Monday, January 3, 2011

Review Crew: Positive Acion for Christ Bible Study

This is my first year with TOS Review Crew.  It's been an good experience, and I've certainly seen God's hand as we've been able to use a number of curricula materials that I would not have known about or not even considered.  God continues to amaze me. Just when I think that he cannot possible care about every. little. detail., He shows up to prove me wrong.

Thank GOD for that.

Now, I'm opening this TOS review for Positive Action for Christ's grade 6 Bible study so personally because, honestly and truly, we needed this study.  Ben's only completed a few of the lessons, but those few lessons make me excited to see what else is in store for us.

The company.  Positive Action for Christ started as a proTeen club in 1969 and later grew into a publishing house for the club's materials. From that humble start Positive Action has developed a school Bible curriculum for grades through 12.  They also have an extensive inventory of Sunday school/ church mall group materials.  You can read their detailed history, mission statement, and doctrinal believes at their website here.

The product. The grade 6 study I was asked to review "us[es] the theme of athletic competition and drawing from studies of various Bible characters and an overview of the Book of Revelation, [so] students will learn how the principles of God's Word can help them gain victory in the race of life."  Included in my package was a student workbook, and a 3-ring binder teach guide. The guide includes information about the scope and goals for the entire elementary curriculum, teaching strategies (mostly designed for classroom use).

The teacher's guide.  This is *very* meaty.  The guide includes charts outlining lesson topics, developmental activities, targeted Biblical truths and character traits for each of the 35 weekly lessons.  Suggestions are given for incorporating the materials into either 3-, 4-, or 5-day schedules.  Also included in the teacher's guide are guides to help with the suggested scripture memorization.  Passages of scripture have been chosen rather than isolated verses (which helps keep it all in context, people!) and they include an option so that families with multiple children are memorizing the same passages (*very* helpful for homeschoolers!).  As I hinted to earlier in this paragraph, one or two character traits are discussed in each lesson (though this information is not included in the student book).  You can download a copy of the elementary scope and sequence to see which character traits are discussed here (look to the right side of the webpage). 

Vocabulary and Life Principles are included for discussion as well, although these life principles are only in the 5th and 6th grade versions.

Christian music history is also a part of the curriculum. Using several additional resources, the students will learn a monthly hymn and several choruses.  Please note that these resources are not included with the Positive Action for Christ materials, although the words to the verses are included in the back of the guide.

Finally (I said it was meaty), there are outlines for each of the 35 lessons.  Topics headers for each lesson include:
  • Target truths (ie. The Bible is the inspired Word of God)
  • Teaching strategy
  • Character Trait activities
  • Quiz Answers
  • Lesson quiz (on it's own sheet of paper so it can easily be photocopied)
  • reprints (in black and white) of the student book with answers written in.
The Student Book is a colorful, illustrated workbook. Miniature pencils show where students are to write answers.  There is narrative text to help flesh out ideas and connect ideas. Life Principles are boldy boxed to aid students in grasping the main idea (example from lesson 2:  Right character produces right actions).  Finally, the life application section, entitled Winning Your Race, helps students to reflect on the material and apply it to their daily lives and situations.

The Teacher's guide is available for $34.95 and the student workbook is $13.95. Samples are available here.

My impressions and how it worked in our homeschool: 
  • Despite the suggested weekly lesson plans, I struggled with figuring out how to divide the work between the days we alloted to complete the workbook.  There are no "divisions" in the text, so you'll need to go through each lesson and make your own determination of how to divide up the work. 
  • We had some great conversations together!
  • The life application part was hard for my son to complete ahead of our discussion.  Instead, we talked about it together, then I sent him to write up what we discussed afterward.  My hope is that as they year progresses, he'll begin to develop the skills he needs to complete this part with more independence.
  • Some of the character trait activities are really great!  I encourage you to slow down a bit and fit in appropriate activities.  For example, my son interviewed a Christian man (a pastor friend) about leadership, then he spent a few days writing and rewriting his piece.  Having my son interview someone was well as go through the writing process was a worthwhile detour from daily progress through the lessons.
Overall, I'm impressed with the Bible study and think that as we complete this over the rest of our school year, we'll accomplish our goal of consistent Bible study and rich discussions about applying the Lord's word to our lives.

For more reviews, you can visit the TOS Crew Blog.

Thanks to Positive Action for Christ who provided a complementary copy of their 6th grade study for my opinions about their product. 

    1 comment:

    Dawn said...

    Hi. Stopping by to check out your review. Nice! Blessings!