ICING ON THE CAKE
My plan for the year is finally settled. I will officially be teaching 3 students this fall, and I know what direction I want to go with each of them. What a great feeling! But here comes the icing on the cake. Grapevine Studies, one of the vendors I am reviewing, has an Old Testament Overview which fits exactly with my kindergarten Bible and history plans. Super neat! My 5-year old-daughter is excited too. As she was looking over my shoulder at the teacher e-book I had just downloaded, she exclaimed, "I want them all! I want them all!" I was glad to see her enthusiasm as I, too, liked what I saw.
WHAT IS IT?
Grapevine Studies is a Bible study program that utilizes timelines and stick figures to learn about people and events. Their studies teach foundational Bible facts while leaving application to the teacher. The material can be used in Sunday schools, homeschools, and even for personal study. It is currently used in a wide variety of denominations on five continents.
Several topics are available from which to choose. For the Old and New Testament Overviews there are 6 skill levels ranging from beginner to adult. Each level covers the same basic information but adds more Scripture reading, memorization, and study skills to each level. Basic Bible geography is included in Levels 3 and 5. Levels 4 and 5 include the use of study books. Multi-level studies are available on Biblical Feasts, the Birth of Christ, Esther, and Old Testament Basics (utilizing the catechism). The GrapeVine FAQs explains the differences between the levels and what reference materials you will need. Their website also has samples of each study.
From Beginner to Level 4, there is a teacher guide and a student workbook for each study. Level 5 studies are self-contained in the student book. If you are teaching multiple levels, the Level 3/4 Teacher Guide can be used with Levels 1-4. One great feature of the teacher guides is that it has pictures drawn for you. You are free to use completely different drawings, but for me this feature is a great help as I am very unartistic.
- Each book is available in print or ebook form.
- The teacher ebook is in color.
- The printed teacher book can be purchased in color or black and white.
- Both the student printed and ebooks are black and white.
- The printed student books are single use whereas the ebooks may be copied for your immediate family's use.
- Group and classroom pricing is also available.
HOW DID IT WORK FOR US?
I decided to use this product with my 5-year-old daughter as I felt it would be the best fit. Grapevine is written in such a way that you can combine children of many different ages. However, I felt that trying to teach more than one student at this point would be too much and I would not do the program justice. Once I decided on using the Old Testament Overview with my kindergartner, I needed to decide what level to start her with. She is already reading quite well and has great small motor skills. So I decided that level one would be the best place to begin. Levels one and two are included in the same student book and start out with an overview of the time period utilizing a timeline. Then you go back and study each person and event on the timeline. For each lesson you study the current material, answer the review questions, create a character or event card, and study the lesson's Bible verse. (Level 2 includes additional memorization.) After the initial lesson, you begin your day with a timeline and verse review before moving on to the new material. There are 8 cumulative reviews throughout the study including a final timeline and Bible verse review.
Now that you have a brief picture of Levels 1/2, let me tell you what happened with my daughter. As I started having her draw her pictures onto the timeline in the initial Level 1 lesson, I could tell that she did not understand at all what we were doing. I debated on skipping the initial timeline and just slowing down the remainder of the material. Perhaps she would catch on in time. But I knew I did not want to tweak material, as my plate is already full with preparing for our upcoming school year. So I dropped back to the Beginner level which is proving to be a much better fit. The Beginner level does not have the timeline or the character/event cards. It focuses on teaching the events and people and does so at about 1/2 the pace of the higher levels. Memory verses and review questions are still included. It would be quite easy to adapt the older material for a younger student but my brain needed straight forward and I am very glad I decided to step back a level. I would suggest determining the correct level by your student's attention span and his or her prior knowledge of the Bible.
I really like how The Grapevine Studies are set up with the initial overview, the spiraling review, the geography (levels 3 & 5) and the research (levels 4 & 5). I can see these studies being a benefit even to a non-drawer, who is perfectly free to use text instead of pictures to reinforce the topics.
I encourage you to read what my Crew Mates have to say about Grapevine.
GrapeVine Studies is offering a 30% discount on all their books until August 15th. Just enter the code "jcrew" when you order. I hope you enjoy these studies as much as we are.
Disclosure:This product was provided to our family for free as members of the 2009-2010 Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Crew. No further compensation was received. Reviews and opinions expressed in this blog are my own.