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Sound Words for Kids: Lessons in Theology Review by Julie Kieras

Unit 4: The Salvation
Tauna Meyer
Proverbial Homemaker

As a Christian mom, I’m concerned with cultivating a rich soil where solid biblical truths and open discussions help my children grow their faith. So, for our fall homeschool Bible study unit, we tried out the Sound Words for Kids: Lessons in Theology: Unit 4: The Salvation. This unit is the fourth in a series from Tauna Meyer, blogger at Proverbial Homemaker, and is a catechism-style curriculum for first through fifth grade children. Available as a PDF download for $9.99, the file includes devotions, memory verses, notebooking pages, activity ideas, and copywork. This curriculum comes in both ESV and KJV versions; we used the KJV version. To fully incorporate this program of study, users should print the file out to get the activity pages for students; most pages are black and white, but some pages contain artwork which is helpful to print in color.

It’s helpful to have a curriculum that covers basic doctrines in a way that’s accessible to children, yet also easy for parents to teach from. The Sound Words for Kids curriculum does this well. The first section is an intro where the author explains the format and purpose of the curriculum, and links to her statement of faith. Note that she bases her curriculum on Reformed theology, and this is evident in several places throughout the curriculum. Just after the intro is a brief “Take me the to Cross Activity” where adults and children can create a poster board cross to display their on-going catechism work.

Following the intro and initial activity are sixteen chapters/lessons each delving into a main fact of salvation, using catechism-style questions, such as: What is this change of heart called? What is grace? What is justification? What is faith in Christ? And so on. Each chapter follows a similar format: question/answer catechism, memory verse, Bible reading, discussion questions, devotion, crafts and activities, coloring page and copywork. The copywork comes in single line or dotted line pages for differing writing levels. Each lesson also includes a mini lesson connected with a piece of artwork to extends the thinking about the main question, and a Bible study activity where students do activities like look up a series of verses, make compare/contrast charts, or draw pictures to illustrate their thinking about the topic. Some lighter activities like mazes and word searches are also included.

In our homeschool study with this series, I broke each chapter up into three lessons a week for my eight- and six-year-old sons. We would complete the catechism, Bible Reading and discussion one day, the copywork and craft activity on the second day, and the mini-lesson with artwork and Bible study activity on the third day. Teachers and parents could break the chapter up into smaller segments or have a longer lesson and complete the whole chapter at once. It’s a versatile curriculum for moving at your own pace.

This curriculum would work well for family devotions, homeschoolers, co-ops, or Sunday Schools. The variety of activities in each chapter make it accessible to use with multiple ages and learning styles. I often would have my younger son color while my older son did a more complicated craft like making a scroll and recording our discussion ideas. In addition to academic aspects like memory work and copywork, the author suggests at least two craft ideas per chapter that teachers and parents can pick and choose from or do all if time allows. A few activities have links to websites and videos that can be included in the lessons, giving the option for a multi-media approach to teaching these lessons. Some crafts/activities are simple, like sneaking around the house like Nicodemus, or drawing a heart with two colors. Others are more experiential and require collecting materials in advance like: dyeing carnations, researching caterpillars and butterflies, or building a bridge with LEGO bricks.

Overall, I enjoyed how easy this curriculum was to teach from. I could open the book and begin the lesson where we left off last. Being able to pick and choose activities was wonderful because some weeks we had more time for involved activities, but other weeks we needed to do quicker activities. The craft activities gave my children exciting ways to make a tangible connection to biblical and doctrinal truths. Weeks after a lesson, my six-year-old still remembered what the stone with the red heart painted on it means, and my boys love reciting the answers to the catechisms we fastened to our Take me to the Cross poster.

There are, however, a few confusing aspects to this curriculum. The first chapter’s devotion begins with “When we last left off,” which must make sense if one was completing the series in order, but it’s possible users may start with this unit. I found myself wondering if I had misplaced a chapter because the chapters are not numbered. I also wished all the teaching materials were placed together in the chapter, with activity materials like copywork and games afterwards.

I also thought some of the theology was not well-explained or supported. For instance, several times the curriculum refers to Old Testament people as “believers,” without a clear distinction or discussion of how methods and modes of salvation differed between dispensations. Users should also note since this curriculum is based on Reformed theology, if their doctrinal stance is different, they will have to make modifications, as I had to do. Notably, one chapter deals with the question “Who is the Redeemer of God’s Elect?” However, the exact phrase “God’s elect” is mentioned twice in KJV scripture, in reference to Jesus Himself. So, using this version of the Bible, the question doesn’t fit Scriptural usage of that term and could be confusing. It might be helpful if the author noted how changing Bible versions in the unit can affect how the lesson concept sounds. At the same time, if one knows their theological beliefs clearly, adjusting this curriculum slightly is not difficult.

Generally, I was happy with the thorough nature of this curriculum, its grab-and-go format, as well as the variety of lessons, student work, and activities included. It’s a solid introduction to matters of faith that any homeschool family or teacher could use successfully.

-Product review by Julie Kieras, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018