Monday, August 18, 2014

Review of Wizzy Gizmo's Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament

Wizzy Gizmo Review
Wizzy Gizmo - I know...the name, right? It's so cute, yes? When I saw this name come up on the vendor list, I had no idea what to expect. Then I saw that they do Bible books and audio dramas for kids and I figured that I would not have much interest in the products. I tend to rely on Catholic companies for our Bible study materials (although I have been introduced to some wonderful non-Catholic materials through the Crew, so I have learned to keep an open mind!). When I saw the Fast Track Bible Pack: New Testament, though, I upped my interest level in a hurry.
Wizzy Gizmo Review
The Fast Track Bible Pack is a series of 27 cards, one for each book of the New Testament. They are recommended for all ages and they cost only $14.99 for the set. The front of each card contains a summary of the book, while the back contains an outline, key chapters, key passages, key doctrines, and key people. It was after going to the website and seeing a sample card in its entirety that I knew that I had to have this set - in fact, I was so determined to own it that I had already decided to buy it if I wasn't fortunate enough to receive it for review (and I was so happy that I got it for review!).
This is the front of the card for the Gospel of Matthew:

And this is the back of the card:

Every card follows the same format. If you look at the website, you will see a host of different ways that the cards can be used divided up by ages. The suggestions can easily be translated into lesson plans. Of course, with cards like these you are limited only by your imagination. 

How We Used Fast Track Bible Pack

Before I talk about how we used these cards, I do have to talk about the Catholic vs. Protestant aspect of them. I knew that we would run into a few discrepancies with the cards, but I hoped that they wouldn't prove to be too much of an issue. We did and they didn't. For example, the very card of Matthew as pictured above provides the best example (and allowed me to see what I was getting into right off the bat). Under key passages, you see 

16:18 - "The rock is Peter's confession. "You are the Christ," though he would be given special authority in the Kingdom as an apostle and spokesman, but not as the first Pope."

As a Catholic, I read this explanation of the key passage and go, "huh?" because the opposite is so clearly true to me. In fact, to me it seems as though the explanation of the passage goes so far out of the way to deny the establishment of the Papacy that it is almost gratuitous. For one thing, Protestants may argue that nothing in that passage establishes the Papacy, but I will counter 100% that nothing in it argues *against* the establishment of the Papacy -- and the notation on this card indicates that it does. 

As it turned out, though, discrepancies like this provided one of the best ways for us to use the cards! When we came upon things like this (that is, things that diverged from our Catholic beliefs), we would go to the Catechism to explore our own beliefs. In this case, paragraph 553 (CCC 553) explains that Christ actually did institute the Papacy through Peter.

Paul's letters, too, gave ample opportunity for the same exercise. Any time a key passage or doctrine mentioned, for example, justification by grace, we would look at the Bible and the Catechism for the passages that explain the Catholic belief - commonly called "faith and works," but that name is a misnomer. Very simply (because I can't leave this topic without clarifying): Catholics believe we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), but because "Not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but rather he who does the will of my Father" (Matthew 7:1), doing good *must* be a component of faith. Lip service isn't enough. 

In any case, such was the course of our apologetics.

Other Ways We Use and Will Continue to Use the Cards

Please, please don't take my above explanation as a slam against these cards - I *love* these cards, but the simple fact is that we are Catholic and the cards are designed by Protestants for a Protestant audience. There will be things which do not accord with our Catholic faith. It is my job to make sure that my children are very clear on the differences. Having said that, Catholics and Protestants agree on many, many things, and these cards are simply wonderful for so many purposes. One thing I have loved them for, and know I will continue to love them for, is their key people! For example, have you ever come across a name either in a Bible study or a Bible story, or even just remembered it - and you know it's in the Bible - but you just can't remember where? You will not have that problem ever again if you have these cards. Demas is one that has always plagued me. Turns out he was Paul's companion during his first Roman imprisonment - you find that out in 2 Timothy (admittedly, not a book I turn to often). I have enjoyed just reading through the "Who's Who" of the New Testament by flipping through the cards.

Also, for as much as it may sound like I was knocking the key passages and doctrines above, I know that we will be using them a lot in the years to come. I am already using the key passages as copy work for Nicky (11), Mary-Catherine (9), and Michael (9). It is great to be able to home in on a lesser known book of the New Testament to pull some passages out and have that work done for you. 

Further, as Therese (and later the others) continues to compete in NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communications Association), I have hopes that she will want to try Apologetics. For now, we are using the questions in our religious studies at home, but the way these cards are structured makes them an ideal asset in the Apologetics arsenal.

Finally, as the picture above indicates, the kids actually really like just reading the cards! They are physically quite sturdy and very attractive. You are naturally drawn to them. *I* like just sitting and reading them! That has to be their very best recommendation of all.

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  1. thanks for your very in depth review of the cards! I agree that they are a valuable resource!

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate your reading the review. I really love these cards...I want the OT now!

  3. Thank you for the wonderful review Laura. The OT is coming soon. Join our newsletter if you want to be notified when they are available.

  4. Hi!

    I know this post was from a while ago, but I wanted to speak up because you mentioned NCFCA Apologetics. I'm Catholic, and I competed in NCFCA Apologetics. I've seen the number of Catholics in the league grow enormously since I started, and I really hope that the event becomes more popular among us. I would really encourage your daughter to try it, as it was a very valuable part of my high school years and very good religious training.

    I did all my prep without a curriculum, since I didn't want to use the Protestant-based ones on the market. After I graduated, I decided to put together a website to help Catholics who wanted to compete in NCFCA Apologetics but didn't know where to start.

    I don't know if you guys would be interested in that at all, and it looks like you already have some wonderful resources, so you can disregard this if that's the case. However, if you (or any other Catholic NCFCA families you know) are interested:

    faithandreasonapologetics (dot) wordpress (dot) com

    It's still a work in progress, but check it out if you're looking for more ideas. But whether you use it or not--do Apologetics. I don't regret an instant of it. :)

    in His joy,


  5. And this is truly a crazy coincidence...but I'm looking at the sidebar on your blog, and guess who was my hands-down favorite teacher in high school? Wes Callihan. (Although I did his live online classes, not the video courses, since he hadn't done those yet.)

  6. And this is truly a crazy coincidence...but I'm looking at the sidebar on your blog, and guess who was my hands-down favorite teacher in high school? Wes Callihan. (Although I did his live online classes, not the video courses, since he hadn't done those yet.)