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Exploring God's Word "Open System" Curriculum from Apologetics Press
      For many years, members of the Lord's Church have been asking for an elementary-age curriculum that is biblically sound, produced by members of the Church, and meets the needs of individual congregations. Though there have been curricula available, there has been a need for a more complete, user-friendly curriculum that can be adapted to various congregational demographics—regardless of congregational size, financial ability, etc. We believe that we have created the foundation for an outstanding brotherhood curriculum. The great news is, in large part, it is free.

      The only catch is that, while the curriculum is usable right now, it is not fully complete. What is available to download immediately from our Web site is the product of thousands of man-hours and thousands of dollars that have already been invested. Yet, for all that work, there is still work to do. In fact, we believe that there will always be work to do if the curriculum is going to be the best it can be. That is why we want to give the material from two years old to fourth grade to any congregation that wants to use it absolutely free. We only request that when a congregation (or any person who uses the curriculum) sees an improvement that needs to be made, they work on a solution to the problem and submit their work on the improvement back to the curriculum so that it can be constantly improved.

      Several years ago, when we started working on this curriculum at Apologetics Press, we envisioned producing a "traditional" curriculum that we would print in hardcopy form and sell. As we considered it, however, we realized that the traditional approach has some limitations. Changes are only made if the changes are cost effective, and the enhancement process is slow if the material is printed. In addition, one drawback is that, under the traditional system, the changes are made from the top down, meaning the "person in charge" makes a correction and it ripples from there down to the product. Under the "open system" that we envision, changes are being submitted from the bottom up. This means that those who are actually using the curriculum in a classroom setting are seeing what needs to be done, submitting the changes, and affecting the curriculum as they use it. This "open system" approach also allows more creative minds to apply their unique skills, abilities, and ways of thinking to the curriculum so that Christians everywhere benefit from the suggestions and improvements of others. This open system applies to the material from two years old to grade four.

    A.P.'s new four-year "open system" curriculum is designed to be used for children twice: from two years old through six years old, and again, from first through fourth grades. Beginning in the fifth grade and going through the end of the sixth grade, children will use our Explorer Series. We believe that the Explorer Series is a great way to wrap up the final two years (eight quarters) of a Bible student's elementary years. Over this pivotal two-year period, fifth and sixth graders will go through many Christian evidences lessons (which are much needed for this age group), as well as lessons regarding morality, the Church, Bible culture and geography, a survey of Scripture, etc. Thus, a congregation using Exploring God's Word gets all the material from two years old to fourth grade for free, and only needs to purchase the material for grades five and six.

BENEFITS OF AN "OPEN SYSTEM" APPROACH


       The benefits of this "open system" curriculum are tremendous. First, congregations of any size can use the curriculum (two years old to fourth grade) for free. There is no cost, so there will be no financial obstacle to using it. (The cost for the Explorer Series for grades five and six is very reasonable and should not pose a financial burden to any congregation using the curriculum. Each full-color, 104-page Explorer Series Journey is only $10 per student per quarter). We feel this is significant, due to the fact that some curricula can cost thousands of dollars per year.

      Please understand that the product is not mostly free because it is an inferior product. In fact, we believe it to be a superior product, and that is why we want as many congregations as possible to use it. We feel it will help the church grow spiritually.

      Second, there is no printing cost for the material for two years old to fourth grade. Everything is available in a digital format, and changes can be made quickly and easily. Thus, the curriculum will improve much faster than a traditional curriculum.

      Third, since the curriculum is on-line, it can be downloaded and printed by each teacher at any time. For example, if a 2nd grade teacher needs five worksheets for her class, she can download them and print them any time she desires. All she needs is Internet access. This allows the curriculum to be adapted to any size congregation.

      Fourth, the "open system" idea utilizes changes that would otherwise be available for only one congregation. Thousands of members of the church already volunteer their time to work on their congregations' curricula. Instead of that work and improvement being confined to one congregation, the "open system" allows for work that is already being done to be incorporated into the curriculum so the entire brotherhood benefits, not just one congregation.

WORKING OUT THE BUGS


      We understand that, at first, this "open system" will have some bugs that need to be worked out. We also understand that with a new system like the one we are making available there will be challenges and changes along the way. But with prayer and a spirit of cooperation, the Lord can use this "open system" curriculum to build up His church in a unique way. May the Lord bless all of our efforts as we labor in His Kingdom.