Two years ago, my oldest daughter started using the Footsteps for Fours curriculum from BJU Press. Since she was my oldest child, I was both excited and apprehensive about her starting school. She was young at that point—two months shy of turning four. But everyone assured me that she was ready. Even at the age of three she loved to learn. She would sit for hours and listen to me or my husband read books. And she asked questions constantly.
As a parent, I wanted my daughter’s introduction to formal schooling to be a good experience. I didn’t want her to suffer through her schoolwork every day for the next fourteen years—I wanted her to like it.
It was also very important to me that what she learned in school would reinforce what my husband and I were teaching her. In our home, we do our best to live out the Word of God in all areas of life. I wanted her schooling to help us with that goal.
BJU Press was perfect for her. She grew so much that first year—not only did she learn foundational skills that helped her learn to read once she reached K5, but she also grew in her understanding of God and the Bible. For example, she learned through stories about Jake and his family (fictional characters that appear in the Footsteps curriculum) the importance God places on loving your neighbors and sharing your faith. That year she was so burdened for one of our neighbors who was unsaved that, on her own initiative, she invited him to an Easter service at our church.
She also learned to love school from the very beginning. The Footsteps for Fours curriculum includes a lot of active learning. Instruction is carefully balanced with the use of learning centers where kids can learn through play. And there’s no dry lecturing—instead there are a lot of stories, singing, action rhymes, and hands-on activities. I also appreciated the fact that what she was learning was not only age appropriate, but the concepts built on one another in a logical manner. She was never frustrated by her schoolwork.
My daughter completed the BJU Press K5 materials about a month ago. But, in a way, she never finished school. She loves learning so much that she’s always doing school in her imagination. I often find her and her younger sister up in their room playing school with their dolls. She is usually the teacher, but sometimes she is the student. A few days ago, we took a walk to a nearby playground. When we arrived, my middle daughter immediately headed for the swings, but my oldest daughter sat down at a picnic table, pulled a pencil and small notebook out of her pocket, and informed me that she needed to work on her schoolwork. She had assigned herself the task of writing the names of the days of the week in order. School is fun for her, and I attribute that, at least in part, to the BJU Press curriculum.