Tuesday, May 15, 2012
TOS Crew: Judah Bible Curriculum
This is such a big review, it's hard to know where to start! You see, the Judah Bible Curriculum is a product that you can use year after year, with your whole family, from the early years (kindergarten, perhaps) through grade 12.
This is Bible study according to the Principle Approach (click on the link for more detail). This curriculum is based in the values of the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of the individual (with an emphasis on self-government). This is no surface, shallow, fill-in-the-blank study, nor is it merely reading the Bible together and answering discussion questions. The methodology employed is aimed at getting the students to think about what they've heard or read, to interact with the material, to learn to use study aids and to take Bible learning into themselves, where it becomes such a part of them that they gain a deep understanding of God and His purposes and Providence.
"Building Godly character into your students" is also a stated aim of the curriculum, achieved through study of individuals and events and learning from biblical examples.
This is a teacher-intensive study. Don't expect to be able just to jump in. While there is plenty of helpful material to help the teacher prepare lessons, even examples of the first few lessons. You can get an idea of how a lesson works by viewing a sample. (One of the things I like about the sample is it gives you the opportunity to listen to the first in a set of teacher-training audios that come with the curriculum.)
In the course of study, you go through the Bible in a year, focusing on five themes, the first semester in the Old Testament and the second semester in the New (see this link for more detail). You repeat the themes each year, every year with a slightly different emphasis and more in-depth study. Work for little children is mostly oral, or drawing pictures, while older students learn to organize learning and express their thoughts in writing.
Within each theme there are keys to study: key individuals, key events, key institutions, and key documents (which may not just occur in written form). During your studies, you and your students will create notebooks -- but these are not mere records of study, but valuable tools for future study and teaching. (I found the booklet of sample pages from student notebooks very helpful!)
Together you will read Bible passages, memorize scripture, fill in key worksheets (so much more than mere worksheets), and, perhaps most importantly, begin to apply scripture to your life.
The key worksheets were somewhat familiar to our family, as some of them were similar to Bible and character study we've done in the past. I was impressed by the teacher helps on the website, along with the Judah Bible Curriculum Manual that explains the methodology as well as guides you in lesson planning. The fact taht you are planning the lessons means you have to work harder than if you just had a script to follow, yet it affords flexibility -- and also means that you'll be learning much more than you would just following someone else's plan.
Because you are studying through the same themes (Creation, the Plan of Redemption, worldly kingdom of Israel, God's Kingdom, and the Early Church) for each year, everyone in the family can be on the same page, in a manner of speaking, even while studying at different levels.
This is an amazing study, and I wish I'd had more time to explore it before this review's due date. However, this is one review product that we'll use, even after the review period has ended.
Pricing and availability
This curriculum is available at the Judah Bible Curriculum website.There are two purchasing options, a download for $44 (PDF e-books of the K-12 manual and a booklet of notebooking ideas, plus mp3s of the eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminar to download or listen online), or hard copies of the manual and notebook ideas, and CDs with the lectures, for $74.
Read more TOS Crew reviews of the Judah Bible Curriculum at this link.
Disclaimer: Our family received a download copy of the Judah Bible Curriculum for review purposes. No additional compensation was involved.