An in-depth review and look at how we use the Bible Studies from Not Consumed with our large homeschooling family.
For nearly all of my homeschooling years (almost 2 decades worth!), I have done Bible time at the beginning of our homeschool day during our Morning Time. It began with simply reading from a story Bible, then morphed into curriculum that included coloring pages or drawing through the Bible. But, it was always something we did together every single school day, and the only Bible I assigned outside of Morning Time was reading a few verses to a chapter a day from a certain book of the Bible for all of my kids who were old enough to read on their own.
However, a couple of years ago, I was talking to my friend, Kim, from Not Consumed, and she was explaining to me how her Bible studies work since I was not familiar with them. One thing she said stood out to me…
She wanted to encourage kids to own their own faith.
It’s not that I didn’t want my kids to own their own faith. In fact, I often tell people (my kids included) that “God doesn’t have grandchildren” – meaning, you can’t get to Heaven simply by being MY kid. You HAVE to have your own faith in Christ.
But, I had never thought about them needing to establish their own Bible study time as kids – more than just reading the Bible – outside of Morning Time. And that’s what sold me on buying a couple of Bible Studies from Not Consumed to try out this school year.
A Homeschool Bible Curriculum for the Entire Family
The Not Consumed Bible Studies are separated into Primary, Youth, Junior, and a Parent Guide. Each booklet is fairly inexpensive, so buying one per child is not only recommended, but is reasonable, even with a large family.
And as added incentive, each booklet comes with stickers and Scripture cards, and other goodies, so everyone gets to have their own (however, you will see in a moment how I did give all of this my own large family twist!)
The individual members of the family work through a lesson a day during their own private Bible Time. Everyone is doing the same lesson, but at their own level, even MOM! Then, during Family Bible Time, everyone comes together to review and talk about the lesson.
Our family started with the Obey Bible Study because that is the one Kim recommends you start with.
FYI: We are large homeschooling family, and I am currently homeschooling children ages 17, 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5.
So, here’s how we started out with this study:
I assigned Day 1 of the Obey Bible Study to be added to their regular independent school work on Monday.
On Tuesday, we came together for Morning Time and went over what they had learned in Day 1 using my Parent Guide, and divvying out the various Bible passages listed in that day’s study to be read aloud.
When Morning Time was over, they added Day 2 to their regular independent school work flow, and on Wednesday, we went over Day 2. And so on and so forth.
Now, here’s where I quickly learned as a large family mom, I was NOT going to be able to do the study the way it was designed.
I purchased ONE Primary book to do WITH my little girls (ages 5 & 7) each day. Then I was also supposed to do my own Parent Guide lesson each day as well, on top of the Bible studying I was already doing for another group I am in. I simply could not keep up.
So, I tweaked things (as I always do!), and here’s the rhythm we fell into:
The older kids (ages 11, 13, 16, & 17) do their Bible study on their own each day.
During Morning Time, I open up my Parent Guide (with no previous prep work) and we work through the lesson together, including the 5, 7, and 9 year olds in the conversation. The 5 and 7 year olds do not have their own studies anymore, and sometimes I let the 9 year old slide a bit on his since it is still a bit difficult for him.
In many ways, this is the best of both worlds – I have my family Bible Time as a group during Morning Time like I like it, and the older kids are establishing their own Bible Time on their own!
PROS and CONS of the Not Consumed Bible Studies
Now, for large family mom pros and cons of the Not Consumed Bible Studies. I’ll start with the CONS.
*The Primary lessons definitely needed mom’s help.
If I only had littles, then I would just buy the Primary book and do it alongside them each day, but with lots of different ages, I decided the Primary book was not a good purchase for us. However, they LOVED the stickers, but that’s not a good enough reason for me to buy them their own books.
And truth be told, if I ONLY had little ones, I probably would not do the Not Consumed studies. At that age, I’d rather read from a Story Bible and do a coloring page to introduce them to the content of the Bible, before introducing them to the deeper concepts.
*My high schoolers wished it was a bit deeper.
My 16 and 17 year olds felt like some of the personal stories in the studies didn’t match the verses or themes, and it didn’t dig as deep as they would have liked. That said, they still learned plenty!
However, my personal opinion is that these studies are best suited for children ages 10 – 14. But, as a large family mom, I can make just about anything work!
*Sometimes the answers were obvious and didn’t require all the space given.
This is minor, but we found several instances of obvious one-word answers (YES or NO). Everyone thought it was weird we were asked such silly and obvious questions. Additionally, some questions were given a huge amount of space on the page in order to write answers which only required 1-3 words. The kids wondered if they were missing something since there were so many lines and so few words.
*The studies are only about a month long if done every school day.
If you are looking for an entire year’s or semester’s worth of Bible study, this is not the product for you. You could try to stretch them out, but they are really meant to be done within a short amount of time, so as to retain the lessons and Bible verses.
*The price is right!
Often, when you go to buy individual books for every single child to use in a Bible Study, it becomes cost prohibitive. However, when you bundle these studies, you get a discount, and Not Consumed has some really great sales throughout the year to offset the cost even more!
*The layout and design are beautiful!
The design of everything, from the booklets to the stickers to the Scripture cards, is gorgeous! (Interestingly enough, a family friend was over and saw the studies and wondered if I had designed them because it fit our family aesthetic! So no wonder I think these are beautiful!)
*Everyone is studying the same thing.
As a large family mom, I am a huge fan of any subject that is integrated in this way. We are a family, and I like our lessons to be cohesive so we can talk about it all day long as a family.
*Lessons are open and go!
Another thing I need as a large family mom is a curriculum that is open and go. While Kim encourages mom to do the study on her own like the children, if for some reason she can’t (like my situation with my group Bible study), the curriculum can still be easily used without planning.
The only thing you will notice are notes written specifically TO the parent like, “don’t forget to share this with your children…”, but those are easily skipped over or adjusted to facilitate some really great conversations with your children.
*Studies can be done on their own without a family component.
If you want to introduce your children to the concept of a personal Quiet Time, then you can definitely hand them these Bible Studies and let them do the study all on their own! (In fact, there is an entire study on building a personal Quiet Time!)
There is no need for these to be used exclusively used as a family Morning Time or Bible Time curriculum.
How to Use Not Consumed Bible Studies in Your Homeschool
Large family or not, I want to give you a few ideas and suggestions for using these Bible studies in your homeschool this year.
*Buy all you need of ONE study to start with.
I bought 2 studies while they were on a sale, and I bought several booklets of each. But, I should have bought what I thought I would need of just one study until I got the hang of it and knew how I would be tweaking the study to fit our family.
There will always be more sales, so don’t overdo it the first time!
*Keep the plastic sleeves each set comes in (or the box)
Each study comes with its own set of paraphernalia, including stickers and cards and other things. The younger kids had a terrible time keeping track of it all. Had we kept the plastic sleeves the booklets came in to store the cards and stickers in, we might have had an easier time with it.
*If a child struggles to get the lesson completed each day, let them do just a bit and follow along the next day.
I am doing this with my 9 year old. Some days, he gets the entire lesson done. Some days, he just can’t quite figure it all out. If some of it is going over his head, or is taking an inordinate amount of time for him to finish, I simply let him follow along the next day, rather than make Bible time a chore for him.
*Make sure all of your readers have the same version of their very own Bible.
As soon as our children graduate from Phonics, they get a Bible of their own in the version we use as a family. This makes family Bible time so much nicer when everyone can follow along.
By the way, the Not Consumed Bible Studies are NOT written in a specific version of the Bible, so you can use ANY version your family prefers!
All in all, the Not Consumed Bible Studies was a good use of our large family homeschool budget this year! I am so glad we branched and tried something different!