Blending biblical history, Church history, and practical Christian application, the LIFEPAC Bible curriculum introduces students to some of the key figures and events of our spiritual heritage. This is a broad overview rather than a close chronological scrutiny, and combined with frequent repetition this means the scope is limited. Still, most must-know information is presented, and what is not can easily be supplemented.
How Do These Work?
Ten student workbooks and a single teacher's guide (two teacher's guides for grade 1) comprise the whole curriculum. It is entirely self-contained, the teacher needing nothing beyond the teacher's guide and the student needing only the workbooks. Work is self-guided or teacher-directed, depending on need and schedule. Students could definitely benefit from teacher interaction and discussion, since a lot of the material concerns character building or potentially denominationally sensitive content.
This is not a chronological treatment of the entire Bible. The well-known stories are covered pretty thoroughly, and a fair amount of lesser-known material is dealt with, but none of it in more than a cursory fashion. The authors do a good job of remaining balanced and refraining from presenting opinion as fact, so you can rest assured that your kids aren't being indoctrinated by the author's own (possibly minority) viewpoint. Major doctrines are presented from a non-denominational, historic creedal perspective.
A lot of the material (especially before high school) is of the Bible story variety. Since there are multiple authors of the series, some of them focus on application, others on fact, and others on doctrine. One the one hand, this means kids get a variety of perspectives and aren't getting everything through a single lens. On the other hand, they may get bored in certain units where the same emphasis is stressed over and over again.
The teacher's guides provide suggestions for activities and further discussion, as well as answers to all written work and tests. The student texts are colorful in the early grades, fading to black and white with the occasional map for the later grades. Much of the written work is meant to assess comprehension and to get students to think critically; answers are not necessarily wooden, and there may be correct answers other than those found in the teacher's guides.
Our Honest Opinion:
Depending on what you're looking for in a Bible curriculum, this one probably has it. The spectrum of perspectives and approaches makes this a very adaptable program covering everything from the history of doctrine to how to live a godly life. Of course you may disagree with some of the conclusions, but they do go out of their way to be generic orthodox and avoid divisive statements.
This isn't the most cohesive presentation of biblical history. It jumps around a lot and is pretty selective (possibly due to space restrictions) as far as which stories it covers. The shifts from fact-based to application-based instruction can also be frustrating if you want to focus on one and not the other. As with all other LIFEPAC subjects, this one is best used in conjunction with other materials, preferably ones you select yourself. The typical Alpha Omega overview approach is again at work here, with the same mixed results as usual.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?