God's Great Covenant NT1 is another fine product from Classical Academic Press, publishers of The Art of Argument and Latin Alive!. This in-depth Bible study of the New Testament is intended for grades 4 and higher, and is divided into 36 chapters each of which take about one week to complete. If you choose to purchase the complete set, which is what we received to review, you will get a student manual, a teacher's edition, and a set of downloadable MP3 files of 32 New Testament audio stories. This set costs $56.95 and reflects a savings of almost ten dollars.
My students are currently ages 2 (almost 3), 4, 6, 8, and 14. Our 14 year old completes his Bible study class on his own (he is studying Revelation---his choice), while the little ones do Bible time with me, but for this study we all sat together around the dining room table. I found the study to be just a little bit too hard for the little ones (ages 2-8), though Tex (my 14) found it to be easy/just right. The little ones did, however, LOVE listening to the audio files, and we will continue to listen to them periodically as I felt we learned a lot from the reader's insightful comments and extra interesting information about the Gospels.
One thing I really appreciated about this curriculum is the way it was set up. Each chapter contains: Theme, Scripture Memory Passage, Key Facts, Story Time, Review worksheets, quizzes, and Think About It sections. Many sections include references to how Jesus fulfilled scriptural prophecy, exercises on discerning the important truths of the lesson, and maps to show where the action is taking place. The lessons also include a variety of exercises from word scrambles to crossword puzzles to drawing assignments to keep your child interested in their work. Our favorite section of all was Simon's World, a fictional account of a boy living in Jesus' time which revealed to the children all sorts of interesting facts about life in the time of Christ. I think that even though the workbook is a bit above my Amigos' abilities at this point, we might go through the book and read all of the stories about Simon before putting this away for a few years (my oldest Amigo is 2nd Grade and I'd rather wait for Tex to do it with us as a family).
I really liked how this study kept bringing up several key concepts. It repeatedly went back to the importance of the Gospels, and clearly discussed how each one is unique (written for different audiences) and how they are all pointing to Christ as the Messiah. The study also emphasizes how clearly Christ fulfills prophecy in the Old Testament, and points out specific scriptures throughout that support this assertion. Lastly, I really liked how the book took different questions Christians commonly have or encounter from others, such as the differences in the genealogies and what is the difference between the pharisees and the sadducees, and answers them for you. I find that this comprehensive and thorough treatment of this topic is very appealing to me, and it is exciting to think that once my children have completed this study, they will really have an excellent grasp of Jesus' mission and ministry.
The cost of the student book is $26.95 and the Teacher's Manual can be purchased for $29.95. If I was planning to do the study along with my younger children (which I will do when they are ready), I would not feel I needed the manual to correct their answers (you'd figure them out as you go along), however, there are additional footnotes and more detailed historical and geographic information to enhance your studies in the margins of the teacher's manual (along with a full copy of the student text with the answer key), as well as space to write your own reflections, so some teachers will feel more comfortable with buying it, too. You can check out samples of the Student Text and the Teacher's Edition at the Classical Academic website.
Either way, I'd definitely spend the extra $9.95 to buy the downloadable audio files of Christopher Perrin telling 32 stories from the four Gospels. They are engaging and full of insightful comments that definitely add to the study. You can burn a disk of these files, so you can listen to them somewhere other than the computer you download them onto. My kids were very interested in listening to these stories, and I very much appreciated the extra information and thoughtful comments the reader offered. I imagine we will be listening to these, just for "fun" for years to come. You can listen to a sample from Chapter One of God's Great Covenant.
You can read other reviews about God's Great Covenant at the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.