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Friday, August 28, 2009

TOS Crew: Grapevine Studies

Mel participated in this review with the Crew.

Jacob and I have been using a new Bible curriculum shared with us via the Crew. It's the Old Testament Overview put out by Grapevine Studies.
Jacob has really been enjoying this book, and I really think it's because it has a lot of hands-on activity. He's able to visually see me drawing the lesson on the board (in stick figures), and he's able to copy what I'm doing, tweaking it to his own style. He's basically learning the Bible in stick figures!

When we received this curriculum, it came with two books; one is the Teacher's Book, and the other is the Student Book.
It's important to note here that you can not only receive these books as hardcopy in the mail, but if you'd rather download them, you can do that instead. The great thing with the Teacher's Book is that it covers Levels 1 & 2, whereas the Student Book we are using is just for Level 2. So, you get 2 levels for the price of 1 with the Teacher's book.

In the beginning of the Teacher's Book, there are pages that describe the Grapevine method of teaching, their statement of faith, goals for the curriculum, and
instructions on how to teach and schedule the lessons. The lessons are laid out in such a format that it's easy to teach how your family doctrinally believes, and it's also very easy to prepare for the lesson every day.

Each lesson covers a specific portion of the Old Testament timeline, and before we ever started the lessons, we went through and drew out the timeline, giving Jacob an overview of what he was going to be learning about this year. When I say draw, I mean in stick figures; it is so easy for a non-artist like me to do; plus, what kid doesn't like to draw stick figures, especially for a Bible lesson?:) (Update: here is a picture of Jacob's drawings on the paper beside my drawings on the board; just thought I'd
share for those commenting about the drawing portion of the lessons). Personally, I wanted to make it really upbeat and fun for Jacob, so I went out and bought a cheap little set of colored dry erase markers to use on our board. He has his own markers, and he grabs a piece of paper and follows me along through the lesson. We cover one page in his book every day, which puts us to about a whole lesson every week. The first page of the lesson is a timeline review from previous lessons and a memory verse review. There are one to two memory verses to work on with each lesson. The second and third pages cover the main part of the lesson; for example, the lesson could be on The Tower of Babel. I usually have Jacob read over the verses for each section as we go, and we take breaks to draw out the different points and talk about them. At the end of each lesson, we do a character or event card, where he writes out, on an index card, the main points that he learned; he usually copies from the board. That way, he'll have that card to review later on. We also write out the memory verse/s. Other memory work might include learning the different books of the Bible in order, etc. Every so often, throughout the book, there are bigger reviews to cover a portion of what we've been studying, and we can play trivia games or review over parts that are harder to remember.

So far, we've both really enjoyed this. As a busy homeschooling mama, I love the fact that it's so easy to organize and teach; there's little to no prep time, unless I just want to read over the verses for that day's lesson. Each day's lesson is so short that it keeps his attention quite well, and again, he benefits from the hands-on learning. This is also a curriculum that you could use across broader age gaps; so, if you have multiple children, you could more than likely teach all of them from the same books, tweaking it to their levels, of course.

The best part is that through September 15, 2009, Grapevine is honoring a 30% discount to any of my readers who go and purchase any of their books. All you have to do is use the coupon code: Crews, when you checkout. The price for the Teacher's book is $45.95, and the price for the Student Book is $25.95.

So, look them over, and see for yourselves. Personally, for myself and my family, I can't say enough good things about Grapevine. The search for a good Bible curriculum can be tough, but I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to review this particular product.

If you'd like to read more reviews on Grapevine Studies, head on over to The Homeschool Crew Blog.


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