The Answers Bible Curriculum, Homeschool Edition (ABC) is a four-year program that takes students in kindergarten through fifth grade through a chronological study of the Bible. The Homeschool Edition is similar to the edition published for other settings, but streamlined with only information needed for homeschool settings. (I’ve linked above directly to the page for the Homeschool Edition since it might be tricky to find.)
- Year 1 covers creation through the life of Joseph.
- Year 2 teaches about Moses through the prophet Hosea.
- Year 3 picks up with the remnant of Israel and continues through the coming of the Messiah.
- Year 4 teaches about the last year of Jesus’s ministry and the early church. (Available January 2024.)
The first three years are available thus far. For each year of the program, a single teacher guide is used to teach across all grade levels. Each student will have his or her own workbook. Three levels of the workbook are available: Level K-1, Level 2-3, and Level 4-5. Each year of the program should take 36 weeks to complete, based on a schedule for three days per week.
At the end of each semester is a review lesson that not only revisits key points but also ties together elements of the biblical story, the overarching meaning, and why it matters. This highlights what makes this program distinctive and answers the question, “Why do we need to learn this?” The ABC program emphasizes the accuracy of the Bible and the historical reality of its content while introducing children to apologetics. Speaking to parents, the authors explain in the Introduction of each teacher book:
It is our responsibility as Christians to raise the next generation to stand firmly on the foundation of God’s Word in every aspect of life. As our culture becomes increasingly anti-Christian, it is imperative that we prepare our children to face those challenges confident that the Word of God is true, accounts for the things we see in the worlds around us, and is relevant to our everyday lives.
Everything in these lessons is clearly designed with this in mind.
Lessons are taught from the teacher books with student books used for reinforcement. Each lesson in the teacher books starts with one page of key information, beginning with the lesson’s focus.
Next are references to the key Bible passages used in the lesson. The lessons are in chronological order but often include scripture verses from elsewhere in the Bible to make connections and theological points. Following this information are one or two pages titled Prepare to Share, which is divided into two sections: Scriptural Background and Historical/Apologetics Background. Prepare to Share provides parents with a broader explanation of the biblical events and themes, along with historical, scientific, and apologetics information. Parents who have read this section in advance will be better prepared for discussion, particularly with older children.
After the key Bible passages, the information continues with the lesson’s objectives, teaching tips, and optional activities or object lessons. The teaching tips are worthwhile activity suggestions, often specified for either younger or older students. The optional activities or object lessons might involve discussion, a science demonstration, cooking, physical activity, a game, or some other interesting way to reinforce the point of the lesson. I highly recommend that you try to use both the teaching tips and optional activities whenever possible.
The lesson presentation begins after the Prepare to Share section, and it is designed for parents to read directly to their children. You will need a Bible on hand since the lessons frequently tell you to read a particular scripture passage. These readings are generally just a few verses at a time, so children won’t be overwhelmed. The lessons intertwine scripture readings with instruction, concluding with a section on practical applications and a few discussion questions. (Possible answers are included immediately after the questions.)
The lesson presentations are meatier than in many programs for kindergarten through fifth grade since they introduce some issues and biblical principles often reserved for older levels—issues such as evolution and God’s plan for marriage. Parents might have to make occasional adjustments for young children, but for the most part, it should be easy to use and age-appropriate.
The information page at the beginning of each lesson mentions the Building Blocks videos that accompany each lesson. When you purchase a course, you receive a card with a code to access these videos online at no extra cost. The videos run fewer than ten minutes each and can be used before or after the lesson presentation. The videos feature Bryan and Avery who address the same topics as in the lesson but from a different direction, often incorporating object lessons or other interesting methods of presentation.
Children should also be memorizing Bible verses. Each teacher book has suggested verses in an appendix along with some memory verse games you might use. Ten verses from each year of the program have been set to music with hand motions and can be accessed in the same place as the Building Blocks videos.
Student books for each level have age-appropriate activities. Apart from the review lessons, every lesson includes a page titled Study Notes and a set of review questions. The Study Notes page is to be completed on the same day as the lesson presentation. The format varies by level. For instance, in Lesson 8 of Year 1, children in Level K-1 select vowels to fill in the blanks within words to create sentences that summarize key points; a number coded to a vowel under each blank makes this very easy to do. Those using Level 2-3 solve a crossword puzzle, and Level 4-5 students write complete words in blanks within sentences. The review questions, likewise, are fewer and simpler in the lower levels, becoming increasingly difficult. Pages in the student book for each lesson will always have three additional activity pages and space on the first page of the lesson for writing a memory verse. These might include fun activities like dot-to-dot pictures, coloring pages, and mazes to solve, especially in the first two levels. The third level still has some puzzles and codes to solve, but it requires more written responses.
The teacher book comes with a set of posters, including a beautifully illustrated timeline that helps students follow the storyline plus posters on the books of the Bible and the attributes of God. Timeline posters are quite large at 18 by 40 inches, while the other two posters are half that size.
Quizzes, tests, answer keys for the quizzes and tests, and answer keys for the activities in the student books are found in the Homeschool Tests & Answers book for each level. If you are teaching children who are using more than one level, you need the separate Tests & Answers books for each level. The student books are sold either in sets with their Tests & Answers book or individually.
The teacher book suggests lesson presentation on day one, two or three activity pages on day two, then any remaining activity pages and the review questions on day three. That schedule generally loads the first day much more heavily than other days, but you can switch things around as needed. You might have students watch the video on the second day as a refresher on key lesson content. You might save an activity or object lesson for day two or three. Lessons can also be expanded over more days per week by using the introductory activities; working on memory verses; playing memory verses games; using words from the lessons for vocabulary and spelling practice; doing further study, research, or writing on lesson topics; and also by having parents share material from the "Prepare to Share" section of the teacher books. These extension ideas are found in the introduction of the teacher books and in their appendices.
Programs adapted from classroom curriculum for homeschoolers often have rough spots, but Answers Bible Curriculum, Homeschool Edition seems like it was written FOR homeschoolers. You can easily use it across multiple grade levels with the workbooks and adaptations for younger and older students.