The following is a post from contributing writer Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
We’ve always been very eclectic homeschoolers. I like to think it’s because I’m so good at finding just the right fit for our family, but reality says that we can probably look at me as the source if ADD is an inherited trait. The being said, one area in which we’ve remained fairly consistent is Bible study. We’ve only used a handful of resources over the years and we’ve used most of them for several years each.
Bible Study Guide for All Ages
A friend recommended Bible Study Guide for All Ages very early on in our homeschooling journey and we used it up until a year or so ago. My youngest still asks about it from time to time. What I liked best about this resources is that it really is great for a wide variety of ages. There are worksheets available to go with each lesson for preschoolers all the way up through adults. We really enjoyed the beginner pages – there was always a coloring page on one side with the back side (for both beginner and intermediate) featuring a “comic strip style” review with pictures to color and questions to answer.
Probably my favorite thing about Bible Study Guide for all Ages is that it covers entire chapters and books of the Bible at a time, rather than just stories here and there. So, we might spend a couple of months in Genesis, for example. The other thing I like is that it teaches about the people of the Bible. Several lessons might be spent on Peter, then several lessons on Jesus or David.
About three years ago, I shared more on The Homeschool Classroom about how Bible Study Guide for all Ages is set up and how we scheduled it.
We didn’t use Grapevine Studies for a long time, but I did really enjoy the simplicity of it and the concept of “stick figuring through the Bible.” My kids always enjoyed having me draw out our Bible lessons, no matter what resource we were using. They may have enjoyed teasing me about my artistic abilities, though I do draw a pretty awesome sheep. Drawing out stick figures helps keep kids’ interest and gives them a point of reference for remembering the lessons. Drawing the figures for themselves helps reinforce what kids are learning. Plus, it’s just fun. If you’d like, you can read a more detailed review of Grapevine Studies.
Scripture Memory Box
We’ve used the Scripture Memory Box system for years. It’s probably the resource that we’ve used longer than any other and I can see us continuing to use it until the last child has graduated…and maybe even beyond as a part of our family or my personal daily Bible study. The Scripture Memory Box system is a simple method for hiding God’s word in your heart by studying one scripture verse daily until it has been memorized and reviewing previously learned scripture every other day, once a week, and finally once a month. I wrote a detailed post about the Scripture Memory Box system on The Homeschool Classroom last year.
SOAP Method of Bible Study
I heard of the SOAP method of Bible study a couple of years ago. I’ve used it for my personal study for awhile and I tried it with the kids a little bit last year. This year, I decided that they were all old enough to keep their own journals. I was afraid they would balk about the writing, but I explained that they could write as much or as little as they liked. I told them that their journals would be between them and God and they they wouldn’t be anything that I would be checking or grading for school.
This method of studying the Bible has transformed our Bible study time. I am constantly amazed at the depth of insight my kids express. I have gotten so much, personally, out of our bible study time lately, as we’ve discussed and unpacked God’s word together as a family. SOAP is an acronym that stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.
For the scripture part, we chose a verse out of the days’ reading to write in our journals. (We usually read half a chapter to a chapter a day.) For the observation section, we discuss the “who, where, when, what, why” questions and the kids write down whatever they want from our discussion. Application is based on how we feel God would have us apply the Bible reading to our lives. We discuss that and, again, the kids word our discussion however they’d like in their journals.
I don’t typically read what they write, but I know that my younger two usually write a sentence or two for the observation and application portions, while my oldest is a fan of bullet points. Finally, the kids write out a prayer to God based on our discussion for the day. Connie, at Smockity Frocks, has written about how she uses the SOAP method of Bible study with kids and Jolanthe, at Homeschool Creations, has some great free SOAP journal printables for kids.
Keys for Kids Devotionals
Finally, we’ve used the Keys for Kids devotional books for years. They’re also free to read (or listen to) online. I’ve never used these as our primary means of Bible study, but they’ve always made a great supplement. We used to use them on the days we weren’t using Bible Study Guide for All Ages. Now, we use them on the days we aren’t using the SOAP method. Personally, I’d love to use the SOAP method with the kids every day, but they like the ease of the Keys for Kids books and I don’t ever want them to look at Bible study as a school subject, a chore, or just something to mark off their to-do list, so I have conceded to a couple of easier days of Bible study each week with the Keys for Kids books.
We usually use this devotional on Wednesdays (our busiest day of the week) and Friday (our lightest day of the week). Like many devotional books, the Keys for Kids books are set up to start with a scripture verse reading that’s related to the application story that follows. There is a key verse for each reading and a concept that applies to lesson. Each devotion concludes with some questions for thought or discussion.
Have you found a Bible study resource that you’ve enjoyed? Which one(s) have become a constant in your home?
Kris blogs at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She is the classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason homeschooling mom to three amazing kids, the Christ-following, sweet tea addicted wife to one unbelievably supportive husband, and the formerly obese, couch-potato-turned-healthy runner of a bunch of 5K races and two half-marathons.
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