The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Discovering Who I am in Christ (Book 2) (Grades 7 or 8 or 9) Review by Donna Campos and Holly Cameron

Student workbook and Teacher's Guide, Home School Edition
Jan L. Harris, Howard and Bonnie Lisech
Deeper Roots Publications
13 W. Lakeshore Drive
Cherokee Village AR 72529
1.407. 797.8557

Discovering Who I Am In Christ Bible curriculum is Book Two in the Discovery Series and consists of two spiral bound soft cover books: a Teacher's Guide and a Student Workbook. The Teacher's Guide includes 230 pages, while the Student Workbook includes 196 pages of necessary course material and blank "Reflections" pages for journaling and/or note taking. Designed for 7th, 8th, or 9th grade, the course will take one semester to complete. The books begin with information on the authors and illustrators, an introduction to the curriculum overall, and then the Teacher's Guide includes more specific instructions and encouragement for use of the information on the Unreached People Groups. Each lesson begins with an Unreached People group Profile. Book Two includes the Banjar People, Phuta People, Guizhou Yi People, Bhadrawahi People, Bedouin Arab People, Malu People, Nukak People, Balinese People, Highlanders of PNG, and Neighborhood People. Later books in the series focus on other Unreached People Groups and when reviewing various programs from this company, we found no repeated people group. The lesson then moves to the scripture reading, pertinent activities and/or discussions, writing assignments and/or questions, and memory challenges. The required days to complete each of the nine lessons range from six to fifteen, with only one day necessary for the Introductory lesson and the Summary lesson, which is one day of review. The Appendix includes a Bibliography, list of websites, other information, and various printables organized by lesson number. Memory verses are purposely left out of the Student workbook to encourage increased Bible knowledge by having the students consistently look up the scripture text; they are listed in the Teacher's Guide at the end of each lesson. A broad range of various miscellaneous items are called for including: the "Joseph, King of Dreams" movie, Anne of Green Gables book or movie, the movie "Joni" about Joni Eareckson, a balance scale, blocks of wood, the book The Tower of Geburah, and more. Field trips are a part of the curriculum and options for accomplishing adequate outings are offered. Reviews and Tests are included where used within the program, along with the answers in the Teacher's Guide. The course covers an individual's relationship to Christ as a Christian: from sinful nature, new creation, being a precious child of God, to a sheep in His pasture, producing fruit, and being truly redeemed and forgiven, and additional information and scripture throughout.

The Teacher's Guide pages follow the Student Text and have additional Teacher's notes in shaded boxes throughout the curriculum along with necessary answers. Discretion in grading is required through much of the program as answers will be based on personal relationships and a growing understanding of the Word of God. Instructions call for the teacher to follow the course loosely, making changes as necessary according to the need of the student. The Unreached Peoples portion includes general historical information that sets a good frame of reference for students to understand more about each particular group. Each particular people group is represented by a portrait sketch and offers some personalization to each group. The scripture memory verses are completely listed in the Teacher's Guide in both New International Version and King James Version and a calendar plan for Memory Challenge Reviews is included at the start of the Guide. Beginning with information about the authors and an introduction to the study, both books include the same information with the Teacher's Guide containing additional notes specific to the teacher. The Student Instructions are to read from scripture, then answer questions through each lesson. The Student Workbooks are consumable and will serve as both a record of the coursework and available reference in the future as the student continues their walk with God. Written by homeschool veterans, the program is ideally used by parent and student together and will be adaptable for any homeschool teaching style. Considering the use of the Student Workbook, those most comfortable with textbooks will enjoy the program, but the inclusion of the Unreached Peoples portion of the study leaves real possibility for unit study students to enjoy the coursework and enhance it seamlessly. Hands on activities, creation of billboard displays, the design of posters, and more, will help more tactile students utilize all of their senses while they grasp the material.

Good theology is presented including points like: animal blood "covering sins" and Christ's blood "cleansing" us from our sin, information on being citizens of heaven, discussion of access to speak to God and what a wonderful privilege it is, comparison of the vine, branches, and gardener as Jesus, believers, and God, and more, make up the many concepts presented in this course. The Discovery Series is a wonderful combination of Bible study with missions education ideal for grades seven through nine, and is adaptable for some younger students. Consistently, the instruction is for the parent to offer guidance according to the specific needs of their child rather than stringently following the Teacher's Guide. The Teacher's Guide offers helpful ideas about memory verses, review work, writing opportunities, and writing standards and is encouraging toward parent teachers. Geography, science, history, missions, and more can be further implemented by small adjustments to the existing curriculum. The missions emphasis is evident and often lacking from other Bible curriculum; it provides a wonderful springboard to furthering education about missionary work. More information regarding missions is available on the website,, as the authors are seasoned missionaries who continue to be active in mission work. The website also includes free PDF versions of portions of their curriculum offerings. Much of the course offers opportunities for parents to glimpse the thoughts of their children, increasing the educational value overall.

The differences in number of days required for each lesson was disheartening, sometimes six days, other times twelve. I found myself wishing they had consistently planned for the same number of days. The spiral Student Workbook is ideal for students working in any environment as the book is able to flip back onto itself, and for a family with multiple children, we appreciated the consumable workbook as it is a personal reference guide for the future as well. Time should be allotted for student's new to Bible reference work to find the various scripture verses, as the memory verses are not included in the Student Workbook and must be looked up. The instructions, at times, call for awarding prizes according to highest score and regularly reference multiple students. Adjustments are required for skits calling for more students if your homeschool consists of only one child, although it may offer an opportunity to invite another homeschool into your classwork or provides an opportunity for a family activity. The necessity of videos and book excerpts can become a bit overwhelming if you don't plan ahead well enough, but the program does include notes in earlier lessons when additional time is needed to plan for or obtain an item for a future lesson. Some of the called for items were not completely previewed by the writers of the curriculum, but come with a warning of evolutionary content if a parent should be advised. "Writing Scoreboards" are included with grading percentages that will need to be adjusted if you choose to grade differently. The repeated instructions for use of a billboard is cause for improvisation with a family room wall or other option, but this is not new to homeschoolers. Parents will want to be sure to review each lesson, as instructed, before approaching any subject area with their children. Overall, care is taken in presenting a program that will not be offensive to any family, but due diligence is always best.

Our family finds the Discovery Series, Discovering Who I Am In Christ an excellent Bible based curriculum ideal for students in every homeschool. Any type of learner will gain knowledge from the program as our Bible is the heart of our education as Christians, regardless of learning style. The necessity of additional materials may be a deterrent for some, but access to a library or friend's video collection will very probably cover most of the additional materials. The concepts of a sin nature and being redeemed are an essential part of the Christian life and discovering our place in the body of Christ is central to the education of our children; this program supplies an incredible tool to help. Use of the program over the full two years the Discovery Series Bible study covers, with the three additional books in the series, will provide a thorough study of the Christian life and the added benefit of exposure to many Unreached People groups. The Teacher's Guide offers notes right on the pages where they are needed, allowing parents to focus on the subject matter rather than additional planning time. The course includes references in the Bibliography for obtaining supplies or utilizing substitutes, when possible, and some items are available at the website. As veteran homeschool parents and missionaries, the authors bring a wealth of knowledge and a rarely found viewpoint of mission work that homeschools should be teaching. The regular exposure to Unreached People groups offers a glimpse into parts of our world rarely exposed in traditional schooling environments. Discovering Who I Am In Christ is a central part of a Christian education, being a part of that education is essential as Christian parents. Providing families with a mission minded bible study, Discovering Who I Am In Christ will offer a thorough education for children as they find their place in God's family.

-Product review by: Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2008.

Editor Note: The following reviews are of older versions, but still give a good overview of the program.

This is the second volume of the series from Deeper Roots Publications. 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