When I listen intently, I automatically draw little pictures and write down key words. John and Dianna Wiebe of Grapevine Studies have taken this natural, ancient method and created an innovative way to teach the Bible. This is great stuff - and fun!
Using a timeline, stick figures, words, symbols and colors, classroom and home teachers can teach a full array of chronological, interactive lessons. They are interactive in that the student is reading, listening and drawing. This also appeals to many learning styles. Teaching using these materials is a snap because little preparation time is required. It's all here!
Several levels are available. The Beginners level is for five to seven-year-olds in Kindergarten or 1st grade. Level 1 is for seven to nine-year-olds in 1st through 3rd grade, Level 2 for nine to 11-year-olds in 3rd through 6th grade, Level 3 for 11 to 14-year-olds in 6th through 8th grade and Level 4 for 14 year olds to adult. Each level offers 38 - 40 lessons, along with reviews. The curriculum is available in King James Version, New King James Version and New American Standard Version.
Let's talk about what this looks like. I reviewed the Level 4 Old Testament Overview. The materials consist of two volumes: a teacher edition with maps and a student edition. The lessons themselves consist of a reading, drawing by the teacher of the stick figures on the board, a lesson review with supplied questions and a memory verse. The teacher's edition gives considerable information on this method of Bible study and presentation as well as extensive notes for teaching the lessons themselves.
Days 1 - 3 have the student compiling a timeline beginning from Creation. In this Level 4 study, the student digs deep. On day 4, the Topical Bible is used to flesh out the study. On day 7, the student uses a Bible Dictionary to look up the original, literal meanings of words. On day 11, the student is using a Concordance to dig even deeper.
One of the wonderful benefits of this study is that the student is compiling a keepsake reference book of their Bible study! This is a tremendous spiritual heirloom that you can construct with your child as you spend your days discipling him in the ways of God.
I wish I had this when I taught Sunday school. I'm glad I discovered this to teach my own children and to give them a panoramic view of the Old Testament. An additional volume is available for the New Testament. You're going to love this!
-- Product Review by: Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Here's another Stick Figuring Through the Bible review!
I have had in my possession, for a couple of months, the Level 2 (i.e., nine to 11-year-old, 3rd - 6th grade) Old Testament Stick Figuring™ though the Bible, teacher edition and student edition notebooks for review. I actually reviewed them on receipt; however, two months later had still not written my review. Why? I guess the most honest answer to that question is that I was at a loss for words.
I love this curriculum. I think it simply and effectively presents a chronological study of the Old Testament using timelines, stick figures, symbols and colors. The 15-20 minute lessons are easy to prepare for and teach. The curriculum is comprehensive, but not overwhelming. The lessons are chronological and interactive, employing reading, listening, and drawing. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of various learning styles, and each lesson is compatible across levels 1 through 4. Also, built-in reviews throughout the curriculum lead to high retention rates. The following is a description of each of the curriculum levels offered (note that 52 week and 180 day curriculum are available):
Beginners Edition (five to seven-year-olds): Students will learn the major stories of the Bible in a simple and creative way.
Old Testament Overview Series: This unique series consists of 48 lessons and 6 reviews.
New Testament Overview Series: This new series will begin mailing in December! New Testament
Level 1 (1st - 2nd grade): Designed to introduce student to the Timeline with each subsequent lessons covering a major character or event related to the timeline.
180 Day Series: Includes the Old or New Testament Timeline, 38 chronological
lessons, seven Section Reviews, one Mid-Series Review and one Final Review.
Old Testament Overview Series: By the end of this series, student should be able to draw and label the Old Testament Timeline, recite 38 memory verses, and know several key facts related to the major characters and events of the Old Testament.
Level 2 (3rd - 4th grade): Designed to expand students knowledge of the major characters and events of the Bible and learn the books of the Bible in order.
180-Day Series: The 180 Day Series includes the Old Testament Timeline, 38 chronological lessons, seven Section Reviews, one Mid-Series Review and one Final Review.
Old Testament Overview Series: By the end of this series, student should be able to draw and label the Old Testament Timeline, recite 38 memory verses, know the books of the Old Testament in order, the 10 Commandments, the Sons of Jacob, and know several key facts related to the major characters and events of the Old Testament.
Level 3 (5th - 8th grade): A more in-depth study of the major characters andevents of the Bible while introducing students to basic biblical geography.
180 Day Series: The 180 Day Series includes the Old or New Testament Timeline, 38 chronological lessons, seven Section Reviews, one Mid-Series Review and one Final Review.
Old Testament Overview Series: By the end of this series, student should be able to draw and label the Old Testament Timeline, recite 38 memory verses, know several key facts related to the major characters and events of the Old Testament and be familiar with basic Biblical geography.
Level 4 (Teen - Adult): Designed to master the Bible Timeline while delving deeper into the study of the major characters and events of the Bible. Students are taught how to use a Bible Concordance, Bible Dictionary and Topical Bible.
Old Testament Overview Series: The 180 Day Series includes the Old Testament Timeline, 38 chronological lessons, seven Section Reviews, one Mid-Series Review and one Final Review.
This is a great Bible study curriculum for all, whether churched or unchurched, and regardless of level of Bible knowledge. I plan on incorporating this study in our homeschool. I know I won't be disappointed.
--Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Here's another Stick Figuring Through the Bible review!
This is a creative, totally unique, yet comfortingly familiar, approach to Bible study.
Using basic shapes, colors, and stick figures to represent biblical concepts and characters on a white board, the folks at Grapevine have given new light and possibilities to a very important subject. Teaching Bible has become a joy for me again and my kids are enjoying it as well.
What I really love about this program is the extremely strong emphasis the author places on the relationship with Christ that each teacher should have. Whether you are teaching this at home or at Sunday school, the relationship you have with the Lord will shine through to your students. Dianna Wiebe has done an excellent job in encouraging and fostering that focus. Goals are listed for teacher and student and the assumption is that all teachers have a "personal and intimate relationship with the Lord along with the calling to teach the Word of God." This is a personal challenge to me as I believe we, as parents, should strive to have that intimate relationship with God as we seek to educate our children.
Personal opinion aside, this is a very pleasant, very workable program. The unit I reviewed is the Old Testament Overview, using the NKJ translation. There are several units available, and several Bible versions as well as different levels for different age groups. My volume is for beginners who are five to seven-years-old or thereabouts. OT overview is unique in that it just covers the major characters and events of the Old Testament. Other units are, I understand, much more detailed in their content. Levels 1 through 4 extend from grade 1 all the way to adult. If you are teaching multi-levels, Dianna recommends purchasing the Teachers manual for either level 3 or 4 as the notes are designed to be compatible with levels one and two with minimal teacher adjustments needed.
Students each have their own workbooks and the teacher has a whiteboard, teacher's manual and several dry erase pens of different colors. The TM has great notes with helps for important information and new vocabulary to discuss. Each lesson has a passage to read or listen to. As you, the teacher, are reading the passage, you will be illustrating with the pens. Now, kids love illustrations. Unfortunately some of us are not fabulous artists. This is the beauty of Stick Figuring! The teacher uses specificsymbols, a kind of illustrative shorthand, to picture the passage for the student. The symbols are easy; a purple triangle represents God, for example. They always stay the same so as you go through the course, both parent and child will learn to identify symbols easily as passages are discussed. I mentioned that the kids get their own notebooks. What's really fun is that as you sketch, the student also draws in his book. So your student works through the study building himself an awesome notebook of visual aids to all the major characters and events of the Old Testament. What a great plan. My son remembers so much more when he does it himself. And because nothing huge is expected of him in terms of artistic talent, he is not afraid to try. He really enjoys the process because it is fun and interesting. There are no wrong answers. He simply follows my lead, adapting or embellishing his own work as he sees fit. We discuss the passage as we go through it. Each lesson begins with a built in review of the previous lessons and I usually ask my son the included review questions after each lesson. The reviews are provided after each lesson, after each section, and again at the end of the book. There are suggested ways of review and all are designed to help lead the student to answer the question "What did we learn about God from these verses?" Memory verses are suggested and again the visual pictographs make this a fun process, not a chore.
Sample lessons are available through the website. Also, you can check out each level and see where you would like to jump in and begin.
This is a good, solid, fun plan for learning and remembering the events and people of the Old Testament. I highly recommend Grapevine Studies for home, Sunday, or small group study. I can't wait to see the other available units and the depths to which they take us. This volume alone has been such an enjoyable experience so far that I can imagine they will be more and more interesting as they delve deeper into a rich relationship with our Lord.
This study grew out of one families' desire to lead their children to a deeper, intimate relationship with God and they have been gracious enough to share their plans and findings with all of us. I think you will really enjoy these products. Dianna is extremely pleasant to work with and her love and passion for Jesus are clearly evident. Five huge stars for this one, it should revitalize your families' Bible time.