Tuesday, November 10, 2015

{Review} GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4

As Christian homeschoolers we like to include regular Bible study in our lessons. Over the years we have tried a variety of Bible study guides and curriculum with only limited success. In all honestly, we've never completely finished a single one of our at-home Bible studies. Despite this rather dismal track record, I'm always looking for a study guide that suits our needs in better or different ways. We certainly found a unique Bible study guide in Old Testament 1: Level 4 Creation to Jacob (part of the Stick Figure Through the Bible series) from GrapeVine Studies.

Unexpected Homeschool Review: GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4. A unique way to study the Bible!

For the purpose of this review we were given the twelve lesson Level 4 Student Guide (ages 12 to 14) and the Level 3 & 4 Teacher Guide. Each came unbound, but three hole punched, with full color covers and pages. Since we didn't have any empty three-ring binders available at the time, I opted to punch and spiral bind our books. The Level 4 study does require the student to have access to a Bible Dictionary, Topical Bible, and Concordance to complete all aspects of the lessons.

While this study is billed as twelve weekly lessons, the Teacher's Guide provides both a daily (4 days per week) and weekly lesson schedule for completing these studies. If a daily schedule is chosen, this totals 45 daily lessons!

Unexpected Homeschool Review: GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4. A unique way to study the Bible!

Right away the Teacher Guide starts out explaining the GrapeVine mission and teaching method, which begins a timeline to help put all the Bible events into perspective. The students then use stick figure drawing in place of taking notes so they can be creative and more involved in each lesson. Of course, older students are welcome to take notes if so desired. Lessons also include review questions and memory verses, but application is left to the teacher. The Level 4 studies, which we used, also have Quest Pages where students learn to use a Bible Dictionary, Concordance, and Topical Bible.

The Teacher's Guide clearly leads the instructor through the scripture readings for the lesson and provides color stick figure drawing samples for each section of the student book. Discussion summaries are given along with review questions and answers. The Level 4 Quest Pages, because of copyright information in the suggested supplemental books, only give page reference numbers to the answers.

The Student book is a consumable guide that provides blank timelines, review questions, Quest pages, and blank blocks where the student can draw or take notes on the lesson scripture passages. When completed this study provides a quick reference to all the Old Testament Bible stories covered.

Unexpected Homeschool Review: GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4. A unique way to study the Bible!

One of the features that made this study set stand apart from others, at least for me, was the nearly full page Statement of Faith and then explanation of Teacher-Directed Doctrine that were both printed in the early pages of the Teacher's Guide. We are extremely selective in the doctrine and theology presented in our Bible studies, which makes it somewhat difficult to find engaging Bible curriculum for my teenager. I have no desire to go through a Bible study and edit the doctrine prior to our use and have gotten to the point where I will not even attempt a study if it does not already conform to our theology.

GrapeVine Studies presents the Bible facts only and allows the teacher to explain the doctrine appropriate to their beliefs. This was perfect for us! Finding something fun, engaging and yet fitting for our beliefs had begun to feel like an impossible task.

Unexpected Homeschool Review: GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4. A unique way to study the Bible!

Amber was excited to try a different style of Bible study and we planned on going through the weekly schedule. However, after just one lesson she was begging to do more lessons on a nearly daily basis. Instead we ended up using the weekly schedule, but several times a week. So, this 12 week study only lasted us a few weeks - and that was perfect considering Amber's confirmation class schedule at church. While Amber already knew all the stories we studied, she found the stick figure drawing to be enjoyable and an easy way to keep her mind on topic.

We did not have any of the specifically referenced supplemental books needed for the Level 4 study available at home, however the equivalent of all three can be found online. Instead we chose to use our study Bibles when possible. Since the Teacher's Guide provides answers that only reference the three named supplemental books, we had a bit of a difficult time with the first lesson's Quest page. Eventually, we decided it didn't matter if our answers were exact matches since we learned through the process of answering and used the Quest pages simply as discussion starters.

Unexpected Homeschool Review: GrapeVine Studies - Old Testament 1, Level 4. A unique way to study the Bible!

Old Testament 1: Level 4 Creation to Jacob from GrapeVine Studies has been a delightful and meaningful Bible study that was easy to use and even easier to match with our religion's doctrine. After all the years of searching, we've finally found a method that works for us at home and we highly recommend it for any Christian family, homeschooled or not!

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