When I was a child my mom used to draw pictures during church to help us kids follow my father’s sermon. As we got older and before we could write, we were allowed to draw our own pictures as long as they reflected what my dad was preaching. This was a great way to help us pay attention to what was being taught. Grapevine Studies had taken that idea and expanded it into a complete Bible curriculum.
Grapevine Studies is a Bible curriculum that uses time lines and stick figures to teach Biblical events. Grapevine offers products for young children through adults, ranging from Old and New Testament overviews to a study of Biblical Feasts and Holy Days. They also offer several multi-level studies and y’all know how much I like that!
Each Grapevine study begins with introducing the students to the big picture of what will be covered in the form of a time line. This forms a framework for the students to fit each additional piece of information as it is covered. Subsequent lessons then take the students through each time line event in more detail, adding relevant facts and concepts. With a nice mix of Bible memory work and review questions, Grapevine has it covered.
What makes Grapevine original in my opinion is that the children draw their way through each lesson. Each child gets their own paper and colored pencils and draws stick figures of each event which helps them to pay attention and focus on what they are hearing.
Our family had the opportunity to review two of Grapevine’s multi-level studies, Esther and Old Testament Overview . When I spoke with Dianna about selecting levels for the children’s workbooks she mentioned that the only difference between level 1 and level 2 is the amount of memory work, so she recommends that homeschoolers go with level 2 and then adjust the memory work for your child. With Dianna’s help we selected level 4 for our 12 year old, level 3 for our 8, 10 and 11 year olds, and level 2 for our 5 and 7 year olds.
The Old Testament Overview is a full year Bible curriculum and has a lesson for each of 38 events with seven reviews spaced throughout the year. Each lesson takes about a week to cover.
The basic format for each lesson is:
- Time line and memory verse review
- Introduce, draw and discuss several key points about the new event (this takes a couple of days)
- Lesson review
- Introduce new memory verse
Grapevine recommends that each child over 5 has a student workbook and colored pencils. In addition to these basics, level 3 students create an event card with key facts to aid in reviewing and level 4 students complete some research using a concordance, topical Bible and a Bible dictionary.
Because the Old Testament Overview is a multi-level study, you only need the teacher’s guide for the oldest student you will be teaching. All the information for the younger students is included in the upper level teacher’s guide.
Esther is a seven week study and follows the same format as the Old Testament Overview, minus the extra activities for levels 3 and 4.
- Drawing through the lesson really engaged our children, especially the young ones who tend to allow their minds to wander.
- We noticed a marked improvement in our little one’s recollection of the facts.
- Easy to implement with almost no teacher preparation.
- If you choose to purchase the student eBooks you can print as many as you need, making it economical for large families.
- Our little ones loved being able to look back at their “notes” for help answering questions that they couldn’t remember right away.
- It is difficult for little ones to fit their drawings into the space allowed on the work pages. I ended up letting our 5 year old use a different piece of paper because she was habitually creating drawings that were taking up too much space.
- This program is not an in depth Bible study with questions that will cause your children to dig deeply into the scripture.
- Some families do not approve of pictorial representations of Christ. Those families will want to look very closely at any of the New Testament studies to be sure that they hold up to your family’s standards in this respect.
How we used and adapted Grapevine Studies.
We used the Esther study for our Bible time during school. For our time of evening family worship we have been trying to focus more on our younger children and the Old Testament Overview is ideal for this. So we are using the Grapevine Old Testament Overview during our family worship in the evening. All children younger than 7 get markers , rather than the recommended colored pencils and a blank piece of paper, while the others use the student books and colored pencils.
Rather than read the Bible passage, draw on the board and then have the children copy the drawing, we read the scripture then reread the part that they are supposed to draw. They work on their drawing while the reading continues and/or Mark goes over some of the key points of the event. I draw stick figures on the board in the event that someone is having trouble visualizing how to depict the scene. Allowing the children to draw more from their imagination allows us to get some lovely, creative drawings like this one by Savannah (4) of King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti and makes the artist in me happy.
The research and extra assignments that are required of level 3 and 4 students we simply assign to be completed by the next evening.
Grapevine Studies is a good Bible curriculum for younger children. For older children I prefer something with more depth. The concept of using stick figures and drawing to help the children to focus, understand and remember what you are studying has been a blessing for our family. All of our children enjoy working with Grapevine and are excited to get their notebooks out each evening.
The Esther study that we used is $9.95 for the student eBook and $9.95 for the teacher eBook. The Old Testament overview hardcopy teacher book $31.15, student eBook Level 2 $25.95, Level 3 $28.95 and Level 4 $28.95
This post is included in the Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup.