We’re continuing talking about creating your own homeschool curriculum. You’ve made your subject list and now you’re narrowing down what to put in each subject. As I said before, choosing a curriculum is just choosing books. It is super simple. You can choose a book, a program, part of another curriculum, whatever you want that makes school work for your children.
Bible was a difficult subject for me, personally, to really decide what to do with. For one, I’m not Reformed. There aren’t a lot of ready made Bible studies for kids or families that aren’t Reformed. And I don’t want to spend all my time editing what is being taught so that it is theologically cohesive.
I also wanted it to be different from Sunday School. My kids are in church and I wanted their Sunday school experience to stay a Sunday school experience. I didn’t want to bring flannographs and crafts into every lesson every day.
I want my kids doing Bible every day. I don’t want them to have something so complex we only hit on it once a week. I wanted it to be daily enriching. And once they can read, I want it to teach my children how to have daily Bible reading time. I wanted to use it to build a Bible reading habit for them.
I opted to handle the subject in multiple ways. We place some Bible in our Morning Basket. We read a Psalm together daily. (When the Psalms run out before out 180 school days have passed, we read a chapter from Proverbs.) We also read a devotional book for kids in our Morning Basket. On Friday, we play a Bible game in our Morning Basket instead of the devotional book. (Check out The Action Bible Guess It Game, Apples to Apples Bible Edition, or So You Think You Know the Bible.)
That still leaves the actual Bible subject open. For younger kids, I think what I do in Morning Basket is enough. We’ve added more because I think there is always room for a little more Bible time. But for younger kids, I think prayer, a Psalm, and a devotional are quite a lot of Bible and is sufficient. However, I spent years doing only that much, and I think I missed some opportunities to really help my children grow in their faith.
For my younger kids, we have two things we do for Bible this year. We alternate days four days a week on which we’re doing that day. (We’ll talk about Friday later.) In previous years, we’ve read through the Herein is Love Commentary series, which we loved. We’ve read through various Bible Storybooks.
- Each child is illustrating their way through the Bible so at the end of the school year, they’ll have their own Bible Storybook. I read them a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. As I read, they draw an illustration of the story. It is super simple. They love it. I love seeing what stood out to them in each story.
- I read a chapter of a Christian story. I try to pick books that are imaginative, but thoroughly Christian. This term, we’re reading The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud. (It will likely take us more than one term to finish.) The Imagination Station, The Cooper Kids, and The Sugar Creek Gang are other good options.
That leaves the older kids. As I said before, one of my goals for Bible as a subject is to help my kids develop the habit of daily Bible reading. We’ve chosen to do a SOAP method of Bible study. They each pick the book of the Bible they’ll be reading. (The Pastor or I will advise if they ask.) They use these books of the Bible printables to keep track of their reading. Each day, they read a chapter.
Using the SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) method, the first thing they’ll do is read the Scripture. They’ll write down on a piece of paper (or a journal) which verse they read is standing out to them most in their reading. The second step is Observation. What is this chapter telling us? Are there any places of repetition? What can be directly observed? How is this passage relating to the people it was written to or about? They’ll write this on their paper. The third step is Application. How does this apply to my life? What is my take away? They’ll write that down. Last, but not least, is prayer. They’ll write out a short prayer based on their reading. Super simple. If you want to know more about this method, check this out.
I don’t stop there for Bible. My Logic aged kid also reads a Christian Book a few days a week. This year, he’s reading through the Imagine… series. He’s also read Cold Case Christianity for Kids, Case for Christ for Kids, Love Does for Kids, and Trial and Triumph.
My older kids are now entering a different intensity of school work. This year, since they’re learning about ancient history, our Bible choices centered around that. They’re reading The Bible Among the Myths, Epic of Eden, and Stewards of Eden. (Lectures in Old Testament Theology was close to being put in the line up.) In my opinion, teenagers are capable of reading adult theology books. Don’t be afraid to give them difficult material– just be available to talk to them about it. Apologetics books are also of high interest to teens. Last year, these two enjoyed The Great Divorce, Miracles (by Metaxas), and Miracles (by Lewis). Read along with them. Be on their page. Know how their wheels are turning and you can better help as God guides and shapes their lives.
Now all of this probably seems like a lot to you. You really don’t have to do this much. As I said before, in the past, because I couldn’t find a good curriculum fit for Bible, I didn’t do enough. I didn’t focus enough on it. I didn’t make it enough of a priority. For that reason, as they get older, I definitely focus more on it. If they know calculus, but don’t know Jesus– I’ve failed.
Don’t limit your options to what is under the “Bible” tab on homeschool curriculum. If that was all the options, I’d be sad. You can absolutely use those if you want to. Just be aware of where your curriculum is coming from and how their worldview shapes what is in front of you. Theology matters. Doing your homework ahead of time to make sure what you’re putting in your kids’ hands aligns with what your family believes will save you a lot of time (and confusion) later.
Let’s talk about Fridays now. John Wesley has a method of helping people grow in Christ. He did this through bands, classes, and meetings. A band is a small accountability type group. A class is a small group. A meeting is a larger gathering, like Sunday morning service. That is a gross oversimplification and Wesley scholars are now pulling out their eyebrows in anguish over it. If you want to learn more about it from someone far more intelligent than I am, check this out.
I’ve taken my eight kids and started a family band. Now, technically, my family is the size of a class. But, I was noticing that my kids needed what a band has to offer and there wasn’t any good way to get that going. So, I started a family band. Friday is our meeting day. Each kid shares something that God is showing them. They bring their illustrations or Scripture journals and are eager to share with us. We also do some basic accountability, though I do respect their privacy and don’t go through the full list of questions with them– since they didn’t really choose to be in this band. However, it has been a nice way to help them grow in faith and help give them something in common. They each have something equally important to share– even the young ones. So far, my family band experiment is going pretty well.
How you set up the Bible portion of your curriculum is up to you. I’ve simply shared what works for me and my kids. You may decide to do a Catechism. That’s great! You may just read a storybook Bible. Cool! You may decide to just read to them our of your devotion each day. (Yes! That is an option! Want to read Mama Bear Apologetics or Death by Living? Two birds, one stone– read it out loud to your kids!) You may pic a devotional books for kids like this one. Neat! You may pick a Bible curriculum designed for homeschoolers. Awesome! There is no single way to do it.
Just don’t skip it. To adapt a quote from The Pastor, if your kids miss Jesus, they miss everything. If you take a back seat on teaching them the Word, don’t be shocked when their worldview is decidedly not Christian. Everything you do shapes your child– from the food you put on their plate to the way you fold towels. It all has an effect on how they view the world and what they are becoming. You cannot avoid your influence. So influence them in the way that matters. Intentionally choose how you’ll guide them. Don’t leave this part to default.
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