Have you heard of the Grapevine Studies Bible study series that teaches through a Stick Figure Through the Bible method? We had the pleasure of receiving for review all the levels of the New Testament Overview Part 1, because I have a kid at each age level from Beginners and levels 1 through 4. For the older kids, it’s titled Birth of John to Jesus’ Ministry, and for the littles it’s John to the Apostles. Let me tell you this much – my kids are having a blast with this, ASK to do it, and I think we have finally found our Bible study curriculum!
Bible Study Curriculum
We do a lot of Bible study at my house. We read through the Bible, so the kids are always reading something. We’ve been involved in the church programs for memorization in the past and have all the books, so we do that sometimes. We’re very active in our local church and have even run a home fellowship group out of our house. My kids know their stuff, for the most part. But they’ve never really enjoyed any of the Bible study curricula I’ve chosen. This one is for the records!
Grapevine Studies has the interest and attention of ALL my kids. And in case you don’t follow my blog regularly, I have kids in a wide variety of ages!I’ll go over all of that in a moment, but let me assure you that no matter what your kids’ ages or stages, there’s a bible study appropriate for their level. The way the Stick Figure program works, in a nutshell, is that you take about 10 minutes each day to read a short passage with your students. I had my oldest student do the readings.
Then, you model a simple drawing to illustrate the story, and the kids can copy or do their own thing on their page. The teacher guide suggests using a white board and 8 different colored markers. I didn’t have this so I just used regular markers and drew my example on a spiral that I showed to the kids each time. I was relieved to realize, several lessons into the Bible study, that the colors don’t actually matter! Each week’s lesson starts with a timeline review, and each week’s lesson ends with a creative drawing page and making an index card to use for review games.
First, I’d like to say that the chart above is very accurate. It does an excellent job of stating the differences succinctly and I think the age groupings work just fine. The only thing I might add to this is that I think it totally appropriate that Level 3 could fit all of middle school, and Level 4 works for high schoolers. That’s exactly how we used it, but again, my kids are doing daily Bible reading and getting a lot of foundation elsewhere as well. That said, this works for us!
My oldest will be 17 this month; he did the Level 4 set, including the extra work on the Quest page which involves the use of a Bible dictionary, a topical Bible, and a concordance. I had him read the passages to the whole group of students while I drew out the examples. The curriculum suggests specific resources for the Quest pages, but we did just fine with the Bible student dictionary we already owned and with a couple of different concordances we own as well. We also discovered that the topical Bible suggested is available for free on the web!
My next kiddo will be 13 in May and is generally my resistant child. He did Level 3 and is having a BLAST with the drawings!! This is my kiddo who never wants to do school work, and even if this is the only thing getting done (our county is on spring break), he doesn’t fight me on it even one bit! He puts up a little resistance to copying down the sentences on the back of the index cards meant for review, but only a little because he loves doing the drawings so well. He and his brothers have really had some belly laughs over some of their creativity!
My middle child is 11 years old and dyslexic. He did Level 2 but I feel confident that he could’ve handled Level 3 since all the reading was out loud. The biggest difference I saw between the two levels is that Level 2 includes some extra memorization that the other levels do not (I wish they did!) – just things like how many books are in the Bible or what the original languages were, Bible trivia basically – and that some of the drawings were the simplified version.
For instance, when the wise men are before Herod, there is only 1 wise man in the picture for levels 1 and 2; for levels 3 and 4, there are 3 wise men in the drawing. My son usually chose to draw all the extra stuff, unless the extra stuff was actually letters. Speaking of letters – the way we did the cards was that I had them draw on one side and write the suggested sentences on the other, just like the Bible study suggests. But I dictated the sentences to my oldest two; for my dyslexic son, I allowed him to come sit by me at the computer and copy them directly. I even gave him shortened versions of some of the sentences; the sentences are a little long and they just need the basic idea, and doing it this way allowed him to finish at about the same time as his brothers.
My younger two kids, 5 year old kindergartners – one boy and one girl, I hadn’t been sure really what levels they would need or would work best for them. Both Level 1 and the Beginner set come with Traceable options, and I knew that at least my boy would need those. But I wasn’t sure if the Beginner was more appropriate or not.
In talking with my contact from the company, she helped me realize that the Beginner set does NOT coincide with the other levels precisely. That means that if you want to do this as a family study, you might lean towards Level 1 because the lessons will line up exactly.
That said, the Level 1 material has just as much drawing and reading as the rest of the levels do, and my kindergartners had a rough time paying that much attention. Honestly, we were doing a whole lesson in a single day – that was too much for them. If we’d broken it up over 4 days as intended, the might could have handled it, and we’re going to keep experimenting with it.
But, really, I do think that the Beginner set is a better fit for them. My son gets tired of writing or drawing quickly, so the fewer boxes to draw in are better for him. The traceable option really was a huge hit for him, and I don’t think he’d have been so cooperative if that wasn’t available. His sister… well, she’s the sort that if she’s willing to do anything at all, she’s willing to do it all; but, if she’s having a day where she doesn’t want to do school work, then you can bet that nothing will get done. For her, the shorter lessons and the beginner boxes are a draw because even on a day that she’s not willing to do work, when all the kids are sitting and doing it she can be convinced to do just that much.
The Beginner lessons do sort of line up with the older ones. I figured out that basically, the Beginner lessons are made to do only 2 days a week as opposed to the older levels’ 4 per week. Then, it takes the Beginner basically two lessons to get through the same story as the older kids. So if you look at it that way, and are willing to rearrange the schedule just a bit for your older ones, you can use the Beginner set with the other levels. I’m a tweaker so that didn’t bother me at all, and since there’s no set schedule (just a couple of recommended daily tasks in the teacher sections) I think it is workable.
We are really enjoying this series and I expect that we’ll keep up with it in the future. It’s deep enough, fun enough, pulls our family together, and is just what we’ve been looking for! You can keep up with Grapevine Studies on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the Crew reviews! Click the banner below to see a list of all the reviews – everyone got different levels, and a few got some of the topical studies offered instead of the same product I received. Go see!