A Christian School must view their curriculum as more than maps, outlines, unit goals, or lesson plans. The curriculum of a Christian school is alive, transformational, intentional, and foundational to all they do. A real Biblical Worldview Curriculum is at the foundation or center of ALL you DO & TEACH. It is the spinal cord that connects all the other parts of a Christian School and makes it truly Biblical.
My name is Aaron Thomas. I have been writing Bible curriculum and teaching since 1998. I have been married 22 years and have two amazing children. The curriculum I am in the process of finishing is the result of many years of experience and training in the classroom and in administration. I love what I do. One of my greatest desires is create a Bible curriculum that tells the full connected story of God's redemptive plan for the world. Please join me in a Bible curriculum revolution that can change the world.
I am also privileged to work with Paul Coogle and Sarah Ellis. They are amazing Bible teachers and love teaching God's word.
We have a strong desire to create a Bible curriculum that has been used and tested by real classroom teachers. By God's grace and timing, we look forward to the God's Story Curriculum being the most effective and transformational Bible curriculum that is available.
What is the difference? Why does it matter?
What makes this curriculum different, unique, and effective
(Yellow Italicized Text) What we are creating and providing in this curriculum)
Let's identify the biggest problems with most Christian School Bible curriculums that currently exist and then provide a solution.
1. No real Biblical integration strategy: I have not seen one curriculum that teaches the Bible and provides real instruction for Biblical integration into the other subjects. Biblical Worldview integration is a mystery to pretty much every Christian school I have encountered. Schools use this language in mission statements and radio advertisements, but when you look into what is actually going on there is very little genuine Biblical Worldview Integration going on.
An effective Bible program will help provide resources and instruction for how a teacher can Biblically Integrate God's character with the truth's found in God creation at the unit level (using Academic standards found in any curriculum).
2. The after-thought or add-on Biblical Curriculum: In many cases a schools Bible curriculum is created or included after much of the school's philosophy and core beliefs have already been established. This isn't a deal breaker but if a school really wants to be effectively Biblically integrated then is stands to reason that the Biblical ends of the school are driven by the Bible curriculum. What you believe about God will affect everything you create.
An effective Bible program will help you to evaluate what you do and why you do it. It will begin at the roots of a schools mission and philosophy and penetrate every aspect of school life including policy. The goal is that you live out what you teach and believe. There should be a coherent connection between the root of a school's belief system and the fruit that it produces.
3. Not chronological or covenantal: Many Bible curriculum offered do not teach the Bible as a complete story from beginning to end with the Old Testament clearly connecting to the New Testament. They are often driven primarily by character qualities that they want students to learn about and act on. As a result scripture can become a proof text for supporting the topic they want covered. Besides being very dangerous when it comes to how we study and teach the Bible, this approach can tend to jump around different stories of the Bible and miss the bigger more redemptive story that is only revealed when you study scripture chronologically as one story. God's word is primarily a story about Him. It is His way of revealing His multi-faceted character to a broken world that needs so desperately to be reunited with their Creator. Character qualities for us to follow will happen throughout the story but will come inside the context of the richer, fuller story of God.
An effective Bible program should have a strategy for teaching the whole story of God from Creation to the church. It will show how God is the author of that story and that His ultimate goal is for mankind (His prize creation) is to be redeemed and restored to a relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It will show how God planned and intervened in History to make a promise to a man named Abraham and to use His children to be His channel of redemption for the rest of the world.
4. I say, you do method: Many curriculum are very specific when it comes to what the teacher is to say and do. You will see this type of curriculum produced by some very popular and easy to use curriculum designers. Many times this is done so that the curriculum is easier to teach and follow without any real training, and it eliminates the user as a negative variable making the curriculum more accessible to the masses. I believe this can end up back firing and making trained teachers feel locked into some very rigid guidelines and not allowing their own teaching skills, personalities, and abilities to come out. It is very difficult to produce and send out a one size fits all Bible curriculum when it comes to teaching the Bible effectively. It tends to remove real teacher comprehension of the text and can easily remove the heart and spirit from the story. The teacher of a Bible curriculum needs to understand and take ownership of the content for themselves, be personally affected by it, and then be ready to present it to others. The result of the alternative could be a heartless, rote, non trans-formative Bible teaching experience, much like what one would have experienced in the reading portion of a standardized test.
An effective Bible program will provide a structure, strategy and outline for teaching Chronological pieces of the Bible in a realistic timeline. It will require the teacher to learn and understand the content prior to teaching it. All of the resources will provide a scaffolding of support and resources that help each teacher to effective plan and teach their own Bible lesson. It will provide ideas and resources both inside and outside the curriculum that will compliment and assist the curriculum. I know that in a fast food culture that this approach will not be the most popular because it requires more work and ownership of the ideas by the Bible teacher. But I believe this is where each unique Bible teacher will shine and provide what I believe is more fertile ground for the Holy Spirit to work in the teacher and students hearts.
5. Curriculum may be written by a non-teacher and untested in the real classroom: Many Bible curriculum have a lot of great information and ideas but are not put together in a user friendly way for every day teachers. The intentions are good but the plans are not realistic and practical. They may be written by very intelligent and philosophically deep professors and leaders that may not really understand what really goes in today's elementary and middle school classroom and therefore may produce very insightful textbooks that could be used as supplemental resources but end up missing the mark as useful and practical unit and lesson plans.
It can make a significant difference to have a curriculum written by someone who has been teaching and is in the classroom. It also makes a huge difference if that curriculum has been tested, used, and redesigned based on real teacher insight. This process can really help to produce something that not only sounds good in theory but also works.
6. Missing assessment strategies: One of the single greatest problems with Bible curriculum and curriculum in general are the ineffective forms of assessment. Most Bible curriculum hopes to reach students with Biblical truths but once it's done have very little real insight as to what the students know or understand over the long term. If you want to get to the real heart of what a student believes, thinks, feels, and can apply, other assessment strategies are needed.
An effective Bible program will provide ideas and solutions for how to developmentally evaluate students so that you can create and follow a running narrative of growth. It will inform and challenge the school, parents, and school so that real change can be tracked and identified.
7. Shallow & Unchallenging Bible Teaching: There tend to be two extremes in the Bible curriculum world. Either something is too confusing and hard to use or it's too simple and shallow. I believe that parents want challenging, but developmentally appropriate Bible teaching. Many parents have told me that they can't wait for their child to have my class because they want their kids to really learn the Bible. I believe many schools do not see the value of a dedicated Bible teacher on the payroll until middle or high school. This is an unfortunate philosophy. Elementary teachers are already stretched to the limit with all the other subjects they teach. To require them to master an effective Bible teaching program is one request to many.
It is highly recommended for an effective Christian school to hire dedicated Bible teachers. They will create and teach the lesson plans, and be directly involved with assessment, and Biblical worldview training. The classroom teacher will still be very involved just not required to do all the behind the scenes work and planning on top of all their other lesson plans. Like any subject to be taught effectively experts are needed.
1st Grade (Purple): Genesis 1-50
2nd Grade (Red): Exodus - Joshua
3rd Grade (Yellow): Judges - 1 Kings
4th Grade (Blue): 2 Kings - Malachi
5th Grade (Green): Matthew - John
6th Grade (Brown): Acts
7th Grade (Black): Full Bible Overview
8th Grade (White): Worldview Comparison
1. Creation - Joseph
2. Moses (Egypt) - Joshua (Farewell Speech)
3. Judges - Solomon (Divided Kingdom)
4. Divided Kingdom - Remnant Returns
5. Jesus Birth - Resurrection
6. Pentecost - The Beginning of the Church
7. Creation - The Church
8. Worldview Critical Thinking & High School Preparation