Saturday, August 8, 2009

TOS Crew Review -- Grapevine Studies

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"Look, Mom. I just finished my third copy of the Old Testament stick figures."


I guess we can say this one's a keeper. Paige voluntarily drew three sets of the Old Testament stick figures from Adam to the 400 years of silence. All of my kids enjoyed Grapevine Studies' hands on approach to Bible study in which they actually get to draw the story.

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The first two weeks we sped through the entire Old Testament, highlighting all the major stories in a stick figure time line. Since then we have gone back to the beginning for a more detailed look at the events that started the world on its downward spiral of sin while those individuals kept their eyes seeking desperately forward to the promised Messiah.


Even for the non-artisan this is an excellent curriculum. It allows for creativity of expression, but also can simply provide a framework for reinforcing the story. They can just draw what they are shown, or they can run with it. You can draw the pictures yourself as you teach, or you can hold up the book for them to duplicate or gather inspiration.

Here is one of Faith's (7yo)pages.
She wrote the letters in a color pattern,
which was time consuming, but it was uniquely her as a result.

What I loved:

- Getting the overall picture of God's working through the Old Testament (we are still really at the beginning, but I can see my kids really putting together the red thread that ties all these well loved stories together)

- The simplicity of stick figuring. I am not a great artist and many of my kids take after me in that regard. This is something anyone can do. My five year old sometimes comes up with a better rendition than I have put together. Everyone gets to do their own thing as long as they accurately represent Scripture

- I love that we do this all together. From my four year old (who doodles along on his white board), to my 12 year old (who zips through the basic drawings and moves on to pondering the deeper messages of the Scripture passages), they all learn at their level, yet we go through it together. The Level 1 book was easily adaptable for all of them to benefit from. Getting a higher level book and expecting less of the younger students would most likely work as well. And, they do also have mutli-level studies available.

- The application is not book driven. The writer intentionally does this so as not to limit the products to any specific doctrinal background. We loved it. Our conversation each day took a personal path. We dug through Scripture, discussed what these events had to do with our daily lives, and benefited from the thinking patterns of each individual in the family. God speaks so clearly through His Word, that this provides us the order to follow and the framework for learning, and we take it from there.



What I tweaked:

- The memory verses. I like that they have a weekly memory verse, and that ones from earlier weeks are reviewed periodically to keep them from getting unmemorized. I wrote the verses out on note cards and we reviewed multiple verses each day. This way even when we have multiple verses to review we should get through most of them every week (or two), always keeping them fresh.

- The cards that are drawn up to summarize the lesson are helpful to bring it all together. I allowed my younger ones to draw the summary points (with stick figures) rather than write the many words out. We also did not use the actual page from the book, but rather used a simple 3x5 card for these review cards.

Challenges I faced:

- Dealing with the different speeds at which the kids worked and their level of interest in creating detailed drawings. To allow for this we went through the drawings together and discussed the verses and applications. Then if they needed extra time, they could use our read aloud time (which immediately follows Bible time) to finish up their drawings for the day.


Would I buy it?

Probably. When we first started, I thought probably not. As much as we were enjoying it, I personally have a strong Biblical knowledge base and I didn’t think a program like this would add much to what I could do on my own. However, it gives us a great framework and direction for our Bible times this school year. The kids are personally involved in recording the story so they really connect with it.I enjoy how easy it is to use, and yet how adaptable it is as well.


Would I recommend others to buy it?

Definitely. Memory work, multiple learning styles, easy to use format, reasonable price, all in one package. They have a New Testament survey as well which I might consider purchasing for next year.


If you do decide this is something that you would like for your homeschool, right now you can get it for an even better price.Grapevine has allowed you to enjoy 30% off their products for the next 30 days. Use this code: crews to receive your discount.You can choose between ebooks and regular books, whole Testament studies or special topics. The whole Testament overviews can take a full year to work through, but there are shorter studies available as well (Esther, Birth of Jesus, etc.)

The products that I actually used included the Old Testament Overview Level 1 student ebook ($25.95 for use in family), and the Level 1/2 Teacher book ($45.95 for the book or $22.95 for the ebook).

If you would like to read other reviews on Grapevine Studies, check out the TOS Crew blog.


2 comments:

Courtney said...

I like this. Do you really need the teacher guide?

5intow said...

Courtney,

I think it would almost be easier to do it without the student book rather than the teacher book. The teacher book highlights words to look up in a concordance or lexicon, emphasizes key points for each lesson, shows the drawings that are to be done for each day (this is key, although you could make up your own), and gives you a schedule to follow if you like.

If you're having a hard time covering the cost of both books, you could probably make the teacher guide do the work of both, and have kids draw their stick figures on plain paper. There will be more writing involved on their part though as the student book has the references and some of the titles preprinted.

Also, depending on the fine motor ability of your kids you might prefer the beginner level. I didn't use it, but I understand it is geared toward younger kids.

hth,
Erin