So, here's a peek at our Bible study tools for this year...
The little girls will be read to from The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos and the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Even though these books are officially for the small set, it certainly never hurts to have the big kids listen in on these too. So, I will use The Child's Story Bible as part of our family's morning devotions. My two favorite homeschool speakers, Sally Clarkson and Carole Joy Seid, recommend this story Bible. And it really is worth buying and using over and over! There are so many junky story Bibles out there, so it's nice to know which one is worth purchasing.
For the older kids, I've got a lot I want to go through this year. They will be watching the DVD series of Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live. I'm very excited about this, since it's been on my list of things to buy and do for a couple years now. Since Austin is a Junior this year, and Sydney is a Freshman, I think it will be perfect timing for them to watch it together. I'm hoping I can fit in it to watch with them. Good stuff! It comes so highly recommended.
I'm also very excited about going through What Jesus Demands from the World (John Piper) together. The book is laid out in small chapters, each one being a demand of Jesus; from "you must be born again" to "make disciples of all nations, for the mission cannot fail". This will be a lot of fun to go through together and talk about. The chapters are just a few pages each, and Piper gives permission to skip around without reading from front to back. I think we will go in order, but leave room for flexibility if a reason comes up to look at a chapter out of order. I'll probably read this one to the kids while they're eating lunch.
We have our first honest-to-goodness Bible curriculum workbook, Practical Proverbs. I usually shy away from workbooks and packaged homeschool curriculum, especially for Bible, BUT... We met the homeschool mom who put this study together at our local homeschool curriculum fair. She was a wonderful lady, who took seven years to put the study together. I have to say, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to go through Proverbs with the kids so many times over the years. I planned on going through Proverbs, pulling out all the examples of the fool versus the wise man and other things like that. I've also done the "read one chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month" thing. It was OK, but it was hard for me to be content with that. It's better than nothing, for sure! And keeps one reading the Bible on a schedule. But just about each verse is independent, so when you just read a whole chapter through without stopping, you can barely internalize a thought about one verse before the reader has moved on and is halfway through the next verse. That's a little bit frustrating for me. When we have tried that method, we have to keep stopping, because we are a discussion type family. We can't help ourselves, and we stop to discuss a verse at least every three verses. Before you know it, we have spent way too much time talking and are only 1/3 of the way through the chapter.
Keep in mind, I have not used Practical Proverbs yet, and have only looked through it, but I think it will be a really nice change to take a lesson (1-2 pages) on a particular verse, or verses that compliment each other, and pull from other books of the Bible to reinforce the proverb. I'm not yet sure whether I will assign the lessons to be done independently and discuss them together during our morning devotions, or whether I will read the lesson aloud during devotions and discuss it.
We've got a lot ahead of us this year! But because so much of the last two years has been more "hands on" and real life learning, which has it's place, I'm looking forward to spending quite a bit of planned time digging into some structure when it comes to our Bible lessons this year.