Sunday, September 18, 2011

Deeper Roots Bible Study (Discovering a Christ-Like Character)

Last year I heard about Deeper Roots Bible Studies for Jr. and Sr. High aged kids, when some of my fellow crew mates reviewed them for TOS. I was very pleased to find out that Deeper Roots had chosen to be a vendor again this year, and that I would be reviewing the fourth and final book in their middle/high-school "Discovering" series,  Discovering a Christ-Like Character.

We go to a small church, and Sunday School for my Middlest and Eldest is pretty non-existent (we're OK with that~ it is what it is, and they are learning to listen to regular sermons....). My Middlest attends AWANA throughout the year, and I feel that he gets a fair amount of "Bible" there, as well as that which is integrated into our studies. However, Eldest has aged out of AWANA, and I was looking for something a little more in depth for her to use.

The folks at Deeper Roots have all been involved in teaching and/or serving with New Tribes Missions. Knowing what NTM stands for, and the quality of character in the people involved, I was fairly certain that this would be a good fit for us.

The Christ-like Character traits discussed (and hopefully being developed) in this book are:
  • Christ-Like Joy
  • Christ-Like Integrity
  • Christ-Like Forgiveness
  • Christ-Like Humility
  • Christ-Like Unselfishness
  • Christ-Like Self-Control
  • Christ-Like Love
Each unit contains memory work, writing opportunities (Which includes journaling), reviews and tests on the material covered.

Basic Impressions about "Organization" and "Content"

The Teacher's Notes are written step-by-step, and are very helpful in guiding discussion for those that enjoy a scripted manual. There are suggestions on which questions to work through WITH your student(s) and which to discuss after they've completed them. Because of various time constraints, I have toggled between "Assigning" complete lessons and discussing the answers all at once with discussing each question as she comes to it. Changing up the format is actually recommended in the "Words for the Teacher" section in the Introduction, so doing what comes naturally is perfectly fine!

The Teacher's manual is written mostly with a "Class" perspective, so there may be some activities that are difficult to carry out when you have a class of one (for instance~ I didn't bother with the "hands-on" demonstration suggested in Lesson 1 that included pouring water over her head to illustrate annointing ~ it would not have produced a picture of "joy flowing down"... ;} ). However, those occasions are few and far between.

Now a word about illustrations~ of two kinds~
    Unreached People Group Uyghur
  • There are some beautiful illustrations of unreached people groups at the beginning of each lesson, which help your student open his/her eyes to world perspectives they may not have considered. This portion is also helpful in being able to pray knowledgeably for those groups.
  • The lessons themselves are illustrated with cartoon-ish line drawings that add interest to the page. 
  • The biblical and spiritual illustrations contained in each lesson are well thought out. I can see my Eldest really thinking about them, and utilizing them when she answers some of the questions. I also thought it was great when she pointed out that she recognized the method employed in this material:   ~ Hear It, See It, Write It, Learn It ~  Excellent! :) 
Our greatest challenge with this material is the Journaling and Essay portion within the lessons. Only because I have a perfectionist who prefers to discuss vs. write. However, now that we've hit 9th grade, this is a skill that must be built, so I appreciate that is shows up here as well as in our writing course.
However, to balance that, there are some easier "Fill in the blanks" questions, which I can see being very helpful to certain personalities that need to feel confident in their ability to answer questions.

A word about style~ I can see this being used ala Charlotte Mason with more verbal discussion and questioning, or more "Work-booky", by assigning the lessons to be worked on independently. Or a mix~ really, I think it is fairly adaptable.

There are those who will be excited by the concept of using the Matthew and Footsteps of Jesus videos, which are highly recommended and utilized in the curriculum. I will note that we are doing fine without them, but videos can generate a certain enthusiasm. In addition there are a number of "You will need....." directives throughout the teacher's text that we managed without~ teacher-created posters, using the videos, etc... For those who are extreme "Rule-followers", I would read that phrase with a grain of salt... :D (But if you have more than a class of one, you might find some of those directives more useful :D ).

I have been very  happy with what we have seen and used so far. There is a good mix of gaining knowledge and retaining and applying that knowledge to life.
The Nitty-Gritty
Part of the "Discovering" Series: the
Discovering Our Amazing God  Book 1  (Best for 7th Grade)
Discovering Who I Am in Christ  Book 2  (Best for 8th Grade)
Discovering Christ-Like Habits  Book 3  (Best for 9th Grade)
Discovering a Christ-Like Character  Book 4  (Best for 10th Grade)

The cost:
Teacher's Manual $28.95
Student Workbook $19.95
Set of TM, SW, and Matthew DVDs $62.45

You can download a free pdf sample by scrolling to the bottom of this page . If you are like me, I think you will be impressed and pleased with what you see. :)

If you are interested in any of the other titles, be sure to stop by the TOS Crew Blog and read what other crew members thought about the titles they received.
As always, I hope that this review has been helpful to you as you determine where best to spend your homeschool budget. Please, if you have any questions, feel free to comment, and I will respond as soon as possible. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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