I didn’t grow up with much of an emphasis on studying the Bible. Sure, we had children’s Bible stories and a Children’s Bible around the house, but we didn’t study it or learn verses from it.
Now that I have kids of my own, I recognize this deficit in my religious education and want to see my kids grow up with a strong background in the Bible and the stories there. One product that has recently helped us study the Bible as a family is Grapevine Studies. Designed for family use, we reviewed three products: Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob, Old Testament 1: Level 3 Creation to Jacob, and Old Testament 1: Level 4 Creation to Jacob.
About Grapevine Studies
Grapevine Studies uses the method Hear-Draw-Review for students in Level 1. For other levels, Grapevine Studies uses Read-Draw-Review. As children use a new level each year or two, the assignments increase. The older students learn Bible Geography and Bible study skills.
In addition to Old Testament studies, there is also New Testament and a host of topical studies including:
- Biblical Feasts,
- Birth of Jesus,
- Resurrection, and
Grapevine Studies also caters to those teaching multiple children at once by offering a combined Teacher’s Manual for Levels 1 and 2 and a combined Teacher’s Manual for Levels 3 and 4, saving on the expense of using the program.
About Old Testament 1: Creation to Jacob
This curriculum can be taught at a variety of levels (preschool to 8th grade), so it’s possible to teach all of your children at the same time. In addition, the curriculum is multi-denominational so people from a variety of religious beliefs will be able to use the materials.
The basic premise behind the curriculum is that students remember the Bible better when they are doing–in this case, creating stick figures. The students first create a timeline from Creation to Jacob, then they go back and fill in the specific stories related to the events in the timeline.
Because students are drawing stick figures, no real art ability is required.
Each level contains 12 lessons. Grapevine Studies recommends the following schedule:
Day 1: Timeline review page (5 to 10 minutes)
Day 2 & 3: Lesson page 1 & 2 (30-35 minutes)
Day 4: Student Drawing Page (5-15 minutes)
Our Experience Using Grapevine Studies
I used this program with my three children.
Cuddlebug (5.5) used Level 1 with Traceables (meaning the stick figures were already drawn for her and she simply traced them). PB & J Girl (7) used Level 1, and Bookworm (11.5) tried out both Level 3 and 4, though he primarily used Level 3.
While all of the books are compatible, there are some differences in what is studied. Specifically, I noticed in Level 3 that there was more emphasis on memorizing Bible verses and in learning Biblical geography. Level 4 also required more research and study, which intimidated Bookworm. Since he’s in 6th grade and Level 4 is recommended for 7th and 8th grade, we’ll continue with Level 3 for him.
Students in all levels have drawing pages. However, there is only one picture per page for Level 1, and four per page for all other levels.
What We Liked about Grapevine Studies
There were many things we liked about Grapevine Studies.
The program is open and go. There is very little, if any, prep required for the teacher. Everything is clearly laid out for the teacher along with explanations of what to present. So easy!
Encourages kids to read the Bible more. Bookworm has taken other Bible study courses before, but he felt that this one, especially, encouraged him to read the Bible more.
We liked that we could do it together as a family. Since our kids are spaced apart in grades 6, 1 and K, finding curriculum we can all use together is difficult. However, this curriculum was perfect for that. We used it after lunch, and spent about 15 to 25 minutes learning our Grapevine lessons.
Traceables were perfect for Cuddle Bug’s age. Cuddle Bug is just 5.5, and without the traceables, I think she would have been frustrated. However, with them, she was able to keep up with her big brother and sister. She could also embellish the pictures, which she enjoyed. When I asked her what she thought of the program, she simply said, “It’s very fun way to learn.” Can’t beat that!
The focus is on the Bible, not art. Bookworm especially liked the stick figures because he felt he could focus on the Bible and the stories rather than feeling pressure “to create a masterpiece”.
What We Disliked about Grapevine Studies
In level 3, Bookworm had trouble memorizing some of the verses. He wished that the program also offered tips to memorize better.
In the drawings, kids are instructed to make eyes, which are to represent Jesus coming. However, the eyes creeped out Cuddle Bug. After a while, she just stopped drawing them and would cross them out. They didn’t bother anyone else, though, so I think that is just Cuddle Bug’s hang up.
I was one of 100 reviewers to review a variety of Grapevine Studies products. To read more reviews, click on the link below: