If there's a multimedia Bible curriculum, this is it. The series offers a chronological survey from Genesis to Revelation. A CD with a song putting the material in chronological order, full-color cards with information on one side and a picture of a great work of art on the other, hands-on project ideas, and worksheets contribute to a dynamic curriculum that is engaging and educational. Though the series only covers five years (grades 1-5), it provides a solid foundation for further study in junior high and high school.
How Do These Work?
There are three basic pieces to this curriculum: a teacher's manual, student cards and a Memory Song CD. A fourth option is to buy the teacher's manual and CD together on an enhanced CD. This is less expensive, though the worksheets aren't as easy to find (you can't flip the pages of a PDF file).
- The Teacher's Manual is the core of the curriculum and includes a suggested weekly guide for implementing the entire curriculum. All assignments are based on the material on the flashcards; there is a worksheet, at least one project, and a test per card, as well as answers to all tests and assignments. All these materials are reproducible, making it easy to teach more than one child at a time. Because the teacher's manual is perfect bound copying is somewhat awkward—the PDF format of the enhanced CD simplifies the process. (Veritas also offers a classroom edition in a three-ring binder.)
- The "student text" centers around a set of 32 5"x8" flashcards that provide the historical, cultural and biblical context for a variety of characters and events found in Scripture. Full-color art depicts the theme on the front of each card, while the back includes essential information and references to further study (see sample below); each set can be arranged in the form of a timeline.
- To help children keep the chronology straight in their heads, a Song CD provides music and lyrics which put the information on the cards in order. The song is easy to memorize and frustratingly hard to forget.
Several books are mentioned as additional resources on each card; they are all useful, but the three essential ones are a Bible, The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, and Journey Through the Bible by V. Gilbert Beers. These are used often enough that we consider them "required" to answer questions in the assignments.
Daily lessons are intended for a 36-week traditional school year (including Christmas and Easter breaks). Cumulative tests are to be given every Friday, and are based on that week's card. The curriculum was designed for use in a classroom setting, but is easily adapted to a homeschool format. Discussion is encouraged, but the emphasis is on learning the material. Before each lesson, there is assigned Bible reading, which is really the primary text for the program. While students could simply memorize the song and cards and do the written work, they will benefit much more from active instruction.
The Veritas Bible Curriculum was written from a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective, though distinctive doctrines are not overly stressed. Some homeschool parents find this perspective unbearable, but most in our experience aren't bothered by it (whatever their denominational stance). Emphasis is placed on Bible knowledge and the narrative of Scripture, all highlighting God's sovereignty in history. There's not much reference to personal application, but since the material is teacher-intensive, a parent could easily add more practical material.
Our Honest Opinion:
The songs for each level are useful but obnoxious. While the cards are visually appealing, some parents may find the lack of a student book annoying since individual cards are easier to lose. The amount of teacher involvement necessary may come as a shock to those more used to letting their kids teach themselves. Difficulty is static throughout the series, leaving it up to the teacher to adapt at will.
That said, this series presents one of the most complete approaches to Bible study we've seen. The use of outside resources helps students prepare for more vigorous study, and the amount of information throughout will help them begin to comprehend the whole story of Scripture. The flashcards are fun and educational (usually a good mix), and since students are being barraged from all sensory angles it is easier for them to naturally absorb the information. While not the strongest on application or doctrine, Veritas is definitely at the forefront as far as organization and information. The chronological approach is helpful for adults and students. It would be hard to find a more comprehensive yet flexible Bible curriculum.
(Samples for the Teacher's Manuals are available on the individual item pages)
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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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