Sunday, August 16, 2009

TOS Crew Review: Grapevine Studies- Stick Figuring Through the Bible-Biblical Feasts and Holy Days

In our home, I have a huge gap in ages with my two remaining students. My daughter is on the cusp of turning 15, making her a Sophomore in high school this year; and my son-who just turned 8, is entering the second grade. Their skill levels are vastly different-actually, they are on opposite ends of the Grand Canyon! So, how am I to get the same information across in a manner that isn't too complex for my son, nor overly watered down for my teen-and not lose my marbles in the process?

When you are blessed with a family of mixed ages, it soon becomes apparent that you have basically two choices in how you will teach the various subjects to your pupils. You can go the route of covering the material of many subjects, several times a day, to each individual child-which makes for a long day. Or you can combine the subjects which ooze multi-level teaching possibilities, in order to eliminate the redundancy found in the first choice. Thankfully, Bible study is one of the most pliable subjects to cover, regarding such needs. Stick Figuring Through the Bible: Grapevine Studies Series offers up a selection of courses which address this very situation.

Because we have been working through the Old Testament in recent months, we chose the Biblical Feasts and Holy Days, a 13 week course. A few things instantly attracted me to this particular study; such as it is designed to address children ages 7 and up (and adults too), that it doesn't require too much teacher prep, and it utilizes stick figure drawing to help cement the learned concepts. And you read that correctly-stick figure drawings. I highly suspect that author realized anyone (even the most artistically challenged individual) can sketch a one dimensional stick picture, in order to reap the benefits by doing so. I have seen the fruit of using various curricula that emphasizes tapping into all of the learning styles, and this one is no exception. Especially the unique use of such visual aides, to help cement the main concept of the lesson.

After spending some time looking up the verses to be discussed, and making notes when need be-I was able to commence the lesson with ease. My daughter can be rather resistant when it comes to trying new approaches, but this series meshed with her quite nicely; even to the point to where she inquired about the other programs they offered. SOLD! She liked how the study was laid out in a manner that did not linger upon a subject so long, that you lost interest and quickly zoned out-doing only what must be done to "get it over with". I agree with her on that-I like that it provides just enough coverage to give you an decent overview, yet doesn't bog you down with laborious questions or fill-in the blank worksheets. Those products only manage to kill any enthusiasm you may have had at the beginning of the study-not stir up interest. The shorter units are just perfect for families like mine-who become bored from lamenting over one area for an entire year. The Stick Figure Through the Bible approach is quite ingenious too. It gives the student a visual reminder to the story line, while not being too difficult to draw. My daughter (our artist) started morphing the pictures into actual drawings, but regardless-she remembered the content. Which was the point in the first place.

Even though this study is tailored to children 7 and up, I decided to hold off on this with my 8 year old. He was required to listen in whilst playing nearby, and to partake in the discussion, if he felt he has something to say or ask...but he is "on vacation" [his words] so we held off on having him do the workbook. I will save that, and come back to it after another time. I know that by listening in now, he will come to recognize these stories when we go over them again-so all is good.

The Grapevine Studies series is definitely a keeper in this house. I am impressed with the clever way to teach such an important subject, in a manner which is easy and not too tedious; while leaving the responsibility of addressing the specifics of our particular denomination [with the version of the Bible we prefer] to us.

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Grapevine Studies Home Page
$19.95 for Teacher book, $14.95 for Student Workbook (consumable)
Also available as an eBook download (Teacher: $12.95-with choice for group as well), Student: $14.95-with choice for family, group or class)


My readers can get a 30% DISCOUNT, off their purchase.
Use the code: crews when prompted for a discount/coupon code.
Offer expires Sept. 15, 2009.

Be sure to visit the TOS Store as well-they sell many of the Grapevine Studies products too!

Wondering what my fellow mates have to say about this and other fine homeschooling products? Visit our TOS Crew Review Homepage for more insight!

**Grapevine Studies provided us with a free copy of The Grapevine Studies-Stick Figuring Through the Bible-Biblical Feasts and Holidays TE/Student Wkbks in order to test and use it with my family, so I could write this review.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Great review, Sheri! I've awarded you with an award on my blog. Congratulations!