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Deeper Roots Publications Review by Holly Camron, Tina Rice, & 1 other

Jan L. Harris, Howard and Bonnie Lisech
Deeper Roots Publications
2100 Red Gate Road
Orlando, FL 32818
407-293-8666
http://deeperroots.com/

Discovering Our Amazing God (Book 1) (Grades 7 or 8 or 9)
Student workbook and Teacher's Guide, Home School Edition

This is the first volume of a course written for 7th to 9th graders. This is a really wonderful course, and something that I personally have been looking for, for a long time! This study is not written for brand new believers, it is specifically written, as the author states, to take the junior high student beyond the facts of the Bible stories to the serious challenge of getting better acquainted with God.Who is He? What is He like?

There are hands on exercises, videos and field trips. The authors have also added a different dimension by using less well-known Bible stories, as most junior high students have already heard the better-known stories. This study is very in depth, there are questions to answer, memory challenges, reviews, and tests. There is also a very clear missionary emphasis, as there is a people group studied along with each lesson. The artwork is wonderful!! There are detailed sketches of people from the different people groups, as well as delightful cartoons throughout the books. There are writing opportunities and journaling opportunities.

This is NOT just a sit, read and repeat facts study. It appears easy enough at first, but by the end of the first lesson, the students are really having to think and really challenge themselves. For example, on Day six of lesson 1 there is a writing opportunity where the student is asked to read several proverbs and choose the one he/she likes best and write a creative story which illustrates the wisdom of the proverb. There is class time allotted to the writing, but this is also very easy to integrate into your homeschool day by using the writing projects for English class. There is no instruction on HOW to write a paper, or a story, that is assumed to be taught in another part of your day, but the lessons in this study will challenge and hopefully motivate your student to really discover who God is.

Each lesson is about discovering some aspect of God such as God's Love, God's Creativity, God's Power, God's faithfulness, God's justice, and more. The course is designed to take one semester to complete, but is very easy to extend if you need to. The study I reviewed is the home School Edition, but there is also an edition for Sunday school, or Bible Class. This is an extremely well written study, which will draw your student into a deeper relationship with Christ and at the same time show him/her some of God's heart for the unreached people of the world.

There is a teacher's guide and a student workbook available, and in my opinion, the teacher's guide is necessary. It helps you follow along with your student, and there are lots of different helps and suggestions throughout. The price is quite affordable. Check out the website at www.deeperroots.com If you are looking for a complete, thorough Bible study, you won't go wrong here!

Product Review by Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC

Discovering Who I am in Christ (Book 2) (Grades 7 or 8 or 9)
Student workbook and Teacher's Guide, Home School Edition

This is the second volume of the series described above. It too, is meant to last a semester, and is intended for after the first volume. This volumes' purpose is to again go beyond the facts of the Bible stories to the wonderful knowledge of the students' spiritual identity. Who we are in Christ; chapters include: Sinner or Saint? A New Creation; Adopted; Citizen of Heaven; A Sheep in His pasture, and many more. The format is the same as the first volume, with questions and hands on activities, and lots of challenging writing activities. These questions make you think! They aren't the kind of questions that you will know the answer to without even thinking about it, they are thought provoking and challenging. I am very impressed with this Bible curriculum, and I believe there is a needed place for it in the lives of our children who have grown up hearing and knowing, but maybe not really realizing that THEY are Christ's children too; this study will help the junior high student realize that he/she is important to Jesus, and that he/she matters in Christ's eyes. Together, the two studies will comprise a very thorough, challenging Bible curriculum that will be a wonderful addition to any home!

-Product Review by Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC

Discovering Christ-Like Habits (Book 3) (Grades 7 or 8 or 9)
Student workbook and Teacher's Guide, Home School Edition

Discovering Christ-Like Habits (DCH) is book 3 in the Discovery Series. This is a 7th, 8th or 9th grade Bible Curriculum. Other titles in the Discovery Series are Discovering Who I am in Christ and Discovering our Amazing God. Discovering Christ-Like Character will be available in 2007. Lesson titles in DCH are Growing Faith, Our Ever Present Helper, The Secret of the Will, The Gift of Prayer, Celebrating God, and Feeding on God's Word.

DCH is an in-depth Bible study. In addition to scripture-based study about faith in God, the Holy Spirit, prayer, worship, and the importance of studying God's word, students will learn about unreached people groups and world geography, memorize scripture, and do a lot of writing. Besides the teacher's guide and student workbook, you will need a variety of items to teach this curriculum as it is written. Many of the needed items are not readily available at your local grocery store and will require a trip to a school supply store.

There are six lessons in DCH. Each lesson contains numerous days of work (Chapter 1 has 14 lesson days, one review day, and one test day). Successive chapters require 19, 13,21, 11, and 10 days to complete them. All lessons follow the same pattern; they begin with a history of an unreached people group and contain a prayer focus. Students work each day on scripture memorization (this is my favorite part of the curriculum). Each student workday has a corresponding lesson in the teacher's guide containing extensive teacher notes and answers to written questions. It is possible to edit some of the teaching material and use portions of it so that you can cut down on the amount of teacher time. Use whatever best suits your family (a fact I have to be reminded of over and over each year - I am not a slave to the teacher's guide, but it is a servant to me!). Each chapter ends with a study sheet and test (tests are found in the teacher's guide and are reproducible). If you do one lesson per day, DCH will be a half-year program.

Over the years I have had numerous friends use and enthusiastically recommend Deeper Roots publications. This is my first time using one of their products. After looking over the curriculum, I would not recommend it for most 7th graders because they lack the maturity to grasp much of the material, or for relaxed homeschoolers or unschoolers because of the amount of workbook-type work involved. I was unprepared for the amount of work involved to properly teach the curriculum. I was looking forward to a program that was student-led. This does not have to be a negative aspect, though. If you want to study along with your student, then DCH would make an excellent choice; on the other hand, if you want to have your student work independently, he will miss out on much of the teacher-led discussion and activities if you just hand over the student book. I expect that as you move through the book it will take less teacher preparation time, but the first few lessons each took one hour of my time. This broke down to 10 minutes of pre-lesson preparation, 20 minutes of direct teaching, 20 minutes of being available to my daughter, and 10 minutes for lesson correction.

If I could change anything about DCH, I would make the teacher's guide more user-friendly. The instructions occasionally left me wondering what exactly I am supposed to do, and the tiny font in the teacher's notes section is difficult to read. I would also appreciate it if Deeper Roots added a comprehensive list of required supplies so that I could get my supplies all at once without reading through each chapter looking for required resources (For example, in Lesson 1, Day 1, you need a video that will most likely not be available at your local video store.)

Do I like DCH and would I recommend it to friends? Yes, I do like the curriculum, even though it is a bit more work than I would have preferred and is definitely not a good fit with my daughter's learning style. It lives up to the recommendations I have received from friends as a thorough program that will direct almost any student dig deeper into God's word. My daughter was hoping for a more self-paced Bible study, and she has not liked the fact that she has to wait for me to teach her lesson.

Product Review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2006

Discovering A Christlike Character (Book 4) (7th, 8th, or 9th Grade)

Review in-process as of March, 2008.

Rooted and Grounded (Grades 10 or 11 or 12)
Student workbook and Teacher's Guide, Home School Edition

Deeper Roots Publications has put out some excellent, excellent products for Sunday school and home school use. This is another one of those. Rooted and Grounded is a Bible study guide designed for upper level high school students and those into college and adulthood. This is a serious topical Bible study that will, as Gregg Harris stated, challenge and equip students for a life that is God-focused, yielded, obedient, and fruitful. Topics covered are relationship with God, Christian living, and certain areas of theology such as prayer, forgiveness, etc.

The objectives are clearly stated and the course is extremely comprehensive. It is designed to be done in a school year, but would likely take longer, as you get into God's Word and start to dig! In addition to the main topics of the lessons, this study also has a very strong mission focus, with a specific People Group and area discussed in each lesson. The country introduced is accompanied by beautiful pencil drawings that are absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion! The lessons themselves are clearly laid out day by day, as they are with all the Deeper Roots study guides I have reviewed. The teacher preparation is minimal here, but you may want to take the time to study with your son or daughter.

This book is that good! It was written to go beyond the typical Sunday School stories and lessons and to go deeper than most lessons go. There are review questions after each week of lessons, and there is an optional test booklet available to test after each unit. You can see that this is an academically sound study as well as Biblically sound. There are writing assignments, essay questions, loads of Bible verses to memorize, and students are encouraged to look up every Bible reference given to them. The teacher's manual is handy in that it lists all the Bible verses mentioned in the student's manual and there are a LOT! There are also extensive teacher's notes that help explain questions and discuss Bible passages.

I can't say enough about Deeper Roots, their mission, and their Bible Studies! I have used the Junior High level studies with my son, and I am anxious to do this one with him as well. I learn as much, if not more, than he does about the amazing and awesome God we serve! You won't be disappointed with this study in the least; I guarantee that.

Here is another Rooted and Grounded review:

Are you looking for a Bible curriculum that will challenge your junior high student? Are you looking for something that you can work on together or something that he/she can work on alone? All these things are found in the Deeper Roots Bible Curriculum. There are several different volumes that I will review below. All of these courses are non-denominational and very Scripturally based. The focus is on Scripture itself and there is not much introduction or personal bias of any kind. The point is for the student to discover God's Word for him/herself, and, in doing so, come away a richer, deeper person.

Again, another quality Bible study, this time geared for a senior high through adult level audience, Rooted and Grounded does just what the title implies. It is a unique, topical Bible curriculum that will challenge any who take the course. The book is written in the same format as the two prior volumes, but this one is a one-year course in one book. There is also a teacher's guide with answers and suggested activities for each lesson. The authors have gone beyond the norm in this study as these lessons will really cause the student to think and focus on what they are learning and reading. There are also significant Scripture passages to memorize that will help the student stay rooted and grounded. There is, again, the focus on the unreached people groups of the world with a two page prayer focus dedicated to a people group accompanied by the same beautiful artwork found in the junior high versions.

There are tests available in a separate test booklet, if that appeals to you. The tests are to be given about every fourth lesson. Personally, I don't think I'll use them, as this is such a personal study. Unless you need the tests to give grades and credit for Bible class, I think you will be able to discern whether your student is learning the subject matter just by how he/she is responding to the lessons. There are comprehension and analysis questions involved here. I particularly like the journaling spaces and ideas and thoughts for journaling. This is a very good idea as students at this age are often full of questions and thoughts, but need somewhere to write them down. There are also writing opportunities given, which are indeed challenging and thought provoking.

This book does it all - Bible study, memorization, evangelism, and journaling. It is a very thorough, yet very easy to follow, course that can only benefit anybody who commits the time to complete it! The cost, while not prohibitive, is not as inexpensive as another little devotional book you may find. That is the point; this is not a little book! This is a very comprehensive yearlong Bible curriculum that is well put together and very nicely published. If you check out the website at www.DeeperRoots.com, you will see many other products that are equally beneficial. There are many products with a missionary emphasis that look outstanding! I personally am excited to be able to use these courses all the way through my children's junior high and high school years. I feel like I have hit upon a gold mine, only this is gold that I definitely want to share with all of you! You will definitely be missing out if you don't at least take a look at these courses and see for yourself how wonderful they are!

-Product Review by Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC

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