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Monday, January 3, 2011

Positive Action Bible Curriculum Review

Have you ever met a curriculum that made you rethink everything?  One that made you think, "I thought I was happy before, but now..."?  Well that just happened to me in the form of a Bible study curriculum by Positive Action for Christ.
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Positive Action for Christ started with a Pro-Teen club in 1969.  In the 70's, ProTeens continued to grow, and in the 80's they rolled out a Bible study curriculum for 7th-12th grade, and then added in the Elementary grades as well.  It was the 5th grade level that we received to review. 

Everyone who knows me knows that we attend a weekly inductive Bible study at a local church that provides classes for both moms and homeschool kids.  The kids then have weekly homework to complete, so I was the LAST person looking for a Bible study curriculum.  But the timing of the arrival of Possessing the Land (the 5th grade level of Positive Action's Bible Curriculum) was perfect since we were on holiday break from our normal class.  And I have to say, I was really, really surprised.  I LOVE this study, I really do.  It takes the inductive method (using the Bible and not outside commentary to study the Bible) and applies it to a grade appropriate, year-long curriculum.  The 5th grade level is basically a survey of the Old Testament (hence the title Possessing the Land), and goes perfectly with our current history study as well.

The Pros:  I think the student manual is well written and organized.  The students are given specific portions of scripture to look up in their Bibles and then pointed questions to answer to draw out the life principles for them to apply to their lives based on what they have learned.  New vocabulary is discussed and defined at the beginning of each chapter.  The program also has a scripture memorization component and a music component (learning both traditional hymns and praise choruses).

The Cons:  This curriculum was created for a traditional school setting so the teacher's manual is written assuming that is your reality, when for homeschoolers it is not.  But honestly, other than giving a generic lesson plan for a 3, 4, and 5 day week, offering some suggestions for follow up discussion in each chapter, and providing YOU with the correct answers to the questions in the student manual, the teacher's manual is almost unnecessary.  And while the curriculum level that we reviewed was fine, and in line with our beliefs, any time you are giving another entity authority over "truth" in your house, you should know what bias they bring to the curriculum.  Positive Action for Christ has some very specific views on things like baptism and the millennial reign that you might want to look at HERE.  In some levels of the curriculum (such as 6th grade where Revelation is surveyed) their interpretation might be very different from your own.

The bottom line:  I'm totally impressed.  If every level is like this one, I would definitely consider adding this to our regular curriculum.  But we did not use the scripture memorization (my kid already have weekly verses for church, AWANA, and our other Bible study) and we did not do the hymns.  The hymn thing really got me thinking, but honestly, at almost 40 years old, even I didn't know most of the hymns and I only knew about half of the praise choruses.  Since we don't go to a traditional hymn singing church, I would personally keep the idea, but substitute the songs for ones we sing.  Given what we pay for our other Bible study books, I thought the Positive Action books were quite fair in price ($12.95 for the consumable student manual), although the teacher's manual is a bit high ($33.95 in print, $19.95 on CD), and largely unnecessary if you are capable of a) finding the answers to their questions yourself and b) coming up with discussion topics from their lessons on your own.

To see more products by Positive Action for Christ, download a free Scope and Sequence, or order any of their products, go HERE.  To read what other members of the TOS Crew had to say (all elementary grade levels are being reviewed, so several of my fellow Crew mates got other grades), go HERE.  Reviews of the Middle and High School levels will be following shortly, so check back at THIS link to see those after January 14th.

Legal Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the 5th grade student and teacher's manuals so that I could give my honest assessment.  Those books are the only compensation I received for my review.
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Laura Breitzman said...

Thank you for this review on Positive Actions Bible curriculum. My daughter will be starting Kindergarten at a private school that uses this program. I wanted to inquire though, because the link in the review resulted in a "page not found". You had included a link to review their position on baptism and the book of Revelation. I would be curious to know if you remember what their position was since the link doesn't work, or maybe if you know of another source to find that information. Much appreciated! ~Blessings, Laura

oneblessedmamma said...

Some of their baptism doctrine can be found here:

We haven't been big into churches that stress "church membership" at all (Calvary Chapel), let alone require baptism for that, although I wholeheartedly agree that all believers SHOULD be baptized as an outward way of showing what has inwardly already taken place in their hearts-and because Jesus did, and we should follow His example. I can't find what was previously there that rubbed me wrong in either they have clarified it or too much time has passed for me to remember. Sorry!

Laura Breitzman said...

Thank you! I'll check it out. I'm with you on the Baptism perspective. As far as their perspective on the millennial reign in Revelation, I'll see if I can do some searches, I'm just curious.

Much appreciated :)