Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John

Positive Action for Christ is a publishing house that has been offering Bible curriculum for churches and Christian schools since 1969.  Our family had the opportunity to review The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John, one of their many high school studies.

The Life of Christ study can be used independently by the student, taught by the parent, or a combination of both, which is how we have chose to use it.  It can also be used in a co-op or group setting or as a family devotional.  The student book is divided into seven units, each unit containing between three and seven chapter lessons for a total of 35 lessons, one for each week of a typical school year.

Each chapter/lesson begins with a short reading to help the student connect their world today with the lesson and the truths found in the Bible.  This leads into the Student Work, the questions in their textbook.  These questions are designed to help the student imagine themselves as part of the story of Christ.  They will "help you to put yourself in the place of the disciples, the Pharisees, or the multitudes as you investigate for yourself just who this Jesus is."  I am really impressed with the intent of the Student Work:

"Since the objective of this study is not just to fill students' minds with facts, but even more importantly to help them grow in the knowledge of their Saviour, we have designed this section to help their minds ponder Him and His teaching.  Our intent is not to use these questions to provide definitive answers, but rather to get the students thinking about the personalities and their character qualities as well as the meaning of the text and the spiritual truths it teaches."

The Student Work in the student textbook leads into the teacher's lesson, which, depending on how you schedule your school week, may very well come in the middle of the week.  The reason for this is because it is recommended that you discuss their answers to the student work as an introduction to the teacher lesson.  In doing so the student will already know many of the questions you will be discussing in the teacher lesson before you even begin.  Each chapter in the student textbook has space for the student to take notes during the teacher's lesson.

The Teacher's manual contains the teacher's lessons, copies of the student textbook along with answers to the student's fill-in-the-blank sections, as well as masters of chapter quizzes and unit tests.  Also included is a CD-rom of overhead transparencies to use with each lesson.  I'm not sure how many homeschool families will actually use these in this way since it requires an overhead projector or video equipment.  However, each 'transparency' can also be printed out, but duplicates of each are also in the student textbook so I'm not sure that this is really necessary.  Personally, I choose to not use the transparencies CD since it is just duplicating what is already in the student book.  If I were using this study in a group or classroom setting then I would most likely use the transparencies to teach the lessons since I would be teaching several students at one time instead of just my daughter.

A list of recommended scriptures for the student to memorize is also included in this study, all taken from the book of John.  While not mandatory, I choose to have my daughter memorize each lesson's corresponding scripture and have her write the verse from memory on her weekly quiz paper.

Having a daughter in high school it is my plan for her to earn a Bible credit as one of her required electives.  However, finding just the right study for her to complete in order to earn that credit is not as easy as it may seem.  The original plan was to have her earn this credit while completing the Bible study that corresponds with her American history book.  This turned out to be nearly impossible since her history is very in depth and requires most of her time during the school day.  To also complete all that is required for the Bible section was simply too much for her.  Besides, while the intent of tying history and the Bible together is a good idea, in my opinion it simply teaches facts more than helps her grow in her relationship with her Saviour.  That is what I like the most about The Life of Christ study, that the emphasis of the lessons is to challenge the student and help them apply the lessons to their own lives. 

Since it is my standard to give my complete and honest opinion of anything I review, I feel I must add that while researching the Positive Action for Christ website I came across their Doctrinal Statement and I do not agree with a few of their positions.  However, this is not a discussion on differing beliefs but I felt it important to inform you of this fact.  Despite our differing beliefs, I have yet to read anything in The Life of Christ study that teaches differently than what we teach our children, which I am very happy about since the study fits our needs so well.

To check out this study or other products from Positive Action for Christ simply click here.  They offer products for churches and Christian schools, which can also easily be adapted for homeschool families as well.  I have been considering purchasing their Bible curriculum for my other children who are in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades since I am so impressed with The Life of Christ study for our 9th grader.  If you'd like to see what each study covers you can download (or order for free) a Scope & Sequence here.

If you are interested in the Life of Christ study for your high schooler here is what it will cost you:
*Student Manual- $17.95
*Teacher's Manual- $41.95 (this is also available on DVD for $29.95)
*Deluxe Presentation DVD (which looks SUPER COOL!)- $79.95
*Overhead Transparencies (full color printed acetate transparencies)- $99.95

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received this product free of charge in exchange for my review and honest opinion of it. As a believer and follower of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I promise you that all my reviews contain only my own honest opinions...'cause He told me to not lie!

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