When I was in 3rd grade, my parents decided to transfer me to a private Christian school from our local public school. This private school was well-known for its focus on character and its adherence to the Principle Approach method. At the time, I had no idea what that meant and even after attending the school for many years, I still feel a little fuzzy regarding the method. So, when I learned I had the opportunity to review a Bible curricula that emphasized character and utilized the Principle Approach, I was excited to learn more and try something that would complement the education style I had experience through most of my school years.
So, what is the Principle Approach? This approach is based on the historical model of Biblical education and focuses on 7 principles: Individuality, Self-Government, Christian Character, Conscience, Biblical Form of Government, Local Self-Government, and Political Union. The Bible is the center of this approach as the student examines each subject from a Biblical perspective. The method heavily emphasizes self-government and character.
What is it?
The Judah Bible Curriculum is designed to use the Bible as the sole textbook and help the student dig deeper into Biblical studies while examining character and learning to govern themselves. The curriculum can be used with a wide variety of ages and grade levels, with each student studying the same themes, only with differing depths of understanding. The entire scope and sequence can be found here.
The program provides a framework of 5 themes. The student studies each of the 5 themes every year, progressing to a deeper level of understanding each year.
The 5 themes are:
Theme 2-The Plan of Redemption Begins
Theme 3-The Kingdom of Israel
Theme 4-The Kingdom of God
Theme 5-The Early Church
What is included?
This curriculum can be ordered as a hard copy for $74 or accessed digitally for $44. With the curriculum 3 components are included:
Judah Bible Curriculum K-12 Manual
Elementary Notebook Ideas Booklet
8 Lecture Teacher Training Seminar
The program also includes key sheets that can be used as an outline to complete as you read through the Scripture passages. These pages can provide a jumping-off point for further research or discussion. Through using these key sheets and creating their own pages, a student will create a Bible notebook each year with this curriculum.
What did we think?
On first impression, this curriculum is extremely intimidating to begin. There are at least 8 hours of audio lectures which outline the program and the methodology of the program. I was not able to find the quiet, uninterrupted time to complete listening to all the audios. To fully understand the principles behind the program, the teacher would need to listen to each audio session.
The website itself does contain a lot of information but sometimes finding what I needed was difficult which led to me feeling very overwhelmed.
I finally decided to try to jump in and preview lesson one. I printed off the key sheets and got out my Bible. We read the passages and I looked at all the information to be completed on the key sheets. They are very open-ended and more like a generic outline. I was supposed to extract all the information and compile it on the sheet. I quickly realized that I should have done my research and reading before presenting the information to my children and then used my completed key sheet as a simple discussion outline-maybe even while they colored a picture that related to the lesson. Since my kids are all ages 6 and under, I would be the one preparing and presenting each lesson. If my kids were older and were able to read the passages independently in order to participate more fully in a discussion, I think this curriculum would require less prep time for me.
I love the idea of creating a Bible notebook. However, I need much more hand-holding with regard to what to actually put in that notebook. A blank outline with a few key words and a list of Scriptures to read is not enough for me to create a Bible lesson with confidence.
This curriculum is designed for serious and indepth Bible study. The study is parent-led and would not be considered open-and-go as it requires some preparation beforehand.
For us, this curriculum would require too much legwork and prep time of me. I would need to study the lesson beforehand, take detailed notes, decide which parts were most appropriate for the age levels of my crew, and possibly find notebook templates or coloring pages to guide them as they learn the method. I don’t think I feel confident enough to prepare an indepth Bible lesson without more guidance and resources available to me. I think Judah Bible curriculum would be an asset if the parent and child were dedicated to digging through the Scriptures together, the parent felt confident in their Bible study skills, and the parent had ample time to study and prepare each lesson.
This curriculum would work well for a family who was committed to doing a daily indepth Bible study. The parent would need to set aside adequate time for research and reading beforehand, possibly with some helpful commentaries or other reference materials. The curriculum would be an excellent discussion guide if the parent had previewed the material before presenting it. This curriculum would also work well for a parent who wanted the flexibility to create lesson plans and a custom Bible notebook as part of the student’s studies.
See how the other Crew Members used Judah Bible Curriculum here!