Saturday, August 10, 2013

TOS Crew Review: Bible Study Guide For All Ages

You might not know this (though probably you do), but another hat I wear in my life is that of Children’s Church Person. I am always excited when I can find a product that I can use in both role as homeschool teacher and Children’s Church Person. 

One of my goals for Josiah for this year is to have a working knowledge of the books of the Bible.  Bible study is an important part of our schooling experience. 

I have a funny story about learning the Books of the Bible when I was little. My Dad (also a pastor) offered all of the children of the church a dollar if they could learn the books of the Bible (in order). My mom spent the next few weeks teaching all the kids in children’s church the Books of the Bible song. The next week, we all trotted up to the front of the congregation and sang. Dad had to fork over the cash that Sunday. I still hum a little to myself when looking up a passage of Scripture. “First and Second Corinthians, Galatians and Ephesians…”

I had an opportunity to review a few products from Bible Study for All Ages. They have gone quite a bit farther than my little ditty. 

Bible Study Guide for All Ages is a Bible Curriculum that fits my bill.  Mary Baker, a mom of 4, created the program when she was searching for a Bible Curriculum that she felt could help her children study the Bible as well as her church's Bible Class. It all began in the late '70s and has taken off from there. The full curriculum is intended to take 4 years so there is a little something there for every age group. You can see the Order of Study here. I got to review the Advance Student Pages and the Bible Book Summary Cards

Bible Book Summary Cards cost $24.95 and are recommended for ages 3 – adult. The cards are 8.5 x 11 and in full color. They are nice and sturdy. Each card represents a book of the Bible. The front of the card is made up of colorful cartoons that give the student a visual clue. On the back of the card is a description and some questions for the student to answer. 

The Advanced Student Pages run $5.95 and are recommended for grades 5 and 6. We received lesson book 1-26, which is intended to cover one quarter. The pages themselves are 8.5x 14. I initially was a little concerned. “Now how am I going to fit that in his notebook?” I have decided I kind of like them. For one, they can be used a little mini-posters. They can easily be placed in the notebook and folded in half. Almost like a pop-up page. I decided I like that, too. 

How We Used It

There are a couple of ways the Bible Book Summary Cards are intended to be used. We used them in conjunction with the Advanced Student Pages, but they can easily be used on their own. What I need to tell you is that they are more than just a way to remember the books of the Bible. They help the student remember the broader themes of each book. What happened? How did this further God’s plan to send His son to die for the sins of the world? 

Josiah and I used the cards daily. I was immediately impressed with how quickly he picked up on the visual clues. These really clicked with him. 

When introducing a book of the Bible, I explained (according to the description on the back of the card) the pictures on the front. We would review every day. I was able to use the questions located on the back of the card to test his memory. 

Here Josiah is modeling the first 3 cards for you.

He's such a hoot. When he was first studying the Genesis card and I would ask him to name the 3 promises God made to Abraham, Issac and Jacob he would tell me "That they would have a river." I think God promised a little more than a river.

The Bible Book Summary Cards come with a variety of suggestions for their use. One was to scatter a few of the cards (already studied) around and have the student put them in order. 

The Advance Student Pages are all sorts of awesomeness, as well. It is recommended that you use additional materials provided by the company (the Bible Book Summary Cards, Children’s Songs CD, etc), but in truth all you really need is a Bible. 

They are divided up into sections. 

Remember It? – These activities allow the student to review what they have learned in the previous lesson. The review might come in a number of different ways; fill in the blank, true and false…

Memory Workout – This section uses a variety of memory drills. The object is to teach general Bible information. Sometimes there might be a reference to one of the other Bible Study products. One challenge is to memorize the books of the Bible.

Guess What – This section might add a little bit more to the lesson. It offers definitions of words and historical information. 

Timeline – The neatest thing ever. But what homeschooler doesn’t like a good timeline? There is an unlabeled wall timeline available for purchase (we didn’t receive it). The timeline found in the Student Pages provides a variety of activities for the student to complete as well. The timeline activity is included in every other lesson. 

Maps – The lessons that don’t contain a timeline include a map. These are simple maps that just require a good Bible Atlas to use. 

Get Active – These activities vary. Some of them must be used in a group setting. I particularly loved the ones that instructed us to get alone with God and spend some time in prayer. 

Apply It – This section goes to the nitty gritty of it all. It helps the student think about how he can apply what they are learning to his own life. 

Discover It – This was also one of the favorite sections. It and reads almost like a graphic novel. Except that it is interactive.

You can check out a PDF download of Lesson 33 (Mark 1:21-45). This one wasn’t included in what we received for review, but it is a good representation of the kind of product you will receive. 

What I thought

I probably should admit something. This was a lot more fun to use than I had anticipated. My eyes kind of cross whenever I think of worksheets (in general). The Advance Student  Pages were quite a bit more than worksheets. 

The Bible Summary Cards are just plain terrific. Even my husband (Bible College Graduate) enjoyed going through them. I like the fact that they can be used over and over again and have such a wide span in age-appropriateness. I wish I would have had them earlier! 

While I can certainly use them in my Children’s Church, I will probably use them more at home. We have a little more time to really dig into the Word. However, I think that the Bible Study for All Ages is a terrific option for a Sunday School class. 

If you have a whole gang of kiddos (with varying ages) and are unsure how to proceed, check out these suggestions from Bible Study for All Ages on how to work it all out.

Member of the TOS Crew reviewed these products and the other levels of Student Pages. Check them out!


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