Sunday, February 1, 2009

Building on the Rock - Overview

Building on the Rock is the Worldview Curriculum put out by Summit Ministries.  I purchased the second grade level about 1.5 years ago, intending to use it with my 3rd and 1st graders that fall.  Well, I finally got going -- with my 4th and 2nd graders -- just this past week.

Someone asked about the Summit Ministries programs on one of my  yahoo groups (Homeschool-MovingOn), at just the right moment.  I was planning to start last week, but the question prompted me to pull it out and try to answer their questions.  And I said I was going to start it to all these hundreds of people, so I had to follow through.

A basic overview:  There are five levels currently available (grades 1-5), with the grade 6 material due out this summer.  Summit also has materials available at the junior high and high school levels, but I do not have any experience with those yet.

The program is split into two parts.  The first 2/3 of each year is a worldview course, meant to help the students look at life from a biblical perspective.  The final third of each year is more actual Bible study, but integrating the “stories” of the Bible into what they are learning in the worldview portion of the curriculum.

The program is definitely written for Christian schools, but they have adapted it some for the homeschoolers too.  

What I like about it:  I love the idea of teaching worldview at this age, and I like their materials.  I love how you are working through knowledge of the scripture, and applying it to the real world.  I'm very impressed with the materials.  I like that they do have separate packages for homeschoolers instead of having to do the whole school thing.  The price is certainly better this way!  I love the very extensive samples available online... but I have to add that I found the samples far more overwhelming than I found the materials when I actually tried to use them. (see my next blog post, on my first week)

What I don't like:  there is SO MUCH material, and it is intimidating.  I stared at it for ages trying to figure out where to start.  It is definitely written for a school setting, with modifications on stickers for homeschoolers -- but some aspects of the "school" point of view are still there.  It is a fair amount of money, but you get a HUGE stack of material, so in terms of dollars per page, well, you are getting a bunch for the money.  I'm not hugely impressed with the student workbook, and I'm glad I decided that my two could share... I do need to add that I am impressed with the older level workbooks (4th and 5th grades) though, from the samples on the website, and I probably will get a second workbook for level 3, as that one looks okay.

My other issue was that when I did finally try to start using it (I've tried starting it twice), I got completely thrown off by some of the things I was supposed to be showing the kids.  I thought I had to find these things myself, so I just couldn't get through a lesson.  But when I tried yet again, I discovered that these pictures I thought I had to search for were on a disk and I didn't have to do the legwork.  The issue is that with the overwhelming amount of information they present, I completely lost track of the fact that I even had some of these resources available.

Did I mention in here anywhere that I found the materials to be overwhelming?  Hopefully, I didn’t totally scare you off, and you’ll read ‘the rest of the story’ (or at least the first week of the rest of the story).

We've watched the Truth Project as a family.  I'm leading a Bible study group in going through The Truth Project now.  I've gone through Truth Chronicles with my kids.  I have to say... the material in here dovetails so incredibly well, and it really is age appropriate.  I fully intend to be continuing through these.  We may not do 7 days a week, but we are likely to continue year-round.  I wish, I wish, I wish we would have started this before now...

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