Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TOS Review - Judah Bible Curriculum


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DISCLAIMER: As part of the TOS Review Crew, I received the full downloadable copy of the Judah Bible  Curriculum for free in exchange for my honest review.

As with any review, the following is my own opinion and one of many. Please visit the Crew Blog to see what other reviewers thought of this product.

WHAT and HOW MUCH?


The Judah Bible Curriculum is available in hard copy as well as a downloadable product.


Judah Bible Curriculum Pack hard copy:


    $69.00, plus 5.00 p&h,
    Total $74.00.
    Allow 7 days for delivery.
    You get:
    1) Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual;
    2) Elementary Notebook Ideas booklet;
    3) Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminars on CDs.

Purchase Judah Bible Curriculum delivered online:

    Total $44.00.
    Download the e-book and begin today!
    You get:
    1) Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual, e-book format to download; (100 pages)
    2) Elementary Notebook Ideas booklet to view online or download; (60 pages)
    3) Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminars. listen online or download. (approx. 8 hours!)


WHAT is the Judah Bible Curriculum (JBC)?

Judah Bible Curriculum is a Principle Approach curriculum for Bible class for all ages, with the BIBLE as the textbook. Throughout the studies, the children and parent / teacher will also develop a Notebook which will serve as a place to put writing assignments, key sheets, maps, illustrations etc. which will be completed for each theme.

Now, you might ask what is the 'Principle Approach' (PA)... I too had to find out what it is. 

And here is a good explanation of what it is:


The Principle Approach is a way of teaching and learning that puts the Word of God at the heart of every subject and teaches the student how to think and learn. The philosophy and method include these three distinct characteristics:

Teaching students to reason Biblically for themselves, producing excellent Christian scholarship

Nurturing individual self-governance in each student, causing them to take responsibility for their own education and growth

Setting all learning in the context of God’s hand moving in providential history—His Story


This is not a curriculum where you open a book and follow the instructions with lessons all planned out for you. It is, as explained above, an in-depth way of studying and teaching the Bible to produce Godly character. With this approach, the teacher / parent will need to learn this approach first, before being able to teach it to the student. 

The JBC is an in-depth curriculum that builds on itself over time. This can be used with kids of all ages. With the JBC you go through the Bible each year. The aim is not to read each chapter every year, but to study specific high points from Genesis to Revelations. 

The Bible is divided into 5 Themes which are studied each year. These themes depict what is happening governmentally throughout the Bible and are:

Theme 1 - Creation
Theme 2 - The Plan of Redemption Begins
Theme 3 - Kingdom of Israel
Theme 4 - Kingdom of God
Theme 5 - The Early Church

The Old Testament is studied in one semester and the New Testament is studied in the next semester. As you work through these themes you will study different keys, including key individuals, key events, key institutions and key documents. This is done using the key sheets that come with the manual, which will be placed in the notebooks. 

Each Theme takes approximately 5 weeks to complete.

Visit the SCOPE AND SEQUENCE page to get an overview of how this is taught. 

As mentioned this is not a set out curriculum, but rather a way to study the Bible in depth. The manual doesn't give you complete lesson plans or an exhaustive list of ideas for each week of study, but it does provide a starting point. 

The notebook could be a 3-ring binder which will hold things like writing assignments, maps, art for younger kids, illustrations, key sheets, etc. To learn more about the Notebook Approach click on the link.


HOW we used it:

As I have mentioned earlier, as a parent / teacher you will need to do some learning first before you can implement any of this. There are 8 lectures for the parent / teacher  in mp3 format to listen to. Each of these lectures is approximately an hour in length. They include:


Lecture_1_Philosophy_Why_and_How.mp3
Lecture_2_How_God_Changes_Nations.mp3
Lecture_3_Creation_Flood.mp3
Lecture_4_Abraham_Malachi.mp3
Lecture_5_Matthew_Revelation.mp3
Lecture_6_Methods.mp3
Lecture_7_Pentecost_Present.mp3
Lecture_8_Key_Individuals_Joseph.mp3


I only listened to some of this to get my head around it. Lecture 6 was useful and then I listened to Lecture 3 - Creation to Flood as we used this for the duration of the review. The audios can be difficult to listen to as they are presented to an audience where visuals are referred to and we didn't have access to those. The audience members also asked questions which were unclear on the audio clip. 

It is a lot to take in and with other curve balls being thrown my way, I'm sure I could have done a more in-depth job if I had more time to really get to grips with this curriculum before implementing it.

In saying that, the kids did enjoy the things we did. We alway do Bible study as part of our daily routine, so taking a deeper look at God's word wasn't new for the kids. Completing the key sheets, was a new concept which they found challenging, but they enjoyed it. 

The manual presents you with a suggested weekly theme guide that you can follow.

Week 1 was Creation, Genesis 1:1-25. The key verse was Gen. 1:1 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'.

Day 1 - I talked about the philosophy behind the curriculum and the kids learned what self-governance means. We read Genesis 1 and discussed it. Gen. 1:1 was our memory verse.
Day 2 - We read Genesis 1 again and made 'Creation booklets'. The children had one page for each day of creation and drew a picture of what God created on that day. They wrote the scripture down for each day too. 
Day 3 - We looked at the key sheets and talked about key individuals and key events and completed some of the sheet.
Day 4 - We talked about 'what ifs' - (What if God did not create the earth) and about what this chapter tells us about the character of God. 
Day 5 - I believe it is important that the kids understand that not everyone believes in a literal 6-day creation, so we talked about other theories and beliefs about creation. 

There are many other things you could do, but this is how we started. 

The difficulties:

My first reaction to this curriculum was a sense of being overwhelmed and thinking 'I have to go back to school to learn this, will I ever get my head around this and where will I find the time to listen to 8 hours worth of training videos?' 

It takes time to digest, as there is a lot of information to take in. 

If you do have the time / or better still, make the time to go through this and then implement it, I believe it can be a worthwhile curriculum to have. 

For us who like to come up with our own ideas or search the internet for some ideas, it might make the curriculum somewhat easier, but for those who find generating fresh ideas more difficult, it would be a challenge to come up with activities for the kids to do and add to their notebooks. You will get a 'notebook ideas' file, and although it might not always be appropriate for your child's age, it does help to spark some ideas of what you can do. Perhaps the kids can even come up with their own ideas. 

Will I continue now that my review is done?

I do think it is a valuable curriculum, and although I think it will take some time for most teachers / parents to really get to grips with this, I firmly believe that it is worthwhile investing the time to prepare well before implementing it. I certainly will be doing so. 

Don't forget to visit the Crew Blog to read some more reviews.



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