Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Grapevine Studies (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Each year as a member of the Review Crew, I get introduced to vendors that I didn't know about before hand.  Some of them are really great and quickly become a favorite of ours.  Such is the case with this review:  Grapevine Studies.  If you've read either of my past reviews on this vendor, you'll know how much I really enjoy this company. So of course, when I was given the opportunity to review another one of their wonderful studies with the kids, I jumped at the chance and was so happy to be selected to review  New Testament Overview Part 1:  Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry (Level 2).   This included the Student Book as well as the Teacher's Guide.

The last time we had the opportunity to review a study for Grapevine, we elected to try a Level 1 study since we were unfamiliar with the company and I was unsure how the kids would do.  Level 1
targets 1st -2nd grade and offers large drawing areas and a traceable option (which we used). Since they did so well for that time (and because both kids have really improved their own artwork since), we elected to try the Level 2 studies this time around. Level 2 is targeted for 3rd and 4th graders but I felt that it would be a better fit for Ashleigh and Garrett.  I'm really glad I chose this option as the kids did wonderful with it.

Grapevine makes it easy to figure out what level your student might be ready for when making a decision as to which level to use.  Each level is designed with a particular age group in mind and they adjust the student pages for that age group.

Grapevine Studies was nice enough to allow me to download both Level 1 and Level 2 so that I could compare the two against each other. A few major differences I did notice were that the Level 2 included additional memory work (such as memorizing how many books are in the Bible, the names of the Gospels, ect), vocabulary words to look up, and map activities such as locating and marking Bethlehem and Nazareth on a map.  As previously mentioned, there is also a difference in the drawing boxes - while both levels have the same number of drawings per lesson,  Level 1 has one to two larger drawings spread out over more pages, where Level 2 has 3 to 4  smaller drawings per page.

This particular study is part 1 of a 4 part series that covers the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. Part 1 begins with a very brief summary of the genealogy of Jesus and the announcement of the Birth of John to Zacharias and ends with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. As with every other Grapevine Studies product, these lessons are taught with cute little stick figures, which is perfect for me to teach as I am not artistically inclined.

Stick Figures are about my Artistic Level

How We Used It:

Learning about Zachariah and the birth of John the Baptist
Inside the teachers manual are sample plans as to how you can use the study with your children, such as daily or weekly (and some people I know use it twice a week). In our school, the kids do actual Bible Studies on Monday so we can focus on what we learned and on our memorization the rest of the week.  Sunday night, I just print out the pages for the weeks lesson, staple them together and pass them out on Monday. Then we sit together and discuss the lesson and the kids copy what I draw on the white wall.

This has become one of the kids favorite times of the week and they actually ask for Grapevine to be the last lesson of the day as it is the "most fun".    The great thing about Grapevine Studies is that everything is already planned out for you  in the teachers guide - it tells you what to draw and with what color, what to read and how to explain it to your students.  I just grab my Expo markers while the kids grab their crayons (although, as of last week, they have requested markers) and we dive into the Word.  We also keep a Bible dictionary and a book of maps on hand for various activities that come up in the lesson.  Since we are using the Ebook version (physical copies are available if you prefer), I simply load the teachers manual on my Kindle and it's at my fingertips.

The fact that the story is told not just with the stick figures but with specific colors representing specific people has really helped with memorization of the story for the kids.  Ashleigh does tend to add little details to her drawings that aren't necessarily part of the story (Did you know Jesus had a pet cat?? yeah, me neither) but if it helps her remember the story, so be it.

Following each lesson is a series of questions used for a lesson review.  These questions are fairly simple if the kids have been paying attention to the Bible reading and not just drawing the pictures.  For the most part, the kids have done a great job at comprehending the lessons and can usually answer the questions without any problems.   Ashleigh especially has done a great job remembering everything from the lesson, as well as the memory work.

I also like the repetition.  Key points are revisited in the timeline at the start of each lesson.  The timeline helped keep the order of the events clear in the kids mind as to what happened in what order along with a review of past memory verses and the memory work for the week (which is a small Biblical tidbit that is easy for them to remember).

A typical Timeline Review
Since this is a Grapevine Studies review, I cannot get through it without mentioning how absolutely CUTE this whole thing is.   There, I said it, I feel better now :)

One of Ashleigh's lessons - Jesus had just gotten Baptized so he was still wet...  You can't tell me this isn't cute. 
As much as I've enjoyed many of the items I have reviewed, there are only a very small handful of vendors that I have actually spent my money on.  Grapevine Studies is on that very small list.  I've already purchased the next part of the New Testament series and will purchase the others as we get to them.

2016 Calendar 125x125 If this review has you curious, right now is a great time to try Grapevine Studies.  With Easter coming up fast, Grapevines is offering all of their Resurrection Studies at 20% off .
Also, I should mention that if you happened to read my review about the Grapevine Studies Calendar  then you'll know how wonderful of a resource it is. Grapevine Studies currently has a special on the calendar - buy the calendar and get the notes free.. This is a great deal and I highly recommend it :)

Want to learn more?  Be sure to visit Grapevine Studies on the following social media platforms:

Don't forget to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew's page to read other Grapevine Studies Reviews. Just click the banner below.

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}


  1. Last year's Crew run was our first experience with Grapevine Studies, and we just fell in love! Such a great way to study through sections of the Bible as a family. And your stick figures are much better than mine! :)

    1. Edie, they are such a great company, I just love them. And LOL - Thankfully they are just stick figures.. Anything more and I would be in trouble ;)


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