Bible time is an important part of our day whether we interweave it into our homeschool day or during our family time at night. I definitely find that our kids retain more when we do more than just read the Bible or a devotional but actually interact with lessons, activities, etc. So I love that Real Life Press offers the Firmly Planted Family Series as a way to really teach and engage in the Bible.
For our Real Life Press review, we received Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1 in the form of a downloadable Ebook. It includes both a Family Study Guide and Student Ebook. Although at first I downloaded both to my computer, I ultimately found I prefer to use them on my iPad. I find it’s much easier to swipe to the next page instead of scrolling down a PDF. Perhaps I could find a different PDF reader for my computer, but using it on my iPad was simple enough, and I can print from my iPad as well, so printing out the pages I needed from the Student Workbook was not a problem. Luckily, there is flexibility to use it on either device!
The Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1 can be used with both younger and older children. It offers options to go more in depth with older children, and the Student Workbook contains activities for both. We have been using it with our older two children who are ages 9 and 7 and have been following the guidelines and using the activities for younger children. I found that although some activities are intended for younger children, they were still too hard for our children because they are delayed readers, so I opted to choose what I knew would work for them.
With the Family Study Guide, we would all sit together as a family (I would also encourage our preschooler to sit with us as well – at least for the reading portion). I would then read the verse, and we would have a discussion afterwards. They break down the discussion into concepts:
- The Seed – this is the key concept for the week, and whenever possible it will point towards Jesus.
- Planting the Seed – this is a memorization option. The first option is for ages 4-11, which is the one we are using. There is an Additional Planting the Seed for ages 11+.
- Watering the Seed – this is a short story lesson to help the seed concept “germinate” for the student.
- Daily Study – this is the daily devotion.
- Digging Deeper – this section is for older students or adults. It’s designed to be used with the Daily Study.
- Daily Fruit – this is the the life-application segment of Firmly Planted and offers the opportunity to apply the messages to their own lives.
The Family Study Guide is laid out pretty straightforward. I find the verses aren’t too long for younger children, and the only thing that is unclear to me is if the Watering the Seedling within the Family Study Guide is intended for older children. It’s noted that it’s also the icon for “Upper Class” in the Workbook, but I wasn’t sure if it’s only intended for Upper Class in the Study Guide as well. I did find this section to be a little more difficult and eventually opted to skip it. Our children do have a hard time with open-ended questions due to their special needs, so this could be due to that instead of due to their age. Once I figured this out, though, I was able to fall into a routine.
The Student Workbook complements the Family Study Guide, though I actually found it a little confusing as far as how to use it with the Family Study Guide. The activities are simply listed by Lesson rather than by a specific day. I took this as I can use the activities how it works with our family and spread them out throughout the week. At first, this was a bit of a hangup because I worried that I was picking too many or too few activities and they weren’t actually corresponding with the day. It has a variety of activities for both younger and older children from copy work, vocabulary, mazes, coloring, questions, fill in the blanks, and more. I was amazed by the variety!
As I mentioned, it does have some dedicated activities specifically for older children, but I found some of the activities for younger children were still a little too hard for our delayed readers, so I simply chose the activities that do work for them and we spread them out throughout the week. I really love that this helps them engage in the lesson and really retain what they are learning.
Overall, I think the Real Life Press Firmly Planted, Gospels, Part 1 is a great way to both introduce and review the beginning of the Gospels. The lessons are a great length, the activities are greatly varied, and it offers a great way for the whole family to engage in the Bible.
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Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed a variety of resources from Real Life Press from both The Firmly Planted Family Series and The Busy Mom Series. Be sure to check out their reviews by clicking on the button below!