than once. In fact we have been through the GKGW material close to 15 times, and we still learn something new each time we go through it. It might be helpful to note that, due to variations in temperament, background, and "family of origin" parenting models, each couple applies the principles in a unique manner within their own family. For this reason it is not wise to observe any one particular alumni family and try to make a case for the efficacy of the teaching (or the lack thereof). Though we have personally been very encouraged at the overall characterization of behavior and level of maturity in the families we know who have been applying these principles for many years, we also know families who have struggled to implement the principles they have learned. There may be many reasons for this, but we encourage all parents to go through the class at least twice, and then to continue reading, learning and growing with additional resources which help to extend the teaching. The key is to keep growing spiritually, and keep working hard and not give up!
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