As a homeschool parent, I want every subject to be as much fun and looked forward to as possible. I also feel that Scripture should be taught as purely as possible – not crowded out or watered down by the programs often implemented to draw children in. When given the opportunity to review some of the many options from Christianity Cove, I was hopeful to find the balance I seek.
We have not been disappointed with the two items we have been using in recent weeks. We spent a week + (nearly two) with the Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit ($19). We have also been utilizing the 12 week course for 9-12 year olds, “Tween a Rock and a Hard Place” Lesson Blueprints ($29). These plans have been easy to use and easy to tweak for specific family beliefs. The pdf files are written to the instructor, primarily this is indicated to be a Sunday School teacher.
The most fun has been the Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit. For some of my children (the 10 & 9 year olds especially), this has been a great review and wrap up of what they recently were studying in their own Sunday School class. For my middle children (7 & 5 year old) this was their first in-depth look at the fruits of the spirit and Galatians 5:19-26.
Using all the suggested activities, this study could be spread over many days. You could also pick a few that appeal most to your children and complete it in one. Being written (primarily) for a class, some of the activities at first glance may look to be only for a group. With little to no adaptation, these things can easily be done with one child. The craftier activities were by far our favorite. My children also enjoyed the more active reviews – jumping rope to a rhyme remembering the nine fruits was something all of them enjoyed. And of course there are a couple of snacks to accompany your lessons.
First of all, though my oldest girls are 9, 10 and 12, I really don’t like the descriptor “tween”. I also don’t like the term teenager (and the expected – unfortunately – behavior). That being said, I do completely understand the need and reasons for separating this age for the lesson topics found in the “Tween a Rock and a Hard Place” Lesson Blueprints pack. There are two files in this pack. One of the files contains all the lesson information — the blueprints (Tween Prep). The second file is a guide speaking to the why it is important to involved in the lives of children this age. There is not much in this file that really speaks to our family or seemed relevant to me as an involved homeschool mom. I did see usefulness for others that are stepping in to these children’s lives once or twice a week.
Each of the twelve lessons follows the same format: Lesson Capsule – this is where you have a synopsis of the lesson and activity(ies) and any prep needed. This is written to the teacher, is easy to follow and the prep is easy. The rest is semi-scripted, using language to make the teacher seem more hip (in my opinion — if I spoke this way, my children would wonder why I was being fake, lol). With anything scripted, I use it as a guideline and use my own words to convey the same message. Some times the lesson starts with an Activity, other times with Discussion. For some lessons there are both a class activity and a small group activity. The Class Conclusion sends them off with a task of some sort for the week. For the most part, this can be done with any number of children. When there are print-outs they are found right in the lesson pages. A section at the back with all the necessary printables to be printed ahead of time would be great.
These are definitely some relevant and heavy topics covered. As a parent, many of these are things we have regular discussions on. Were my children to be in a class covering some of this information, I would not be happy. Often parental involvement is not discussed or indicated at all. There are some topics that our family feels should not be taught by another, but by the parents. I know of some families where these topics are uncomfortable and the parents are looking for outsiders to influence their children – in the right way.
Other topics were very relevant to my girls and the behaviors they exhibit. Gossiping, peer pressure and forgiveness (or reluctance to forgive) are the topics that were the most beneficial. Some of the activities were more like skits showing some of these behaviors. These were fun and let them see (in an exaggerated manner) the damage this behavior can cause. Scripture was brought in along with more worldly sources. Doing this in our home with me as the leader, we could skip over these parts.
Overall, it has been difficult to form a consistent opinion of Christianity Cove products. I do appreciate the goal of making prep easy, the lessons fun and engaging and sharing the gospel with all children. The Fruits of the Spirit Activity Pack was all I could have hoped for. The Tween set, not what I would have picked had I seen a sample. The site has some samples for some of their packs, but not for others. This makes it difficult to determine if some of those sets are a fit for your family or not. Be sure to read all of the reviews. We as a Crew reviewed many of the offerings.