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I am planning on using Alpha Omega's LifePac Bible 1 for my 1st grader next year. But when I got it, it looked a little on the "light" side for 1st grade. More like ps or k. Has anyone else used this with their 1st and was it good? What curriculum have you used?



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I am really sorry to have to say this, but I have a very low opinion of Alpha Omega's Bible curriculum. I have not looked at their curriculum in any other subjects, so cannot comment on them generally.


I teach inductive method seminars and have directed children's church programming for many years. I make a point of evaluating Bible curriculum each year when I go to the homeschooling convention. Here is a review I wrote a few years ago--I have since looked again each year at each curriculum provider I reviewed, and stand by the recommendations listed below:



When I evaluate a Bible curriculum, I look for what percentage of questions require the student to answer from the Bible text itself (I shoot for 2/3--most studies unfortunately only hit 50% or less), how factual versus opinion-based any notes are and to what degree there is denominational bias.


I also look for how much a good inductive process is reflected in the study--there should be factual observations, an opportunity to summarize the main point of the passage in one concise statement, and finally, application to real life.


I also think that younger children do well with circling the right answer, puzzles, and drawing in response to the text. However, as your child reaches fourth and fifth grades, their Bible study should include more short answer and independent work. (SWB's SOTW reflects this same progression--SOTW 1 has a lot of coloring and multiple choice on tests, whereas SOTW 4 has more short answer and not so many coloring pages.)


I have not found one single Bible curriculum or study anywhere, ever, that asks for a one-sentence summary of the main point of the passage. I highly advocate adding this feature in to whatever Bible study you use or teach, in any setting. A good way to do this with kids is to ask a question like, "What did you learn about God in this passage?" or "What do you think is the very most important lesson in this passage?" Keep it to one short sentence--there may be many subpoints that are good to know, but it is very valuable to be able to distinguish the main, most important point.


My number one pick would have to be the Explorer's Bible study, which is available at http://www.explorerbiblestudy.org. Many thanks to Jessica at Trivium Academy for recommending it. I was impressed. It has a good amount of factual observation questions, is very Bible-text focused but still includes some cultural/geographical/historical notes here and there, and has a small proportion of application questions in each unit. Information is presented from an evangelical perspective but seems more factual than opinionated. For those who may be familiar with Bible Study Fellowship or Community Bible Study, this curriculum follows the same pattern. Each unit is also laid out into five days of homework--a decently challenging but not overwhelming amount. Another key feature of this curriculum is the fact that there are corresponding adult studies as well. For a logic stage student either their older elementary OR high school study would be appropriate depending upon reading fluency and maturity.


I also, by the way, recommend both BSF and CBS children's programs. I evaluated both. I think the CBS program has slightly more challenging homework, but also really like the way older children and teens are led to do homiletics at the BSF meetings. (Homiletics is a process of generating an outline of the passage with a final, summary statement.) I recommend either program without reservation in addition to the Explorer's curriculum.


I also have used and liked Kay Arthur's Bible study series for children. My own dd has used several books in this series successfully this year. However, I would steer away from *How to Study the Bible* as it is unnecessarily wordy and proved to be quite challenging for the 4th-5th grade girls I taught. The material is not hard--the presentation of it in this book was terribly convoluted, though. If you choose to do that book, take two weeks per unit and plan on really holding your child's hand through it. The other books in the series are much easier and quite doable, though--we have been satisfied with several others in the series. These books have five or seven days of homework per unit, include both factual questions and marking things directly in biblical text, and some application.


After that, I consider Rod and Staff to be a decent alternative. There is a solid amount of factual questions and some good information on history/geography/culture. However, there is virtually no application, and no summary statement opportunity (none of those I reviewed include this). And, even at the older grades there is virtually no short answer--format is still multiple choice and simpler responses. There is more denominational bias in the notes but can be overcome by careful Bible study. This curriculum would be acceptable even if it's not my favorite.


Christian Light was a lot like Rod and Staff but not quite as challenging. I also thought Christian Liberty was middle-range--not the greatest, but not terrible either.


I was really NOT impressed in the least with either Abeka or AlphaOmega and would not recommend those at all. They were simplistic, passive, lacked depth and do not require much from the student at any age.


One final thought--for high school I would gravitate towards the Explorer's adult series or towards NavPress study guides. I also think teens should be generating their own inductive notes (observation-interpretation statement--application) rather than passively responding to a Bible study guide.


There may well be other wonderful resources out there. This is just what I have reviewed. I'd be happy to answer any further questions.

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:iagree: With everything in 'striders' post. We read the Bible and discuss: Why did God make sure this was included in the Bible? Do you see any way this applies to our lives? What else is said about this subject elsewhere in the Bible? What character traits are being highlighted? And so on. Then we pray - -often including topics relevant to what we just read.


Then we make a notebook page which includes several key verses from the Bible story we have read. This year I will transition my oldest into keeping his own journal type notebook and reading independently of the family Bible reading.


I really like Explorer Bible Studies too, though we have not used them. We have also used Rod & Staff to add some mapwork and cultural studies. Most of the question and answers we do aloud. At first we tried to sit and fill in answers. That took forever and made Bible into a cumbersome chore - - not one of my goals for Bible study. Ultimately we want our children to want to read and study God's word because they understand it and see it's relevance to their lives.


I would say if you think lifepac is on the light side you can still try to use it and add in discussion questions. My own preference is to just read and discuss, it has the added benefit of building relationships and teaching your children they can discuss their concerns with you.



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I use Suffer Little Children by Gertrude Hoeksema. CBD carries it. It's supposed to start with 1st graders, though I think that a wide age range could be combined with it. Volume 1 is just a teacher's manual. Volumes 2 and 3 have TMs and workbooks. Basically, there is a Bible text to read for the day, usually about 1 chapter in length. The TM has a guided discussion of the text to be done orally with your child. It brings out the important events and concepts. There is also a memory verse related to the reading for each lesson. It's designed to be done 4 days per week. For Volumes 2 and 3 there is a workbook assignment to be completed after every 4 lessons. These include some mapwork, fill-in-the-blanks, matching and such. It's review of the previous 4 lessons. Volumes 1 and 2 cover the Old Testament chronologically and Volume 3 covers the New Testament. It is published by Reformed Free Publishing, so it is coming from a Reformed perspective. I haven't noticed any truly glaring denominational bias, but then again I am also Reformed so I may have a blind spot here. I like it because it just has you reading the Bible itself with your children. The guided discussion allows me to talk to my child and really bring the important bits into focus and get a handle for how much they retained. You could always skip anything in the discussion you didn't agree with. I don't have my kids do all the Scripture memory, but I do use the verses for copywork. My dd, who is finishing up Volume 3, has learned a lot. Her Bible knowledge is far and away better than mine was at her age. The series continues with Show Me Thy Ways 4,5 and 6. These appear to be aimed directly at the student instead of teacher-led. We'll be starting it in a few weeks. I first heard about this series long long ago on the old version of these very boards and I'd like to issue a sincere thank you to whoever posted about it way back when. :001_smile:

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Have you looked at Positive Action Bible curriculum? I don't have any experience with the younger grades, but I've used the 4th grade for my son last year, and we both really liked it. It incorporated scripture memory and songs, and he really learned quite a bit. It was a fun and interesting program, and it really made him think about Bible, not just spit out an answer.


I also have used Kay Arthur's studies for kids, and they are really great too. They're inductive, so the kids really get saturated with the scripture.


This school year, we've just been cuddling up together on the couch doing our MFW Bible readings, and reading through The Victor Journey Through the Bible, and Trial and Triumph. I love this approach because it opens the door more for discussion and prayer for us. I don't want to treat Bible reading as academic, but more as a life-long skill that my kids will want to return to over and over again.


As for Alpha Omega, I've never used their Bible, but I have used the science and history, and let me just say, BORING. I have a friend who used the AOP Bible, and she switched to Positive Action and really likes it.


Hope this helps!;)

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We dont care for the life pacs eaither. We used them our first year till I got a little more experience but I would not go back to them. They seemed too simple as you said. This coming year we plan to use Christian light. I combine my 1st grader and 4th grader so I choose a level in between.. Im not sure if we will do 2nd or 3rd this year yet.



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