The older children finished up reading the book of Esther, last week, in their Bible reading. With Purim, the Jewish celebration initiated at the end of that book, coming up in another two weeks, or so, it seemed like a good time to pause and take a closer look at the story.
Kay Arthur, author of the Precepts Bible studies for women, along with Janna Arndt, has published a series of five week, inductive Bible studies for children, including one on the book of Esther (you can view the introduction, and first chapter, here).
Apart from fill in the blank worksheets, crosswords, word finds, and other puzzles, maps, time lines, and even a recipe for Hamantashen (the three cornered, jam filled cookies made, and shared as a part of Purim), the book contains a reprinting of Esther in the New American Standard translation, for children to highlight, underline, and circle their way through, as they discover the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the text.
Each day's study is tied together with a fictional story following two children, Max and Molly, along with their dog, Sam, on a visit to Washington D.C. with their Uncle Max. So today, for instance, on our third day of the study, we not only focused in on the roll of Queen Vashti in Esther chapter 1, but also learned about the Constitution of the United States and the three branches of government.
The study is aimed at children ages 8-12, and that seems about right. I am working through it with five of my children, ages 7-14, and am finding the fictional storyline to be too babyish for the 14 year old, and the amount of writing required to be a bit heavy for the 7 year old, though she is working very hard to keep up with the older children. Of course, the scriptural lessons from the book are applicable to any age, 14 year olds included.
I'm not sure yet whether we will end up finding the fictional storyline helpful, or distracting, but so far the children seem to be enjoying the process of digging deeper into the biblical text, and we are all learning a good deal more about Esther, and ourselves, as servants of God.
It's great to be a homeschooler.