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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TOS REVIEW: Judah Bible Curriculum

Education for liberty

This is a K-12 Bible curriculum. The curriculum allows for lots of adaptability in your design of the daily study.

We received, as a download:
    1) Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual;
    2) Elementary Notebook Ideas booklet;
    3) Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminar.

Available as a download for $44, no shipping charges, or as a physical product for $74 (includes shipping), with lectures on CD. Also access to the website where you can find blank Key Sheets and samples. The website also has a very helpful Teacher Walkthrough page. Click here to go to the order page.

The Principle Approach (from the website):

  • The BIBLE is the textbook. The student studies and learns the Bible.
  • The student learns God's purpose in history, studying the hand of God in the lives of men and nations through the Bible.
  • The student develops his reasoning ability, helping him to apply Biblical principles personally.
  • The curriculum helps you shift from rote learning to Biblical reasoning.
  • The student learns the relationship between the sovereignty of God and the personal responsibility of the individual.
  • The student learns the relationship between individual character and national liberty.
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See the Judah Bible Curriculum Scope and Sequence

When first starting this curriculum, I think it is important to read through the entire Manual but not to listen to every audio. There are 515 minutes of audio!

The themes covered in this are (from the website):

  1. THEME 1. CREATION God creates man to bless.
    Creation, fall, flood
    Genesis 1-11
  2. THEME 2. THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION BEGINS God prepares a people for Godly self-government and liberty.
    Abraham, Moses, Joshua
    Genesis 12-Ruth
  3. THEME 3. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL The people want an earthly king and slavery.
    Saul, David, Solomon
    I Samuel – Malachi
  4. THEME 4. THE KINGDOM OF GOD God’s New Covenant, an internal kingdom.
    Jesus, 12 Disciples
    Matthew – John
  5. THEME 5. THE EARLY CHURCH The increase of His government and peace will have no end. (Is. 9:6)
    Pentecost, Apostles, Paul
    Acts – Revelation

We received this and it took me 2 1/2 weeks to feel that I could actually do it. {I will be honest with you, I did not do the very first step: Pray. I really think that if I had of done it *first* my head would not have been so confused.} The Teacher Walkthrough page on the site has ‘examples’ of every lesson (for the most part) and I used that as a loose guide.

Here is how we did our study of the Bible using the Judah Bible Curriculum, for the first week:

  • Each day begin with a prayer for guidance (we take turns).
  • Day #1: Read Genesis 1:1-25 (recite Genesis 1:1 {a verse that’s been long memorized}). Discussed the different creations of God. On the Key Events, we fill in the columns, addressing each point in the column. {we used the whiteboard, not a notebook page}
  • Day #2: Read Genesis 1:26-2:25 (recite Genesis 1:27). Discuss the key verse (made in God’s image). We use Key Individuals for this and discuss the points in each column, filling in our answers.
  • Day #3: Read Genesis 2:16-17. Discuss self-government as put forth by God; free will. I read some of the article posted on the JBC site dealing with this particular theme and we discussed more. We used  Key Documents for this and filled in our columns. (You can see sample Key Sheets at this page)
  • Day #4: Read Genesis 3:1-24. Using the Key Event and Individuals sheet, we discuss the passage.
  • Day #5: Review the weeks readings and Key topics. Discuss application of what we covered during the week.

Each day it took about 30 minutes (give or take a few minutes). Subsequent weeks will be done the same way, with Friday being a day of review and application. I’ve not had the kids do any writing assignments except for the Key Sheets. That could change later.

For resources we have Matthew Henry Commentary, various translations of the Bible but we use the KJV predominately bordering on exclusively, and the concordances and Bible dictionary from biblestudytools.com or blueletterbible.org

I was surprised how this facilitated such animated and heartfelt conversation and discussion. Also, attitudes, which were not always great at the start, always improved greatly by the end.

*********************************************************************

Bill Burtness, the creator of the Judah Bible Curriculum, also has written two books that are available at the website: The Third Alternative and Self-Evident Truths

Contact information for Judah Bible Curriculum:

Mail:
Judah Bible Curriculum
PO Box 122
Urbana, IL 61803
Website:
http://www.judahbible.com
Email:
Contact via email here.

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Pros:

The Bible is the textbook. I really enjoyed that the focus is on God’s Word. The Bible is the primary focus “expanding the study with commentaries, concordance, Bible handbooks, and other reference material”.

It really got us discussing the Bible. Before it seemed to be just reading and memorizing, really no worthwhile discussions. We also talked more of God, his personality, his design and purpose.

It can be used with all ages and as a family. It can be used in a class or with only one student. I do like that it is not ‘flashy’. The only color added is what you or your students add to it (literally!).

There isn’t a ‘set’ way of doing this curriculum. It lays out a basic outline (each year cover 5 themes, rotate the themes every 6 years, all ‘new’ users start with Creation, etc.) but it doesn’t have a “Day #1: Read Genesis. Teacher script: On the first day…” It does have a Teacher Walkthrough on the website that is very helpful, but it is only a suggestion. It is open for adaptation. They make the statement to pray before beginning and do not worry about how “he” (the creator of the curriculum) intends you to use it but how God intends you to carry it out.

This is a k-12 curriculum that can be used again and again; it would pay for itself in short order especially if it is used with a large family or a group year after year.

Cons:

This is/can be very confusing and overwhelming. It might seem more like a teacher preparation program rather than a curriculum (the regular or a particular course of study in a school,college, etc.). Because it has no books to add to the study some may feel that there has to be ‘more’ {I did}.

The audios aren’t going to be a great resource to those who are visual. I’m a bit of both so as long as I was reading/looking at something pertaining to the audio, I was okay. When the audio had not companion visual material, I had to replay it a few times. Also, there are questions asked in the audios of who I would guess are the speaker’s audience but we cannot hear their replies. These would be great as videos, I believe. Or perhaps a text file of the audios would be a plus {I’d like to see that}.

Some may feel that they have to go through this entirely before starting but that is not the case. Definitely read the manual and perhaps a couple of the audios. Look at the sample Key Sheets, pray and begin. Of course, if you get this during the summer months and wish to use it the following school year, by all means, read and listen to everything! It can’t hurt.

Other points:

It uses the Principle Approach, which shows a direct relation of God’s Word and the actions of man, of ourselves. God is the focus.

There are use of words that make me cringe when they are said in the audios (stupid, idiot) and I see them throughout. It’s a little thing that really doesn’t really detract from the program but grated on my nerves every time I heard the words. A better and more impressive choice of words could have been chosen, imho. We try not to use those words.

Bottom line:

How we had been doing our Bible study is by reading a chapter a day and narrating from it, along with memorizing verses and dd has been reading a commentary on select books. But really we lacked guidance and direction, I suppose. I think this curriculum does help with that. And God should be in every part of our lives- including, and especially, our ‘government’.

Would I personally have purchased this? Most likely not. Unless I had someone to tell me that this was a great program that they had used/were using. The reasons are there is simply not enough information the website to give a perspective buyer a good idea of what is included {I don’t mean physically- that is clear} in this product, there are not enough samples to give a possible buyer an idea of how to use the curriculum and many are likely to think it is nothing more than reading the Bible and discussing (which many do already).

Now that I’ve reviewed it, would I recommend it? I would definitely tell others about it but I wouldn’t want the frustration of trying to understand what to do with this to get in the way of actually focusing on what is the main idea: to study the Bible, to understand God’s Word. I would recommend it to families that are serious about digging deeper to see how and where God will take them, according to His Will. Also if someone already follows or is looking into the Principle Approach, this would probably benefit them. If someone is looking for a ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’, colorful, game-driven curriculum that includes all the mentioned then no, I would not recommend this to them.

Be sure to read other reviews by my fellow Crewbies at the TOS Crew blog.

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***Disclaimer: I received the above downloads from Judah Bible Curriculum via the TOS Homeschool Review Crew for free in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given. All opinions stated are my own or those of my family. I only recommend products that I truly feel will be beneficial to others based on my experiences. See Disclosure/Policies.***

1 comment:

  1. This is a very descriptive review. The schedule of your daily lesson helped quite a lot. Thanks

    ReplyDelete

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