The slogan of Classical Academic Press is “Classical Subjects Creatively Taught,” and they’ve certainly done their best to maintain that attitude. Whether it’s teaching Latin or Greek through songs or writing a logic text that’s actually educational and entertaining, they take the terror and drudgery out of important but often neglected subjects. In their new Bible curriculum for elementary students they approach the Bible not as a series of disconnected stories, but as one continuous story, forming a coherent and foundational narrative of God and His people.
How Do These Work?
Claire Larsen writes from a traditional Reformed perspective, outlining the story of God’s covenant. The course currently consists of two books covering the Old Testament, two for the New Testament (as of October 2014) and one more NT level projected. Each book covers one school year in thirty-two weekly lessons and both are designed for students between grades 2-5. You can spend as much time on each lesson as you deem fit, though one hour segments two days a week is adequate.
Each chapter follows the same basic format. There is a story and accompanying Bible passage to read, verses to memorize, lesson review, important facts, written exercises, and a chapter quiz. This is more or less a student-directed course, though there is an accompanying teacher guide for each text providing answers to all written exercises on reduced student pages and including some supplemental material which would be quite helpful for most parents.
The student texts aren’t too appealing visually, though the exercises are fun and the stories written in an engaging and accessible style. Exercises include fill-in-the-blank, word searches, true/false, etc. Students will likely not need guidance, though someone will need to listen to them recite memory verses, and you will likely want to discuss the principles they’re learning with your students.
Our Honest Opinion:
This course is easy to implement, without a lot of unnecessary frills but with enough interesting information and exercises to keep most kids’ attention. This is straight Bible curriculum without a lot of doctrinal issues, though those aren’t avoided either. When they are dealt with it is from a Reformed perspective. The narrative approach to the story of the Bible (an increasingly popular approach in Bible curricula) is both fun for kids and provides an excellent foundation for Bible knowledge. This is a very good choice for Old Testament, and we look forward to seeing the New Testament texts.
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.
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