Friday, August 14, 2009

Review: Grapevine Studies

Finding a good Bible study program can be tricky. Not only do you have to find one that compliments your particular denomination, but you also have to find one that suits the (potentially) wide range of your children's ages and level of understanding. (Not to mention your particular teaching style!)

The Bible studies we've used previously in our home received the gamut of displeased-child-feedback. We had everything from the:
  • "Too basic/"I already know this, Mom!" type
  • The "HUH?" aka: Totally Over Their Heads type
  • To the "Can we be done now?" Boring type. In fact, there really didn't seem to be a happy medium when it came right down to it. :o/

This year however, we were fortunate to receive 2 e-books from Grapevine Studies for review. These studies were not only informative, but fun to use, and super simple to teach. Allow me to explain... :)

The Grapevine Studies motto is: Stick Figuring Through the Bible. At first I thought my kids would find that totally hokey but--surprise!--they did NOT!

Grapevine Studies walks students through Biblical history through the use of a timeline, illustrated with cute little stick figures, colors and symbols that the students draw themselves on their corresponding Student Worksheet.

Each lesson begins with Scripture reading and a short review of the previous lesson (if applicable). At the end of each lesson is a series of questions (about 10 or so) that help aid retention and fuel discussion, as well as a final Memory Verse.

At the end of each complete study is a Final Review that covers all the previously learned Memory Verses and all individual lesson review questions.

The handy and necessary Teacher's Manual contains everything you need to get the most out of this awesome product:
  • Teacher/Student Supply Lists (Bible, Teacher's guide/student book, dry erase board/markers--we used chalk/chalkboard, markers, pencils, Concordance, Maps)
  • Step-by-step lessons, complete with "stick figures" already drawn (all you have to do is copy!)
  • Notes and Key Points to help familiarize yourself with the text beforehand
  • Optional vocabulary words to look up in the Concordance
  • And finally, suggested map activities (landmarks/cities to look up) to help provide a solid, geographical framework.
Not only are these aspects great in themselves, but the beauty of Grapevine is that you're able to adapt them to fit your individual denomination. This was a huge factor for me as my family is Messianic. We were fully able to add our own doctrine to the study, without having to "take away" certain portions that didn't meet our needs. A rare find indeed!

Using the Product:

As we made our way through The Birth of Jesus, the children had to draw Mary being visited by the angel, Gabriel. By following the example in the Teacher's Manual (because let's face it, I needed a "cheat sheet"!), I drew Mary kneeling down (I gave her curly hair) before the angel (whose wings ended up looking more "bat like" than "angel like"...Oops!), smiling in acceptance of the Lord's will. The children then followed suit, each drawing their own stick figures on their worksheets.

By the time we'd moved onto the question/answer portion, my kids were firing out answers right 'n left! I couldn't believe it. Usually I "lose" them midway through the lesson and have to d-r-a-g them back into focus but--not this time! They really got a lot out of the lessons and got a kick out of doing them, too. Woohoo! :o)

The fun continued as we made our way through Biblical Feasts & Holy Days, which suited our Messianic-ness quite nicely. I was so impressed with how simple yet effective the lessons were, even for the youngest of "reviewers". I actually hope to use this product down the line with my Shabbat school class at church! I think my students there would love it. :)

Nitty Gritty:

Grapevine Studies are available either by specific age-range or as a multi-level (Grade 2 and up) unit. Studies are offered in either paperback or E-book (digital) format, with separate books for Teachers and Students.

Biblical Feasts & Holy Days contains 13 lessons and is economically priced at $14.95 for the Student Edition (paper & digital are the same price), and either $12.95 or $19.95 for the Teacher's Manual. Sample pages from this product can be found by clicking here.

The Birth of Jesus contains 7 lessons and is priced at just $6.95 for the Student Book and either $8.95 or $12.95 for the Teacher's Manual. Sample pages from this product can be found by clicking here

*** As a special bonus to my blog readers, when you order from now until Sept. 15th, you'll receive 30% off your order! Just enter coupon code CREWS at checkout! Woohooo!!***

The Final Verdict:

We were very pleased with this product. By using Grapevine Studies, our Bible lessons came alive in a whole new way. The children really enjoyed the added dimension of stick figuring, while I enjoyed the simple step-by-step format, non-denominational approach, and economical price. I would highly recommend Grapevine Studies to fellow homeschoolers as well as church groups.

We give Grapevine Studies two happy thumbs up! :o)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Denise, I've given you an award on my blog. Congratulations! :)


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