Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bible Study Guide for All Ages

Yesterday marked a milestone at Cornerstone Academy. We completed the last lesson of The Bible Study Guide for All Ages. This curriculum, in four volumes, has been our Bible curriculum since I started teaching David, way back when he was five or six. (He's fourteen now!)

We've taken breaks throughout the years. We've tried other things - both out of a "grass must be greener" attitude and out of a need to change gears for a time. But we always return to this incremental study of the whole Bible.

Each volume has 104 lessons. Books from both the Old Testament and New Testament are covered in each volume and by the end of the four volumes, every book of the Bible has been covered. There is no denominational slant, but the vocabulary in the questions uses the KJV. We use the NIV, though, and usually have no difficulties.

The lessons give a reading assignment, usually 1 or 2 chapters, and review questions. Also included are map work, song suggestions, memory work, and more. We have gotten away from doing the extras in the interest of time, but they are worthwhile. There are visual pages included which I usually copy for coloring pages. Sometimes I use coloring pages off the internet instead, or from a coloring book.

Usually when we "do Bible", I have the kids take turns reading aloud. Usually David and Emily read 10-12 verses and then narrate back to me what they read. James reads less, usually 3-6 verses, and also narrates. Suzy isn't reading yet, but I do require her to listen and answer questions. She may color while she does it. James also likes to color and I sometimes allow it. David and Emily are supposed to follow along in their Bibles while someone else reads. If there is more reading after everyone has taken a turn, I finish the reading aloud. Usually our Bible lesson, including songs and prayer, is about 45 minutes long and we aim to start every day this way. (We aren't always successful! lol)

The curriculum offers student pages, which I tried out once, but didn't keep up with. They are expensive, in my opinion, and we didn't need them. I might offer the kids the option to use them again, as we do plan to go back through the study over the next four years. I definitely will have the older kids do the mapwork and timeline. We'll do all of the memory aids this time through as well.

I'd also like to use the Betty Lukens flannel figures that I bought several years ago, painstakingly cut out, and then barely used. Are the kids too old? I hope not!

James and Suzy weren't even born when we began the curriculum and I'd like David and Emily to have the opportunity to go through the Bible again with the teenage perspective. I'll need to be a bit more diligent with planning the lessons so that we can get through them in David's four years of high school, but it's easily do-able. With 180 "school days" and only 104 Bible lessons in each volume, that leaves plenty of time for a supplemental study or days with no Bible study.

If you are looking for a bare-bones study that covers the whole Bible, this is it. If you are looking for a full-fledged Bible curriculum with bells and whistles, this is it too. I've never seen a more flexible, yet thorough curriculum that covers the entire Bible. I can't wait to go back through it!

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