I love the concept behind the program as it makes it nice for large families or a church as a whole to be studying the same thing, yet at their own level. I love when the entire family is engaged in the study of God's Word together. The lessons we have completed were well done and solid Scripturally. I love that it has you read the passage from your bible and then discuss it. I like that much better than a narration of the text.
Bible Study Guide for All Ages is not affiliated with any denomination. On their website they say:
"We work independently of any church group or denomination and make no attempt to teach our opinion about issues of debate. Our goal is to present the Bible and the Bible alone. We believe that it is through the prayerful study of God’s word that people come to a true and lasting faith."
In the studies we have completed I have found that to be true. There was not much interpretation and as a Baptist I found nothing objectionable in the materials. There is, however, application of each text which I believe is an essential part of any Bible curriculum. They would give the child a scenario of a situation and ask them to "tell the rest of the story." I liked that because it had them think about their answer instead of simply telling them what they should do. Then they relate that situation to the lesson from the Bible.
Since we were given the Intermediate Level Student Pages which is for 3-4 grade students we did not use this for the entire family. Instead we used it as Gess' daily personal Bible activity. Overall I liked the lesson format and it was fairly easy to follow even without the Teacher's Key although it might make it more difficult to fill out the maps if you were unfamiliar with them.
Visually I found them good for my daughter, who has special needs. The font was clear and easy for her to read and they were nicely illustrated. The main trouble we had was that you had to flip them around quite a bit. You would start on one side, then flip to side two, complete those activities and then flip back to finish the rest. That was confusing for Gess.
On the front side they had the bible passage for you to read and review from previous weeks. It also included a Time Line or Map activity, a Get Active segment and the Apply It questions to help the student apply it to their lives. I personally liked the timeline activities that constantly had the child writing their name and date directly on it. They would also have to write in the person or event that they were studying about. That allows them to see that they are a part of the same history as these people they are reading about were. The use of the maps and timeline help emphasize that these were real people and places.
On the back they had the Discover the Bible section which had the lesson illustrated in cartoon like panels with activities for you to complete in each one.
While the panel itself seemed to really engage Gess in the lesson, having the instructions on the side made it difficult for her to follow along. Therefore I would sit with Gess and do it with her. I would read the passage for that panel and then tell her audibly what they wanted her to do. She seemed to enjoy doing it that way.
While we somewhat enjoyed the student pages we will probably not to continue to use them in our home setting. They really seem to make more sense for a class or church group to use. In fact the Get Active segment was geared toward group games and activities though there were some you could do alone. It might be different if we had more than one child in our homeschool.
My favorite part of the Bible Study Guide for All Ages was the Bible Book Summary Cards. These are something we will definitely continue to use. I highly recommend these for use at either home or church. The Bible Book Summary Cards are full color 8.5" x 11" visual representations of each book of the Bible. These 66 cards illustrate the main theme of each Bible book and on the back there are key facts to memorize. Using the visual cue on the other side of the card makes it easy. Now kids can learn more than just the list of books in the Bible. Instead they can really get a feel for what each book is about. Here is one of the samples they offer on their website for the book of Exodus.
We have been studying Genesis and now Gess knows that the word Genesis means beginning and that it has three main parts. The beginning is about Adam & Eve as well as Noah. The second part is about the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were given three promises that she can also name. The end of the book is about Joseph, which is who we have been learning about in our lessons. She can even name all of the sons of Jacob. That was something I could not even do until these lessons. You can see her Genesis card on the desk in the photo.
Overall I thought Bible Study Guide for All Ages was a good program. If it were not for Gess' special needs I may consider continuing the activity sheets but for her personal Bible study time I need something she can do more independently. However, if your church or family is looking for a study to do together, it looks like this is a pretty good solution. I think every church and family can benefit from Bible Book Summary Cards. I know many kids who can list all of the books of the Bible, but how many of them can tell you what those books are about? With these, they will know both!
The Intermediate Level Student Pages are $5.95 for 25 lesson sheets. As I mentioned before this particular set is geared towards 3-4 grade students but you can get sets starting at three years and go all the way up to teens.
The Bible Book Summary Cards sell for $24.95 for all 66 books and are 8.5" x 11" full color images on card stock paper. These are visually appealing and durable. These are definitely good to use with kids of all ages. You can also get a set of black and white, color it yourself, 11" x 14" posters.
To learn more about Bible Study Guide for All Ages visit their website. You might also check out the other Schoolhouse reviews to see some of their other levels and products in action by clicking on the banner below.