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Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lesson Planner: How Firm a Foundation (Bible Curriculums)

{Originally printed in the Summer 2008 issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine}

2 Timothy 3:16 ~ “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

As most TOS readers are Christian homeschoolers, most of us understand that the very foundation of all our subjects is God’s Word – the Bible.

As such, we are constantly on the look-out for a ways to cultivate in our family a love for the Lord and His Word; to instill the habit of Bible reading and study and creative ways to help them hide the Word in their hearts. Unfortunately and admittedly, there are times when our children and teens may find learning the finer points of the Bible a little…shall we say…dry.

How do we keep the momentum going and feed their love of the Word? My concerns were: 1) I wanted to stay away from introducing ‘extra’ cartoon characters used to make the Bible seem more “story-bookish” and possibly cause them to associate the Bible with fairy tales as they grew and not as truth, or 2) that in order to keep their attention I may unintentionally use something disrespectful to God’s Word.

Over our 16 years of homeschooling, I have used a multitude of studies…some successful, some not…some interesting, some not…some worthy, some not. In this issue I’ll let you in on a couple that fit all of our criteria.

The More Traditional Route

As our children grew and the longer we homeschooled, we became very eclectic. But there are always a few traditional curriculums that everyone works well with. One of those has been Alpha Omega Publications’ Lifepacs. One of the things I liked the best about the Lifepacs, particularly since we are so eclectic, is that AOP offers the purchase options of either buying a whole set (10 Lifepacs plus the Teacher’s Guide) or you may purchase only the Lifepacs or you may simply purchase only the Lifepacs that cover topics you specifically wish to study! Great options!

AOP’s Bible Lifepacs cover all grades, first through twelfth, and using the King James Version, include the themes of theology, attributes of God, Biblical literature, Biblical background, Christian growth, Christian evidences and other special themes, all at the student’s grade level. Different grades cover different scope and sequence objectives:

First – God and You
Second through fifth – Seven Major Themes
~ Christian Growth
~ Theology Themes
~ Christian Evidences
~ Special Themes
~ Bible Literature
~ Attributes of God
~ Bible Geography and Archaeology
Sixth – O.T. and N.T. Bible Survey
Seventh and Eighth – Seven Major Themes (continued on a deeper, more comprehensive level)
Ninth – N.T. Survey; Sharing Christ; God’s Will
Tenth – O.T. Survey
Eleventh & Twelfth – Seven Major Themes (again, at a deeper level)

To whet your appetite even more, here’s a sampling of just some of the Lifepac subjects according to grade:

~1st – God Created All Things; Jesus, Our Savior
~2nd – God & the Family; God, His Word & You
~3rd – Living for God; Oh Joseph! What Was God’s Plan for You?
~4th – God’s Knowledge; Old Testament Geography
~5th – Angels; Proving What We Believe
~6th – From Creation to Moses; The Life of Jesus
~7th – Worship; The Life of Christ - Parts One, Two and Three
~8th – Prayer; Sin & Salvation
~ 9th – The Gospels; Job & Suffering
~10th – Exodus & Wanderings; The Divided Kingdom
~11th – The Faithfulness of God; Friendship, Dating and Marriage
~12th – Knowing Yourself; Comparative Religions

Since the Lifepacs are in workbook form – and cover all other school subjects, by the way - many children and teens enjoy actually seeing their work completed; closing a completed workbook to move on to another and watching that stack of workbooks pile up can really be an incentive to a child or teen who likes to have some tangible “evidence” of a job well done.

The Road Less Traveled

Now, if you’re looking for something a little more creative, a little more innovative and artistic, and a little more fun without being disrespectful to God’s Word, here’s a really easy, really creative way to keep your students – from K through 12 – interested in their Bible studies. Grapevine Studies – Stick Figuring Through the Bible by Dianna Wiebe.

“Grapevine Studies teaches the Bible as if it were a puzzle, doing the frame first.” That framework is the timeline and individual pieces; those pieces are: Bible passages, characters and events which make the whole Word of God easier to understand.

There are five different levels of Old Testament and New Testament volumes; these may be done together with multi-aged children just like unit studies:

~BEGINNER: 5-6 year olds
~LEVEL 1: 1st and 2nd grades
~LEVEL 2: 3rd and 4th grades
~LEVEL 3: 5th through 8th grades
~LEVEL 4: 9th through 12th grades

Each level has a timeline review/lesson. The student will read the Bible lesson which allows the child to have an understanding of the context of the character or event and where it fits on the timeline. After the reading the student draws using stick figures (who can’t do that!), symbols, colors, charts and words to illustrate the Bible passage. The lessons end with review questions.

Beginning with Level 3, the lessons include map assignments to help the student with Biblical geography. Application is determined by the teacher and each lesson ends with a Bible memory verse.

By the end of the year-long study the student should be able to complete an entire Bible timeline – SOLO! It’s a GREAT year-end project.

Grapevine Studies correctly understands that most students, of all ages, have a higher retention rate when they are taught using reading, hearing and drawing (hands-on) instead of merely being lectured to.


~ Alpha Omega Publications. 1-800-622-3070 or

~ Grapevine Studies/Stick Figuring Through the Bible:

Blessings from Ohio, Kim<><

1 comment:

  1. Kim, you are such a knowledgeable lady with the different home school publications, etc. ! I especially appreciate what you said about staying away from "cartoon like" extra characters to make the Bible "come alive" for the students in order to keep away from them associating the Bible with Fairy Tales. There is nothing better than teaching the Bible...perhaps with flannel graphs or pictures (Abeka), but teaching the Bible ALWAYS needs to be taught for what it is...God's Word...not a "story". Thank you for this post.


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