I want to thank Tauna Meyer at ProverbialHomemaker.com for providing me with copies of the first two units of Sound Words in return for my honest review.
What do you think of when you hear the term “education”? Reading, writing, and math?
Those are all important subjects, but I don’t think a true Christian education is complete without training in the Bible, theology (the study of God), and Christian history. For me, those are non-negotiable subjects. It’s the reason I wrote Bible Road Trip (a three-year Bible survey curriculum for preschool to high school) and Cobblestone Path (Church history research journals for middle and high school).
When it comes to theology, I think we need to be more purposeful about it than just teaching “worldview”. We need to teach our children solid and biblical doctrine.
1 Timothy 1:12b-14 (ESV) says:
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
A catechism teaches theology and doctrine (or “a pattern of sound words“) through a series of questions and answers. Catechizing our kids can help guard the good deposit entrusted to us and also can help us convey sound doctrine to our children.
The first catechisms were written by Martin Luther in 1529. Of the need for the Small Catechism for lay people, Luther said:
The deplorable, miserable condition which I discovered lately when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare [publish] this Catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form. Mercy! …what manifold misery I beheld! The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and, alas! many pastors are altogether incapable and incompetent to teach…
It was to teach the common man that he developed the catechism. John Calvin developed the Reformed Genevan Catechism (1541, 1545, 1560), the Heidelberg Catechism followed in 1563, and the Westminster Catechisms (Larger and Shorter) were written in 1647, a year before the end of the Reformation period. Catholics took a page from the Protestant book and developed the Roman Catechism in 1566. More recently in the Reformed camp, the New City Catechism has been developed in modern language.
Catechisms have enjoyed a long and productive history in the Protestant/Evangelical church. It’s important for kids to understand theology, and simple questions and answers can be a great way to teach it.
In Sound Words: A Protestant Westminster Catechism, Tauna Meyer brings back this important theological teaching tool and adapts it as a fun curriculum for kids aged preschool to second grade (though I think you could use it for children up until about fourth grade). Tauna (who owns ProverbialHomemaker.com) has released the first two units of the curriculum out of nine total that are planned. Each unit has 11 weeks of material, though the first one has a separate mini-unit on the attributes of God that will require about 12 days of study.
Each lesson (of 11 lessons per unit) focuses on one question and answer revolving around a particular topic. The topics available so far are: Unit One: All About God and Unit Two: All About Creation. Each lesson includes:
- A memory verse poster/coloring sheet
- A list of Scriptures or Bible stories to read and focus on
- Discussion Questions
- A Devotion
- Craft and Activity Ideas
- Copywork (there are two styles of lines available)
- Notebooking Pages
The lesson structure is simple and clear, and the narrative to read to your children is excellent. I love the way Tauna writes for kids. She does a great job of relating abstract concepts to concrete images that kids can easily understand. Kids spend an entire week thinking about vital questions like “Who is God?” and “Are there more gods than one?”. Through fun activities, writing, discussion, stories, and Scripture memory (and the coordinating music Tauna recommends–which is free for download right now), children will really absorb important truths of the Christian faith.
I highly recommend this curriculum for elementary school kids. It’s simple and doesn’t take a ton of time, but the work you’ll do is important. Let us avoid the “deplorable, miserable condition” that Martin Luther found in the German towns of his time. Let us follow the pattern of sound words we’ve heard and guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
Other curriculum reviewed on Thinking Kids
- The New Astronomy Book by Danny R. Faulkner (Master Books)
- Tapestry of Grace (Lampstand Press)
- All Through the Ages: History Through Literature Guide by Christine Miller (2001)
- Koine Greek Language Resources for Kindergarten to High School
- Bible Road Trip
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
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