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Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Stick Figuring™ Through the Bible with Grapevine Studies

august 018

Looking for a fun, easy way to learn or review the Bible timeline? Not particularly artistic? How about Stick Figuring™ the Bible?

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I had the opportunity to review Grapevine Studies’ Old Testament Overview. I received the hardcopy black & white teacher’s edition (level 1&2), the color e-book teacher’s edition (level 1&2) and the e-book student’s edition (level 1). Level 1 is recommended for ages 6-8 and level 2 for ages 8-10. The two levels are essentially the same, hence a single teacher’s manual, except level 2 has more memory work. Since I am using this with David and Mary, I decided to go with the lower level and have David do the additional memory work, if necessary.

The Overview contains 50 lessons that can be covered weekly or broken up into shorter, daily sessions. Truly an all-year program, it would be equally suitable for Sunday school or homeschool. The first lesson is a general outline of the entire Old Testament timeline, from Creation to the 400 silent years between the Old and New Testaments. This lesson is meant to be covered over the course of 2 weeks and gives your students a general framework to mentally organize all the stories of the Old Testament to be be covered.

The second lesson covers the Creation timeline and finishes up with making an event card to serve as a reminder for what happened on each day of creation. In addition to the timeline, you are also given plenty of discussion questions and each lesson has a Bible verse for memory work (additional memory work is given for level 2). The remaining lessons each start with a review of where you are on the timeline, a 2-page mini-study of the next point on the timeline, and making a character/event card. For each caption on the timeline, you draw a stick figure (or sometimes a minimalist picture). The teacher’s edition gives you instructions on what to draw to represent each caption as you are teaching it to your children (they recommend drawing it on a large white board or chalkboard with different colors), but you can change this as you wish (and expect your children to show their creativity, I know mine did). Since my easel is in storage, I improvised by printing the page from the color e-book teacher’s edition and holding it up for the kids to see as we talked about it.

One of the things I like about this curriculum is its non-denominational approach. It does not teach doctrine and is not tied to a particular Bible translation. The memory verses, for instance, need to be looked up in your own Bible. While there are summaries and overviews provided in the teacher’s edition to aid you in teaching, these are simply a guide and can be altered as you choose, so you can easily add this to whatever program you are using.

The student edition consists only of the captioned, but otherwise blank, timeline pages and discussion questions. It is available both as a paperback and as an e-book. I chose the e-book because the licensing allows you to print as many copies as you need for your family. For the teacher’s edition, I prefer to have something in hand so I went with the hardcopy. The publisher very generously sent me the e-book as well, so I could see the difference between the color and black & white editions. If you are very visual, the color edition might be easier to use, but I found the black & white edition was sufficient to read as a manual.

august 017 David is a kinesthetic learner, who seems to always need to do something with his hands for information to sink in, and Stick Figuring™ is right up his alley. In fact, some of his drawings are quite elaborate and he happily drew as we discussed---I think I may need to try this strategy with some of our other studies. So far it has not been a real challenge for Mary or David, but the stories we have covered are stories they are very familiar with. As we get further into the study, we’ll be filling in some holes in their knowledge, and they are already developing a visual organization of Biblical events and how they all fit together. Synthesis! Isn’t it great to see the gears turning in their little minds!

The Old Testament Overview is available directly from Grapevine Studies:

Teacher’s Edition paperback Levels 1 and 2

  • color $45.95 or
  • black&white $35.95

Teacher’s Edition e-book Levels 1 and 2 $22.95

Student Book Level 1 $25.95

Student e-book Level 1 $25.95

Levels 2, 3, and 4 are also available, as well as a New Testament Overview and various multi-level studies.

And, if you order between now and Sept 30th you can get a discount on your order, just use this code:

crew9

For more reviews of these and other products by Grapevine Studies, visit the TOS Homeschool Crew’s Blog.

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