Monday, August 04, 2008

Curriculum Reviews - Bible

Until this year, we have always used Sonlight's Bible curriculum. I have to say, though, that Bible is often a weakness in the Sonlight Cores. There are a few things that have been really good, but a number of others that just didn't click. So, here's a review of what we've used and how it has worked. We'll start with successes and move from there.

AWANA - Both my kids were in AWANA for several years until it started to conflict with dance class. Frankly, the weekly AWANA meeting plus the learning verses during the week was probably the best Bible curriculum that we could have asked for during the grade school years. If you have the chance to put your kids in AWANA or something similar, I would highly recommend it.

The One Year Bible for Kids - One year, we read through this Bible (not the "Challenge Edition") for Bible. This was really good for us. It was straight Scripture reading without lots of activities that we never get around to, etc. This is the NLT version, which we also really enjoy.

Balancing the Sword - This is our current Bible curriculum. Basically, these are just books with comprehension questions for each chapter of the Bible. There are also pictures and helpful charts. These are not written from a specific theological perspective and are purely comprehension questions. We are on Genesis 14 and are enjoying it. Basically, we read a chapter out loud then Mr. Math Tutor asks the questions. The kids (and I) look through the chapter to find the answers. I've been reading ahead in the Broadman commentaries and also have several other Bible resources available for use so that we can look up anything else that we have questions about. One reason I like this is that the kids really have had some questions and have engaged the Bible more than they have with other curricula.

Leading Little Ones to God - Mr. Math Tutor used this book with each child when they were 5 or 6 years old. It is a series of readings designed to introduce children to Jesus and basic Christian teaching. I highly recommend it - both kids (and Dad) loved it.

Children's Bible Field Guide - We used this with most of Core 6 (although we didn't completely finish it). Basically, this book goes through each book or section of books in the Bible and explains what was going on in this section of the Bible as well as what we can learn from it. Both kids enjoyed it, but it wasn't very in-depth. The activities are directed at a group learning setting, so I ended up having to create activities for the kids.

The Awesome Book of Bible Facts - This is not really a great "curriculum" book, but it goes nicely with reading the Bible. Both my kids enjoyed it.

Learning about God from A to Z - Frankly, I don't remember much about this book and we've already given it away. Suffice it to say that neither child got much out of it.

Starting Strong - Another book that I don't recall real well. The kids just didn't engage it much.

Remembering God's Awesome Acts - I thought I would really love this book, but I ended up disliking it more than did Ga'hoole Girl. The book is a study of Genesis and Exodus. One of my problems is that it is unashamedly "Young Earth" in view and tone. I've been teaching my kids both "Young Earth" and "Old Earth" positions (I'm pretty firmly "Old Earth" myself) but this book had several weeks devoted to the first couple chapters of Genesis with a "Young Earth" point of view. The activities could be interesting, but many were frustrating for me and Ga'hoole Girl. We finally just gave it up.

I hope this helps in your own homeschooling. I'm coming to the conclusion that the best Bible curriculum for my kids is the Bible itself (part of why I like Balancing the Sword). We use our commentaries, maps, and charts liberally, but I really like that we're reading the Bible every day.

1 comment:

Travis Prinzi said...

I grew up on AWANA!