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Homeschool Bible Studies Curriculum



This article discusses different approaches to developing a curriculum for the study of the Bible. Many people choose to homeschool their children in order to teach them the Bible, but even homeschoolers who are not religious can benefit from Bible studies.

First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Bible Studies Curriculum

The Bible is the most influential book in Western and Near Eastern societies, and has had a profound effect on many other world civilizations. Understanding the Bible is an important element in the study of religion, art, music, literature, history, law, and politics.

When you are planning your curriculum for Bible studies, you should first decide what your goal is. Do you want to teach the Bible as a guide for daily living, a literal account of God's relationship with man, a historical document containing some facts and some allegories, or an important work of literature?

One you have determined what you want to accomplish in teaching Bible studies, you will also need to decide how you want to teach the Bible. You can teach Bible studies as a separate topic or incorporate Bible studies into the other subjects you are teaching, like history, English, and social studies.

When you have decided on your teaching goal and your approach, you can look for existing curriculum materials that match your goals or create your own. If you are affiliated with a church, it may be able to provide you with helpful teaching materials.

Because Bible studies in public schools are a controversial issue there are no national standards for a Bible studies curriculum. When Bible studies are taught in public schools it is usually as a high school elective. One widely accepted book for public school Bible studies is The Bible and Its Influence.

Planning a Homeschool Bible Studies Curriculum

There is no national standard for a Bible study curriculum, but there are many approaches you can use. Younger children usually enjoy learning Bible stories and passages, while older students can follow a more in-depth Bible study program.

British Columbia, Canada developed a Bible study curriculum based on five areas of study, which may be useful to you as you plan your homeschool Bible studies curriculum.

Context

Students should understand the historical, geographical, and social context of the Bible. This can overlap with the students’ studies of the ancient Near East, a desert environment that gave rise to many great civilizations (Egypt, Palestine, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, the Islamic nations, and Rome).

History of the Bible

Students should learn how the Bible came to be, including how scholars decided which books and epistles to include, and some of the translations of the Bible, from St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible to Reformation Bibles such as William Tyndale’s translation and today’s modern translations. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an interesting topic to study under this heading.

The Bible as Literature

The Bible is one of the most influential books ever written, and is referenced in many great medieval, Renaissance, and modern works of literature, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ernest Hemmingway. Because almost all educated people in Western civilization were familiar with the Bible until just a few decades ago, knowing the basic stories of the Bible and some important segments such as Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, the Sermon on the Mount, and the parables from the New Testament can help students better understand other works of literature, music, and art.

The Bible and Society

Students should learn some of the profound influences the Bible has had on Western society, both positive and negative. For instance, the crusades and witch hunts were religiously motivated, but so were charitable organizations and reform movements that improved the lives of thousands of people. Also, the Bible was used both to justify and to oppose slavery.

Religion and Philosophy

The Bible is the basis of thinking on morality and ethics for much of Western history, and has also had an influence in other cultures such as Islam. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim parents will want to base their homeschool Bible study curriculum on their own beliefs, but parents with other beliefs can use Bible study to talk to their children about their beliefs and the beliefs of others.

Sources:

David van Biema, TIME, "The Case for Teaching the Bible" - time.com

Moriah Shaw, The Homeroom, "Bible Study and the British Columbia Curriculum" - records.viu.ca

Bible Literacy Project - bibleliteracy.org

US Department of Education - nces.ed.gov