Monday, April 16, 2012

God's Great Covenant TOS Review


God's Great Covenant New Testament 1
by Claire A. Larsen
Classical Academic Press

God's Great Covenant NT 1 explores the life of Jesus in the four Gospels. It particularly emphasizes his roles of Prophet, Priest, and King and shows how he fulfills this throughout his life, death, and resurrection. In the course of doing so, the gospels are studies together, in a chronological manner rather than each one separately.

The course begins with several introductions: Historical/Political, Chronological, Geographical,Religious, Daily Life, and a General introduction.In these sections the author examines the various influences on the time period into which Christ came to give students and teachers a more complete understanding of the world at that time. All of these factors influence what happened and how it was understood and thus are vital for our proper understanding when studying the Bible.

The general introduction gives a brief overview of the Old Testament and how it is connected to the New. It examines the roles of the prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament by mentioning people and their activities and how all of these would be fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.

Student Text
The work in this course, which is designed for children fourth grade and up, is divided into four units each emphasizing different work of Jesus; He has come to live among his people, to proclaim good news, to teach about God's kingdom, and to conquer sin and death. Each of these units has 9 chapters. The units also contain a memory passage worksheet, devotional guide and a chapter of Simon's story. Simon's story tells about a young boy living just before the time of Jesus. He brings daily life to young readers/listeners. The book concludes with a quiz for each of the chapters.

Each chapter begins with a page breaking down the theme, Scripture selection, memory passage, key facts , and prophecy fulfilled. Most of these are self explanatory, but I would like to give a short example of the key facts. In the section of Jesus' arrest and trial the key facts presents all the people in the text and what they did. When an event is found in more than one gospel, all of the texts when it is also found are mentioned on the first page as well. 

There are generally two pages of review questions and activities for each chapter. They address story facts as well as ask the student to think about and apply what they have learned to their lives. Generally there is at least one short answer type question in each chapter. The rest of the questions are either fill in the blank, matching, true/false, various types of puzzles or even a maze.

Additional material in the text examines Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in Christ, a discussion of Jesus as prophet, priest, and king, and a discussion of the Lord's prayer. There are also several maps in the text as well as a glossary. The maps are full size pages, black and white, and share a fair amount of information without being overly detailed. The text also contains quizzes for each of the chapters.

Sample student page


Teacher Book
The Teacher's edition contains the entire student text, but in a smaller size. It also contains additional notes for the teacher which offer explanations of the text, customs, additional Scriptural references, comments regarding society of the day and its impact on Scripture, and theological notes. Answers are added to the copies of all of the student worksheets. In addition to all of these features, there is also plenty of space for the teacher to write their own notes and thoughts.

Both books contain a bibliography, but most of the titles seem geared to adults rather than elementary students.
Sample teacher page
As part of the bundle to review we also received a download of the story portions of the text.

A sample is available on the product page for both the Teacher book and Student book.

God's Great Covenant Student book   $26.95
God's Great Covenant Teacher book $29.95
Audio Download  $9.95
Bundle of all above products  $56.95

Classical Academic Press has also produced God's Great Covenant Old Testament 1 and 2.

My Thoughts

I have to say I am  impressed by the curriculum and other products produced by Classical Academic Press. We use several of their language programs and recently reviewed their beginning logic program. All of these materials are thoughtfully written and compiled to make them interesting and engaging for the student and provide support material for the teacher who may be learning right along with their children. God's Great Covenant New Testament 1 does not disappoint. It is of the same high quality I have come to expect from Classical Academic Press.

Classical Academic Press also has an online interactive website with additionally learning activities, however, I did not find anything other than wallpaper which corresponded with the Bible curricula.

Because we were in the middle of Lent and were already working through the Holy Week bible stories when we received this book, that is where we began with God's Great Covenant NT1. My children, ages 11 and 7, were already familiar with the concepts of Prophet, Priest, and King, so they had no trouble jumping right in. I read the Simon story to them all as one story, instead of over the course of the lessons. They enjoyed this story as well as the whole course. Although I did start in the middle of the course due to the length of time I had to review it, starting at the beginning of the book does offer greater continuity and thus the student will get more out of it.

While there is a lot of material and substance to the course, I don't feel there is enough there for one week per unit, but too much to use two units per week. Using this course as our main text I would probably add in additional resources.

My children really enjoyed listening to the story recordings in addition to reading the bible stories. The recordings are pleasant to listen to; there is is enough vocal differentiation to make it interesting, but not too much to distract from the story.

My children also enjoyed the variety in the activities and that there was usually some kind of puzzle in addition to the questions. They don't care to write, so often we went through the question aloud after listening to the story.

I appreciate how the course sticks to the Biblical text and for the most part does not add doctrinal interpretation. There are some doctrinal notes in the teacher guide, but they were easy enough for me to adapt to add my Lutheran beliefs when needed. For instance, in the lesson of the Passover and Lord's Supper the text presented the Biblical events and in our discussion I was able to add the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Lord's Supper without contradicting what was heard in the story or changing the activity pages.

Read what other TOS Crew members had to say at the Crew Blog.


Disclaimer:I received gratis copies of the previously mentioned books and audio in order to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner and all opinions expressed are solely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Great insights on the length of the lessons. We added in the audio on a separate day and did each lesson in 3 parts which gave a 4 day week for Bible and each day going over the Memory Page and other memory work.