Monday, August 12

Children's Bible Study - a Review

I always have my eyes open for a quality Bible Study for the kids. There are lot of studies out there, but I'm picky and have found very few that impress me. I want a study that has students read God's Word and learn about the Bible, not examine their feelings about a Bible verse of the day and the fiction story that accompanies it. There have been a few gems, which I've shared on my blog, but eventually they are completed and it's time to hunt for another study. Thankfully, the Schoolhouse Crew has had several opportunities to try out some great programs. Recently, we've enjoyed the gem called Bible Study Guide for All Ages.

 photo logo_zpsd228aed3.pngThis publisher has several different options for families, based on ages and reading levels. We opted for the 3rd and 4th grade level and received both the Intermediate Student Pages and the Bible Book Summary Cards

The Student Pages make up everything you need for the study. There is no Teacher guide, nor is one needed. Most of the work can be done independently, some works better when it includes discussion with mom. In our case, I had both of my girls ( aged 9 and 7) going through the study, so we were able to all three sit down together and chat.
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The Student Pages are divided into different books. All combined, these books include 416 lessons which take students through the entire Bible. Throughout the process, students are studying the Bible. It's beautiful. Each individual book is only $5.95 per student. These include around 25 lessons each. There are 16 books total, taking you through the entire Bible. We averaged a couple lessons per week. At this rate, it would take us 4 years to get through all 416 lessons, but we've been taking it extremely slowly and as the girls get older, they'll be able to progress a lot faster. A lesson really could be completed in a day which would have us finished in less than 2 years.

Each lesson is 2 pages long. They begin with a reading assignment. These include around 20 verses from the Bible. After that, there are 7 sections of assignments. These are:
  • Remember It? Reviews details from previous lessons
  • Memory Workout Includes drills and activities to help students recall verses, books of the Bible, story details, key people, and more
  • Guess What... Gives definitions and shares interesting facts
  • Time Line Alternating every other lesson with Maps, this helps students see the Big Picture of the Bible and how people and events fit into God's overrall plan
  • Maps Alternating every other lesson with the Timeline, this uses maps and activities to help students understand where events took place
  • Get Active Breaks away from the worksheet for an an activity that helps reinforce the lesson or application verse.
  • Apply It Helps students apply the Bible text to their own lives
  • Discover the Bible As students read from their own Bibles, this section uses illustrations to help students think about and remember what they are reading.
My girls have loved this. Their favorite part is the Timeline. This turned out to be a very important feature of the lessons. As we were working through the lessons, I realized we were about to jump from Joseph to Daniel and to the New Testament. I was curious about this and contacted the company to ask about their chronology. They responded within a couple hours and the answer was very helpful:

Why does the Bible Study Guide not start with Genesis 1 and go straight through to Revelation?

There are several reasons we chose the order of study in the Bible Study Guide (BSG). First, in a detailed, four year study of the entire Bible, it would be nearly three years before we ever came to Jesus if we went straight through. With the BSG, we study some Old and some New Testament each year, examining part of Jesus' life on earth each year as well. We feel that this approach is a better balanced way to study the Bible.

Also, the BSG outlines the Biblical history in the first thirty lessons of study, examining the lives of Joseph, Daniel and Jesus. This method gives students an overall idea of the story of the Bible very quickly. Then we proceed to fill in the gaps.

Finally, this order of study prevents both teacher and students from feeling bogged down in a certain section of Scripture for months at a time. Occasionally switching from Old to New Testament and back adds interest and excitement. You are continually exploring something fresh.

We should emphasize that the constant use of the Unlabeled Time Line helps students understand the chronology of the Bible better than any method we know of. The way the BSG program is set up, you are constantly being reminded of the "big picture" of the Bible and how the current lesson fits into it.

That makes perfect sense! And rather than it confusing them, my girls seem to take better note of things as they place them into their timeline, though we're studying them out of chronological order.

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The other gem that was sent to me was a stack of Bible Book Summary Cards. These are huge flashcards with pictures to illustrate a summary of a book of the Bible and to trigger memory recall. The back includes a portion for the teacher to read, followed by questions about what was read. The pictures correspond with each point of the reading portion.

After just a few times of reading it, my girls were able to quickly recall all of the details for me, just by pointing at the pictures. Within 2 weeks (and just 4 days of use) my girls were summarizing books of the Bible.

The cards are for each book of the Bible and are used again and again throughout the multi-year study. Since the Student Pages can cover the same book of the Bible for many weeks, the same Summary Card could be used again and again throughout that time. Review is strongly recommended, of course. With the pictures to trigger memory recall, it's easy for them to go back and tell you about the books already learned.

The cards cost $24.95 for a stack of 66 cards. They are very sturdy and colorful. They are 8 1/2 x 11" and great for holding up and studying or displaying on the wall after you've finished. A larger option is available (11x14") in black and white for students or teachers to color in. These are even available as slide presentations for classroom use.

The cards aren't necessary to complete the Bible Study Pages. And the Bible Study Pages aren't necessary to enjoy the Summary Cards. Both can be enjoyed independent of one another. The cards would make a nice 5 minute study during Circle Time, regardless of what a family uses for Bible study.

There are several other great products available from this publisher. Be sure to check out reviews by clicking the link below.


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