Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Classical Academic Press: God's Great Covenant

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God's Great Covenant, New Testament - Book One:
Student Text - $26.95
Teacher's Edition - $29.95

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Photobucket I was thrilled to be chosen to review God's Great Covenant, New Testament - Book One since my children and I already happen to be reading through the book of Luke during our Bible time. As a busy homeschool mom of three, I don't always have time to thoroughly research every passage of Scripture we read, so receiving this curriculum has been such a timely blessing!

This classical Bible course, written for students in grades 4 and up, offers an in-depth, 36-week study of the Gospels. It contains 4 units, each one focusing on one of these names of Jesus: The Son of Man, God's Servant, The Messiah, and The Son of God.

There are 9 chapters in each unit, and each chapter features a memory page, story time, and various worksheets.

Each memory page includes the chapter's theme,Scripture to be read, Scripture memory passage, key facts, and prophecy fulfilled.

During story time, the author retells a biblical account according to the chapter's theme, which may, though not always, include references from all of the Gospels. For example, in chapter 3 of the first unit, the theme is The Birth of Jesus. During this 2-page retelling of Jesus' birth, Scripture is quoted or referenced 7 times. References are marked by small numbers. At the bottom of the page, you will find the numbers that appeared throughout the story which note the correlating Bible verses. Six of the references are from Luke while one is from Micah. So, here, only one Gospel is referenced.

Audio files are available to download which feature the thirty-two stories from the four Gospels. They can be purchased for an additional $9.95 here. Great for kids working through this curriculum on their own or for on the go! (On the same website page, you can hear a sample read from chapter one before you decide to purchase.)

Photobucket In the worksheet section, children will review what they've learned by answering questions, filling in blanks, unscrambling words, labeling maps, completing crossword puzzles, etc.

The last chapter in each unit is mostly a review of everything learned in that particular unit, but children will also get a sneak preview of what's to come in the next unit.

Several unit review worksheets are provided here as well as a memory passage worksheet, a devotional guide, and Simon's World.

In reading Simon's World, children will gain a better understanding of what life was like during the time of Jesus. Through fun and engaging stories, Simon, a fictional character living in the fictional village of Jareth, gives a first person account of his daily life in a Jewish village.

Along with an answer key, the Teacher's Edition contains the same information and follows the same format as the student book. I really like the fact that the page numbers match in both books! The Teacher's Edition also includes detailed notes in the margins "to expand upon the historical, geographical, cultural, and theological concepts introduced in the text." There is also space to write your own notes if you choose to do so. Because of all the extra information, the font is smaller in the Teacher's Edition.

Below are two examples from the Teacher's Edition so you can get an idea of what the pages look like. You can also view more detailed examples in PDF format of both books here.


Personally, I am very impressed with the quality of this Bible curriculum, however, my children do not seem to share my enthusiasm. I will do my best to explain why and what changes I will try to implement in order to make this course work for my family. It's just too good to be sitting on a shelf somewhere!

First of all, our usual morning Bible time consists of me reading a passage of Scripture - we tend to read through and focus on one book at a time. We discuss what we read, pray together, and recite our memory verses for the week. This takes about thirty minutes.

My first mistake was using God's Great Covenant in addition to our usual morning devotion. It was just too much. But, when I tried replacing our usual devotion time with God's Great Covenant, my kids missed our usual way of doing things. I was certainly having difficulty making this work!

My second mistake was spending way too much time on all of the introductions at the beginning of this course. There are six introductions: Introduction, Historical and Political Introduction, Chronological Introduction, Geographical Introduction, Religious Introduction, and Daily Life Introduction: Welcome to Simon's World. While I was relishing the wealth of information, my children were becoming bored with it. I expected this from my daughter, who is only six, but not from my boys who are ten and twelve.

Reading and studying the Bible are extremely important, but I have tried not to make it "just another subject" in our homeschool. I've always wanted my kids to see our family's faith as a relationship with Jesus and a way of life - I guess I have succeeded because both of my boys were seeing this curriculum as "just another subject" with worksheets to be completed. I know it's not that they don't enjoy doing Bible studies because they both love the boys' Bible study they attend through our church. I am thinking it must be the fact that God's Great Covenant is associated with "school" and is more of a have-to-do than a want-to-do. It really boils down to the fact that it is more work in the Bible department than they are used to. Going over the worksheet portion orally seemed to really help with this problem. The kids seemed to enjoy seeing who could be the first to shout out answers to questions.

My third mistake was trying to make it work as a family read-aloud Bible study reading at the intended pace. Being that it is a very comprehensive curriculum, as a whole, it isn't suited for younger children. Parts of it, like the stories and Simon's World, kept my daughter's attention just fine, though.

Because I don't want my children to dread Bible time in the morning, I may need to move at a slower pace if I continue to use this curriculum as our main devotional. However, like I said before, it's too good not to use, so I am not going to give up using it entirely. It's a great resource to have on hand while reading through the Gospels, and I may try to incorporate the teacher's notes naturally during our regular discussion time. (That means homework on my part!)

Here are a few reasons why I would still recommend God's Great Covenant even though I am still trying to find the best way to make it work for my family:

  • It would be a great study for children who are used to working with Bible curricula.
  • The Teacher's Edition provides excellent factual information about the history, geography, and culture during the time of Jesus.
  • It does a great job of connecting the four Gospels.
  • It also does a great job of connecting the Old Testament and the New Testament showing the purpose and fulfillment of God's covenant.
  • Simon's World is fun and really makes you feel connected to this time period.

I am determined to continue to find a way to incorporate God's Great Covenant into our homeschool. Be sure to visit for more information and to see all of their other great products. (We are currently using and enjoying their product, The Art of Argument: An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies.)

See what other Crew members had to say here.


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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