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Bible and Religious Studies: Grades 9 and 10

We require 4 years of Bible and Religious Studies in our home high school.  This is separate from our Christian lifestyle—family Bible reading and prayer, personal Bible reading and prayer, Bible study and memorization, sermon discussions, character building, and involvement in church life such as catechism studies, Bible studies, volunteering,  outreach and so forth.   We do not give credit for these activities because we want to emphasize that they are not part of school but part of life.  On the other hand, these four years are a golden time for in depth Bible study. 

Note that in this post I am just sharing what we have done and are doing so that you can see one way in which Bible can be studied at the high school level.  I am not telling you this is HOW it should be done, although I do encourage you THAT it should be done.

The Bible course we have set up for our children in grades 9 and 10 has three strands, Bible knowledge, church history, and world view studies.  Obviously, there is significant overlap with history, literature, science, and composition, and some of the work straddles several subject areas.

The Bible knowledge component involves writing a ½ -2 page summary, report, or outline on each Bible book, one a week over two years.  Obviously, this is a challenging project, and we expect the Revelation report to be significantly more mature in content and composition than the Genesis report prepared almost two years earlier.   In these two years the children also read the four volume series Promise and Deliverance mostly on their own.   This series focuses on God’s redemptive plan throughout the entire Bible, rather than on the human elements that are so often emphasized. 

Church history, the way we did it with our oldest, involved more biographies and stories, some read for the umpteenth time.  We used Trial and Triumph  the Flame of the Word series, the Christian Heroes: Then and Now biography series, some resources from House of Education Online,Year 7as well as many historical fiction and church history books.  Also, when studying world history, we repeatedly noticed God’s hand in events and people.

A person’s worldview is fundamental in discussing literature, history, science, art, music, and current events, so in the first year of high school we just applied the ideas across the curriculum as we had done in earlier years.  In the tenth grade we used two books recommended by Tree of Life, namely  Lifeviews and  The Consequences of Ideas.    These books were not ideal, but did provide much learning.   My daughter also made her way through the very worthwhile book,  How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer.

We did no testing and assigned very few grades for Bible and Religious Studies in these two years.  Instead, we concentrated on learning and understanding.  This may give some difficulties when transcript time comes, and I’ll be looking into that in the next year.  Obviously, we chose resources based on our own reformed Christian outlook.  Some of these resources may not appeal to other people, although they are all worthwhile reading. 

Please remember, I am just sharing what we have done with one child and hope to do for the next one, ‘thinking aloud’ about the past and the future.  This is not the only way, or even the right way to do things; it is just one way and it seems to be working for us.  We are happy with the Bible knowledge strand, but the church history and world view strands could be improved.  Please share what you have been doing or plan to do, so we can all learn from each other.

This week I hope to develop some tentative plans for our next two years of Bible and Religious Studies.  Next Thursday, the Lord willing, I will share them with you.  But first, see you next Tuesday for a completely different discussion at Tea Time with Annie Kate!

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