Bible Study Guide For All Ages is hands-down the best program I’ve seen for teaching children about the Bible. We have been reviewing the Primary (1st to 2nd grade) student pages with the corresponding teacher guide, as well as the Large Bible Book Summary Cards and the Wall Maps and Timeline Set. It has been an incredible method for teaching about God’s Word. It has brought us closer as a family and I can see true learning happening in my girls.
I have been using this with my oldest two girls who are almost 7 and almost 5. We haven’t really done too much formal Bible study in the past but they are familiar with various “stories” from the Bible.
As an aside, I don’t call them “Bible stories” at home. That makes it seem like they are made up. It’s hard enough to wrap your mind around Jonah being inside a giant fish or Jesus feeding thousands from almost nothing. But for the sake of this review, I will be referring to them as “Bible stories.”
So the cool thing about this program is that there are four levels of student pages for the kids. They include:
The order of study is the same for each level – you will get through the full program in four years if you do two lessons per week (416 lessons altogether). But the student pages have different activities depending on the age group that level is aimed at. That way you can use this program at the same time for all of your kids, no matter their age.
If your oldest child seems to be getting tired of activities meant for younger kids, you can move her up a level while keeping the other kids where they are and still cover the same “stories” during each lesson.
Bible Study Guide For All Ages was created back in the 70s by a mom who couldn’t find a suitable Bible study program she could use with all her children due to their varying ages. Years later, her children developed this into a full program that has been improved into what you see today. I love that this is run by a family who have a sincere desire to help all ages learn about the Lord without any kind of agenda or denominational bias. You can read more of their story here.
We were reviewing the Primary level (intended for grades 1-2) as my oldest is going into second grade and my second child into kindergarten. It can be adapted up or down based on your kids’ skill level. No other level has a teacher’s guide; all the information is contained within the student pages. The reason for this is that kids this age may not be reading well yet but are largely past the stage of simply coloring, so the teacher guide provides a way for the parent to help as necessary and still act as the teacher. The upper levels have a teacher key available so you can check their answers or if they still need more direct guidance from a parent, but it’s not required in the same way as the teacher guide is for the Primary level.
If you have other kids who need other levels, you will have to adapt either the Primary to everyone else, or adapt the other levels to your kids in the Primary age group. The alternative is purchasing the level everyone needs and just doing the Primary level with your Primary kids. I don’t think it would be too difficult to do either of those scenarios.
Bible Book Summary Cards
These are made of nice cardstock with full color fronts. They review each book of the Bible in picture form on the front and in text on the back for the parent to read aloud. The one for Genesis can be seen in one of the pictures below. The back side of the card has a synopsis of the book with questions to go over.
Wall Maps and Timeline Set
This set of three maps and a giant timeline were part of why I wanted to review this. We love timelines! They are a great tool for visual learners and kinesthetic learners. They are all intended to go on the wall but after trying a few different ways of putting them up, I decided the best way of displaying these would be to put them on foam board so I can put them away when we’re done. We do have toddlers, and I was able to safely fold these up and store them behind my dresser. That might sound like a weird spot but they just slide right behind and they’re out of sight and won’t get messed with.
These all turned out to be super neat learning tools. You can purchase the labels that go on them and the teacher guide tells you what to take off and put on for each lesson. It’s best to use Fun-Tak or some kind of reusable adhesive putty for these. The timeline comes in two sections, and I used two pieces of foam board for each of them. There is one map that is larger and that one also took up two pieces of foam board, and the other two maps took one piece each.
It was easy to take out the boards with the timeline and stand them up on our kitchen counter and then lean a map up in front of it when it came time for that part of the lesson. I think they will be pretty durable this way. Sometimes I used the maps to show them more about what we were studying, such as when Joseph was taken from his home in Canaan into slavery in Egypt.
How We Used It
I wish I could say we used it as much as we intended to but life happened! We did get through the first seven lessons over a six-ish week period.
Anyway, all the lessons we did were about Joseph and I personally learned quite a bit, and my girls learned and retained so much from a story they really hadn’t heard before. They chunked the material up very well so there was the perfect amount of information in each lesson plus plenty of review.
The student pages have cartoons, fill-in-the-blanks, lines to draw, a little bit of coloring to do, people to circle, the list goes on. There is often a map or timeline for them to do something to also; these are the same as the large size ones for the walls. They are technically supposed to use different colors for different activities but we are low on our variety of colored pencils due to toddlers who shall remain nameless. I didn’t find that it mattered.
My 4yo didn’t keep up as well as I had hoped as she gets frustrated with writing (she is just starting to read and write – perhaps she would do better with the Beginner level) but this was the perfect match for my 6yo, who is a beginning reader herself but is much more experienced with writing and knowing her letters. My oldest was asking to do Bible study all the time so I tried my best to make it happen as often as we could fit it in. I definitely prefer not to say no to Bible time!
Part of the reason we had some trouble fitting it in was due to the amount of time it takes. They pay very good attention to this so that’s not the issue. It just can be a good amount of instruction and answering questions and helping them through the work they’re doing. I really don’t have a problem with it, but we typically school in shorter increments through the day due to their young age, so sitting for that long at once was a little more difficult for us all. They do pay attention, though! Even if they are a little antsy toward the end. I never timed it but I typically would carve out a full hour to cover everything, including setting up the visual aids, cutting out new labels for them, and putting everything away. We do a lot of talking while we do the lesson so this is not a complaint, and I think it could go faster if we didn’t talk as much (but at their age, I feel it’s necessary).
There are a lot of parts to this curriculum and normally I stay away from programs with a lot of moving parts but this didn’t seem overwhelming to me or to them. We have used curricula in the past that just had too many components (not a Bible curriculum) so it didn’t last long. But this really doesn’t feel like it’s overkill.
We did use the timeline for each lesson and we used whatever map the lesson called for, usually just one or two of them. I followed their suggestion of using the timeline as a recap at the beginning of the lesson…narrating what we’ve covered so far and asking them to fill in the blanks as I run through it.
This might be something like “God created the world and who were the first people? (Adam and Eve) And who were the three fathers who lived in tents? (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) Jacob had 12 sons but his favorite was who? (Joseph) How did his brothers feel about that? (They were jealous and hated him) It got worse when Joseph had dreams that they would all bow down to him and his father gave him a special coat. So what did they do to him? (Sold him to Potiphar)” And so on and so forth until we covered all of what we had studied so far plus having a short discussion of Jesus and the last parts of the timeline. I found this to be excellent reinforcement for them.
I mentioned I dislike curricula with a lot of components. One of the reasons for that is I struggle to stay organized with it all but these magazine holders were perfect for putting everything in. The two small ones on the left in the picture below are cheapies from IKEA and they easily hold all the items we received (except the wall visual aids of course) plus the packages of Fun-Tak I had ordered for the timeline and maps. The student pages are consumable and rip out of the workbook but I tried to keep it all intact and just have them flip to the right page each time.
We are going to stick with this program for our Bible study since it is so in depth and they enjoy learning this way.
Bible Study Guide For All Ages also has a program for teens as well as one for adults, so if your kids are older or you personally would like to study this for yourself (or with a small group), there are options available for that, too.
We have 70 members of the Homeschool Review Crew using these products! Please take a look at what others are saying. We have moms reviewing every level of the student pages as well as some of the supplementary materials. I can tell you that many of the Crew love this company and even use it in their small groups and children’s ministries at church!
PIN IT FOR LATER!