Learning a foreign language is beneficial by itself. It helps students better understand the function of grammar, expands their world consciousness, and challenges their minds in healthy ways. But why choose just any language when you can learn Hebrew? For Christians, this language is vital for our understanding of God's Word, and knowing it will lead to more rewarding Bible study.
Because kids are never too young to begin learning, Kim McKay's Biblical Hebrew: A Homeschool Primer can be used by high school students but is easily implemented as early as fourth grade. Children who complete the course won't be translating the book of Genesis anytime soon, but they will be well on their way to solid grasp of biblical Hebrew.
How Does This Work?
The central element of this one-semester course is the Biblical Hebrew: A Homeschool Primer consumable worktext, which combines text to read and exercises over 33 lessons. This is either a text for elementary and middle school students who want a headstart on more advanced Hebrew instruction, or a course for high school foreign language credit.
An accompanying volume, Biblical Hebrew: Annotations and Answers is essentially just an answer key for the exercises in the main textbook, along with information for teachers concerning using the course in various settings, extra resources, a defense of learning Hebrew in the first place, etc. Students can work on their own or with teacher supervision.
After the 33 lessons in the worktext is a copybook section relating to theTraditional Hebrew Songs CD included with purchase of the answer key. These songs feature one male and two female vocalists with an acoustic guitar, and are all sung in the Classical Hebrew taught in the course. Students practice their Hebrew penmanship by writing the lyrics to the songs in the copybook.
For those of a more visual bent there's a DVD supplement, Biblical Hebrew: Show and Tell. These are full-color lectures focusing on the culture and history of ancient Israel: as author Kim McKay narrates, photographs of artifacts, important locations, and portraits of people move across the screen.
The DVDs are principally useful for helping with pronunciation, and for the audiovisual flashcard review. Each lecture is associated with one of the 33 lessons in the worktext, is roughly five minutes long, and includes a brief review. The songs from Traditional Hebrew Songs CD also appear on the second disc of this set.
McKay bases each of her lessons on the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, as well as lessons on Hebrew numerals, vowels, biblical names, and the Hebrew Bible. Lessons tend to be brief, with some text to read, several exercises, and a read-aloud section that builds familiarity with the look of the language.
By the end of this program, students will be able to write each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, read Hebrew, and have taken steps toward building a comprehensive Hebrew vocabulary. Because this is a Christian course, there are plenty of Scripture references and verses throughout, as well as comments rooted in a Christian worldview.
Our Honest Opinion
In the grand scheme of things, there are reasons to study just about any language. Why Hebrew? We think it's more important than the universal homeschool favorite Latin because it's the first language of the Bible, and as Christians our foremost duty is to know the Bible ourselves and to teach it to our kids.
There aren't a lot of Hebrew courses for young or old students currently, so this introduction by Kim McKay is welcome. If it was all by itself we might have a hard time recommending it simply because it is just an introduction, but McKay's Biblical Hebrew 2 is an excellent follow-up. Easy for students and parents alike, this is a great way to begin learning an essential language.
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.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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