I’ve never considered having a Bible curriculum, per se. We read the Bible, we have devotions and we try to examine the people, events and situations we come across in each of the subject areas by the light of Scripture. Why would I need an actual, formal curriculum? But over time, I realized that I had indeed developed our own curriculum. It satisfied everything I was looking for: Direct teaching, personal growth, solid theology and basic instruction in sharing and defending the faith.
How we structure our Bible time
It took me a bit to decide on a basic structure for our “Bible time.” I wanted time together and also quiet time for them, but I didn’t just want to teach spiritual disciplines without actually drawing them closer to Christ. I finally settled on a sort of schedule that works for us.
- We start with prayer.
- We read the devotion together along with applicable verses.
- They each go off on their own to do their own private devotion.
In their private time, they have a book they selected from the Christian book store and their TAWG (Time Alone With God) Journal. They are supposed to write down either the answers to any questions or their own thoughts about what they read. I do mine at the same time. The younger ones have a special stuffed animal that only comes out at devotion time that they can snuggle while they look at picture books about the Bible, color or pretend to write their thoughts.
Learning the Bible with young children
In the early years, we focus on the Big Story of the Bible. We learn about the major characters that you’d expect to learn in any Sunday School class. We read from the Bible, we read little story books, we listen to children’s songs, we act out the stories and we color pictures. The younger boys also play quietly while I do our readings with the older children and it is amazing how much their little minds pick up when you think they aren’t paying any attention at all!
Learning the Bible with middle grade children
Then we do devotions. I feel like such a bad Christian for admitting this. Devotions, I think, are an important part of our daily walk. Except I find most of them — and almost all of the ones written for children — contrived and somewhat cheesy. Then I found the Faith Factor series.
They are written by a homeschool mom, which is a bonus. But I really like how the author takes devotions from the lives of the men and women in Scripture. This means my children are learning about the history in the Bible while learning to make life applications directly from the lives of those who fill its pages.
Learning the Bible with junior high and up
When we finished Faith Factor New Testament (OK, so I lost it and decded to just press forward. But we’ll get back to it. I promise.), I pulled out the first book I read after becoming a Christian: From Creation to the Cross. This remains my favorite book about the Bible that isn’t actually the Bible. It really takes you deep into Scripture from the very first verse and shows you how it all points to the cross. The thing is, it does it in such a way that is very accessible to a new believer or a child with an upbringing in the church. It is a very solid theology of the cross and what that means for each of us as we try to live out our faith through our relationships and activities.
I break our daily study up into very short sections that they can digest rather than just trying to get through the book. It should take me about a year to get through it, but knowing me, it may be closer to two years.
Learning the Bible with teens
To finish off our journey, we are going to incorporate a little video as we walk through the history and culture of the Bible and dig a little deeper into the world in which the Bible was written. I first watched the That the World May Know series as a new Christian and it impacted me deeply. We purchased it and watched the entire series again with a similar result. I am purchasing the books that go along with the videos to have more meaningful discussion with my older children.
And I am quite excited to watch them all again! Unfortunately, it is an expensive series, but I am just purchasing one video/book set at a time (we gave our original away) in order to space out the cost.
Higher up and further in . . .
This isn’t part of our curriculum, per se, but it has become a very important part of our family. Each summer, our children aged 13 and up go to Christian Youth In Action (CYIA), a Christian camp which teaches kids how to evangelize. They study for a week and then commit to teaching two five day clubs during the summer (essentially like VBS in your backyard or at the park). CYIA sparked my eldest daughter’s passion for ministry and she is now a missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship, the organization that runs CYIA. Her enthusiasm proved infectious, and her siblings so far have all gone as soon as they were old enough. It also means that now three of my children spend their summers as missionaries reaching the youth of southeast Nebraska for Christ. This helps take what they’ve learned all year and move it from their head to their heart and through their actions.
(Note: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” )