"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bible Road Trip...A Review

With our Community Bible Study over for the year, and the question of if we will continue it or not in the fall, I've been hunting for a Bible Study for my family to do, beginning here in the summertime.  Right about the time I was hunting, we were blessed to receive the Bible Road Trip Year Three Curriculum to use and review.

What Is Bible Road Trip?

Bible Road Trip is a three year long curriculum for the entire family.  It allows kiddos ages PreK - Grade 12 to truly study the Bible together, cover to cover, over the length of the curriculum.  The years are broken down like this:

Year One:  The Books of Law and History

Year Two:  The Books of Poetry and Prophecy

Year Three:  The Books of the New Testament

Each year of Bible Road Trip comes with note booking journals specific to certain ages:  Lower Grammar age (Grades 1-3), Upper Grammar (Grades 4-6), and Dialectic (Grades 7-9).  Older children can use the Dialectic notebooks, or create their own.  All of these products come as downloadable files.

What Did We Receive?

We chose to receive Bible Road Trip Year Three:  The Books of the New Testament.  We received the  curriculum and two of the Notebooking Journals:  Lower Grammar for my Bug (age 8), and Upper Grammar for my Firefly (age 12).

The curriculum itself contains a Parent / Teacher Guide, suggested schedules, and then 32 weeks of lessons.  The Parent / Teacher Guide covers a full explanation of the how and why of the curriculum and a resource list (additional resources ARE needed to use the curriculum as it is intended).  Schedules are provided for each of the ages, as well as for using the curriculum with multiple ages.

Each lesson is broken down into three sections:  Dig Deep, Meditate on It, and Explore Further.  Dig Deep typically includes reading and researching on The Word--using and reading the Bible as the basis for the whole week.  Here also, depending upon the ages / grades you are using the curriculum with, you and your children will use some additional resources.  We picked up What The Bible is All About for Young Explorers right off of Amazon.

The Meditate on It section of Bible Road Trip will work in some Scripture Memorization, utilize the Notebooking Journals, and offer opportunities to pray about the Word (again, for this section, you may need some additional resources).  The Explore Further section offers a chance to watch relevant DVD lessons, prepare a craft summarizing that week's lesson, read appropriate selections from other resources, work on a timeline, or create a presentation.

Each Notebooking Journal is customized to each level of the curriculum, offering all children of varying ages / stages to learn together, but create at their own individual ability level.

How Did We Use Bible Road Trip?

I will go ahead and say, right off the bat, that although there were many detailed suggested schedules provided by the author, Danika Cooley, we followed none of them--which makes a point of the flexibility of the curriculum, perhaps!  With my kiddos at the third grade and sixth / seventh grade levels, the suggested schedules would have had us working from forty - sixty minutes a day for my younger one to one hour twenty-five minutes - one hour forty-five minutes a day for my older one.

Listen, it's summertime, people, and between camps, vacations, friends in and out, summer sports, and oh yes, sleep, we were truly hard pressed to find that time in complete chunks to sit down and dedicate.  I realize how shallow that sounds, lol.  However, we were able to find many smaller chunks of time to sit down and work together, and I was pleasantly surprised to still be able to utilize the curriculum well within our time constraints.

The suggested schedule given lists ways to use each section (Dig Deep, Meditate on It, and Explore Further) every day.  We would start by reading a selection offered from the Bible, discussing it, and answering the questions Ms. Cooley offers all together.  From there, we would typically use the Notebooking Journals to record what we had talked about.  Usually, we would cover one passage from the Bible each day and use the corresponding Notebooking page that day as well.  Any crafting or DVD watching was all done on the last day of the lesson, and although the schedule suggests Scripture Memorization each day, we were not *quite* as diligent about that as we perhaps should have been.

Typically, our Bible sessions together lasted about thirty minutes.  On crafting days, my son was done well before that time, and my daughter would usually work on her projects for close to an hour.  If we used the schedule exactly as suggested, I can see that Ms. Cooley's time projections would probably be dead on.

What Did I Think About Bible Road Trip?

I feel like we barely scratched the surface of this curriculum during our review period.  It is a very well-thought out, beautifully put together survey of the entire Bible, which is something that is important for me to have my kiddos learn.  Now, from our Community Bible Study, we are used to covering one or possibly two books of the Bible in one year, so this curriculum definitely moves more quickly, as Year Three covers the entire New Testament over the same time period.  As a survey, though, it is more than adequate.  My experience tells me that the time spent reading, researching, note booking, memorizing, and creating really helps to cement the child's learning of the material.

I liked that this is something that we can all do as a family, regardless of our different learning styles and levels.  The Notebooking Journals ensure that each of my kiddos can work at their own pace, while still learning verses together and reading the same stories.  The crafts, also, surprisingly appealed to both my non-crafty son and my artsy daughter--although both were eager to create, you can see that they did so in very different ways!

The curriculum can be adapted well to be used at different paces.  Although each volume is designed as a one year curriculum, we will probably continue to use it at a slower rate, taking time to fully digest all of the information in it.

The cons I can see from our use of the curriculum were that: (1) it is not complete as purchased.  You will need additional books or materials to use it as designed.  We did purchase additional books, but skipped the DVDs, and did just fine.  (2) it is downloadable.  That's a lot of printing, ladies and gentlemen.  But--you can then print what you need and copy for family use, which can definitely come in handy for additional kiddos coming down the line.

With our decision to stop with our Community Bible Study in the fall, Bible Road Trip definitely fills a void in our homeschool.  We will continue to use this as our Bible curriculum when we begin our schooling in the fall.  

What Did My Kiddos Think?

" I really liked how we went over Bible stories and were able to do some of my favorite ones.  The armor of God was very fun and I learned where salvation, truth, spirit, etc. were on the armor.  My favorite part was the story of the builder."  (Bug, age 8)

"I really, really enjoyed doing this, and I think it is something that I would like to keep doing.  I know that a lot of other kids my age would enjoy it because it's not only a story, but you get to also draw and do activities with it.  My favorite part about it was drawing about the stuff we learned, and I also liked doing the suit of armor."  (Firefly, age 12)

Find Out More About Bible Road Trip:

If you are a subscriber to the Thinking Kids website, you are able to download each individual week of Bible Road Trip for free!  If you would rather have it all at once, you can purchase the curriculum for $20, and each level of Notebooking Journals for $20 each as well.

For any additional questions you may still have about Bible Road Trip, check out their website.

Find Danika Cooley on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.

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