Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bible Study Guide For All Ages Review

There's nothing more crucial for us, as Christian homeschooling parents, to pass down to our kids a knowledge and understanding of God's Word! It should be so ingrained in them by the time they are old and moving on with their adult lives that it's what they think, how they speak, and what's written on their hearts!

With that being said, we have never really taught the Bible as a "class" in our homeschool. We have always just read through the Bible as a whole, or read ahead the passages that the kids were learning in class, or used their Calvary Kids Club books as a springboard to focus on their character and memorization. Our kids have read through the Bible a number of times. However, we had the opportunity to review Bible Study Guide For All Ages this last month or two which was very different, a whole lot of fun, and a refreshing way to systematically study God's Word. We reviewed the Primary (1st & 2nd grade) level set which included the Primary Student Pages, Primary Teacher Guide, Summary Cards as well as the Wall Maps and Timeline set!

I wondered...

...can this level be used to address the needs of all my school age kids 
(ages 4, 6, 7, 7)?

Keep Reading to Find out!

The Info

The Primary level includes a Teacher Guide laying out step-by-step what the teacher, or in our case parent, is supposed to say and do for each lesson. The beginning of the Teacher's Guide has a brief overview of how to use the lesson including a list of common supplies the students will need for each lesson as well as how to work through each segment in order.

The Student Pages have a two-page lay out for each lesson that correlates with the Teacher Guide.

To give you a good understanding, let's break down lesson 5: Pharaoh's Dreams. This lesson covers Genesis 41:1-36.

The Teacher's Guide shows letter "A" as review of the previous lessons, "B" as memory work, "C" as some interesting piece of information pertaining to the story as well as a Get Active! section, which usually includes some game or activity to illustrate a point in the story, then part "D" is the meaty part!

If you see in the Teacher's Guide the page opposite of the instructions for segment "D" is an upside down image of what is in the Student Pages. This is to be held up for the class so you can reference where on their sheet you are. I love this feature! I also love in the column of the Student's page the bullet points from the story you are reading.

At this level the teacher doesn't actually read the passage from the Bible to the student, but rather reiterates more of a summary of the story along with some creative instructions along the way to solidify the information given and test their focus skills. These include instructions such as "circle the one Pharaoh expected to interpret his dreams... now name the one who can actually interpret his dreams..."

After the lesson, attention is drawn to the timeline (in their book and on the wall) as well as the Wall maps. Geographical places are labeled and discussed on the map. The time line is centered around Jesus' birth and death and resurrection and all events are measured as happening before or after His life.

The last part is section "F" where a real life scenario is given to the child to apply what lesson was learned from the story at hand.

The last piece to this is the Summary Cards. Basically they are LARGE cardstock cards with colorful images printed on them that represent each book of the Bible. On the back of the cards are facts about that book of the Bible. There are ENDLESS uses for these cards and they are, by far, one of the BEST ASPECTS of this curriculum!

Bible Study for All Ages is broken up into "Units".  We reviewed Unit 1, Quarter 1 which included lessons 1-26 covering Joseph, Daniel, and some of Jesus' early life. You can see the Order of Study for each unit and lesson here. The goal is to cover the entire Bible in 416 lessons studying some of the Old and New Testament each year. 

The Opinion

The moment you've been waiting for! What did we think?!

The Primary level that we reviewed worked only for my 4-year-old. My older students (ages 6, 7, 7) were very bored. In fact, to make things harder, I had them read through the story out loud as we were going through the pictures, or I had them read it on their own afterward and take their own notes as to what they got out of it and how they could apply it in a more deeper manner then laid out in the lesson. The applications from the Primary level were too shallow for 1st and 2nd graders, in my opinion.

I like the layout, the structure, the many different applications such as the reading of the text, the time line, the maps, and the memory work. I love the many faucets. I said earlier the Summary cards were one of the best features of this curriculum, however, the BEST was the timelines and wall maps! These brought so much more understanding to our Bible study time, maybe not to my 4-year-old, but to my older kids and to me! These maps and timeline will be staying on our walls for years to come! I hope to add onto these and reference these constantly.

Looking at Bible Study Guide for All Ages from the viewpoint of having 4 of my oldest kids use the Primary level, I can honestly say I would recommend it for 4-5 year olds only. I wish I had the opportunity to use some of the upper level lessons to see if they reach my expectations as to how GREAT this could be as a part of homeschool life, but it was just too shallow in the Bible study aspect for me to really recommend it for the age group it's supposedly aimed for.

Again, I adore the tools (the Summary Cards, the Maps, the Timeline), and I love the ideas of so much hands on integration through answering questions and coloring in pictures during the Bible study, but if this is the 1st & 2nd grade level, I'm having a hard time recommending it based on that age group.

Bible Study Guide for All Ages is really onto something here. I think it needs a bit more depth and challenge for kids in the age group targeted. I want my kids to be challenged, gain a deeper knowledge of the stories they've heard over and over since they were 2, and have a more meaningful applications drawn from them.

I plan on continuing to use this with my 4-year-old since it seemed perfect for his age. He still talks about those "skinny cows" and how we shouldn't eat "them skinny cows" :).

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