Saturday, November 3, 2012

Still thinking about the curriculum

So I'm still trying to work out whether to use the Jesus Storybook Bible curriculum.

1.  Thanks to Petrina, I've had a look at some of the sample lessons now.  They look like they'd work best with lower-middle primary.  Will it work with our big spread of ages (3 years to 12 years)?  If I have to get a separate curriculum for the littlies or the biggest kids, it will not be as cost effective and it will require extra adults to teach separate groups.

2. I really like the aim of the curriculum: showing how the whole Bible fits together as one story about Jesus.  I really like how the "rules" are dealt with and how it points to the fact that we don't save ourselves by doing "good stuff" but by trusting in Jesus.

3. It has DVD and optional audio components.  The story is read from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  This means I can hand the teaching over to someone who might not have teaching experience and feel confident that they will enjoy teaching it.

4. The colour handouts can either be printed out by us or we can buy them as bundles.  They work out very cheaply as bundles (about 25 cents a page).  I wouldn't have to prepare them - I could just buy them all at the start of the year.

5.  The text of the Jesus Storybook Bible ad libs a bit.  Not changing the essentials, but maybe adding in feelings or thoughts on behalf of the people in the passage that aren't there in the original Scriptures.  I have issues with this.  I get uncomfortable with that, especially when it's the Sunday School curriculum.  It also has a lot of pictures of Jesus in it.  I get uncomfortable with that too.  Should I ditch it for that reason or acknowledge that while it's not ideal, the good points out-weigh bad?

6.  It makes the Bible so clear and so easy to understand and is very gospel-centred.

Still undecided.  Any thoughts?

11 comments:

Meredith said...

For me the decision would be based on whether you want to and have the capacity to split your group into two. If you have that capacity then it sounds like a wonderful curriculum for the younger ones. And I think that the fact that it is gospel centred and gives the big picture so clearly outweighs the less good points.

However IMHO (I've never used that before!) if you have to stick with one group with a wide age range then make sure what you are doing will hold the older kids. That is my rule of thumb. Always pitch up. Easier to hold the little ones with little side craft activities and playdough while the teaching goes over their heads sometimes rather than pitching it at the younger ones and the big kids becoming annoyed, annoying and switched off. You know your kids...if the big ones would enjoy it then go for it, but if you think they might go mad because the curriculum is too young for them, and you don't want to or can't split your groups, then maybe not. That would be my thought.
Mx

Anonymous said...

I think you're final sentence says it all. No curriculum is perfect and you can always adapt the lessons. J

CardsAsGifts said...

What about the curriculum you were involved in writing? Or have you used that already?

Karen said...

I'm with you on point 5...I've been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to my three year old (and also to the 18month to 3 year olds at church) and I'm not feeling too comfortable with the additional feelings and thoughts either. I've started ditching those bits when I'm reading it out loud. And I had to shorten it for the 2 year olds anyway because some of the JSB stories are a bit too long to hold their attention.

But I agree with anonymous...I think that point 6 trumps a lot of the other stuff. And you can always adapt things a bit to suit yourself. What Meredith said was good too, I'd really love to hear how you manage with that big spread of ages if you feel like posting about that sometime! Our crowd (not that big at the moment...) is divided into 18 month-3 years, then the older ones are split into 4-7 years and 8 and upwards.

mattnbec said...

Agree with all the above. We too have rather a spread of ages and I'm possibly going to be doing some thinking about groupings and curriculum things soon. I haven't had to do much thinking on this before, so I'd be interested to hear what else people are using and how they find it. Particularly if anyone else has small numbers and a big age range (for us - roughly 12-15 kids who are 3yo - upper primary/lower secondary).

Deb said...

Yeah, I reckon you are right, Meredith. If you don't have the big kids on side, you're losing the whole game.

Deb said...

You are always so level-headed with your advice, J! :)

Deb said...

Nah, it's written for Year 7 up.

Deb said...

It's a hard call, isn't it? I've been reading other Sunday School curriculums - Gary just suggested Kidswise - and they put a lot of feelings and extra details into their "script"s for the Bible stories too. I think part of the problem I have with the Jesus Storybook Bible is that third word in the title. If they'd just called it "The Jesus Storybook" I wouldn't feel so uncomfortable. But once you call it a "Bible", there are standards of accuracy that are very important!!!

Deb said...

We have almost that exact range and numbers. I'm not a big fan of the secondary kids coming out of church. Fine to have something for them after church or on a different day, but I think most secondary kids can cope with sitting through a sermon and understanding it. But that's just me - others have different ideas, I'm sure.

Karen said...

Our older kids do Kidswise here too. I haven't used it for a while since I shifted to doing the littlies (who do Beginning With God) but as far as I remember, it's okay, although my husband regularly tears his hair out over the activity suggestions because he (like me) is not at all the crafty type. He often ends up making his own worksheets and stuff to use with the material so I think it may depart a fair bit from the original....