July 9, 2018

Bible Study Guide For All Ages: Beginner Student Pages & Beginner Time Line {Review}

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As a Christian mother, discipleship is very important to me. In addition to traditional subjects such as language arts, math, and science, I always make sure to add in a substantial amount of Bible study time to our homeschool routine. Sometimes we work on one major story from the Bible and make an entire unit study out of it. Other times, we focus on memorizing scripture verses. Recently, I've been putting together my son's lessons using the Beginner (3-K) program from Bible Study Guide For All Ages.







There are a total of 416 lessons in the complete Bible Study Guide For All Ages program. The Beginner Student Pages come in sixteen different sets with twenty-six lessons in each of them. We've personally received lessons 1-26 of the Beginner Student Pages, as well as the Beginner Time Line. There is also an optional Children's Song CD set that can be used with the program, which we may decide to purchase at a later time.







The Beginner (3-K) program was created for children ages 3 through Kindergarten, so it works for both non-readers and beginning readers. I personally felt it was the best place to start with my son, since he's just entering Kindergarten and learning how to read. The program has a unique approach that's a little different to other Bible study programs we've used in the past. The overall goal of this curriculum is to study the entire Bible in four years, however the program doesn't just start with Genesis and follow on through to Revelation. Doing it this way, would not allow children to even be introduced to the life of Jesus until around their third year into the program. Instead, the lessons switch back and forth to Old Testament and New Testament content. This allows the lessons to be balanced out and avoids the repetitiveness of staying on the same subject matter for long lengths of time.







The lessons sort of act like multiple pieces of a puzzle from different sections of the Bible. You learn about a story from one area of the Bible and then from another. Eventually these make up a big picture of what the child is learning. For instance, lessons 1 though 26 focus on the stories of both Joseph and Daniel, while also introducing the early life of Jesus (focusing on His birth and childhood).




The Beginner Time Line was another component that we received in order to work through my son's Bible lessons. These don't necessarily follow the same timeline as the lesson plans, but are still a handy visual tool for learning basic Bible concepts, especially for younger children. I like to think of them as oversized flash cards, because essentially that's what they really are. The set includes thirty-four different cards that are printed in full traditional page size (8.5" x 11"), using durable cardstock thickness. The illustrations have vibrant colors, a glossy finish, and offer fun, age-appropriate depictions of major Biblical events and people.







For the past several weeks, we've been working with the lessons from Genesis that include the story of Joseph and his brothers. Although, we've touched up on this story in our daily Bible readings, before, this was the first time that my son had actually completed day to day lessons that solely focused on the life of Joseph. I personally like how each lesson doesn't try to squeeze the entire Bible story into one session. For instance, we are almost through with our study on Joseph, but it is actually comprised of fourteen of the twenty-six lessons in the first set of our Beginner Student Pages. This type of approach is nice, because it gives us more time to really study this story in depth. Sometimes if you just glaze over a story in the Bible without picking it apart, you miss the big picture of the history that you're learning. This can especially be the case for younger children. The multiple lessons flow into each other to focus on this one story, so that my son can actually walk away with solid knowledge of the life of Joseph, from beginning to end.





The lessons are so simple and straightforward to use, but there are some teacher guidelines included that breakdown how the lessons work and any materials that may be needed. The entire program is meant to span four years, so the lessons should be done at least two times a week. I've personally found that this plan works, but my son enjoys this so much that we've been doing the lessons every other day if time allows. Since the lessons are short and sweet, it actually works for us and we can be flexible if need be. Although the program using verses from the New International Version (NIV) translation, you could actually use any translation that you'd like, which is another added convenience.


How are the lessons laid out? Each lesson has a regular flow with several sections that tend to reoccur throughout each one:


 
  • Learn the Basics is the first area to start off with. It directs students to review select cards from the Beginner Time Line in order to build up on their knowledge of basic Bible events, facts, and principles.

  • In the Sing and Remember section there will be a numbered list of multiple activities or questions for students to work on. For instance, in the latest lessons that we've been working in, some of the activities will include saying the New Testament books aloud, answering questions that were covered in the previous lesson, and even singing a song from the Children's Song CD set (since we don't currently own the CD, we supplemented by using other related songs that were available to us).

  • The Get Active section shows up in many of the lessons. This is a fun way to engage students in an event or activity to help them relate to the lesson they're learning that day. For instance, in lesson five we had covered the timeline when Joseph was in prison, and the cupbearer had just remembered that he was supposed to tell the Pharaoh about Joseph's God given gift of interpreting the meaning of dreams. The Get Active portion of this lesson lined up with the story by giving students an activity on remembering specific details about a picture. They are to look at a picture for only five seconds, and then the parent or teacher has to ask them questions about what they remembered seeing in that picture. A brief discussion is included on remembering things and why it is so important at times. I have noticed that there were a few Get Active activities that we'd come across that were geared more towards having multiple students. Of course, we were able to adapt some to better suit a lesson with one child.

  • My Bible is a section that shows up every four lessons or so. This allows students to really get to know their Bible. This was one of my son's favorite areas, because it allowed him to work with his own personal Bible while completing certain activities. Here is one, below, where he was asked to color the Bible in to make it look just like the one that he currently owns. 




  • The Discover the Bible section is the main area where children are offered the Bible study lesson of the day. This is my son's other favorite activity, because it allows him to learn about a special story, person, or event in the Bible while completing miscellaneous hands-on activities at the same time. There are numbered areas that tell the lesson's story while also corresponding to matching illustrations. The photo, below, shows my son's first lesson where he was required to use certain crayon colors to trace and shade in various parts of the illustrations. This is a common activity in many of the lessons in this level. Notice the red faces? Those are Joseph's brothers. My son was asked to color them in with a red crayon to represent the anger that filled their hearts, because of their feelings of jealousy towards Joseph. 




  • The Apply It section is the last area that is completed in each lesson. It offers a way for students to personally apply what they've learned. Children may be asked a question about a picture (which can be colored) or scenario, and how they would feel or react to what is going on in the illustration–maybe even how it relates to the Bible story they've just learned. Other prompts are provided for further reflection and application in the student's day to day life.


Now you may be wondering how you could use this program together as a family if you happen to have multiple children in varying age groups. Well that is one of the really neat benefits of using the Bible Study Guide For All Ages program, because it actually works for a variety of different age ranges, from preschool through sixth grade. There are four different sets of the Student Pages– Beginner Level for ages 3-Kindergarten (which is the one that we're currently using), Primary Level for 1st-2nd grade, Intermediate Level for 3rd-4th grade, and Advanced Level for 5th-6th grade. All four sets of Student Pages allow children to work through the same exact Bible lessons, at the same time, but at their own appropriate grade level. So let's say I am working on Lesson 4 with a Kindergartener and a 4th grader–my younger child would use the Beginner Level and my older child would use the Intermediate Level, but at the same time they will both learn all about how Joseph interpreted the dreams of the Cupbearer and Baker from Genesis 40. The only difference in the levels would be the activities included for the lesson. These would be more age-appropriate depending on which one is being used.








I personally enjoy all of the different activities that are offered in the Bible Study Guide For All Ages, because they give my son more of a hands-on approach to learning, which he particularly enjoys. It's also nice that each lesson offers a little refresher on the last, which is especially helpful when we are working on new lessons after a long weekend of not doing schoolwork. This allows me to test his knowledge on items he's already learned in previous lessons. All in all, this program has proven to be a wonderful option for my son's Bible study lessons and one that we'll definitely keep moving forward with.




 






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