Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
I wear a couple of different hats when it comes to my interactions with middle schoolers. I have a middle schooler living in my home. I also have two high schoolers who were at one time middle schoolers living in my home. In addition to parenting this unique bunch of individuals, I also work in youth ministry and am with middle schoolers on a regular basis. Middle schoolers are one of my most favorite age groups to be with. They are still little, but on the cusp of adulthood. They are loud and messy and hormonal. Their bodies are changing faster than they can keep up. They need a lot of guidance and also want a lot of independence. I actually did a talk at the NCHE Thrive Conference last month all about how middle schoolers are weird… and I love them!
Because these years can be tough, it is nice to have some resources from which to pull. I was very excited when we got the opportunity to review Wise Up from Postive Action Bible Curriculum. I actually met some of the folks from Positive Action Bible Curriculum at their booth at the Thrive conference and got to chat and see some of their other products. I was super impressed. The more I have gotten into Wise Up, the more I like it. Because we are on summer break, I haven’t really had a chance to fully get started with the book with my middle schooler, but this will most definitely be part of our school rhythm next year.
I received a student book as well as a three ring binder filled with lesson plans, test material, and an answer key. “The primary goals of Wise Up are to make the Word of God more meaningful and to have a lide-changing impact on your students.” Biblical literacy is a core value of mine. I want my children and the youth that I work with the have a firm foundation in God’s word, to know and be comfortable with their Bibles, and to make real world connections, realizing the Word of God is living and active. I love that this study teaches students to find answers in Scripture for themselves. It is written in a way that middle schoolers can understand and apply to their lives.
Some lessons are formatted with headings and bullet points to give the teacher/ parent a guide from which to teach. Other lessons have group activities and discussion. The teacher’s manual also contains a Scripture memory program. Verses are assigned with each lesson. There is a suggested weekly schedule with options for a 5 day week, a 4 day week, and a 3 day week. We will follow the suggested example for the three day week. The teacher’s manual appears to be written to teachers who may be using this as a curriculum in a classroom setting, but can easily be adapted to homeschooling. It is very thorough and gives you all the information you need.
The student book contains a fill in the blank outline that corresponds with the teacher’s lessons. The student book is very straightforward with many chances for the student to interact with the material through reading and writing, filling in the blanks, charts, etc.
I am excited to dig in further with Wise Up with my middle schooler. The way the program is set up will allow her independance as she studies Scripture and will allow space for me to help her understand what she is reading and be able to go deeper. I am excited to see how she grows in her understanding of the Bible and her comfort with using it.
As a youth leader, I would love to use this curriculum in our middle school Sunday School or Wednesday night get togethers. I think it would be great in a group setting and would lead to some great discussions. Kids in middle and high school really need each other for encouragement and accountability. Sorry mom and dad… we can say things all day long to them at this age and it doesn’t seem to make a difference (it really does make a difference… don’t worry)… but if their friends say it… it is pure gold! Maybe you could consider gathering some other middle schoolers and having a Bible study at your home or co op using Wise Up??
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