Did you know that you don’t need to purchase an official homeschool Bible curriculum to use with your kids? You can simply use the Bible to teach the Bible. And the best way to do this is to create your own homeschool Bible plan using the inductive method. Here’s how.
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If you’d like to use the Bible to teach Bible in your homeschool, then the best option for you is to create your own homeschool Bible curriculum. It doesn’t have to be difficult! And you can do this, even if you never learned to study the Bible yourself.
We know that part of the beauty of homeschooling is learning right alongside our children. So why not do this with learning to read and study the Bible together as a family?
Ditch the silly worksheets and low-level fact memorization that comes with many big-box Bible curriculum. Your children don’t need separate Bible classes for each grade! You just need to learn a few key aspects of how to read and study the Bible in context and pass this on to your children.
So, with a printout of the Scripture passage in hand, some colored pencils, and a three-step process, you can create your own homeschool Bible curriculum and have a meaningful discipleship time with your children.
Sound good? Let’s jump in!
What is the goal for Bible curriculum for homeschool?
This is the most important question you can ask. What are your goals for teaching Bible in your homeschool?
Of course, many of us might answer that discipleship is our goal. But what does that mean? If you could distill it down into practical aspects it would probably include being able to read, understand, and apply the Bible.
For our older children, we would want a biblical worldview and discernment.
But how do we get there?
While learning the Bible stories, main characters, overall big picture, and the Gospel is important in the early years, you can’t stop there! Kids do need to know a chronology of the Biblical narrative. They do need to know how all the various parts of the Bible work together to tell the big story of redemption.
Kids do need catechized and instructed in doctrine specifically. They do need Bible memorization.
But do they need more?
I would argue that our children need to learn the life skill of picking up a Bible and studying it in context. This sounds like it should be so basic and simple, but it isn’t.
So many big-box publishers of Bible curriculum make it complicated! Or they never have the kids open a Bible. Or if they do use the Bible, they cherry pick verses out of context. And our kids and teens quickly can become intimidated to study the Bible for themselves.
Maybe you’ve never learned how to study the Bible. How are you supposed to help your kids? Keep reading!
What are the different Bible study methods?
There is no wrong way to study the Bible! As long as your method is getting you into the Word and rightly interpreting it, you can’t mess this up. Find a method that helps you understand what the text is saying.
Don’t be afraid to do the hard work of study! Sometimes it can feel dry, but you will reap the benefit of a deeper understanding and application of God’s Word.
Even though there are probably dozens and dozens of different Bible study methods, they generally fall into two main categories: deductive or inductive.
A deductive approach starts with a big idea and then drills down into portions of Scripture or individual verses to validate that big idea. This is where many topical Bible studies fit.
Have you seen a topical Bible study on the tongue, or women in the Bible, or how to parent kids Biblically? These usually start with the main point and then walk you through lots of verses that support that main point. This isn’t a terrible way to study the Bible, but if it’s your only diet, you’ll be missing the meaty portions of Scripture and how to study in context.
Let’s face it – there are not a lot of topical Bible studies that feature the book of Nahum or that walk you through the significance of the genealogies.
Read on to learn about the second method: inductive study
How can I go deeper in Bible study?
But all Scripture is profitable for us! So, this next approach – the inductive method – is very helpful for students of the Word. Instead of starting with a main idea or topic, you start with the text of Scripture. The inductive method usually works systematically through an entire book of the Bible, one paragraph at a time.
In this method, you let the text speak for itself. You notice key words and thoughts, big ideas of the passage, and finally, you come upon the main point of the passage. This is how you study in context. And it’s a very rewarding method!
Best homeschool Bible curriculum
So, the best homeschool Bible curriculum will be that which helps you meet your discipleship goals. It will be a plan that gives your kids and teens the life skill of reading the Bible.
The best homeschool Bible curriculum will be engaging and promote active learning. And you can do it with just the Bible and some simple tools! Yes, you can create your own Bible curriculum that is meatier and better than most of the curriculum coming from big-name publishers.
The Inductive Bible Study method works well because the student takes an active role in the learning. This in turn brings deeper understanding of the text!
In order for our kids to understand and engage with the content at a deep level, they need to be active learners.
The main difference between active and passive learning is the degree they interact with the content – reading it, analyzing it, asking questions about it, summarizing it, and marking it.
We understand this is subjects like history and science and literature. But do we see the correlation with a study of the Biblical text?
When we immerse our kids in an active learning posture toward the Scripture, they are able to comprehend and understand at a far deeper level than we sometimes give them credit for.
Even kids as young as lower elementary grades are able to actively engage with the Biblical text given the right tools and methods.
The first tool that embraces an active posture toward the text is the habit of marking.
How and why do you mark the text in an inductive study?
The Inductive Bible Study Method relies on this active engagement with the text. Marking the text is the first way that students do this. But marking the text can also bring a lot of confusion to students who have never encountered this type of discipline in their Bible study before.
Here’s a simple video explanation about what marking the text means in an Inductive Bible study.
Using narration in Bible study
The second tool that is used in the Inductive Bible Study method to engage learners is the habit of summarizing the text from the marked key words.
Many homeschoolers will be familiar with narration, which flows from the Charlotte Mason homeschool method. Summarizing the Biblical text is just like narration!
So, if you already use narration as a tool in your homeschool, it would be a very natural next step to use narration in your Bible study after learning to mark the text.
Inductive Bible Study stands out as a method for letting the text speak for itself. The main point of the study is what the text says it is, not what the student or Bible study teacher says it is.
Because the message of the text in its proper context is of extreme importance, marking the text and summarizing (or narrating) its main idea are the building blocks of the Inductive Bible Study method.
What is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning?
You might be wondering what is the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning and why does it matter? It’s more important than you might think!
There are many different types of Bible study available to help you dig into the Word, but the one you might be least familiar with is the Inductive Bible Study method.
The Inductive Bible Study Method is so named because of the way you interact with the text. In the inductive method, you are making obervations and then drawing conclusions from the passage, or finding the big idea.
Some of these observations might be:
- Key words
- Repeated ideas
You’re starting from observation about the text (what does the text say?), then progressing to interpretation (what does the text mean?), and finally application (how should this change me?).
In contrast, a deductive approach to Bible study usually means that you are starting with a topic, a big idea, or a conclusion. Then, you’re studying the Bible to find passages that support this premise.
A deductive approach can work, if the premise is true. But, if you’re starting with a faulty premise, then the whole framework isn’t trustworthy.
Topical Bible studies are a common approach that use the deductive method. They can be helpful, but shouldn’t be all you use to study the Bible. This is because in a deductive method, you’re not really letting the text speak for itself. Instead, you are starting with a general statement, then looking for details to support it.
Here’s an example of the difference.
How Inductive Bible Study Works
First, let’s talk about the deductive approach so we can see the differences more clearly.
A deductive Bible study starts with a big idea or topic. For example, a big idea might be that “God is powerful.” This is completely true. A deductive approach would then find as many verses as possible to support that big idea.
You might not necessarily see the verse in context, and the validity of your whole study lies in whether or not your big idea is true (in this case, it is!). One of the verses you might use as support of your topic could be Ephesians 3:20:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…
In contrast, an inductive Bible study would start with a passage of Scripture, let’s say the book of Ephesians.
Once you study through each chapter and get to chapter 3, you’ll use the context, key words, and Paul’s logical flow to interpret the passage and find the big idea that – yes, God is powerful – but this verse is mainly talking about God’s ability to produce spiritual growth and strength in us, far beyond our comprehension, in order to bring glory to Himself through the church.
The context gives so much more depth to this topic when you start with the text and let the text bring out the big idea.
The value of inductive Bible study
An Inductive Bible Study will challenge your assumptions, which is a good thing! It will also force you to dig into the text to find the interpretation, the big idea, and the application. This is not a surface-level type of Bible study method.
The Inductive Bible Study method also typically studies verse by verse in a complete context. Even better, with this method, you are encouraged to study whole books of the Bible at a time! This gives the best interpretation of passages, as you get a more complete view of what the author intended.
You might think that this Bible study method sounds too hard for kids! But it’s not! I’ve taught my own kids, as young as first grade to study passages using this method. And it makes for much deeper conversation that just topical studies.
How an inductive study is different from other Bible studies
Most other Bible studies use a deductive approach. That is, you are starting with a topic or statement and looking through Scripture for verses that support that thesis.
While a topical Bible study like this can get you digging into Scripture, it also requires you to try to interpret verses out of context. And it doesn’t necessarily challenge your presuppositions by letting the text speak for itself.
In contrast, when you use an inductive approach to studying Scripture, you are not coming to the text with any presuppositions. You are letting the text speak for itself, and necessarily letting the text challenge you.
One other big difference between these approaches is that a topical study quickly jumps to application before you are able to completely interpret a verse. This is because you are studying verses or passages pulled out of their whole context, so it is more difficult to get a full meaning.
The Inductive method doesn’t lead you to apply a passage until you have a full grasp on what the text says and then what the text means.
The Inductive method thrives on studying a whole book of the Bible in context.
Free homeschool Bible curriculum
I know that it’s important for some of you to find free homeschool Bible curriculum. You just might not have the finances to invest in an expensive glossy curriculum. And you don’t have to!
That’s the beauty with teaching your children how to study the Bible. You really only need the Bible. And of course having some tools and usually some fun colored pencils will go a long way! But other than that, it’s not essential to spend tons of money on a “grade level” Bible curriculum from a famous publisher.
So what if you could use just a Bible to teach Bible in your homeschool? Read on.
How do you set up a Bible study notebook?
Here’s how to create your own homeschool Bible curriculum. You’ll want to set up a Bible study notebook for each student.
If you want to create a Bible study notebook, you’ll want:
- printed out Scripture text so you can mark the key words
- Bible study template (download for free in this post)
- colored pens or pencils
- Bible – you’ll need this in addition to the printed text so you can look up cross-references
You can use a site like BibleGateway.com to find your text in your preferred version and copy and paste it into a document to print out so you can mark it. Definitely print it out double spaced so you have plenty of room for markings! This will make the main ideas in the text pop out as you study.
How to use this Bible study template
So, choose a book to start with and download the Bible study template to get started.
If you’d like some advice on where to start, I would suggest choosing one of these books of the Bible in your preferred version.
- I John
Read one paragraph per day and use the Inductive Bible Study Template to work through these three steps of studying the text:
- Observation: What does the text say?
- Interpretation: What does the text mean?
- Application: How should this change me?
Here’s a little more explanation on each of these three steps.
The three steps of an Inductive Bible study
First, when you observe the text you’re looking for:
- key words
- key people or terms
Just mark the text or keep notes on what you notice in the observation step.
For example, if you were studying in I John 1:5-7, which key words would you mark in the text?
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.I John 1:5-7, ESV
Did you notice the repetition and contrast of light and darkness? What about the words truth and fellowship? This is what it means to observe the text and ask what is says. You can use this step to look up any words you don’t know.
Next, you’ll want to ask “what does the text mean” as you move on to interpretation. You do this by digging deeper, looking at cross-references, and trying to summarize the main idea. Those of you who are familiar with a Charlotte Mason homeschool style will be familiar with the art of narration. In the inductive method, you use narration in this second step.
Finally, you’ll apply what the text means to you life. What do you learn about God? Human nature? How does your life need to change?
Many Bible study methods seem to skip the Interpretation step in favor of jumping quickly to application. But you can’t rightly apply the text before you know what it means.
Bible curriculum for kids
When you’re looking for elementary homeschool Bible curriculum, you will notice that most of the options from the big-box publishers are focused on memorizing facts and filling out lots of worksheets. Your kids will take tests to see if they remember the Bible stories and all the facts surrounding them.
This isn’t terrible. Our kids do need to know the chronology of the Biblical story. They do need to know the main characters and the main events in Scripture. They do need to know the Gospel, Bible doctrines, and how this all shapes a biblical worldview.
But at what point do we teach our kids the life skill of opening up the actual Bible, reading it in context, interpreting it, and applying it rightly? I have yet to see a Bible curriculum from a well-known publisher that does this well.
Maybe you’re like me and you grew up in a Christian home. I even went to Christian school! And I was never taught how to study the Bible like this. I had to learn myself as an adult. Or maybe you didn’t grow up in a Christian home. No matter your background or story, you can change the trajectory of biblical literacy in the next generation.
Our kids need to have this solid ability to read and understand the Bible for themselves. When you can learn how to do this, you will be giving your kids a lifetime treasure.
So don’t feel intimidated! By following the steps we’ve already outlined above, you can create the best Bible curriculum for your kids using just the Bible. In a few simple steps, here’s how.
First, choose the short book or chapter you will be studying. While older kids can study through entire books of the Bible (and younger kids can too!), sometimes it does help to start with just a chapter or smaller section of a book. Print out the Scripture in your family’s preferred Bible version. You can copy and paste if from BibleGateway.com and double space it and use a large enough font for your children.
Now grab the colored pencils, markers, or crayons and read through the passage, showing them how to mark important words – repetition words, comparisons and contrasts, key people, and word pictures.
Use Charlotte Mason’s approach of narration to help them learn to summarize the main idea of a passage. And then talk about how this applies to their lives. What do they learn about God? What do they learn about themselves from this passage?
Homeschool Bible curriculum for middle & high school
Now what about your teens in middle and high school? You can use the templates above and work through entire books with them, following the same three steps of the inductive method. Just cover one paragraph each day.
The interesting part about Bible classes for our high schoolers is that they are usually low-level. We expect a lot of challenge and hard work for them when it comes to the other content areas like math, science, history, and English. But for some reason, even from the big-box publishers, the Bible classes are still low-level, not challenging, and don’t use the actual Bible to teach them how to read it.
Again, you can change the future of your family by giving your teens the gift of Bible literacy.
If you want help with giving your teens a meaty Bible course for homeschool, then check out our Self Study Workbooks, optional video lessons, and full online Gospel of John class.
And yes – we’ve even created graded quizzes, projects, and other ways to assign an objective grade on the high school homeschool transcript! Because we know this is important as well.
Homeschool Bible curriculum for the family
And the beauty of learning to study the Bible using the inductive method is that this is something your entire family can do together, no matter the ages of your kids. Yes, your older children will be able to think more deeply about the text, but your younger kids can certainly learn to understand Scripture in context too!
Final Thoughts on Homeschool Bible Curriculum
Certainly give your young children the foundation of knowing the Bible stories, the chronology of Scripture, and the Gospel. But then ask yourself what your overarching goal as a Christian parent it and if it’s important to you that your children know how to open a Bible, interpret it in context, and rightly apply it to their lives.
Is it important to you that they learn Biblical discernment by reading the Bible for themselves? If it is, then consider whether your current Bible curriculum builds their Bible literacy or simply checks off a box in your homeschool. The world is getting darker and the next generation needs to be students of the Word. I pray this post will give you some encouragement and the tools you need to help you in this endeavor.
You can certainly do this on your own with just a Bible, but if you want some assistance, download our free samples to help you get started.
Find digital studies + video lessons for K-12 at courses.4onemore.com and use the code INDUCTIVE20 to save 20%
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Learning directly from the Bible; I love this!
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Abby Banks says