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My husband and I have always felt that teaching the Bible to our children was our job, not the church's. Sure, our kids go to Sunday School and church services, but we don't rely on the church to teach them everything they need to know about the Bible.
That's why, when we decided to homeschool, we decided that Bible Study would be a subject on their school list just like Math and Science. Having it on their school list each week keeps me accountable to do it. I am a list person and so this really helps me to stay on top of their Bible education.
Do I do Bible Study every day? No. Do I do it every week? I'm embarrassed to say it, but, No. I can say that we do it most weeks. It's easy to let that one slip because we don't take grades or we feel like other subjects are more important. But it's like my husband used to tell his youth group, "Your Science book won't save you." It's important, of course! But, is it more important than the Bible. Most definitely NOT! Science, Math, and English will help your child be successful in THIS LIFE. What about their soul?
"How do your kids know so much about the Bible?" I was asked this question from a fellow homeschool mom at church years ago. I simply told her that Bible Study is a part of their schooling, just like Math and English. She answered back, "I don't think that I could do that." I was taken back by her answer. If you want your kids to know how to add and subtract, you teach them. If you want your kids to know how to write and spell, you teach them. If you want to know the Bible, you teach them, plain and simple.
I'm going to list below what we've done by age group. Your child might be at a different stage of development than what I list below. That's okay! Just take what I've said and adapt it for your children and what you want them to know and learn.
Babies - Kindergarten
We would read Bible stories to them and talk about them. At this young beginning stage, you are setting their foundation for them to get to know some of the main characters in the Bible: David, Moses, Jesus, etc. We would read at bedtime or before their nap. We would read the story and then talk about what was happening in the picture. We would ask questions, like: "What does David have in his hand?" "What swallowed Jonah?" "Who is Jesus hugging in this picture?" This really helps with their comprehension of the stories.
Here's one that we loved using with our boys! The pictures are bright and colorful and there aren't many words per page. Just click on the picture for more information and to purchase it!
1st & 2nd Grade
We moved on from reading them the stories to them reading the stories to us. We moved from the Beginner's Bible to a story book that had more details about the stories that they already recognized. These are written more at a young elementary school age level and helped them to feel like they were "big kids" instead of "babies".
We love these from Rod and Staff. They are actually part of a curriculum and aren't very expensive. We just bought the readers (they come in different units), but there are teacher's guides to go along with them. Just click on the pictures to look more into them. If you'd like to purchase, I am just putting the picture of Unit 1 of each grade, but Amazon has the other units for each grade level available.
3rd & 4th Grade
This is the age that we feel like our children are ready to really understand what the Bible is all about. We work with them to memorize the books of the Bible, the number of books, etc. We work through these before 3rd grade, but there isn't a major push for information. At this age, they really are developmentally able to grasp the Bible as a whole and how it all fits together.
The book below is the one that I like to start working through starting in 3rd grade. It does a nice job of going through each book of the Bible by talking about the author, what the title means, location in the Bible, main characters, outline, main events (sometimes going chapter by chapter).
I have to say that we don't agree with all of the information in this book - mostly the part about salvation. Make sure that you read through the information before you read it to your children or have your children read it for themselves. Please make sure that whatever Bible education you have for your child matches what you believe.
For the price (it's pretty cheap on Amazon, like $5 or so) it's a wonderful source for Bible information.
I think this is a great book to start note taking skills. It really lends itself to the outline form or just subtitles. I like to get a spiral notebook and that's what they take all of their notes in.
5th & 6th Grade
For 5th and 6th grade we worked through a book from my husband's college Biblical studies class, adapted down for his level. It was called "The Unfolding Plan of God" and it talked about God's plan for the salvation from Genesis through Revelation.
This book isn't available from Amazon, but there are other books like it.
Another great resource would be the Answers books. They basically ask questions, and then answer them. Questions like, "Is there really a God?" or "What happened to the dinosaurs?" and "Are aliens real?" The author is Ken Ham who is extremely knowledgable about evolution and creation along with a multitude of other topics. You can get DVDs as well!
7th Grade - High School
These years are so unique for each child that it's difficult to discuss specific books to use - and seeing as we are just getting out of our first 7th grade year. For these older years, you need to figure out what your child knows and doesn't know. Where are they developmentally and what material can you use to help them learn more about the Bible and their Savior. The best book for them to read is the Bible. Have them start by reading a chapter a day and then discussing it with you. There are many devotionals out there to purchase to help them get into the habit of reading their Bible daily.
Please remember to look over each and every lesson of whatever Biblical material that
you choose in order to make sure that they line up with your belief system.
I hope these ideas have helped spur on some ideas of your own! Please email me if you have any questions or ideas for your children's Biblical education.
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