November 12, 2015

Grapevine Studies: Stick Figure Through the Bible {Curriculum Review}

I love to work through bible studies with my boys to get them familiar with God's word. I have tried a lot of different materials, and sometimes it is hard to find something that allows me to do age appropriate lessons all at once, with their 4 year age difference. I prefer open-and-go programs if I can find them. My boys love adding art/drawing to any of their subjects, but that's a bit difficult at times with the bible lessons. Needless to say, I was very interested in giving Grapevine Studies a try and eagerly anticipated a successful review of Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob for Little Britches and the Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob traceable version for Baby Britches, with the teacher book for myself.
Grapevine Studies: Bible Curriculum Review

Product Summary


Grapevine Studies is a leading Bible method and curriculum for teachers desiring to teach biblical studies with simple, practical, and easy to implement studies for children of all ages. Their method for the early students of "Hear-Draw-Review" ensures an understanding of the stories even from a pre-school age. As the child gets older, the program switches to a Read-Draw-Review approach to encourage them to dive into the Bible themselves. One thing that sets the curriculum apart is the use of Stick Figures to help share the Bible stories! With simple drawings, even the youngest biblical scholar can document the stories they are learning! All of the products are available as printed or digital books.

The company has this great graphic to give you an idea on how the program changes in difficulty with each level...


Grapevine Studies offers the following curriculum:
*Biblical Feasts and Holy Days
*Birth of Jesus
*Esther
*Joseph
*New Testament Overview (7 units)
--John to the Apostles
--Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry
--Jesus' Ministry
--Jesus' Ministry to His Trials
--Jesus' Last Week
--The Cross to the Upper Room
--Acts to Revelation
*New Testament Catechism
*Old Testament Overview (8 units)
--Creation to Babel
--Creation to Jacob
--Abraham to the Tabernacle
--Joseph to the Promised Land
--The Twelve Spies to Solomon
--The Jordan River to the Temple
--The Temple to Nehemiah
--The Prophets to Nehemiah
*Old Testament Catechism
*Ruth
*The Ressurection
*Timelines (6 different units)
*Moses and the Exodus

Each unit contains from 9 to 14 weekly lessons which are laid out for you in a very easy to each manner. In fact, the company provides you instruction on How To Teach their program to make it even easier for you to get started. You can also visit their website to figure out which level to start with!

There are several levels within each unit which can be purchased to match the age range and ability of your child:

Traceables (Age 3-5)
Beginners (Age 5-7)
Level 1 (Age 6-8)
Level 2 (Age 8-10)
Level 3 (Age 10-13)
Level 4 (Age 13+)
Multi-Level (Age 7+)

We were given the digital downloadable curriculum for Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob, as well as the traceable version of Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob, and the accompanying teacher book. All were downloadable e-Books.

How Did We Use the Product?

Because this was a digital product, I was able to access it right away with a simple download to my laptop. It came in four parts clearly labelled in the file name. I was expecting the Level 2 version, but was pleasantly surprised to see I also was given the Level 1 which allowed me to compare them. After looking at both, Level 2 was definitely the better choice for Little Britches (Age 9). It had more difficult memory work, included biblical memory facts, and allowed for him to do four drawings per page. My teacher book was designed for both Level 1 and Level 2 which was perfect, since I had the Level 1 traceable version for Baby Britches.

To begin, I printed off the pages of my teacher manual, hole punched them and put them into a binder for easy reference. I recommend doing this in COLOR as there is a system to the colors used on the stick figure drawings, which is shown in your teacher notes. Next, I printed out the first two lessons in both the traceable (for Baby Britches) and Level 2 (for Little Britches), and also hole punched them.

The next step was simply reading through the great introduction to the program and getting a feel for what was going to be going on. It is set up for the following schedule:
 Daily Schedule                                                Weekly Schedule  
 Day 1: Timeline Review  Page                         Timeline Review  Page (5 -10 minutes)    
 Day 2: Lesson page 1                                      Lesson Pages 1 and 2 (30-35 minutes)    
 Day 3: Lesson page 2                                      Student Drawing Page (5-15 minutes)    
 Day 4: Student Drawing Page

I really liked that this was set up for a 4 day a week program as that is how we homeschool, so it was going to be easy to plug right into our schedule. I also appreciated the approximate time to allow in general for each day's work. I quickly noticed I could plug it into our daily bible study time at the beginning of each school day.

Each curriculum shares the supplies needed to teach the program--it's pretty simple:
Student: Bible, Colored Pencils, Student or Traceable Book
Teacher: Bible, Bible Dictionary, Dry Erase Board & Markers (8 colors), and the Teacher Book

I have both a wall sized dry erase board and lap sized dry erase boards, as well as quite a stash of dry erase markers, so I was set to get going!

The teacher book shares notes on how to go about teaching the curriculum, as well as little tips to remember. It describes what each portion of the lesson is for and how it can be done. It also gives you visuals of what the child's completed work will/should look like in every day's lesson.

It was time to get started. I glanced at the first lesson (the timeline) and noticed that it was set up to give the information, and then tell/show the students what to draw:

Sample from my teacher notes--gives the read aloud, the discussion, and then the drawing
This method is continued throughout the curriculum for the lesson. After the first week is over, the week starts with a review over the Timeline thus far and memory work practice. Day 2 is the beginning of the lesson where the first illustrations are made. Day 3 is a continuation of the lesson AND then the question review over the lesson. Day 4 is the day for remembering what was learned with the creating of a lesson card (we used 5x7 cards), picking a favorite drawing for the week's lesson for the student drawing page, and then reciting the week's memory verse/bible fact.

I used both the dry erase boards (when we weren't in our classroom) and the white board for this and found they both worked successfully. A simple drawing pad would work just as well!

Here are some pictures from our time with this curriculum:
Timeline on the white board

Timeline on the lap white board
Working on the traceable version

Working on a Level 2 version

Working on his timeline (traceable)

Little Britches not so simple version of his timeline
The boys event cards for Lesson 3: Picture on the front and their summary on the back
As of today we are in finishing Lesson 5 (Noah and the Flood). We have been working on these over the last few weeks--roughly 4 days a week.

What Are Our Thoughts About This Product?


Little Britches: "I like this! It's fun to draw the pictures after mommy reads."

Baby Britches: "I like using my colored pencils and markers!"

Me:

I found that this program was very easy to implement in my schedule. It matches the time frame pretty well, though I found my boys were able to do the drawings pretty quickly. A couple weeks we did the timeline review and the first day of lesson on the same day if they finished the timeline super fast and wanted to do more.

I enjoyed doing the stick figures and found they were easy for both boys to replicate--though they even typically added on to the drawings. We never had issues with this curriculum, as the boys both enjoyed working on it.

I liked how each color of the markers seemed to represent something. I read about the coordinating of the eight colors picked on the website FAQ and that helped make sure I lined up the colors the same throughout the curriculum.

The only real revision I made was that I didn't refer to the triangle as being God the trinity as that's not with what our family believes, but as they have no idea that the triangle represents the trinity in mainstream Christianity symbolism, I didn't bother to change the shape. I simply said God or the God-head.

We chose not to do the looking up the vocabulary words unless the boys didn't know what they meant or I felt it was important.

I enjoyed making the event cards for each lesson and it was a great way to see how much the boys remembered from the lesson.

The memory verses are well chosen and the boys had no problems learning them. I liked that each of them were a main point or theme of each of the lessons.

I loved how each week began by reviewing the timeline thus far, and the memory verses learned to date. This was a great way to keep the information fresh in their minds. As we learned and reviewed the verses, I had the boys write them out--Little Britches wrote them out in cursive, and Baby Britches copied a phrase for letter practice.

Each of the units sells for about $28 ($18 for Teacher e-Book, $10 for Student e-Book) which may be a bit steep for my budget if I want to continue to do the curriculum for future units; however, it's a 10-14 week curriculum, so it's going to provide lessons over a few months. It is really a very good program and reusable if you go with the digital version, which makes the cost not as difficult to swallow!

I really don't have anything seriously negative to say about the program, because it has worked well for us so far! I really like the idea of using this curriculum for the Old Testament studies as there is a lot to be covered and these units seem to break it down very well.

Will we continue to use this curriculum?
Yes! I plan on using it to completion and even possibly snagging the next one in the series.

Would I Recommend The Product?

Yes, I would! I think that if you are looking for a program that does the "hard work" for you by laying out the stories in small pieces for easy retention, this is perfect! If you want a program that incorporates memory work, this is a great one! If you want it to be fairly open-and-go, this is it! If you want to do one unit with age appropriate work for each child, this would be something to check out!

The only negative I foresee, is that someone might have a problem with affording the price--but if you want to do this with more than one child, this really is the way to go with the printable option!

Want to Know More?

We were given the Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob, as well as the Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob traceable and teachers book from Grapevine Studies. You have seen how much we have enjoyed using this program--but why don't you check out what the rest of my crew members did with their studies?!
Grapevine Studies Review
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We will continue to enjoy this program as we study the great bible stories of the Old Testament! I like watching them sketch out the stories during church and hearing them say their memory verses. I have always heard about Grapevine Studies and am glad I had a chance to experience them for myself!
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