Friday, April 20, 2012

TOS Review - God's Great Covenant

True confessions: I felt a little awkward about my curriculum planning for this school year, because both my sons were earning a credit or grade for a Bible course, but my daughter was not.  She even asked me at one point why she didn't have a workbook for Bible.  Ummm.... because I hadn't found anything I really liked for your age level?  Well, spoiler alert - now we have found something we like!  God's Great Covenant from Classical Academic Press.


This is a Bible course covering the New Testament, that tells the story of Jesus as Messiah and King, and the fulfillment of God's promises.  Students will learn how Jesus came as the Son of Man, the Messiah, God's Servant, and the Son of God.  The book is organized into four units, each of which emphasizes one of these names for Jesus.  It is intended for students from fourth grade up, and uses stories, worksheets, memory verses, devotional guides, and quizzes in a comprehensive study of the Gospels.

When Kennady and I first started paging through the book to get an idea of what we'd be doing, she was immediately captivated by the little character, Simon, who acts as a sort of guide throughout the book.  She thought those little illustrations were cute, and she was ready to start!


We got a little bogged down in the Introduction sections, which are full of historical, geographical, and religious background - there is a LOT of information packed into those pages, and might be better presented by the parent or teacher in summary rather than having the student read through it all.  Once we got to the Daily Life Introduction: Welcome to Simon's World, Kennady was more interested.

There are 36 chapters altogether, organized into four units, and we have looked at the first few chapters so far.  The workbook harmonizes the Gospels, and shows in easy-to-understand format the parallel passages for the story, although some chapters will show the story in all the Gospels while others will focus on a story from only one.  There is a suggested Memory Passage for each chapter, stories and lessons, and a review worksheet.  Maps, illustrations, puzzles, and background information appear throughout so that the lessons do not get too repetitive, and it's always engaging.



The Teacher's Edition contains the full text of the Student Workbook with lots of extra background information and marginal notes.


Kennady and I both really liked this workbook, and will be completing it next year.  We found that she could do quite a bit of it on her own, so it was a great mix of independent work and discussion we could do together.  Kennady does quite a bit of memorizing already for church activities, so I didn't require her to memorize the passages from this workbook as well, but she certainly could have, and we found that many of the passages she already knew.  I thought the material was at just the right level - challenging enough at an academic and spiritual level, but not so much that she got discouraged.  She was able to do all the reading on her own - and wanted to! - and just asked me if she came across a word she wasn't familiar with.  (She is in Grade 5 this year, and reads very well.)  A struggling reader would probably need more help with the story time sections.  This is excellent material for students (or teachers) without a lot of background Bible knowledge, as well as those who are already well-grounded in their Christian faith.

What we liked best:

  • we could use any translation of the Bible.  Seems like a little thing, but I like when the choice of which translation to use is left up to me.
  • strong emphasis on the fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament; and on memorizing Scripture.  Plus, it doesn't just assign a passage to memorize - there are worksheets and activities that are intended to help with memorization.
  • other than the introduction chapters (pages 9 through 28), the information was presented in manageable chunks
  • the cute little cartoon characters.  A little detail that Kennady just loved.
What we weren't crazy about:
  • I was very surprised that there was no "how to use this book" information.  I'm not exactly known for following all the instructions, but some guidelines that let me know how it's intended help me a lot! Things like how much time the authors expect a lesson will take; whether it's recommended for a couple times a week or every day; and that sort of thing.  As it was, we figured it out for ourselves (Kennady worked on it two or three times in a week, at her own pace), but a parent that has a strong preference for lesson plans already laid out might find the lack frustrating.
Would you like to explore God's Great Covenant?  Here's what you need to know:

God's Great Covenant- NT1 can be purchased from the online store at Classical Academic Press - the consumable student workbook is available for $26.95; the teacher's edition for $29.95; or as a bundle for $56.95.  Audio files of the lesson material are also available for $9.95.  You may want to view a sample of the student workbook.  

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog for more information, and to read other Crew member reviews.

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we received a complimentary teacher and student edition in exchange for our honest opinions.


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