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Pilgrim's Progress Homeschool Unit Study

Updated on June 12, 2015

Take a Literary Journey With Christian

An uneducated working-class man armed only with his imagination and knowledge of the Bible composed a classic that is still cherished over 300 years later. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is undoubtedly one of the most influential books of Western civilization not to mention Christianity.

The allegorical novel highlights Christian, the protagonist, who chooses to follow Jesus Christ and then journeys to the Celestial City. Along the way, he encounters people and places that quite obviously symbolize the perils which a Christian believer faces in this earthly life.

A study of Pilgrim's Progress is a great choice for a homeschool unit study, literature study, or even Bible study. This lens will give you ideas and resources for customizing your own Pilgrim's Progress study.

Planning Your Pilgrim's Progress Study - Mapping Out a Plan

Map of Pilgrim's Progress
Map of Pilgrim's Progress

Your first step in planning your Pilgrim's Progress study is to select which version of the novel is appropriate for your children. Your children's age and attention span will be the factors to consider.

Here are three primary choices:

1. Picture Book Retelling

2. Abridged Novel

3. Unabridged Original

Elementary age students will probably benefit from a picture book introduction. Upper elementary students can begin with an abridged novel, though. Many middle schoolers and most high schoolers will be ready for the original version, especially if you read it aloud to them.

John Bunyan on Prayer

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer”

Dangerous Journey - 1. Retelling in Picture Book Format

Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim's Progress
Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim's Progress

This picture book was my daughter's introduction to Pilgrim's Progress. The text remains true to the original in a greatly abbreviated format.

The illustrations have an old fashioned look that suit the story and the rather serious tone of the work. But don't think the illustrations are boring. Far from it. The monster Apollyon was quite scary to my ten year old daughter! Get a sneak peek of the look of the book from the videos below. All the images in the videos are still images of the book's illustrations.

 

Dangerous Journey Video - First Half

The book Dangerous Journey has been formatted into a video something like the Reading Rainbow movies you may have watched as a child. The images are static, taken from the book's illustrations. the voices are varied, and there are sound effects.

The movie version is divided into 16 sections at YouTube. The first ten are linked below on the thumbnails. (Sorry for the foreign subtitles. The cleaner versions of this video were removed from YouTube.)

The Rest of Dangerous Journey Video

John Bunyan on Peace

“If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.”

A Pilgrim's Progress - 2. Abridged Novel

If you need a free copy, this abridged version created for children at Archive.org or this one at The Baldwin Project may suit you.

Another free version is a retelling of the story using only one syllable words. It is designed for early readers.

A Pilgrim's Progress
A Pilgrim's Progress

A children's edition of Pilgrim's Progress. A winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards.

 

Pilgrim's Progress in Electronic Format - 3. Unabridged

Of course, Pilgrim's Progress is in the public domain, so you can find plenty of ebook copies for free online:

Pilgrim's Progress at Manybooks.net

Pilgrim's Progress at Archive.org.

A unique online version is at Answers in Genesis and includes original illustrations and pop up Bible references.

Ambleside Online shares two text files of the unabridged novel, conveniently divided into reading assignments:

72 Sections

36 Sections

For free audio files, visit Librivox.org.

John Bunyan on Daily Devotions

“He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find him the rest of the day”

Teaching from the Unabridged Text

Pilgrim's Progress Unit Study

If you choose to use the original, unabridged text, there are many resources you can use to flesh out your study.

1. Bunyan Ministries offers PDF commentaries on each chapter of the novel.

2. Here is a Twelve Week Children's Church Curriculum which includes games, scripture memory verses, and activities to go along with the story.

3. Be sure to check the printable resources lower on the page. There are coloring pages, worksheets, and study guides.

A comprehensive literature and Bible course on Pilgrim's Progress is published by Answers in Genesis.

It is called

All-in-One Pilgrim's Progress Curriculum and includes the text of the novel (in printed form and on audio CD) plus comprehension questions and Bible references.

I have this book and look forward to using it with my daughter in the future.

Read a review of All-in-One Pilgrim's Progress Curriculum at The Old Schoolhouse.

Printable Teaching Resources

Since Pilgrim's Progress is so old, the classic editions and their illustrations are in the public domain. Feel free to save the images linked here and create your own notebooking pages.

John Bunyan on Giving

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."

Others Who Have Studied Pilgrim's Progress

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    • profile image

      RobinDM 5 years ago

      I love your lens! This is excellent. The sources are good, the content is good. You might want to put a poll to add interest, but I truly enjoyed it! Thanks

    • SmartyGirlRenee profile image

      SmartyGirlRenee 5 years ago

      I'm re-reading the Oliver Hunkin illustrated version this month. It's encouraging at any age. Apollyon is a scary foe

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 5 years ago

      I like reading lenses on unit studies, I wish I could make one like this. Thanks!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Another great lens!

    • profile image

      vladimir-popelnukh 4 years ago

      Please consider also interactive book application project based on The Pilgrimâs Progress novel by John Bunyan. Designed for Ipad

      Suggested Age Group: 9 to 12

      youtu.be/YOcg43CAM3E

    • profile image

      HOPEHomeSchoolConsulting 4 years ago

      I have thought about adding a study on the Pilgrim's Progress. Thank you for the resources.

    • profile image

      JohnatFlameCCR 3 years ago

      My name is John Ryder. I work as a volunteer Director/Producer at Flame CCR, a Christian Radio Station in the North of England. For the past 18 months we have been working on a dramatized version of Book 1 of Pilgrim's Progress.

      This is currently Broadcasting in 25 fifteen minute episodes at www.flameradio.org with podcasts available (for a limited time) to catch up on previous episodes.

      I hope these broadcasts may be a blessing to you all.

      God Bless.

      John

      There is also an hour long interview programme discussing the Making Of Pilgrim's Progress for FlameCCR and 2 shorter programmes with interviews conducted at the Bunyan Chapel and Bunyan Museum in bedfordshire, England.

      Please get in touch via the FlameCCR website if you would like to know more.

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