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WINGS (Walking In New God-given Strength) Review by Kathy and Linda GelzerBy Pat Stephens
WINGS Publishing Company
1804 Arthur's Circle
Bedford, TX 76021
WINGS is a Bible study/workbook on the life of Jesus for individuals of all ages or for groups. There are six separate books: a leader's guide, PreWINGS (4- and 5 year-olds), Sparrows (K - 1st Grade), Cardinals (2nd - 3rd Grade), Eaglets (4th - 5th Grade), and Eagles (teen - adult). I'm assuming 6th and 7th graders would choose, with their parents input, one of the two latter workbooks to use. Each book sells for $19.95.
The guide and workbooks are all 8-1/2 x 11-inch three-hole punched pages ready to be inserted into a three-ring binder. These are hefty consumable workbooks, ranging anywhere from about 245 to 360 pages. Each workbook includes the plan of salvation at the very beginning and instructions on how to use the workbook.
Bible references are taken from the New King James Version, the King James Version, and the New International Version. Memory work uses the King James Version.
The neat thing about this Bible study is that each child and adult has a workbook geared to his specific age group. At the same time, the whole family is studying the same passages and memorizing the same verses together. However, I don't think the Bible study lesson time could necessarily be done as one group if you have a wide range of ages since the lesson texts and discussion questions are quite different.
The books are divided into three 26-lesson sections. Section 1, "Jesus Christ: Son of God," covers the early part of Jesus' life, including his genealogy. Section 2, "Jesus Christ: Son of Man," continues with the rest of Jesus' life. Section 3, "Jesus Christ: Lamb of God," covers His death, resurrection, and ascension. Each lesson takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete, but that includes all the activities. The actual teaching time would be less--it took us an average of 20 minutes--and the activities could be done individually as "homework" sometime during the week. You can do one lesson per week or one lesson per day, depending on your circumstances and preferences. Or you can spread each lesson out through the week, doing a little bit each day.
Each lesson begins with a retelling of the Bible story, blending the four gospels together. References are printed at the top of the lesson page, and it is strongly suggested that these passages be read. The lesson text is 1/2 to 1 page in length, depending on the grade. Next is a "Let's Talk" section with discussion questions. In each lesson, there are memory verses to be learned before the next lesson. Prayer boxes for recording prayer requests and answers are included every fourth lesson, and there is at least one activity or coloring page at the end of every lesson. My 9-year-old daughter, who is going into fourth grade, wished the activities in the Eaglet workbook were more challenging with less obvious answers.
The Teen - Adult workbook follows a different format. Each lesson begins with a memory verse. Next is a "Your Guide" section with some helpful tips or introductory notes and a suggested prayer. Next comes the lesson with Bible references to look up. In "Knowing What it Means," the student is directed to look up a list of terms in a concordance or dictionary. "Something Special" has interesting facts about the lesson, often some background or cultural information to help one understand the lesson better. My 9-year-old daughter found this section intriguing and wished it had been included in her grade's workbook. Lastly, there is a "Wrapping It Up" section with life applications and an activity or puzzle, which will appeal more to the teens than the adults. These puzzles are easy enough for younger children to do. Prayer boxes are included every four lessons here as in the lower grade studies.
The leader's guide has four pages of how to use the guide, a comprehensive list of all the memory verses, a chart to record the children's names and their progress, and a lesson-by-lesson guide for both the children's and the teen/adult studies. Answers to all student activities are included, and there is a place for notes. This guide has a wealth of information and some great suggestions. Take the time to read it before each lesson to give your children the full benefit of all the work and wisdom that has gone into preparing this curriculum. One should plan on spending at least 15-30 minutes preparing for each lesson.
In choosing the materials, parents should not necessarily lock their children into the corresponding age workbook. We found the activity pages too easy and the extra information in the older age books interesting to younger students as well.
Overall, I think this is an excellent Bible study program for families. The theology is sound, the content is instructive, and the format is interesting.