Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review of Judah Bible Curriculum

For the last six weeks, I have been evaluating the Judah Bible Curriculum (Disclaimer: I received the Judah Bible Curriculum free in exchange for my honest review).  I would ordinarily say that I had been using the curriculum with my children, but in this case, that's not really very accurate -- yet.

The Judah Bible Curriculum is, according to the website, "a Principle Approach curriculum for Bible Class." As I understand it, the Principle Approach is a method of learning whereby large concepts are presented, but specific lessons are left up to the teacher.  Through prayer, discernment, and research, teachers and students learn together.  The Judah Bible Curriculum reflects this idea.

A Judah Bible Curriculum purchase includes the following (content for hard copy or download is exactly the same):

You don't get lesson plans, per se, or spoon fed ideas of what exactly you should teach your students.  Rather, you receive an overview of Biblical themes, with scriptural references provided.  The themes lead you through the Bible from Creation to Redemption.

To aid the teacher, and to guide the Principle Approach, one can download blank sheets from the website.  For example, the Key Events sheet suggests an analysis of an event's causes and purposes, key individuals, etc.  At first, I didn't really know what to do with these sheets, but the company website has examples of filled-in worksheets which really helped me understand how to use them.  Further, the website and the K-12 teacher's manual are both replete with ideas on how to use this Bible study. I found these resources more helpful than the Teacher Training audios, but I am much more of a visual learner than I used to be.  I need to see it to really "hear" it.  For audio learners, though, the Teacher Training Seminar would probably be very helpful.

I have found it very hard to describe this curriculum! I still feel that there is much I don't understand about it, even after marinating in it for six weeks.  Here is what I do know, though, and why I think the curriculum is worth the price if you have discretionary curriculum income:

  • The curriculum includes no doctrinal focus.  In fact, the website specifically says that it leaves doctrinal emphasis up to the parent.  As a Catholic, this is key for me.  Catholics emphasize far less personal interpretation of Scripture.  Instead, they are guided by Tradition and the Magesterium.  Not have a Protestant doctrinal focus embedded in the program makes it user-friendly for a Catholic.
  • The blank "Key Sheets" included with purchase are very helpful for focusing a Bible study.  As a notebooking family, seeing these sheets made me realize that, yes, we can "do" this curriculum!
  • The Teacher's Manual is much more of an overview and guide than it is a book of instructions.  If you're like me, and have to tinker with every curriculum you try, then this is the manual for you. Just enough, but no more!
If you like the above three points, this curriculum would probably work well for you.  I know that opinions were very mixed on this one, so be sure to read the Crew blog!

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