One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is being able to make the Bible the foundation of our children’s education. Not only do we have the privilege of teaching our children God’s Word, we also get to teach every other subject through the lens of scripture. We can ensure our children are receiving an education taught from God’s perspective, not the world’s. The more they learn the Bible, the more they will be equipped to recognize, resist, and refute the lies of the world and Satan. It’s an enormous responsibility, one that can seem daunting in light of all the Bible curriculums, Bible studies, and devotionals out there. To help you choose for your homeschool, we’ve researched, compared, and contrasted different methods and resources. The main criteria is making sure that any resource you use lines up with scripture and doesn’t add to or take away from God’s Word.
Just the Bible
Many homeschool families have tried using a formal Bible curriculum and realized that it’s not ideal for their family. They prefer to study just the Bible and not employ any kind of curriculum. Instead of keeping the Bible a separate subject, parents choose to weave it into all of their school subjects. If you decide to adopt this method, a reliable, accurate study Bible is a must. Look for one that sticks as closely to the original Greek as possible. Make sure it’s a thorough translation and not a paraphrase. Many study Bibles include footnotes, annotations and cross-references that help shed light on certain passages.
- More time in God’s Word. Rather than having Bible time measured into 15-30 minutes lessons, families can spend as much time as they feel necessary to read, study, discuss, and memorize scripture.
- Broader biblical perspective. By integrating the Bible into every subject, children can see how God is in all and over all aspects of life, from school to recreation to formal times of worship.
- Deeper understanding of God’s Word. Studying every subject in light of the Bible will help families gain a greater knowledge of it. The more time we spend studying scripture, the more we will understand it.
- For older students, using only the Bible can be hard to translate to credits for transcripts.
- Parents have to create specific plans if they want to use scripture only. This can add a lot of additional time and work to an already full school schedule.
- Creating a personal Bible curriculum can be overwhelming. Parents must decide where to start in the Bible, how much time to devote to it, and how much they want their child to read every day. They also are responsible for coming up with any progress or assessment tools such as review questions, projects, quizzes, tests, etc.
Bible Studies for Homeschool Bible
To understand Bible studies, it’s helpful to compare theology to Bible studies. Theology is the study of God; biblical studies is the study of the Bible itself. A Bible study conducts students through a deeper analysis of scripture. Bible studies are separate studies on books of the Bible, topical subjects in the Bible, or people in the Bible. They can be especially helpful in understanding a specific book of the Bible.
Popular Bible Studies
Elementary school age
- Explore the Bible Kids: Explorations in Genesis and Bible Timeline for Kids
- Discover 4 Yourself Series by Kay Arthur
- Yes, Jesus Loves me by Rand Hummel
- What Does God Say About My Sin? by Rand Hummel
- God Is…Learning About My God by Rand Hummel
- Bible studies on Daniel, Jonah, Joseph, and Joshua by Matt and Julie Herbster
- Alone With God Series
- Gospel Foundations
- Foundations: New Testament
- Contagious (I Thessalonians) by Rand Hummel
- The Daniel Dilemma by Rand Hummel
- Philippians: The Secret of Outrageous, Contagious Joy by Rand Hummel
- Discovering God’s Calling
- Developing a Quiet Time Bible Study
- Can be assessable. Most Bible studies include review questions that are either interwoven throughout each chapter or at the end of each chapter. These questions encourage students to develop critical thinking skills, analyze and compare scripture, and gain a deeper understanding of the Bible. They also provide great opportunities for discussion between parents and children. Parents can gauge how well their child is grasping the material and decide what to study next.
- Strong emphasis on Bible knowledge. Many Bible studies take students on an in-depth journey through a book of the Bible to help them understand it better. Books of the Bible are broken down into smaller sections and explained paragraph by paragraph or even word by word. Several Bible studies also provide the historical context of times and events of certain books, as well as the purpose of the book.
- Bible studies are rarely designed to build off each other. This can result in more of a hodge-podge approach without regular continuity.
- Bible studies tend to be shorter and last for only a few weeks. It can be challenging for parents to find enough Bible studies to last more than one school year without overlapping books of the Bible or topical subjects.
Devotionals for Homeschool Bible
Here’s a brief list of some of the most popular devotionals for kids and teens:
- Elementary school age
- Truth Trackers devotionals for kids
- The Case for Christ devotionals for kids by Lee Strobel
- Indescribable by Louie Giglio
- How Great is Our God by Louie Giglio
- Long Story Short
- Keys for Kids
- Listen Up by Marty Machowski
- The Jesus-Centered Life
- The Bare Bones Bible Handbook for Teens by Jim George
- Thrive!: Devotions for Students
- Fueled: Spiritual Disciplines Jesus Practiced and Taught
- Foundations: A 260-Day Bible Reading Plan for Busy Teens by Robby & Kandi Gallaty
- Already But Not Yet: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament
How are devotional programs different from Bible studies?
A devotional is a book or booklet that usually focuses on one Bible passage a day. The length of the passage varies between one and several verses. The author will share a few thoughts on the passage, maybe a few questions, and a short prayer. Devotionals provide Bible readings for a set amount of time, i.e., weeks, months, or a year. They are commonly based on a theme such as prayer, witnessing, peace, the tongue, etc.
Devotionals and Bible studies can be compared to snorkeling and scuba diving. Devotionals are like snorkeling; they take you below the surface of scripture, draw out some helpful truths and principles, but don’t go too deep. Bible studies are like scuba diving; they explore greater depths in scripture and help you discover even richer treasures. Both can aid Christians in their understanding of the Bible; both are beneficial to spiritual growth. Choosing which is better for your child will largely depend on their academic and spiritual aptitude.
- Since devotionals are shorter, they can be easier to read and understand. Daily devotionals succinctly summarize a passage of the Bible and encapsulate it in a theme sentence or phrase. This can help students retain key concepts of scripture better.
- Devotionals often come in a series and build off each other. If you want to focus on a certain theme throughout the school year, devotionals can be more useful. Some are written to last an entire year, so fitting it into your school schedule is convenient.
- Because devotionals are shorter in length, it doesn’t take very much time to read one per day. Parents may need to add some discussion time, review questions and additional scripture reading to make Bible time count for credit.
- Devotionals can sometimes focus on the “milk” of the Word rather than the “meat.” This is helpful for younger believers, but more mature ones need deeper teaching of the Bible.
Homeschool Bible Curriculum
Here is a list of some of the most popular Bible curriculums available:
- BJU Press Bible Curriculum
- Answers for Kids Bible Curriculum
- Calvary Curriculum (free online curriculum)
- Friends and Heroes Bible Curriculum
- My Father’s World
- Apologia Bible Curriculum
- Sonlight Bible Curriculum
What is a Homeschool Bible Curriculum?
It’s an entire Bible program specifically written to help students understand and study the Bible as a regular part of their school schedule. Since they are designed to last the entire school year, Bible curriculums usually center around a main theme or topic for the year. Some focus on one or more books of the Bible. A complete Bible curriculum also includes all the materials and resources you will need for giving credit and for assigning grades.
Is a Bible curriculum for homeschoolers the same as a Bible study?
A Bible curriculum is very different from a Bible study.
First, a good Bible curriculum will be designed to give the Bible an academic treatment, to help children learn to study the Bible on their own. It will communicate to your child that the Bible is foundational to everything we think, say, and do. A formal Bible curriculum elevates scripture so your child can understand that the Bible isn’t just another subject or story or elective. If you choose a Bible study over a Bible curriculum, highlighting these differences will involve more time and effort on your part.
Second, a Bible curriculum will typically be designed to build off itself over time. This building, or scaffolding can enable your child to explore the many brilliant facets of scripture. It encourages a deeper, more meaningful understanding of God and His Word.
Third, a Bible curriculum places an intentional focus on God’s Word. We parents must emphasize the difference between having a personal relationship with God and merely learning facts about Him and the Bible.
Fourth, a Bible curriculum will be structured like an academic subject, usually with 180 lessons. The structure makes it very easy to give assignments, grade work, and assign elective credit when the course is done.
What does a homeschool Bible curriculum contain?
- An online Bible curriculum will often provide video streaming.
- Both online and textbook curriculums should include textbooks, worksheets, teacher editions, answer keys, and tests.
- Some Bible curriculums also offer additional activities and resources to enhance your child’s Bible experience.
- A yearly lesson plan is usually provided as well so you can effectively plan out your child’s Bible program for the school year.
Does a Bible curriculum replace family or personal devotions?
A Bible curriculum isn’t intended to substitute your family or personal Bible study time. Devotions should work hand-in-hand with a Bible curriculum. For instance, if your child’s Bible program is focusing on an attribute of God such as His mercy, you can read and memorize scriptures about God’s mercy in your family devotions. Doing this will reinforce what your child is learning in Bible and give your family many opportunities to grow in God’s Word together.
Is a Bible curriculum right for my child?
Many advantages accompany a homeschool Bible curriculum. It is already formatted for inclusion in homeschool transcripts. A formal curriculum provides assessments if needed. It also often addresses behavioral growth as well as Bible knowledge. Most importantly, a solid Bible curriculum will help your child learn to effectively study, know, and defend God’s Word. If you want to provide a bedrock foundation for your child’s lifelong Bible learning, investing in a Bible curriculum is well worth it.
• • • • •Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.