Friday, August 28, 2009

GrapeVine Studies Old/New Testament Overviews Level 3

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This one one of my favorite "Summer Reviews", for more than one reason.....

We were given our choice of a number of GrapeVine Studies Bible Studies. I chose the Old Testament Overview Level 3, which looks like it will be a great option for my DD, now that she has "aged out" of AWANA (Except for helping as a leader....). We are both excited to have a gentle, chronological study of the major points of the Old Testament, and to have memory verses to go along with (OK, so maybe Mom is more excited about that than DD... ;) .. we shall see...)

Photobucket Student Guide Photobucket Teacher's Guide for Levels 3 &4

The Bible study starts with an "Overview" Timeline of the entire Old Testament. The timeline is printed on 9 pages with on average 5 or so events/characters being stick-figured. I did discover that there is a slight difference between levels 3 and 4 in the student book, and that is that the Books of the OT are placed chronologically underneath the timeline in level 4. I think it would be great to include that in level 3 as well.... (You may hear why a little later...)

Once you get through the "Overview" of the timeline, it's time to dig right in to the Bible study, starting with Genesis 1:1. Each lesson starts with a review page of the previous 3 lessons' timeline events and their memory verses. The next two pages contain the current Scripture reading, broken down into about 3 stick-figure illustrations per page, with a set of review questions at the end. The last page contains instructions to make a "memory card" or potential "Flash card" of the lesson, and the memory verse(s) for that lesson.

Definitely a curriculum that touches on all three learning styles...
1. Hear the Scripture
2. See the stick figures that Mom or Dad draws on a white board/chalkboard or paper for the student to....
3. Copy onto their own papers.

The lesson is further "Reviewed" through the questions, which I like to do orally, and then going slightly tactile again, creating the "memory card", and writing down the memory verse. This could be a lot of writing/drawing if you tackle it all in one day, but broken down into 4 or 5 days, it is really quite simple. Oh, and you don't have to be a fine artist... the teacher's manual contains simple stick figures for you to draw, and your student(s) to copy. If you can draw a circle and some lines, you're good to go!

I have to take a minute here to tell you a little bit of a story, that is the basis for my excitement about THIS study, THIS summer, in particular.

For the second year in a row, we have hosted a young Japanese exchange student in our home for almost a month. My brother is a coordinator for this program, and has arranged for the hosts that are Christians to have Japanese Bibles to give to their visiting students. Nice idea, yes?

Last year our student came with us to church, and we managed to help her find her way around the Bible for some Children's Church-type lessons (her English wasn't very fluent, so we decided that it would be better to have object lessons and Scripture than to have her sit through the adult sermon... one of the benefits of a tiny church... personalize what's happening to the congregation and/or visitors), but I don't think she was very interested. We thought it was a good sign that she took the Bible with her, but really felt like we were just sprinkling a few seeds, and who knows the condition of the soil.

This year, with the GrapeVine Bible study needing to be used and reviewed, I decided to wait to start until our visitor (K) was with us. We picked her up on a Saturday, we gave her the Japanese Bible on that Sunday, and started in on the Old Testament Timeline Overview (level 3) on Monday morning. It's recommended that you take 2 weeks to go through a quick overview of the whole timeline, hitting all of the major events and people in the OT, so that is exactly what we did.

Being a homeschooling mom, and being by nature a "Tweaker", this is what we did... I printed up the timeline 2 to a page, cut them down to uniform size, and taped the whole thing together, then rolled it up like a scroll. Every day we unrolled one page and stick-figured the stories/events. I also went through and added the verses that coordinated with the stories from the actual future lessons, because I wanted (K) to have the ability to find them in her Bible when she went back to Japan.

Right before we ended the Old Testament Timeline Overview I asked (K) if she was enjoying it, and finding it interesting. She said yes, and by the smile on her face, I could tell it was true. (BTW, it was fun watching her write the names of the books in the references in Japanese... :D but this is where I would have liked to have them already printed, like I mentioned at the beginning of this review... might have made it a little easier...) I had a bit of a "light-bulb" moment, and thought "Wouldn't it be GREAT if we could give her an overview of the New Testament as well.. after all, that is the GOOD NEWS that we want to share.
I emailed Dianna at Grapevine to see if she would be so kind as to send me the timeline overview for the New Testament as well. It would have been perfectly fine and understandable if she had declined, but she was very gracious and promptly sent me the New Testament Overview Teacher's Manual and the Level 4 student manual. Thank you Dianna! I pray that (K) will be ETERNALLY grateful for your gracious generosity!

The last week and 1/2 that (K) was with us, I would go in to say "Good Morning" to the girls, and I would find her reading her Japanese Bible! When I mentioned it quietly to DD, she told me that (K) would read it at night before she went to sleep, unless she was totally exhausted by the day. All I can say is "What a great way to "go on a missions trip" in your own home!"

We didn't quite finish the New Testament Timeline quick Overview before she left, but I printed up a copy of the completed stick figuring from the teacher's manual, with the corresponding verses written in, so that she could finish when she returned home.

I understand that this wasn't entirely the intent behind this Bible study, but in this case, it certainly what God intended. I have no idea what the future holds for (K), but I know that she has appeared to be very fertile soil, and that GrapeVine Bible Studies were an excellent tool for planting the seeds of the Good News. I would recommend this for use with your own children, but I would also highly recommend its use as a way to introduce the Bible to anyone that is YOUR mission field, whether a foreign exchange student, or kids from the Fresh Air program, or your local Sunday School.

So a little more "General information"~
The OT and NT Overviews are offered in many levels, appropriate from age 5 through adult. There are also a number of other, individual, more in-depth studies available(Like Biblical Feasts and the Book of Esther), some of which were reviewed by members of the TOS Crew, so be sure to drop by the blog and check them out!

So, how much does it cost? The prices regularly range from $22.95 for the student ebook to $45.95 for a color Teacher's edition of the OT Overview. The smaller studies are regularly priced as low as $6.95, for the student ebook, depending on which study you choose. You will also notice that I said "range" because there are a number of formats from which to choose. There are ebooks, soft-bound books, and 3-hole punched for both the student and the teacher. There are benefits to each format, and you can decide what suits your situation. There are also sales and "Dent and Ding" discounts to be had, if you are needing to watch your penny's very carefully. AND... just for reading through this review, and bearing with my "Story" that I just had to share, GrapeVine Studies is offering TOS Crew readers a 30% discount on all their books through September 30 with the code: crew9

If all of this has whet your appetite, I encourage you to head over to GrapeVine Studies, check out some of their samples, sign up for their e-newsletter, and see what is in store for you and your family.

Blessings~

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