Monday, August 17, 2009

Grapevine Studies Bible Curriculum

When we were told we were going to be reviewing for The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew I was very interested. The boys have been doing Bible individually and without much input from me, so I was wondering how this would go.

One of the first things I noticed when I went online was that the curriculum used stick figures. WOW! Even I can draw stick figures. My boys, who don't like art and drawing very much, might like this too.

I went online to look over their website and make decisions about which levels we would want. My boys are 12 and 15. I thought level 4 would be perfect for my younger son and I thought maybe my older son would want to do the teen-adult level 5. I read him the descriptions and something in the description made him decide to do level 4 also. I am not sure if it was the self-directed part or not but I think he really wanted to do the same level all together. That was fine with me. We decided to review Old Testament Overview Level 4 and New Testament Overview Level 4.

Once I got my e-book downloads my first thoughts were, "How do I plan this out? Do we do one lesson a day? One a week? There are 39 lessons in each book. How do I schedule that out for the year?" It took me a while to figure it out so I want to give you a heads up. If you order this curriculum one important thing you need to know is that in the level 4 overview's there are weekly and daily schedule suggestions in the back of the teacher editions, in the addendum. This was very helpful. I am pretty sure there are similar schedules in each of their products.

Ok now to describe the products we were given to review, how their program works, and how we are using it. :)

The first product we were given to review was Old Testament Overview Level 4. This book covers creation through the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Israelite's captivity in Babylon.

The New Testament works just the same since it is the same level. The content is of course different but the basics are the same. It is a study that covers the birth of John the Baptist through Heaven in Revelation.

The basis of the level 4 program is to read the Bible and then draw stick figures about the story. At the beginning of the book you draw the whole timeline. Then you go through each story more in detail.

There are 3 main parts to each lesson: the quest, the review, and the lesson for each Bible story covered in the book. It takes 4 days to finish a Bible story, spending 2 days on the lesson part.

In the Quest the student learns to use Bible Reference Materials. I was surprised to learn my boys already knew how to use the Concordance. The curriculum also uses a Bible Dictionary and a Topical Bible. Grapevine has resources they use for each of these. They use the Zondervan Compact Bible Dictionary. We do not own that particular dictionary and are using the 1828 Websters we own and we have some Bible software. The Bible software has a couple of Bible dictionaries in it. If you do not have those you could try Bible Gateway's Dictionaries they have many Bible resources including a number of dictionaries.

For the concordance they use Cruden's Compact Concordance. We are using the Strong's Concordance we already owned.

The third reference book suggested is Nave's Compact Topical Bible. For this one I bought a copy of this book from I tried using a Nave's Topical Bible that I had on my Bible software and the same one online at Bible Gateway, it did not work. The teacher's editions come with the answers to the quest questions but because of copyright problems they only list the page numbers for the Dictionary and Topical Bible. The dictionary I did not care so much about. We will answer the questions as best we can from the dictionaries we have. With the Topical Bible you can only find the answers that will make sense if you use the Nave's Compact edition. So if you are buying level 4 Old Testament, or New Testament, you will need the Nave's Compact Topical Bible.

The next section, the review, the boys do a review of the parts of the stick figure timeline we have covered so far and review some of their verses.

In the lesson section we read the Bible and then the boys draw the stick figures while I go over the lesson details, which I am printing at home little by little in b&w, and sometimes we go over specific words used in the stories (vocabulary). The vocabulary suggestions are in the teacher edition. The lesson takes two days and at the end of the second day we do a lesson review.

Here is one of the stick figures Nathan has drawn.

I had him choose one.
This is the one he choose.

Every 5 or 6 lessons there is a review with the same questions that are asked in each lesson review. There is also a midterm review and then at the end a final review, where hopefully the boys will be able to draw the whole timeline, from the beginning of the book, from memory; answer the questions with accuracy and recite or write all their verses.

The boys like doing this curriculum all together and they like doing the stick figuring™. Here are some quotes about the curriculum from my boys. "I like it a lot. Much better then what we had been using. I especially like drawing the stick figures," says Nathan. Christopher said, "I like it better too. I like doing the Quest where we get to use the concordance and the Topical Bible and the Bible dictionary to search for answers."

When we ordered both the Old and New Testament I was not sure what we would do with them. Would the boys want to cover different ones, or do the same? We needed to at least do some of both to see the similarities and differences for the review. We got the student books and teacher books as e-books. We looked them over and the boys decided they both wanted to do the whole Old Testament curriculum this year. I liked the looks of them so much that I decided to have the Old Testament books printed at Staples and bound with a spiral binding for each boy. Nathan and I did 4 weeks of the New Testament for the review and then both boys are doing the whole thing next year. They are excited to have 2 years to do this curriculum.

One of the things I like the best about the curriculum is that due to the vocabulary word suggestions and the discussion notes for the lessons, both of which are in the teacher edition, we have had a number of great discussions about the Bible, and we are only on the story of Job! One of the deep discussions we had was about one of our Bible verses. When we covered the verse in our lesson we went over what it meant. The verse was Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and though shalt bruise his heel." We talked about who was speaking (God) and who he was speaking to (the serpent, Satan). We discussed who the seed was (the Messiah) and then what this verse was about. Which wound is more serious? Is one deadly? After asking some the boys some questions I lead them to discover this was talking about the crucifixion of Christ and the final destruction of Satan in Revelation. The boys were excited to understand, for the first time, that the Messiah's coming and Satan's ultimate demise was promised by God in the first chapters of the Bible. How exciting it was for me to watch their discovery and the impact this had on them.

Are you interested in good Bible curriculum. They have levels for ages 5 to adult. They also have multi-level books on a variety of subjects like Esther and Biblical Feasts and Holy Days that you can do with all your kids no matter what age.

Here are the links to the books we reviewed:

Level 3-4 New Testament Overview Teacher eBook Price: $24.95

Here is the link to the main page of Grapevine Studies. From there you can easily navigate to see which levels look good to you. They have samples of much of their curriculum so you can take a look at that too. This is one curriculum where the teacher's manual is crucial and a necessity.

Important Note: Besides the Sale pages - make sure you check them out - Grapevine Studies is offering me and my readers a 30% discount on all their books for almost a month after I post my review. So from now until September 15 you can get the discount at Grapevine by entering the word crews in the space on the checkout page that says Enter your coupon number, it is right under the list of items you are buying.

Out of 5 stars I give this:

This is an excellent curriculum and we are all greatly enjoying it. I am sure will continue to be challenged and have fun with it. So I hope you enjoyed and found my review useful and will check out this Bible Curriculum for your children.

Many of my comrades on the TOS Review Crew reviewed different levels and different products than I did. If you are interested in maybe buying from Grapevine you should check out some of the other reviews, especially if someone reviewed the level or product you are interested in. So check them out here: Homeschool Crew - Grapevine Studies



Michele said...

great review, deb. Makes me want to go buy it! :)

Sheri said...

I totally agree-this one is a keeper! We got the Biblical Feasts and Holy Days to try. I was wondering about those 2 you received, b/cuz Sissy will be needing that for next semester. We're sticking to group units this fall-but want to branch her out to her own stuff in the winter. Nice and thorough review. I like how you pointed out trying to figure out the scheduling and where to find the help one needs-good!


nikkit3 said...

My children are 6 and 8. It is good to know that this curriculum works with older children as well:)


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