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Grapevine Studies Old Testament Overview

Stick Figuring Through the Bible

by Dianna Wiebe

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Grapevine Studies Old Testament Overview Available as an e-book or workbook. Prices vary by level. Published by Grapevine Studies. Some studies are available through our Amazon affiliate link.

Grapevine Studies offers Bible curriculum with a unique twist. While studying the Bible, the teacher and students draw simple stick figures to illustrate the concepts and action of the story. Mrs. Wiebe, the author, suggests that this method "engages the intellect while stimulating the imagination."

The idea behind Grapevine Studies is straightforward. The teacher introduces the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse. As he brings up key points, such as each day of Creation, he draws basic shapes and stick figures in different colors. The students see corresponding words like "Day 1, Light, Night and Day" as they draw the same pictures in their workbooks. At the end of each lesson, the teacher goes over review questions to help cement the material in the students' minds.

The studies are available at different grade levels with teacher's manuals that frequently cover more than one grade. Each lesson in the student book begins with a the main topic, Bible verses, and time frame. Then the Bible verses are broken into smaller groups with large, blank areas for stick-figuring next to them. Key words appear at the bottom of each blank area. The teacher's manual includes summaries of the verses/stories, tips for teaching, example stick figures, and answers.

Books are available in black-and-white or color. The color book shows the stick figures in the colors that are recommended in the text. While this may sound like a simple difference, having the color teacher's manual would actually make less work for the teacher because he could see, rather than have to read and figure out, what to do.

Below is a summary of the study levels:
  • Beginner for pre-school to Kindergarten, ages 5-7. This level has larger print and covers basic facts of the story without many of the issues that little ones would not understand. One memory verse and five to six review questions are included in each of the forty-three lessons. Seven review sections are also in the book. A teacher's manual covers only this level.
  • Level 1 (Grades 1-2) and Level 2 (Grades 3-4) student books with corresponding Level 1-2 Elementary Teacher's Manual. Beginning with these levels, all books start with a timeline overview of Old Testament people and events. In levels 1 and 2, students write three Bible verses and memorize one of them per lesson. Students create a "character and event card" that summarizes each lesson for future review. Review questions increase to eight to ten for each of the thirty-nine lessons. Seven review sections plus a final review are included. In the Teacher's Manual, "Look-up words," vocabulary to be researched in a concordance or Bible dictionary, are noted beside each area for stick-figuring. Children in level 2 are given additional memory work such as the books of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, and the sons of Jacob.
  • Level 3 (Young Teen) and Level 4 (Teen-Adult) student books with corresponding Level 3-4 Teen-Adult Teacher's Manual. Level 3 continues with the character/event cards, but those are dropped in Level 4. Instead, students do research with a topical Bible, Bible Dictionary, and concordance and make workbook entries. Level 4 students also have a "Quest Question," a topic that requires deeper thinking or research. Level 3 includes seven maps of Bible lands for labeling. Levels 3 and 4 include thirty-nine lessons, seven reviews, and a final review.
  • Level 5 (Teen-adult Independent Studies) student book only. Level 5 does not come with a teacher's manual so the student is left to create his own study with the outline provided in the book. Each lesson has a Bible passage broken into sections with key words noted; a place for a memory passage (your choice); a study page for your choice of Bible dictionary, concordance, and topical Bible notes; a review page of questions; activities suggestions; and ideas for further study. Fifty lessons allow the advanced student to spend more time going into greater depth.

No particular doctrine is espoused by this program. Because it is set up as an outline, teachers can add their own doctrine wherever they wish.

Recommendation: With the teaching technique used in Grapevine Studies, students of all learning styles are bound to grasp key points of Bible history. Grapevine Studies allow students to express creativity and get them involved in learning. It is sure to make students look forward to Bible study time!

Parents may buy the electronic (CD or download) version of the student book, but would find implementation easier with a hard-copy of the teacher's book. For families with children at multiple levels, the author suggests buying the Level 3-4 teacher book and then the appropriate level student book for each child. Because of the differences in how the material is covered at different ages, parents may want to consider buying a the level that is closest to most of the children or teaching the children separately if there is a wide age range.

Our Experience: I found the directions a little complicated, but after looking through the teacher's and student's manuals, I could see that the concept was really quite simple. I would suggest skipping the directions and returning to them only when clarification is needed. This program looks terrific, and I'm looking forward to trying it with my family.

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