Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grapevine Studies: Old Testament Basics Catechism Course


My kids and I love to doodle and draw, so I was looking forward to trying one of Grapevine Studies Bible studies with my kids.  After all, their motto is "Stick figuring through the Bible!"  They have a large variety of Bible studies for all ages of children and even adults.  I wanted a multi-level study that would allow us all to work together, so I chose the Old Testament Basics catechism-style course. 

The Old Testament Basics Bible Study covers 225 questions (and answers) to review the Old Testament facts and truths about God.  Each page contains two questions, and students both draw and write the answer into their workbook.   After each question, a Bible reference is given to locate the answer.  The teacher's manual includes the written answer, as well as an example of what the students should draw.  The teacher is to draw the stick figure drawing on a chalkboard or white board for the students to copy into their workbook.

Grapevine Bible studies encourage the use of colors and symbols to represent different things.  For instance, a purple triangle represents God ... purple for royalty and a triangle for the Triune Godhead.   So children will need colored pencils  or crayons in addition to their workbooks.  If you want to draw a demonstration stick-figure picture for your children, you will need colored dry-erase markers, colored chalk, or even just a large pad of paper and colored pencils or markers. 

Since each child is to draw the answer in their workbook, you will need a workbook for each child.  In our case, we used the student e-book so we could print as many copies of the workbook as our family needed.  We can even return to the study at a later time, printing new student books.

In our home, I allowed the younger kids to just draw the answer into the workbook.  Waiting on them to copy the written answer from someone else or spelling it out to them word by word was just too tedious ... for them and us.  Since I don't have a chalkboard or white board, I usually just showed the children what they were to draw straight from the book ... covering the other three pictures on the two-page spread.  In hindsight, I wish I had drawn it onto paper, setting an example that I was also willing to stick figure my way through the Bible.

Old Testament Basics was designed to be a simplified study that can be used in a church setting or in the home.  The lessons are intentionally doctrine-free, so parents can teach their own doctrine to their children.  Since our children have attended Sunday School regularly, and we have studied the Old Testament history in our curriculum, they felt the material was too "familiar" and "simple" at first.  We had to remind them to wait until after we read the Scripture to answer, even if they thought they knew the answer.  This eliminated all the guessing and brought it back to a more focused Bible study. 

One of the other Grapevine Studies would have probably been a better choice for us than this catechism-style course.  We enjoyed the Old Testament Basics study, we just felt it worked better for our family to tweak the lessons a bit.  Rather than just beginning to ask questions about the life of Joseph, our family would prefer to study the Scriptures first and then complete the questions together.  It seemed to flow better when the questions were asked after the Scripture was read.   It will work very well as a supplement when we return to Old Testament history in our curriculum. 

Overall, my children enjoyed the process of filling in their workbooks with their stick figure drawings.  Even though I showed them the sample drawing, each of their drawings reflected their own personality and creativity. The process of drawing the stick figures helped them remember the answers and understand them.  Drawing the stick figures helped my kinesthetic learners remember what we discussed, and it helped my distractible, wiggly kids stay focused.  One of my daughters is a visual learner, and this method works great for her, as well.

The Old Testament Basics catechism course is available from Grapevine Studies in two formats, printed softcover book or e-book.  The teacher's manual is $24.95 for the printed book and $19.95 for the e-book.  The student book is $19.95 for both the printed book and the e-book.  At the moment they have some "dent and ding" student books for $15.95.  You can download a sample of the teacher's book HERE.  

Grapevine Studies has Bible studies on Old Testament Overview, New Testament Overview, Esther, Biblical Feasts and Holy Days, Birth of Jesus, New Testament and Old Testament timelines, and more.  They also have affordable e-lessons, including a currently FREE e-lesson on Ruth in Moab.  You can sign up for their newsletter to receive updates on new studies as they are published.

Although we tweaked the Old Testament Basics catechism course to suit our preferences, we do recommend Grapevine Studies for their multi-sensory and hands-on approach to Bible study.


Edited to add:  Grapevine Studies is offering a 30% discount to my readers through September 30, 2009.  The discount code is crew9, but remember it expires on September 30, 2009!

Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting in Him,

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