Back in the early days of our homeschool journey, I remember polling my homeschool friends about bible curriculum. “Do you use a curriculum to teach bible?” I would ask, again and again. Most of my friends didn’t, saying they simple used the bible itself. A couple of my friends used a curriculum which had bible included (like LifePac for example.) But mostly, the answer was no.
As time went on, though, I really felt the need to add more to it. Not that I want to ADD to the BIBLE! But I wanted to do more than reading alone–I wanted to really study it, learn more about God himself, memorize more scripture. Over the years we’ve found some things we really love that help us accomplish our goals, things we will continue to use all the way through high school. Interestingly, none of them are a packaged “bible curriculum,” either.
So here’s a look at how we study our bible in our homeschool:
Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System
I LOVE this thing. I know I’ve written about this before, but I LOVE this thing. Scripture memorization is hard for me. I have the hardest time with recall and the funny thing is, that’s only getting worse as I get older. =p The Charlotte Mason system is a really simple and really smart method for memorizing scripture on a rotating basis. We adapted our box for use during the school week instead of the calendar week, and we start our school morning off (after prayer) with reviewing our verses for the day.
After prayer and memory verses, we move on to our devotional. Right now we are using the Jesus Calling for kids devotional, it was a gift from a friend. When we’ve finished reading this one, we will choose a new devotional to read through together. By including a devotional in our morning, we are able to have a mini family devotion time before we really begin our school day. Devotionals tend to focus on one thought, verse or passage and present some form of application for our lives. Drama Queen reads this aloud (which doubles as read aloud practice for her) and then we spend a few minutes discussing and considering the application before we move on.
Because devotionals focus on one or two verses, we also read the bible. At this point we’re reading bible stories, from our Gospel Story Bible. Princess reads these aloud to us, doubling for her read aloud practice for her, too. (I like work that does double duty!) When we’re finished with this, we’ll choose another. I can foresee us progressing from this story bible to one that is a little more in depth, to reading straight out of the bible as our children grow older. For now, the Gospel Story Bible does a really good job of tying together the bigger picture and the story of redemption and I’m very pleased with it.
What We Believe Series
One of my favorite pieces is the What We Believe Series by Apologia. Last year we added this to our routine with the first book, “Who is God and Can I Know Him?” This year we’re continuing with the second book, “Who Am I and What am I Doing Here?” This is a biblical worldview series that delves into what we know about God and how we can relate to him and others based on what we believe and the bible. This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for all those years ago. Above and beyond reading the bible and memorizing it, this helps us dive into theology and living out what we believe.
These pieces all work together to help us learn and study God’s word from many different angles and approaches. Another “piece” that isn’t really a part of our bible study but adds to it nonetheless, is our history study with Mystery of History. Studying history from a whole world, chronological and biblical perspective has really helped us piece together how bible history fits into world history and what was going on in the world during certain events that happened in the bible. It really adds a lot to understand what was going on in Israel and Rome during the time the census was called and Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. It adds another dimension when you learn that Herod was so paranoid about being assassinated for his throne that he killed off all of his family members save his wife and children. No wonder he felt so threatened by the arrival of the new King. And now I see what kind of king could order the slaughter of a generation of baby boys – he clearly had no qualms about that sort of thing! Right now we’re studying early church and we’ve been able to see what kind of world it was that Paul was living in and exactly what he was up against! It’s astonishing to consider. Studying history from a biblical perspective has definitely enriched our bible study.
As I said in the beginning, we’ll be using many of these all the way through high school. Both our history and worldview studies consist of 4 books, which we will read through and then cycle through again for deeper study. The Charlotte Mason scripture memory system will serve us well for as long as we continue to use it; we can add to it indefinitely! And though our bible reading and devotionals may change, we’ll keep the same format. I like the format that we have now and it really works well.
Have you used any of these before? What are your own favorites?
You can join in, too!
This is my 3rd time traveling through the ABC’s with Dawn. Check out my ebook, inspired by my first trip through the Alphabet, “The ABC’s of Eclectic Homeschool.”