Friday, November 13, 2015

Can You Draw a Stick Figure? Then You Can Study the Bible as a Family! {A GrapeVine Studies Review}

{When you're a blogger and love a product, you become an affiliate for it.  That is what has happened for us with Grapevine Studies and their Old Testament 1 studies. If you click through links and make any purchase, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.  See our full disclosure.)

When your kids like to draw and you want to engage them in more Bible study, what do you do?  One thing you can do is check out any of these great products by Grapevine Studies:

When our family was given an opportunity to review a digital download of the teacher's manual and student books for either the Birth of Jesus or the  Old Testament 1 studies, I was thrilled.  I have heard nothing but awesome things about Grapevine Studies before and had them "on my list" to check out "someday".  For me, in this case, "someday" has come -- and blessedly so!

Just What Is Grapevine Studies?

In a nutshell, Grapevine Studies is a company that seeks to make Bible study simple and engaging in order to grow disciples for God.  In my opinion, they meet that aim with flying colors for any family (or classroom group) that likes to quick-draw.

Teachers manuals are well-laid out so you, the parent or teacher, can read the opening pages and, then, with a few supplies, just open-and-go with your children, offering them short 5-15 minute lessons four times a week or a longer 40-60 minute lesson once a week.  Right in the manual are full color examples of what to draw as you teach as well as script that you can use.  Could it be any simpler for you?  Fabulous!

As for your children, they just follow along with what you guide them in. 

Young children steadily and enjoyably familiarize themselves with the major figures and events from the Bible through drawing stick figures and simple shapes as well as answering questions about Bible readings.  So, basically, they Hear-Draw-Review, engaging themselves in auditory, kinesthetic, visual, and interpersonal learning

Older students do similarly, however, they also get introduced to more Scripture, basic Bible geography, and Bible study skills that require a Bible dictionary, etc.  The method for older children's learning, then, becomes Read/Hear (depending on who you have read the Bible passages)-Draw-Review (by speaking or writing).  Student pages have room for children to write out memory verses and, if they write small, to answer review questions in writing, too, so families can opt for what works best for their children's strengths: oral or written responses.

From the first grade level on up,
Grapevine Studies include timelines of biblical characters and events.  The first lesson in the study is a timeline one which offers children an overview of what they will learn in the study.  Then, with each subsequent lesson, children cycle back to the timeline to review specific parts of it.  With this timeline feature, then, Grapevine Studies offer faith, simple art/expression, language arts, and history skills all in one simple-to-use package.  Love that!


Grapevine Studies offers products as both e-books and printed ones to meet the needs of different families and teachers.  The license for families states that the e-books are "for use by members of your immediate family", while the classroom permissions allow for copies for "one classroom for one calendar year from date of purchase"  So, going the e-book route might be the wisest choice for those with large families and those teaching co-ops or other classes, while sticking with print versions might make sense for those with printers that suck up lots of ink or those that want to really just open-and-go!

For us, e-book versions worked since I was able to reference the teacher's manuals from the screen of my computer while printing out pages from different levels to see which suited my children best before settling on one specific level.  However, now that I know which levels best suit my kids, I think, with future Grapevine Studies, we might save ourselves printing and simply buy printed copies of the student books.  I am still debating.  Whatever I choose, I am simply happy that there is a choice:  printed or e-book.  Grapevine Studies makes the choice yours!

Simple Supplies for Teaching

For the  Old Testament 1 studies at levels 1 and 2 supplies are simple and likely what you already have on your home.  For the teacher:
  • a Bible (online or print)
  • the teacher's book
  • a dry erase board and 8 colors of markers (or chart paper and markers, or copy of student pages and colored pencils if doing things with a small enough group to just sit at a table together)
  • a Bible dictionary (in print or online)

Each child needs:

  • a Bible (online or print)
  • a student book
  • colored pencils (markers, crayons, or other colored writing utensils)

For levels 3 and 4, the teacher's supplies is the same.  Children, however, also need:

  • a topical Bible
  • a concordance  

What We Found Was a Good Fit for Us

Since my children and I both know the story of the Birth of Jesus better than the Old Testament, I was included to go with a digital download of the teachers book and student's books for the Old Testament 1 for our review.   However, before making a final choice, I check out the helpful How to Choose? Where to Start? information first.

Choice for Old Testament 1 made, I then checked out the helpful Information About the Levels information.  After checking this information out, I knew I wanted to check out Old Testament 1: Level 1 Creation to Jacob since it includes a traceable version of the product, which provides faint lines of all the drawings forfor less confident children to trace over.   For at least one of my children sometimes gets frustrated "keeping up" with siblings during drawing activities, even though the child loves drawing.  I could not decide however, if my middle child would be better served by Level 1 or Level 2, because I thought she'd like extra room to draw, which is contained in Level 1 traceable, but would also appreciate the opportunity to memorize Bible facts, which is part of Level 2.  Likewise, while my oldest is at the right age for Level 2, I liked the idea of the geography in Level 3 for all my children, and especially him, as geography has been a big focus for us lately.   Likewise, Level 4 called to me, since both my oldest and I could get in the habit of using more Bible study tools and, sometimes, my son does well with a stretch as far as age/grade levels goes, especially with his reading lately.

Indeed, because my children are all over the place with their language arts and drawing skills, as well as with their strengths and interests, I could see each of the levels providing benefit. Kindly, I was given the chance to try out Level 1 (ages 6-8, with Traceable version for 3 and up), Level 2, (ages 8-10), Level 3 (ages 10-12), and Level 4 (ages 12+). 

Once we received our digital downloads and I had a chance to review the entirety of each student book level by myself and to show my children some samples, as well as to test some pages out in them, each child's level became clearer to me:

  • my five-year-old prefers the traceable version of Level 1.
  • my eight-year-old wants the traceable version of Level 1 on "challenging" days, but typically does well with the non-traceable one
  • my nine-year-old is currently using Level 2 even though Level 3 is more suitable to him.  Why Level 2?  For a very simple reason I probably should not admit:  Mom can be lazy at times.  Or, rather, seek sanity through simplicity.  By using only Levels 1 and 2 with my kids, I reference just one teacher book at a time.  Referencing both the Level 1/2 teachers book and the Level 3/4 one together was not hard, but I am all about the simplest way these days.

While we at at admissions, let me also admit I have caved to ease over challenge for my son. My oldest
could really handle the
Level 4 book as well as the Level 3 one.  However, like I said, I want to stick with referencing one teachers book for now.  Plus, Level 4 does not include the Student Drawing Page that the other levels do, which my oldest thoroughly enjoys.  Plus, although its Quest pages are good, they are not something I have been finding time to do orally with my oldest and are also not something he relished doing in writing by himself.  For my son greatly dislikes any writing exercises and, since we have other writing things for him to do right now, I did not want to taint enjoyable Bible study with his writing protests.  Better to stick to mostly drawing and oral response and discussion at this point to strengths and Bible go hand-in-hand in my household.  The Level 4 version I tend to reference more for my own studies when I have a moment.  I also hope to use the Quest pages with my children later in the year when our other writing exercises slow down.


Sometimes we do our Grapevine Studies in spurts, with one bite-sized piece of the chapters at a time.  At other times, we do full chapter at once.  It all depends on how our eclectic, experiential, often-out, sometimes home studies are going!  Either way, I just love how easy the approach of the program makes it to fit into our schedule.  Simple supplies, well-laid out teachers book, and user-friendly student books bless us with the ability to balance studies into our full schedule of fun and learning helping us make our way through learning more about:
  • Creation
  • Adam and Eve
  • The Fall
  • Noah and the Flood
  • Tower of Babel
  • Job
  • Abraham
  • Isaac

Plus, just in case we forget anything, there is a section review included halfway through the books and a final review at the end.

When we first sat down to do the studies, I broke out the white board, white board markers, my computer with the teachers book up on the screen, the student book pages, colored pencils, and markers.  I personalized the script, and draw away we all did, keying into key figures in the Bible.  As we did, my oldest tended to help his younger siblings, which thrilled me!  (Any tie he shows the virtue of helpfulness, it does!)

Timeline complete, we then carried on with lessons as directed in the teachers book.  We did add one thing, though: personalize!  Oh how my kids like to add to their stick-figuring at times!


We also came to skip almost any writing utensil-to-paper beyond drawing, since the drawing part of the program is the part my kids like best.  We've had enough writing for all three of my kids with other things lately, so, instead of writing out Bible verses and responses to questions, we just did these things orally.

Doing things this way has made the program work, and work wonderfully, for my children and I.  We truly appreciate the method of Read-Draw-Review (with the additions of listening, personalizing and discussing) and I love how easy and enjoyable
Grapevine Studies makes fitting Bible studies into our lives!

Learn More

Without question, I'd recommend Grapevine Studies to others!  Studies are fun, simple-to-use, and effective for learning the Bible and are leveled for any age!  They'd be great for:

  • busy families like ours that want to more regularly fit focused, fun homeschool Bible study in!
  • co-ops and Sunday school classes that want to focus on understanding the Bible
  • those who appreciate opportunities to practice both short and long-term memory skills using faith-based materials
  • folks with different learning styles, particularly visual learners
  • parents seeking a new approach for family devotions
  • families with preschoolers through highschoolers
Really, just about any Christian family or school might enjoy
Grapevine Studies!

If you'd like to see if they are, indeed, a fabulous fit for your children or class, find FREE SAMPLES of Grapevine Studies here. Print them out, test them, and you may get hooked, too!

Grapevine Studies Review

You might also want to check out the reviews of 100 Schoolhouse Review Crew families that were blessed to check out Birth of Jesus or the  Old Testament 1 studies.

Get social with at Grapevine Studies:

Obviously, I love Grapevine Studies!  If you try it out, I'd love to hear what you think of it, too.
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