Friday, July 31, 2009

Grapevine Studies Review

My latest review for the Homeschool Crew is the Grapevine Studies Bible Curriculum. I chose to review the Level 2, New Testament for Emily, age 9. Level 2 is written for 8 to 10 year olds. The consumable student book sells for $25.95 and the teacher’s guide for $35.95. An e-book format, 3-hole-punch format, and a color version of the teacher’s guide are also available.

L2NTSGrapevine Studies claims to be “a Bible study curriculum that engages the intellect while stimulating the imagination.” Through the use of Bible timelines and easy-to-follow lessons, the curriculum offers studies for ages 5 to adult.

Each lesson is divided into 4 parts, which are to be spread over 4 days, although they can be combined into a longer single lesson for weekly Sunday School or Bible study classes. The first is a review lesson, the next two are Bible reading and stick figure drawing, and the fourth part is a memory work and “character/event” card creation.

When I told Emily about the Grapevine study, she was excited to begin. She is eager to do the lesson each day and seems to be retaining the information well. We have been doing a 15 minute lesson each night before bed this summer, although when our official school year starts in a few weeks, I will probably include this as part of our school day.

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What I like:

--The stick figure drawing of each event—This keeps my daughter engaged and helps her retain the informati0n better. She is enjoying color coding her drawings.

--The built-in reviews—every lesson has a review of the time line and of the past two weeks’ Bible verses and a question and answer review is inserted after every fifth lesson.

--It is easy to teach. I just need to look over the Bible passage, grab my supplies and go!

--The study of the Bible is thorough and chronological. I love the idea that Emily will know all the major events and topics of the New Testament a year from now!

I like the weekly memory verses and the other memory work—books of the Bible, Apostle’s Creed, etc.

--The Grapevine materials are adaptable for use in home schools, Christian schools, or Sunday Schools.

What I don’t like as much:

--The color coding of the drawing is supposed to be important, but the printed teacher’s manual is in black and white with no coloring suggestions other than to use purple to depict God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I was able to find more detailed coloring suggestions at the Grapevine website, however, so I printed that out.

--There were a number of typographical and content errors in the instructions of the teacher’s guide (for example “Old Testament” instead of “New Testament” or “Level 3” instead of “Level 2.” I understand that revisions of the books are now underway, so assume that these errors will all be corrected in the next printing. The errors weren’t significant, but enough to be slightly confusing when I was trying to learn how to use the study.

I would have liked a little more direction from the author on a few points. For example—what to do with the character/event cards? Rubber band them all and use as a quiz? We decided to just tape them into the book at the corresponding lesson.

Summary:

I think this is a very good Bible study program. It is innovative in its approach to teaching the Bible. It strictly teaches (at least in Level 2) the stories of the Bible without any additional analysis or application. This could be positive or negative, depending on what your needs are. We plan to continue with the study throughout the year. Emily is enjoying it and I think that she will learn a LOT and finish the year with an excellent knowledge of the New Testament.

*** SPECIAL OFFER! Grapevine Studies is offering a 30% discount on all their products until August 30 with code, “acrew.”

To read more reviews of Grapevine Bible Studies, visit the The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew site.

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