Sunday, September 18, 2011

Deeper Roots - Discovering Who I Am In Christ - A Review

     I have searched long and hard for a decent Bible study curriculum for my kids.  I was given the opportunity to review one through Deeper Roots Publications over the last month with my oldest son who is in 8th grade.

     The website for this company is  This company sells much more than the particular product I was reviewing.  Deeper Roots sells missions resources, evangelism resources, all types of Bible curriculum, and also bargain books.  The authors of the curriculum have served in the missions field and are deeply grounded in God’s Word.  The website has many links to reviews; information about the three authors; their statement of faith; a link for new customers to sign up for an account; a link for returning customers to log into their account; a link to an order form PDF for those who would rather mail their order; a link for info about shipping and returns; their privacy notice; a link to contact them which provides fields to enter your name, your email address, and your concern or question to which they can then reply.  You can also click the “Search” link to search their entire website to find something specific you are looking for.  At the bottom of the page, there is further contact information that includes their address (2100 Red Gate Rd., Orlando, FL, 32818) and their phone number (407-797-8557).  The number on the website is different than the number on the back of the teacher’s guide.  The copyright on the website is 2011; the teacher’s guide is 2002, so I would assume the phone number on the website is the current one.  Their email address is

     I received the Discovering Who I am in Christ workbook which was coauthored by Jan L. Harris and Howard and Bonnie Lisech.  I used this with my son who is in 8th grade.  It comes with a student workbook and a teacher’s guide.  Located under Home School Bible Curriculum on the website, it can be found by scrolling down the list of items for sale.  The teacher’s guide and student workbook are sold separately for 28.95 and 19.95, respectively.  They can be used for students in 7th-9th grade.  This book, the second in the series, is meant to help students understand their personal identity in Christ.  The website allows someone interested in the book to download sample pages before actually purchasing it, after entering your email address.
Photobucket                The student workbook includes a page in the beginning of the book that describes journaling.  It lets them know the purpose of journaling is to allow them time to reflect on things they are experiencing or thinking.  They can then go back to it later and reflect on how God worked in different situations.   Journaling is encouraged at the end of each lesson under the heading of “Reflections.” 
                Each new chapter has a profile on an unreached people group.  They are described to the student so that they can understand how these groups live, where they live, what they believe, and how they are currently being reached for Christ.  They are also given a number of ways they can pray for the particular unreached people group being studied.
                The lessons begin with a scripture memory verse.  Students are encouraged to memorize two scripture passages each week.  Lessons are separated into 6 days with questions about passages the student needs to look up and various activities with a study sheet to be completed on the 7th day of the week.  There are black and white drawings included throughout the book of the unreached people groups and various illustrations to enhance understanding of the passages studied and provide for a break simply reading words.
                Students are encouraged to write stories or poems on different topics throughout the book.  Some of the lessons have students interviewing a variety of people about their views on topics being studied that week such as what it means to be born again or how God answers prayer, etc.
                Some of the topics included in this book are “Sinner or Saint?”, “Precious in His Sight,” “Citizen of Heaven,” and “A Branch Full of Fruit.”  As the book continues, the number of pages given for reflection increase.
                The teacher’s book includes all of the same questions and information as the student workbook, but it provides answers to the questions for each day’s lesson and for the study sheet.  Sometimes the answer to a question isn’t obvious, so it is nice to have the teacher’s guide.
                The content of the curriculum, I believe, is appropriate for 8th grade.  I appreciate knowing that I can assign a day’s lessons to my son and don’t have to worry about the Scriptural content that is provided in it.  I know that he will be learning from the Word of God in a manner that is consistent with our beliefs as well.

                As my son has been going through the book, he has asked at various times, “Do I really need to do this assignment?”  There is a lot of writing so sometimes I say no.  While I like the idea of journaling and I understand the usefulness of it, he does have a lot of writing for his other classes.  Sometimes a long writing assignment in this curriculum is not realistic.  I know that my son is gaining insight into Scripture through the daily lessons, and I really appreciate the lessons that require him to dig into the Word; but I’m just not sure that writing assignments ought to be included in a Bible study curriculum.  The writing assignments that are included are not part of the “Reflections” or journaling as I see it.  They are separate:  write a story, write a poem, etc.
                If I were searching for Bible curriculum, this is definitely one that would be in the running as there does not seem to be a lot of really good Bible curriculum available, at least not that I’ve found.  I am glad that I have had the opportunity to review it though and have seen what is included in it.  If there were less “extra” assignments I would be more inclined to choose this as my Bible curriculum.  There are field trips included in it.  There are videos that are listed which the parent would need to locate.  This might be very difficult for some people, rendering those lessons completely useless.  I think the idea of using a Bible curriculum almost as a unit study is interesting, but unless I were looking for that I would not be able to use a lot of things that are in this book.  I am sure there are many who would find this approach very practical, but it would only partially eliminate the need for science, language arts, music, etc., curriculum in addition to what is already done in the homeschool setting; but I don’t think there is enough for “extra” subject matter to constitute a full week’s worth of lessons in other subjects.  You would still need to add more to your day.

                So, if you are looking for a Bible study that does more than just study the word, then this curriculum is for you.  If you are looking for Bible curriculum that is strictly Bible with no fluff, then this is not the program for you.

DISCLAIMER: I received this product free of charge so that I might use it and provide an honest review of it.