I recently had the privilege of reviewing the BJU Biblical Worldview program. This program offers high-school-aged homeschoolers a comprehensive induction into a good Christian worldview. The worldview offered is consistent with Bob Jones university theology – conservative and very decided in its opinions. Students won’t come out with a wishy-washy worldview after doing this course! Rather, they will learn a strong, Bible-based theology after the style of Calvin.
I’ve also created a little video of the program, complete with pictures of the package I received in the mail from BJU homeschool providers.
Who is BJU Press?
BJU Press (or Bob Jones University Press) has been around for many years, providing families with Christian homeschooling curriculum since the 1970s. They create curricula for schools and homeschools. This means they are structured after a traditional homeschooling style. They offer different packages with a mix of textbook and video formats.
As far as their goals go, they are two-fold. Firstly, to present their material from a biblical worldview and, secondly, to encourage academic excellence in students.
Books and Papers in the BJU Biblical Worldview Package
The Biblical Worldview package from BJU comes with several books and booklets. These include a:
- the student Biblical Worldview textbook,
- a teachers edition of the Biblical Worldview textbook
- student activities book
- student activities answer book
- BJU testing papers and
- BJU testing papers with answers.
In total, there are six books or booklets including test papers.
Contents of the BJU Biblical Worldview Book
There are several chapters in the textbook which give you an idea of the topics covered in the material. These include:
- The Two-Story View
- God the Creator
- Man and His Mandate
- Everything God Made Was Very Good
- Far as the Curse is Found
- Common Grace, The World and You
- Structure and Direction
- An Everlasting Kingdom
- Redeemed for Good Works
- The Mission of the Church and Your Vocation
- The man and the Woman in Creation
- Marriage Twisted
- Marriage Redeemed
- Foundations of Government
- Political Perspectives
- The Goal of Government
- Science is Something God Created Humans to Do
- Fallen Science
- Reading Genesis and Doing Science
- Foundations for History
- Fallen History
- History in Light of Redemptions
- Arts & Culture
- Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
- The False, the Bad and the Ugly
- Creative Cultivators
At the end, there are also endnotes, a memory verse list, and a scripture and topical index. Parents can get additional ideas of questions they should ask and activities they should do by looking in the teacher’s edition (we talk more about the teacher’s edition below).
Layout of Each Chapter
The main Biblical Worldview textbook comes with interesting pictures, diagrams, and charts illustrating important ideas and topics. The layout is also interesting to read thanks to the colorful headings and numbers.
I found that this curriculum teaches students plenty of vocabulary throughout the text. To explain words, it often has a definitions box on the side, outlining the word and what it means. See the picture below.
Do I Need the Teacher’s Edition?
When looking through the six books I had in front of me, I wondered if parents needed to buy the teacher’s edition. This is a question my parents often struggled with when buying us homeschooling textbooks. After all, when you’re on a single income, saving money is vital and you don’t want to spend unnecessary money unless you have to.
I think the Teacher’s Edition is a bit of a necessity in this case. That is, you will find it hard to scrape by without it, as it makes the whole course a lot easier to understand and implement. The teacher’s edition gave plenty of extra information and explanations. I like that it:
- shows parents the objectives for each section that guide instruction and assessments
- helps parents make the textbook interactive (it’s not supposed to be read like a dry tome); rather it’s designed to be interactive
- has Chapter Review answers located in the sidebars.
- gives teachers prompts and suggested answers for discussions
- suggests group activities like debating and class exercises
- encourages teachers to point to current events for the benefit of students
- tells teachers when students need to do an activity in their activity booklet
However, as a busy homeschooling parent, I suspect most parents won’t be reading through all the comments. This said, if you’re a parent who loves talking about a biblical worldview with your children, you’re probably going to love the Teacher’s Edition.
It will also help order lesson plans which you can do with BJU Press.
What’s in the Teacher’s Edition?
After I opened it up, I realized it was not just a similar copy of the student version. It is essentially a very detailed commentary of the textbook. It helps students explain the ideas they’re reading in the book.
What’s in the Activities Booklet?
The Bob Jones Biblical Worldview Activities booklet has projects that provide further reinforcement of the subject matter covered in the textbook. They offer more expansive explanations and opportunities for practical application. Through these books, students learn how to creatively apply what they’ve learned and how to think about the non-biblical worldviews in their culture.
The booklet begins with a short note to the teacher on how to use the activity manual. Educators can grade or forego the grading of materials. Also, activities can be done individually or in a group.
I looked at the setup of the first activity. The booklet presents the views of Richard Dawkins in Activity one, stating his beliefs and opinions. The text then points students to a quote by Dawkins before asking them to summarize the worldview faith pre-commitments Dawkins belief system has. They then ask students to explore what this means in relation to death and suffering.
After this, there are a number of other relevant questions which contrast the Biblical Worldview with the Dawkins/Athiest Worldview.
Can I Use This Program With Another Curriculum?
However, they can easily use this curriculum as an induction into a Biblical worldview especially if their homeschool curriculum is lacking in biblical material.
There’s So Much! Do I Need to Do It All?
A common complaint I hear with many traditional homeschooling curricula is that there is too much information. Parents often say it’s nearly impossible to get through the mountain of information they’re given. This was a comment I heard when I reviewed the larger BJU curriculum.
Parents should make a judgement call as to what material students should do and what they can skip. In the early years, homeschool lessons should be short and fun as parents aim to engender their children with a love of learning. By the high-school-age, students are hopefully so excited about learning they’re devouring books.
Parents need to gauge what level their students are and work with them. Skip material if it’s too much – do it all if they love it :). The activities booklet even says that parents and educators ought to grade or not grade at their discretion.
(Worried about homeschool accreditation for college? Go here to find out why it’s not a big issue! Also, make sure you look at these different ways homeschoolers can enter college.)
If you find the curriculum isn’t going to work in your home, you can return the packages within 30 days so long as it is in unused form. You get money back but you pay the postage to the warehouse.
You can also get a refund after 90 days although this will be minus 10% due to a restocking fee.
I really enjoyed doing this review of the BJU Biblical Worldview curriculum. As someone who prays and reads the Bible daily, I felt these this textbook did a great job of connecting current events with biblical theology. Although the textbook is written for a teenage audience, it is rigorous and encourages deep thought. The book can change and form students’ minds to align with a biblical perspective on life. Parents will also enjoy learning the Biblical worldview presented alongside their children.