Looking for a Bible study curriculum for the whole family? Bible Study Guide for All Ages may be just the thing for you!
Company Information: Bible Study Guide for All Ages is the product born out of necessity. In the 1970's, Mary Baker, mom of four and Sunday School teacher, began creating this program for the children she worked with. Isn't that what many enterprising moms do? If we can't find what we want, we make it ourselves! Through the years, others have joined Mrs. Baker in working together to create a 4-year Bible program that goes through the entire Bible---yes, even all those minor prophets!
Product Reviewed: I reviewed the Beginner's Level of the program, which included:
1. The Beginner's Level Student Pages, which included Lessons 1-26 of the program. ($5.95) The stories covered in this level included Joseph, Daniel, and part of the life of Christ. The pages are legal size, 8.5" x14", with black and white line drawings. The Teacher's Guide is included in the student pages.
Each lesson includes several sections:
- Learn the Basics, which utilizes the timeline cards (see below), helping children learn basic Bible events in sequence.
- Sing and Remember, which includes teaching children little by little, the books of the New Testament, provides song suggestions from the CD (see below), and review questions from the previous day's lesson
- Get Active, which is an activity to introduce the day's story
- Discover the Bible (on the reverse side of the page), which is the heart of the lesson. In the Beginner's version, the parent/teacher either tells or reads the story from the Bible while children listen and respond by coloring, tracing, or crossing out pictures.
- Apply It!, which is an applicational activity that allows children to take home a real-life lesson for today from the Bible story.
2. The Beginner Time Line: 34 full-color pictures of key Bible stories throughout the entire Bible. Each card is printed on cardstock and features one question.
3. Children's Songs CD Set: This 2-CD set features 90 songs. These songs are simple and easy to learn and includes many old favorites as well as songs that teach. As many parents know, music is a wonderful way to learn and helps things stick! We learned the names of Jacob's sons this way!
Price: $5.95 for the student pages, $24.95 for the timeline cards, and $19.95 for the CD set.
Age Range: The Beginner's level is designed for non-readers, about ages 3 through Kindergarten.
If you are interested in using this program for the entire family, the Primary level is for grades 1-2, the Intermediate level is for grades 3-4,and the Advanced level is for grades 5-6. These are pages for specific age groups. Teens can join in as well simply by using their Bible as parents/teachers read from the Teacher's Guide. If you want more details on how to utilize this for your entire family, you can check out their FAQ page.
Parental Preparation: Very little is required by way of preparation as all of it is scripted for you. All I had to do was make sure Jonathan had some crayons and we were ready to go! Of course, don't forget your Bible or a children's version, if you prefer.
How We Used It: The curriculum is very simple to use. Using the outline, Jonathan and I would work through the lesson from start to finish as outlined. We started out reviewing the timeline cards and reciting the books of the Bible. We then would sing the featured song, which in our case was "The Sons of Jacob." It didn't take us too many days to learn their names!
When it got to the Bible story portion, I would read the Scripture reference in the right hand corner of each activity box on the page and then use the notes to summarize the key points. That way he knew that what I was reading was coming straight from God's word. The activity would have him mark the corresponding illustration in some way. These activities helped when it came to review time the next day. Sometimes, instead of going through the review questions, I would have him look at the pictures and retell the story to me in his own words. That way, I was able to see whether or not he caught the facts and understood the story.
What We Liked:
- The content of the study is very solid and manageable for little people. We read about the story of Joseph, and without going into all the gory details, the children were told how Joseph was invited to sin with Potiphar's wife, but ran away instead. It was very age appropriate.
- The illustrations are winsome and appealing. Even though they were cartoon drawings, they are very well done.
- I liked the way the story is interspersed with activity for the children. This combination kept Jonathan engaged in the lesson.
- I appreciated being able to work through key timeline events using the cards. This is very important to help Jonathan see the Bible as a story, not as a story here and there as it is often presented in children's programs. The cards help him to remember the order of events.
- The student pages are inexpensive.
- I like the fact that kids learn the books of the Bible, taking advantage of the fact that young children's memories are so keen at this stage in their lives. I did have to make sure I articulated the names of the books clearly though, otherwise we would get some interesting interpretations!
- The CD contained some great favorites and wonderful songs that help kids learn Bible facts. As mentioned above, we learned "The Twelve Sons of Jacob"---something I never learned myself! I did have to tell him that Asher's name was not "Also-asher" though. (You'll have to listen to know what I'm talking about!)
What We Didn't Like:
While I liked the general setup of the program, I really preferred a chronological treatment of the Bible. But that wasn't a problem. I just looked at the scope and sequence of the studies and figured out the chronological order I wanted. I have started from Genesis with Jonathan and have adjusted the memory work to fit.
I also didn't use the application section that much, sometimes because it didn't fit and sometimes because there were other applications that seemed more appropriate for us at the time. Again, that didn't alter much for us.
Lastly, I wish that the pages were on a standard size paper instead of legal size. It would make it easier for us to create a notebook out of them for review purposes. I'm sure I could just cut off the teacher's notes section and keep the illustrations.
I really enjoyed using this program and Jonathan enjoyed the interactive nature of listening and then doing. I like the fact that even if it takes us a while to get through all of it, I can simply move to the next level of student pages when he is ready without having to start over with a new program. It is thorough and easy enough for parents who want to give their children a solid Bible education without having to do a lot of prep work. It is also easily transferable to the Sunday School classroom if you desire. All in all, a solid value and great program! I highly recommend it!