A few weeks ago, we were doing a study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. As we were getting toward the end of that study, an opportunity came up from the Review Crew to review Real Life Press. We were given Firmly Planted, The Gospels, Part 1 to review. It is a study of the prophesy, birth, and early ministry events of Jesus. It made a smooth transition for our family Bible study and I am excited to share this resource with you.
Real Life Press is the publishing company run by Jay and Heidi St. John. Jay and Heidi are homeschooling parents who understand the pressures of the world and how they can distract us from living the life God has called us to live. They founded Real Life Press to provide materials that promote a relationship with Christ so we can live the Real Life we are meant to live in Him.
Firmly Planted is a family Bible study series by Heidi St. John. The title – Firmly Planted – references on of my favorite passages in the Bible: Psalm 1. It says
“Blessed is the man … whose delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree, planted by rivers of water that bringeth forth fruit in its season. Whatever he doeth shall prosper.”
We want our children to be firmly planted by a river of water, bringing forth the fruit of the Lord. I think this study is helping them. This study is grounded in the Bible, on the gospels. It focuses on the truths found there, helping make direct, daily application to life. It is not “deep.” It is not theologically challenging. It is simple. And clear. And direct. And I think the girls are responding well to that.
The Firmly Planted studies are ten weeks each and contain two parts: the Family Study Guide and the Student Workbook. Both of these come in either a physical product or a PDF download. We have been using the PDF and it has been so easy. I have both the Study Guide and the Workbook downloaded to the Kindle and this makes it really easy to take our work outside on the porch to enjoy the spring. We even took it to the park the other day and did our Bible study under a great big oak tree.
The Family Study Guide is the study. Each weekly lesson is scheduled across four days. For the week, each study consists of the Bible passage being studied that week, The Seed (key concept), Planting The Seed (memorization), and Watering the Seedling (short story lesson). For each day, there is also Daily Study (daily devotional), Digging Deeper (section for older students or adults), and Taste the Fruit (life-application).
I like this set up quite well. We get the most in depth part of the study on Monday (when we start each weekly lesson). We also have a daily lesson at that point, so our Monday study is longer than the other days of the week. I do all of the reading with the girls and we stop and talk about the ideas and questions that are brought up in the reading. One night we spent discussing what is meant by the kingdom of God and how we can be a part of that kingdom. Another time we made a list of people we trust. Often, we are asked to stop and say a prayer related to the idea we have been talking about. I appreciate the focus on not only ideas but stopping to recognize God’s hand in that idea.
We also use the workbook daily. The workbook has such a variety of activities to go along with each lesson that it is easy to pick and choose those activities which work well for each of the girls and print only those. The activities include things like a coloring page, copywork, a maze, a crossword puzzle in two different levels, word finds in different levels, application pages, and so much more. There is even a section of the workbook titled Upper Class for each lesson. This section is for older students, perhaps junior high up through adults. It includes questions that require more in depth thought about the lesson and how to apply it to your own life. I pick some of the harder materials for E, including looking up additional scriptures and working on seeing the revelation and fulfillment of prophesy. (This is a major theme when studying Jesus’ life and ministry.) For L, there is a good mixture of challenging and simpler materials that will be fun yet educational for her. With J, there are fewer materials that will work because she is still working on writing clearly. But, there are still plenty for each week.
Because the workbook is a PDF and I have it on the Kindle, it makes it very easy to help the girls when they need it. Sometimes a word just doesn’t pop out on the word search or maybe the clues are hard to line up in the crossword. Or, as often happened, we need the instructions for the mapwork. (I tend to print out only what we’ll need and use so I don’t print the map instructions. I just open it up on the Kindle and read it from there.)
This has been a good study. We have a few weeks left in it and I am glad. For one, I don’t have to find another study right away. Two, though, is that we are getting some very good discussions from this study and it is simple enough for J while challenging E. Real Life Press has a great product with their Firmly Planted, The Gospels, Part I.
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Be sure to see what others have reviewed, as there are additional Firmly Planted studies being reviewed as well as some of Heidi’s books for moms.