Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Schoolhouse Review: GrapeVine Studies #hsreviews #biblestudy

A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

Years ago, I picked up a freebie sample lesson from GrapeVine Studies and used it one night at church.  The kids thought it was cool and I thought it was a fun way to introduce the Old Testament to them.  When the opportunity to use and review the Birth of JESUS:  Multi-Level study was offered, I couldn't wait to get started.  I wanted to really put it to the test with my Sunday night Children's Worship crew of children ages 3 - 10.

Yes, you read that correctly.  We offer a Children's Worship for kids in Pre-K through 5th grade -- all in one room.  It's often difficult to keep a crowd of kids focused on a lesson and can be especially trying when their age and ability range is so large.  We tend to be super-creative to make it all work, so I was excited to give the multi-level study a try.  I know it sounds crazy, but I thought this just might be doable.  The Multi-Level study includes traceables for children ages 3 - 6, so I had high hopes going into our lessons.  I am happy to report that GrapeVine Studies did not disappoint.

Grapevine Studies Review

So, what IS GrapeVine Studies ?  What did I get?  How did we utilize it?  Did we like it?  Oh, boy!  I am so very glad you asked.

For purposes of this review, I received the Teacher License eBook, the Student Family License eBook, and the Traceable Family License eBook (with permission to use in my church group) which makes up the multi-level package.  These three books make for a winning combination (and I even used them separately with the middle school ministry, but more about that later.)

Grapevine Studies Review
The Teacher Book is 65-pages of step-by-step instructions to aid in teaching children about the wonderful event of JESUS' birth.  Beginning with Adam and moving through the 62 generations to JESUS, children learn to see the Bible as one continuous story.  The really neat thing is that children draw along with you to learn.  As you teach the events that led up to HIS birth and continue until the arrival of the Magi from the East, you draw pictures and read through Bible passages together.  Sounds wonderful, huh?  The very act of drawing what you are learning helps make certain that you don't forget the lessons.

Now, before you freak out, let me say that I am not an artist.  I've often joked that even my stick figures leave a LOT to the imagination.  BUT . . . GrapeVine Studies take the fear out of illustrating.  The teacher's notes show exactly what you are to draw when -- and it's all stick figures.  I may not be very imaginative, but I can copy.  

For us, this meant I drew on a white board with dry erase markers and the children copied what I drew.  To really make this study work, you need the multi-colored pack of markers and children need crayons in different colors.  Part of what makes the lessons "stick" is that figures are drawn in the same color throughout the lesson.  For example, Joseph is always drawn in  BLUE.  Mary is always drawn in RED.  And sweet JESUS is always drawn in PURPLE -- because BLUE and RED make PURPLE.   Neat, huh?
Grapevine Studies Review
The Multi-Level Student Book contains 49-pages of lessons that offer labeled boxes for the children's drawings.  Scripture references are included which makes this the perfect take-home lesson.  We encouraged our children to make sure and tell their parents what we talked about and drew each night and we encouraged the parents to re-read the scripture with their children during the week.  The Traceable Student Book contains 49-pages of the exact same lessons but the labeled boxes have dashed lined figures for younger children to simply trace with the correct colored crayon.

There are 5 lessons:
  1. The Announcement
  2. Birth of JESUS
  3. The Proclamation
  4. The Wise Men and Herod
  5. Final Review  
I used this in its entirety over a six-week time period.  We began with an overview of the Timeline of Events and discussed what we would be studying and then completed one lesson each week.  It was fun to listen to the children as they learned new things and solidified old, but the very best part was seeing the JOY on their faces as their story books came to fruition.  The children were super-proud to take their pages home each week and I pray that these will become treasured keepsakes for their families.

At the end of each lesson, students are asked to re-draw their favorite part of what they have learned in that lesson.  This has been my favorite thing to see:

The children have enjoyed this study more than anything we've done in quite a while.  I have enjoyed seeing them work together and LEARN.

Brother to Brother
The cutest thing happened during our last lesson.  It was Review Night so we were discussing everything we'd learned and doing a final timeline and map check.  When I asked if anyone remembered who the men were that came from the East looking for JESUS, one little boy excitedly shook his hand high.

"I know, I know, Mrs. Lynn!"
"I know, I know!"

Naturally I called on him waiting expectantly for his answer of "The Wise Men."  You can imagine my delight when he answered as loudly as he could:

The Jewelry Guys!

And I guess, when you're 5, gold, frankincense, and myrhh are a lot like jewelry.  It reminded me to always look at JESUS with wonder and awe.  Because, yes, a little child shall lead us.

Now, I've also used this same study with the Middle Schoolers on Wednesday nights.  I taught the exact same thing as a weekly lesson knowing that it would be PERFECT background for them as they are working to put together an event for the children's ministry called "The Birth of JESUS."  I told my middle schoolers that it simply wasn't fair that I'd taught these great lessons to the children and left them out of the mix.  I will admit that I was not exactly sure how it would go over with them -- sometimes middle schoolers think they are just too cool.   Not so with my bunch.  Let me show you how it went down for them:

Did you notice that adult volunteers AND middle school students (6th - 8th graders) are all hard at work?  Do you see the smiles and the concentration?  The  Birth of JESUS:  Multi-Level study has been a huge success for us from 3-year-olds to 63-year-olds.  I think the best thing is that we have all learned something new about the story of the Nativity -- Jewelry Guys and all.

So, how soon can you purchase your own copy and which level is right for your needs?  About the Levels will help you determine exactly what will most benefit your family and you can find out more information about How to Choose? and Where to Start? and see Samples for yourself right now.

Don't take my word for it, though.  Instead, scroll back through my pictures and share in the sheer delight of loving JESUS wholeheartedly through the eyes of a child.  You want that same sense of awe and wonder for your family.  You really do.  For even more information, please visit the following Social Media sites:

Periscope: @Grapevine Studies

Your family deserves this study.  So do you.

Crew Disclaimer

I was given the opportunity to review GrapeVine Studies as a member of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew.   You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse ReviewCrew thought of this and other products as well (or just click on the banner below.)

Grapevine Studies Review
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