Monday, August 5, 2013

Bible Study Guide for All Ages (Schoolhouse Review)

Bible Study Guide for All Ages is a multi-age curriculum that covers the Bible in a 4-year cycle. Although there are 5 levels of curriculum, each of the levels studies the same concepts at the same time, allowing whole families to learn together. 

Teens and adults simply use the questions and activities from the Unit Teacher’s Guide for reading assignments, review questions, memory assignments, and map and timeline activities. Student pages, geared for each age level are available for younger students. The Unit Teacher’s Guide is not necessary when the student pages are purchased, although it is recommended for use with group classes, such as Sunday schools. Each level can be used for children a little older or younger than the suggested age, making it easy to put children in a family in the same level if they are fairly close in age. This curriculum will work for in families or in Sunday school classes.

So, how does Bible Study Guide for All Ages work?

We used the Advanced Student Pages, which are intended for grades 5-6, and the Bible Book Summary Cards, which are used in all levels of the curriculum.

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Each lesson includes a delightful variety of activities to reinforce the daily scripture passage.

There is a “Remember It?” sections with questions that review previously learned material. (Brilliant! Your child will never forget the story details because he will keep coming back to them for review.)

The “Memory Workout” may ask the child to sing the memory song (Unfortunately, we don’t have the song tape,  so I just had Emily recite and memorize the information—the Twelve Sons of Jacob, in this case.) She may be asked to review the appropriate Bible Book Memory Summary Card. She may recite some books of the Bible, put Biblical characters in order, or to recite a Bible verse.

Map or Timeline: Each lesson has either a map activity or a timeline activity. Specific instructions are given about what to label. These are printed right on the page—so easy!

Apply It! asks a few questions that helps the child relate the lesson to his own life and ends with a prayer.

Get Active suggests a hands-on activity to reinforce the lesson. This is great for making the lesson fun and for more wiggly children. We usually skipped it, though, since Emily is a bit older than the suggested age level and these seemed a bit young for her. Also, many of the activities were geared for use with several children and were difficult to do with just one child.

The back side of the lesson page is titled, “Discover the Bible.”  It includes a cartoon retelling of the story with directions for the child to fill in each panel of the story—filling out speech bubbles or parts of the picture, crossing out incorrect information, or drawing boxes around specified characters or details. This was Emily’s favorite section!

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The Bible Book Summary Cards are large (8 1/2 x 11) color cards that help the child learn the themes and content of each book of the Bible. The back of the card includes a short summary and several questions about the book. The pictures on the front provide memory cues for these questions. Emily very quickly learned the meaning of the word “genesis,” the three divisions of the book, the three promises made to the patriarchs, and more. Since we pull out the card every few days for review, she is certain not to forget it!

We have found Bible Study Guide for All Ages to be both easy and fun to use. We were able to easily complete one lesson in a sitting (about 20 minutes), but the lessons would be easy to divide into two parts if we wanted to take them more slowly. Although Emily is an 8th grader, we still found that the 5th and 6th grade Advanced Student Pages were beneficial. The passages in the first packet are very familiar to her, so I am looking forward to getting further into the program where she will encounter some less familiar stories and concepts. The price is very affordable for continuing the program. The company does sell some optional components for the program, such as a wall timeline, but they really aren’t necessary because everything you really need is already on the student pages.

The one exception to this, as I mentioned above, were the song assignments. I looked at the song CD on the website and it appears to include mostly songs for younger children—the kind of recordings my kids listened to when they were very young. This would be a great purchase for younger children, but not for the older crowd. I think it would be great if they would include the specific songs that are necessary for memory work as free (or even paid) downloads on the site, so that older students could have the opportunity to learn through music as well without purchasing an entire CD that they might not be interested in.

I especially love the built-in review. That is something I haven’t seen in other Bible studies we’ve used. I’m actually planning to design something similar for our history studies, because I think it works so well! So often children learn a concept, but have forgotten it by the next year because it wasn’t reviewed regularly.

Pricing:

  • Advanced Study Pages: $5.95/ 26 lessons
  • Bible Book Summary Cards:  $24.95

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I recieved this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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