When people ask me which is the best Bible curriculum, I always ask them what they are looking for in a Bible curriculum. Sometimes people want a good devotional; sometimes they want a scripture memorization program or maybe a study of character traits. There are many options when it comes to Bible study and we have used a variety depending on our needs at the time. Bible Study Guide For All Ages is an orderly study of the scripture and its key components and characters starting with Genesis and moving forward. We had the privilege of reviewing both the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) level and the Beginner (3-K) level.
My goal was for us to be able to use this program as a family. The two levels used the same Bible verses and story for each lesson with different activities. When we tried the first lesson I was concerned that I had taken on more that we could successfully complete with this review, but within a couple of lessons we had figured out a rhythm and made it work for the whole family.
As I was figuring out the program and how it would look for us as a family it took about 45 minutes to complete the first lesson. However, once I was used to the flow and the children understood what was expected of them it was taking us about 20-25 minutes to complete a lesson.
I was using the Advanced (5th & 6th grade) program with my rising 5th and 7th graders. While my oldest is technically aging out of their suggested range, I still plan to use it with him next year as I think he will continue to learn from it and I like being able to study through the Bible together as a family. At the same time, my four year old was using the Beginner (3-K) level. When we first started I was having a bit of a time working out doing it all together. The four year old has a fairly typical four year-old attention span (aka short) and would get distracted while I helped the older children. However, with-in a couple of lessons we had found a rhythm and flow that allowed us to all work together. I received the consumable workbooks for both levels, a teachers guide for the advanced level and the Bible Book Summary Cards.
The Beginner (3-K) level has review questions at the beginning of each lesson. There are also some songs that you can sing to help with remembering but they come on a CD as an additional purchase. I am considering purchasing the CD to use during the upcoming school year. Next, there is either an activity or discussion questions that lead into the Bible story. For example, in lesson three, one of the discussion questions was about mom having made cookies and told you that you could eat one after dinner and then leaving the kitchen. You want to eat one now, but what should you do?
Next, is the Bible story. They give you the scripture reference and you read it directly from the Bible. This was a feature that I really liked because I knew that they were getting actual scripture and I could choose the translation that our family found to be most appropriate. Once I read the scripture there were a variety of questions and activities for the child to complete to help with understanding and remembering the story. For example, he may be asked to circle the correct picture in a series of pictures to go along with the story, or to color a person from the story. There might be words to trace for another question. Each story had about 5-10 of these questions.
Once those were complete, there was an Apply It! section where you discussed what you learned and how it should apply to our lives. This was done in fairly simple and easy to understand terms that were appropriate for the target age range. There was also a picture that could be colored to go along with the story. I typically used the picture as something my four year old could do while I was working with the older children.
The Advanced (5th & 6th grade) level was set up in a similar way but was more in-depth based on the target audience. They started with memory work and review questions. Included in their memory work were Bible Book Summary Cards. There was a card for each book of the Bible and you work with the one for the book you are currently studying. the front of the card has pictures to help you remember the key points from that book of scripture and the back and a summary of the book and questions that you can ask to help the students remember what is included in that book of the Bible.
Next, you read the story and they have a series of questions like the beginner level. Their questions often require them to fill in the blanks or choose the right answer. Once that is completed they have timeline or map work. There is a printed timeline on each of their activity pages and they use that timeline to answer a series of questions and fill in answers on the timeline. For example, one question in the first lesson had them answer how many years Abraham lived before the birth of Jesus. Another question had them draw Joseph’s coat near a picture of the 12 sons. For the pages with map work it is set up similarly with a map instead of a timeline. They also have a Wall Maps and Timeline set that you can purchase to go with your program. These are maps and timeline to be hung on the wall and used as a group. They also have timeline figures that you can purchase to go with the wall timeline that the children can add as you progress. This is a great way to help them visualize the timeline of the Bible. For the younger children there is also a beginner timeline that can be purchased to use with your non-readers. It is set up on cards with large pictures.
Get Active! was the next section. Some of those activities were things like writing down the name of someone they knew that was feeling down. They were to commit to themselves to encourage that person and pray for them. There were times when these activities were designed around having a small group of students to complete the activity (like a skit). Most of those were easily modified or you could simply skip that step that day. The lessons are complete enough without that step that I don’t feel like it was a problem to skip it on days when it was not practical to complete the activity. Then we finished up with the Apply it! section where we talked about and answered questions about how the story effects our lives and what God is teaching us through this lesson.
What did I think and how will we use this program?
After a bit of a learning curve getting started (particularly with combining ages), we really enjoyed the program. The children were learning the stories and even though its summer they did not mind sitting down to do the lessons. My four year old absolutely loved that he was able to participate with the older children and had his own papers. I liked that it was thorough and stuck to scripture. Because it focused on actual stories and information from scripture and not interpretation I think it would be a great fit for a wide variety of denominational backgrounds.
As a family we are listening to a section of the Bible each day in order to listen to the Bible in a year and also have some devotionals that we are working through but I plan to continue using this next school year. My plan is for us to complete 2-3 lessons per week as a family. I believe that this program will help give them a strong foundation in knowing what the Bible says and understanding the timeline of events.
There are some great sample pages and information on the website and I encourage you to check them out to see if they would be a good fit for you. You can also check out the other reviews by our review crew to get more information, learn about the other levels, and see some of the other features that are available.
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