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Bible Road Trip [Year One] Curriculum: The Books of Law and History Review by Rebekah Teague

Danika Cooley
Thinking Kids Press
http://www.thinkingkidsblog.org/bible-road-trip-the-everything-page/
P.O. Box 2084
Beaverton, OR 97075
http://www.thinkingkidsblog.org/

As a homeschool mom, I have the great privilege of using the Bible as a core text in our curriculum. We spend time in devotions every day, but I also want my son to know the Bible as a historical book, a love letter to the church, and a revelation of God’s plan for mankind. I want him to know the Word in an intimate way. It is much more than a book we tote with us to Sunday Morning service. I want him to have desire and passion to dig deep into God’s Word.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a product that can assist me in these goals. It is Bible Road Trip by Danika Cooley. I received not only a PDF download of Bible Road Trip [Year One] Curriculum: The Books of Law and History, but also, downloads for the Dialectic Notebooking Journal for Grades 7-9, Lower Grammar Notebooking Journal for Grades 1-3, and the Upper Grammar Notebooking Journal for Grades 4-6. 

Bible Road trip is a 3-year Bible Survey. It is taught in cycles and is designed to be used from preschool through high school. I received Year One, which covers the books of Law and History in the Old Testament. Year Two includes the books of poetry and prophecy in the Old Testament and Year Three teaches from the New Testament. Each Year is 32 weeks of study and is intended to be highly adaptable to the particular needs of your family.

Danika has divided the resources into levels. These include: Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3 (Lower Grammar), Grades 4-6 (Upper Grammar), Grades 7-9 (Dialectic) and Grades 10-12 (Rhetoric).  This allows you to apply the study to a wide range of age groups, yet challenge students where they are developmentally.  The levels are based on the classical model, but I don’t think you need to be a classical educator to use Bible Road Trip.

I was immediately drawn to the thoroughness of the study. The curriculum guide outlines what supplies or other resources I needed to have on hand. I didn’t have all of the texts required. Some of them were optional or suggested. Others (spine texts) were required to complete the study. Because I was using the product with such a wide age group this was a bit more challenging to work out. Danika does provide links and suggestions for obtaining what you need for the course.

I did find that the teaching advice and other helps provided in the curriculum guide to be extremely helpful. For example, Danika gives suggestions on how to “tackle” tough passages of Scripture. She also provides tips on memorizing Scripture. I found many of her helps applicable to other areas of study. My favorite is the advice of Round Robin Reading. This has been a handy tool in helping my dyslexic son tackle more advanced reading passages.

The teaching plan itself is carefully laid out. Each level (be it Preschool or Grade 10) is given its own “to do” list for each week. Of course, we are encouraged to pick and choose what is best for our particular group.  I love that a whole list of interactive activities are included. Some levels are given craft projects or some research projects.

The crowning glory of the whole curriculum is Danika’s lovely Notebooking Journals. Not only are the pages beautifully detailed, but are intended make a homeschool teacher’s life much easier. The notebooking pages are for the Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar and Dialectic levels. The Rhetoric level (grades 10-12) are encouraged to create their own notebooks. I have used notebook pages from the Dialectic level for some of my Rhetoric students. I found some have done better with suggestions and more direction.

My Bible Road Trip journey is happening a couple of ways. First, I have a small group of teens on Sunday Mornings who are enjoying their study of the Bible with the Bible Road Trip. I LOVE that we have been able to really dig deep and use resources that they might not have been exposed to otherwise. There is something about sitting around a table with a pile of Bible Study resources, notebooking journals and the open Word of God that makes this teacher’s heart glad.

My second little group is a co-op of mixed ages. This is a fun group. We are just beginning our Bible Road Trip excursion, but I can already tell that it is going to be a hit. Because I have such a wide division of ages in our little group I have been able to see the effectiveness of the Bible Road Trip model. Everyone (from the preschooler to the middle school student) is learning the same portion of scripture. The Lower Grammar student might have fewer pages in his notebooking journal, but he is just as engaged as the older students.

I truly think this is a thoughtful and complete Bible survey. I am encouraged to be able to have the tools available to me to teach Bible history effectively. My concerns about the product are few. There are a lot of pages in the Notebooking Journals. If you do teach more than one level, be prepared to do a lot of printing. This is also a product that requires some preparation initially. The books and materials used during the course of the study aren’t ones I can find readily on my local bookstore shelf.

Overall, I am so pleased with this product. I think the attention to detail put into Bible Road Trip is really special. I need to tell you that Danika did contact me during the course of the review to let me know that the 2nd Edition is due to come out fall, 2016. Recently, she updated her booklist and sent an email to those who had purchased the product. I appreciate her making herself so accessible! I wholeheartedly recommend Bible Road Trip.

-Product review by Rebekah Teague, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2016

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