It All Begins with Genesis—a curriculum for all generations
August 16, 2005
One of the pleasant surprises has been the extremely wide use of its curriculum It All Begins with Genesis. Published in 2002, the curriculum’s target audience was middle school Sunday school youth. What has actually developed is that, in addition to youth of all ages, many “adults only” classes have surfaced who are enjoying use of the materials. Homeschoolers of all ages have found it one of their best bible/science resources.
Recently, the curriculum’s use in intergenerational settings has also been noted. At the July 2005 MEGA Conference in Lynchburg, VA, Sheila Richardson, the author of the curriculum, gave a presentation of her own experience with intergenerational teaching, highlighting many reasons why this “old-fashioned” way of teaching should be the wave of the future for the church.
In her year-long class at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, the class was an elective, requiring sixth graders to attend with at least one parent or guardian. Other adults and youth in the church were invited to join the class as space permitted. The class that resulted was large (all the sixth graders and parents elected to attend the class) and varied, as older youth and adults joined the crowded room. It was a great year!
Some of the benefits from the church families’ studying together included:
Parents were equipped to teach their own children as instructed in Deuteronomy 11:18–19 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul … you shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” The learning on Sunday morning was reinforced throughout the week as families talked through what had been discussed.
Teachers were able to “go deeper” and partner with the parents in the learning process. Classes could be reinforced by home assignments, including books and DVDs that could be borrowed and worked through together.
Misunderstandings about the sometimes sensitive creation content were avoided because of the parents’ presence. Parents were able to catch up on the latest in origins materials.
The young benefited from the older members of the class, taking advantage of their maturity, rational thinking and abstract understanding. Yet the “old” learned from the young as well, benefiting from their concrete thinking, enthusiasm, easy acceptance of truth and freedom from conventional thinking grooves.
There were no disciplinary problems!
Warm relationships developed between parents, kids, teachers and other adults.
Everyone had fun!
In the classes, there was never a dull moment. Over the course of the year these members of the body of Christ grew together in their understanding of how to study God’s Word inductively, in building a solidly biblical worldview, in working through the “stumbling blocks” that secular culture places in their path and growing in their knowledge and love for their Creator God.
This is what the parents and kids had to say about the class:
This is the best class I’ve taken—ever!
It has been a great adventure working in the notebooks and lots of learning and questioning! Lincoln said to say his favorite classes were the DNA and dinosaur lessons. He also said he keeps thinking we will still have classes after next week but sad that there won't be anymore. Me too!
– Debbie and Lincoln Siegler
Thank you for the tremendous effort which you are investing in teaching this class. How wonderful it is to be able to experience this class alongside our son. You are giving us a great opportunity to discuss with David this pivotal issue that affects our position as Christians. I hope this same class will be available as our other 2 children reach 6th grade. I will definitely want to take it 2 more times with each of them.
– Paul, Diana and David Rapp
Ray and I have enjoyed the class. We were already talking about some of these issues before as Alyse had a lot of questions. So it has been good to do the class together. It also demonstrates to our daughter that we think it is important to learn what the Lord says about creation. I think Alyse has learned to distinguish different world views.
I have found the information very interesting and the teachers very well prepared!
I think this is a great age to do this kind of study as the kids are hitting the world's teaching on this in school in a big way. They are old enough and know enough to see that what the world says does not jive with what the Lord says. To put parents in the class just adds to their impression that this is serious and we really think it is important for them to understand what a biblical worldview is. To teach them inductive study tools is so important because it gives them the skills and confidence to see what the Lord's word says for themselves. This is a lifelong skill that will bless them. Our hope is that Alyse will use these skills as she has other questions about her life and the world.
– Ray, Susie and Alyse Marotta
Our family thinks the Genesis class is superb! It has taught us better HOW to study God's Word and has spurned on us to do more of it at home. It has definitely helped me develop more of a biblical world view and I know it has done so for Kohls, Lina and Caroline as well. The subject matter is so relevant to interpreting current events with biblical eyeglasses as well as foundational for solidifying the children’s faith.
– Chip, Caroline, Kohls and Lina Godine
Your class has been an amazing wealth of information. You are so prepared, organized, knowledgable, and committed. It’s been a special experience for Sarah to have a parent with her each week (especially considering middle child syndrome =)) The contents that you made SO interesting will stick with us a lifetime. I can’t thank you enough for your enthusiasm in sharing God’s creation. It truly has been a rich year.
– Christine and Sarah King
Thank you so much for all your work this year and many years prior in gathering and presenting this information for the Genesis class. You and Bob have given us much to ponder and discuss as a family. The workbooks have been invaluable and we will continue to go back and study them (at a more leisurely pace) through the summer. The PowerPoint was a very effective way to present the information to these media savvy kids.
– Jane, Paul, Adrienne and Chris Bopp
Thank you for making this year great! Thank you for opening my eyes to a wonderful book, the Bible.
– Tyler Diduch, 7th grader