11 May 2012

Judah Bible Curriculum: A Review

While I have heard of the Principle Approach I have not used that in our homeschool.  However, most recently we had the opportunity to try the Judah Bible Curriculum which is based on the Principle Approach.  This approach refers to, according to the JBC website, the "philosophy of education whose contents and methods are designed to build character in teacher and student capable of sustaining liberty".  You can read more of what the author of this curriculum , Bill Burtness, has to say about the Principle Approach here.

The Judah Bible Curriculum is designed to help your students (and you) learn how to study the Bible and not just study about the Bible.  It has a very in-depth style that will help your student go deeper in their relationship with God and increase in many godly character traits.  Your student will learn how to study, research and apply.  

The JBC scope and sequence gives you, the teacher, a guideline for K-12 grades.  With this curriculum the Bible is the textbook and it is designed to stop dependence on curriculum and encourage self-education.  This curriculum does come with a teacher's manual, a notebooking ideas booklet and eight-lecture teacher training seminar.  

The philosophy behind the JBC is based in the belief that all education produces character and as Christian educators we want to produce godly character, because character reinforces government.  To build this character they have divided the Bible into five themes of study:

First Semester/Old Testament:
Theme 1: CREATION (God creates man to bless)  Genesis 1-11, creation, fall, flood
Theme 2: THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION BEGINS (God prepares a people for godly self-government and liberty)  Genesis 12-Ruth
Theme 3: KINGDOM OF ISRAEL (the people want an earthy king and slavery) I Samuel-Malachi

Second Semester/New Testament
Theme 4: KINGDOM OF GOD (God's new covenant, an internal kingdom) Matthew-John
Theme 5: EARLY CHURCH (the increase of His government and peace will have no end) Acts-Revelation

You may use any version of Scripture that you prefer and since the Bible is the textbook you, the teacher, may choose the doctrinal "flavor" of your lessons.  Each year you will teach the fundamentals of the Bible's ideas and principles, with each focusing on different Bible keys: individuals, events, institutions and documents.  

The Judah Bible Curriculum is available as an online download for $44.00 or in a hard copy pack for $74.00.  Each set includes the K-12 manual, Elementary Notebooking Ideas booklet and 8 1-hour lectures of teacher training.  

I have to say this curriculum was fairly overwhelming to me.  There is a lot of teacher prep involved, really this something more like a training intensive (8 hours of lectures to listen to and a 100 page manual!).  I think part of the reason I found this so hard is that I have never used the Principle Approach in my teaching.  While I do not use a curriculum that provides me with lessons plans--I create my own lesson plans--I do use actual curriculum.  The JBC is not a true curriculum, but rather a guide leaving it wide open for you to create your own lessons as you see fit.  I think that's most likely the main reason I was overwhelmed by this.  It's certainly an excellent approach to Bible study and I do love the keys that are brought out.  I think that quite possibly this will be a better fit for us when my children are a little older.  The "Key Pages" available for download with your curriculum purchase were too advanced in concept for younger students.  A more simplified notebooking page or a coloring page work so much better for lower elementary.  The keys are, however, excellent for upper grades.  

I believe if you take the time to do some massive planning, prep and research into this style of learning (the Principle Approach) this is a great way to study the Bible.  You could easily spend an entire summer preparing these lessons for the upcoming school year.  It was quite difficult to manage this the amount of time allotted for this review.  

Many different homeschool parents reviewed this study and I would encourage you to read how others are using it and what they thought about it.  

Disclaimer:  I was given a downloadable copy of this curriculum through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew and Judah Bible Curriculum in exchange for my unbiased and honest opinion.


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