My poor husband has been working like a dog lately. These last couple of weeks he's been putting in 12-14 hour days, every day. He's getting lesson plans ready for the next 4 1/2 months. He had done a lot of it before we were supposed to leave in October, but then with our delay, the schedule got all turned around and he had to do a lot of it over again.
But I am proud of him. Not just for working so hard, but for what he has accomplished in the Bible department at HOPAC. The whole reason his lesson planning is taking so long is because of the nature of his classes. See, when Gil took over as Bible teacher/chaplain over four years ago, the Bible curriculum had never really been developed at HOPAC. The classes were using a Christian school curriculum that, well...left much to be desired. Each grade had the obligatory text books and work books that were titled things like "History of Israel" and were divided up into neat little sections. Basic OT/NT stuff. Easy to use. Easy to teach. Not particularly interesting.
Now, a good teacher can make even Leviticus and Judges sound interesting (and Gil is a GREAT teacher), but Gil wanted to change the curriculum not simply because of interest. He was more concerned with whether secondary students really need to know all the random details about Leviticus and Judges. So he set off to find a curriculum that he liked better, and when he didn't find one, he created his own.
Students at HOPAC now essentially get a Christian college Bible education--toned down for high school students. They are studying hermeneutics, ethics, apologetics, world religions, worldview, and the subject matter of Theology I, II, III, and IV (for those of you who went to Christian college). They are reading books like Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer, Living by the Book by Howard Hendricks, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul, and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. Books not exactly written for teenagers. But they are getting it. (Teens are usually smarter than people give them credit for.)
I am so proud of Gil. I am thrilled at the questions kids ask in class. I am excited about the conversations he has with them. I think his curriculum is awesome. But this is why writing lesson plans is taking him so much time--because it all comes from scratch, all from his head. No neat little workbooks where he can just say, "Do Lesson 15 on Tuesday."
But I think he, and the HOPAC kids, would agree that it's worth the extra work.