Sunday, January 27, 2013

Part 1 - Bible Study Guide

Teaching my children about God is one of the most important  jobs I have as a parent, so I wanted to find a special tool to help me do that. I had never heard of Bible Study Guide, but literally found them through a Google search of "homeschool Bible curriculum multiple ages" or something like that. I really wanted to find a Bible curriculum that my boys could do together, despite their age difference (second grade & K4). I have a lot of good things to say about this curriculum and plan to continue using it through the summer and into next year.

Their website describes the curriculum like this:
The Bible Study Guide is a Bible curriculum that takes all ages through the Bible at the same time, studying some Old Testament and some New Testament each year.
Students learn the "big picture" of the story of the Bible, in-depth knowledge of the Bible and, best of all, how to apply it to their lives.
1 - For me obviously the biggest "pro" is that my 2 boys can study the same content with grade-appropriate material. Will uses the Beginner Level Material (K3-K5) while Alex uses the Intermediate Material (gr. 3-4). I chose a higher level for him because of his exposure to a lot of Bible teaching already in Sunday School, children's church, AWANA, & 3 years in Christian school. The one "con" I have fits here too. It has been a little tricky to "teach" both at the same time, as their application activities are different and require different instructions from me, but I think our system is working.

2 - The material is cost effective. The website recommends materials based on how many students you are teaching whether your own family or in a class setting. We pay just $5.95 per set of 26 lessons. The only level that requires a teacher guide for homeschooling is Primary level. Each set of student pages has a page of teacher instructions. I also purchased the Bible Book Summary Cards and music CD (sung lyrics only).

3- My boys are learning SO MUCH about the Bible,  not just stories. Let me walk you through a typical lesson for each boy .

Will's Sing & Remember section reviews content from each section of stories we've studied over & over again. Lesson 36 which we just finished asks about Lesson 1! This section also has students sing songs (There is an optional CD.) such as praise songs, Sunday school type songs, and songs that teach.  The Learn the Basics teaches a Biblical time line (I do not use this with Will) and information such as the books of the Bible. All of this is on one side of the Student Page. On the same side is the Get Active introduction activity (I do sometimes) and the application picture & discussion thoughts. The back side contains the story. There are Scripture references for me to read or I can use the included story paraphrase to tell the story (usually what I do for Will). Each story has a panel with cartoon-type illustrations, with things for Will to do in each pane. For example, if someone is mad, he may color their face red. God is illustrated by a cloud that says "God," which Will is always instructed to color yellow. Simple DOing things. See an example of the Beginner pages here. Beginner student pages sample

Alex's lesson has a Remember It? section where he is asked questions on the past stories. Sometimes it's fill in the blank, sometimes matching, things like that. He also has a Memory Workout section where he reviews stuff like books of the Bible and Bible Book Summary Cards (optional visuals that teach a summary of each book of the Bible). The Guess What. .. section teaches a definition of a word or defines a custom in the Bible. For example, you may know that Joseph was in charge of everything in Potifar's house except what he ate, but did you know that is because in their culture Egyptians did not eat with Hebrews? I didn't, but my 7 year old learned that! Alex's front side also contains a Get Active activity like Will's, an Apply It section, as well as a Prayer List (We do not do these parts as often as I'd like us to.). The front also contains my favorite part - Time Line or Map (every 3rd lesson). Alex is learning how all these stories relate to each other on a timeline of Biblical history as well as learning a LOT of Bible geography. The back contains the story panel too, but with age appropriate activities. Where Will is coloring or circling, Alex is labeling, underlining, matching, and drawing. These kinesthetic (hands-on) activities really imprint these stories in my boys' minds. See an example if Intermediate pages here. Intermediate student pages sample

4 - This may sound funny to you, but I like that the male characters do not look sissy or have long hair. Think about the Bible illustrations you've seen and you know what I mean.

5 - Another plus is that since no Scripture is actually printed on the pages, users are free to use whatever version of the Bible they choose.

Our review, story time, and application time takes about 30 minutes, which is our longest class of the day, but the most important, so I do not mind. If we are pressed for me, we sometimes do the review work one day and the story the next.

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