Tuesday, August 4, 2009

“ Ooh, Ooh, I Learned It Through the Grapevine....”


Biblical Feasts and Holy Days, by

Spread the word! Tell your your church groups, fellow educators and friends. Finally, there is a Bible Curriculum that will work for every age and educational level, available at a reasonable price. If that doesn't get you singing, then nothing will!

Biblical Feasts and Holy Days (Multi-Level) is one of the many great Bible Study Courses offered for Beginners through Adults and it has the most unique way of teaching the Bible that I have ever seen. Though it is not your average Bible curriculum, the ordinary person will be able to teach it to his or her students. In fact, one needs no special teaching ability or artistic talent to use this curriculum. All that is needed is your Bible, the student and teacher books, some colored pencils or markers and a drawing surface. As the teacher, you will draw stick figures to represent the characters and events in the story as you read from the biblical passages given in the lesson. Even a “drawing-disabled” person like myself can do it. Well, my kids still noticed an eye or two out of proportion as I can't even draw polka dots or point a pen straight but... the real point is that they LOVE doing the daily Bible lessons because they can draw instead of having to just sit and listen. Every day since the books arrived on our doorstep (with a friendly, handwritten note attached from it's author) both boys have begged to start their lessons, “Mom, can we do Bible first?”

One thing I like about the curriculum is that it “sticks” with you. The drawings are simple and yet, they relay a great deal of information about the events being taught. The effect is similar to how sign language works. Each item has a symbol that represents the facts in a clear, visual way. Both of my children have issues with memory but not with this program. The pictures cemented the ideas into their brains, making it not only good as a Bible course, but also as a great tool to help children to better grasp communication and language skills.

GrapeVine Studies produces quality courses with an approach that is friendly toward differences in belief. The Biblical Feasts and Holy Days takes a line-by-line view of the Scriptural passages with several cross references, allowing the Bible to interpret itself. In this particular course, you will learn about the origins of the Lord's Supper, the Sabbath, all of the mandated or established biblical holidays and how they are woven through Old and New Testament History. The Student book sells for $14.95 as a hard copy and as an ebook as well. Included are time lines and chronological charts to record and compare the details of the facts learned.

Each lesson is designed to last a week and is divided into small segments with a Bible passage from which to “stick figure” the events of the story. Definitions of foreign-sounding words are given for easier understanding. Each section contains a Bible memory verse to complement the lesson. Under where a stick figure is to be drawn, are the words describing the story details. The symbols have layers that build on each other so that the common details about events can be shown in the drawings. For instance, in Lesson Two, Day One, a symbol is drawn to represent Creation and how God rested on the seventh day.

Watch how Figure #1 (above) progresses into Figure #2 (below). Fig. 1 shows God resting from Creation. Fig. 2 shows God making the Sabbath covenant with mankind.

When the Sabbath is explained, the same symbol is elaborated on to represent the perpetual covenant that God made with his people regarding Sabbath-keeping years later. God is represented by a triangle, symbolizing tri-unity. The triangle shows up in later lessons through the symbols for people acknowledging the Father, the Holy Spirit and/or the Son. I love how it shows up in the symbol for the blood of Jesus reconciling humankind to a relationship with God, the Father. The drawings are simple but detailed.

The continuity in the chosen symbols helps to build a better understanding of each holy day and biblical truth. This works so well for me as a visual learner and for my children with language processing challenges. It helps them integrate the words with a mental picture of the biblical truth. GrapeVine Studies does what most Bible courses try to do only they make it much less complicated by simplifying without losing the depth of knowledge gleaned from an inductive study.

The teacher's manual is identical to the student book with the answers and added explanation. It prices at: $19.95 as a hard copy and $12.95 as an ebook. The manual gives excellent instruction to the teacher with step-by-step suggestions in how to prepare for and present the materials to the student. Explanations to the teacher rightfully claim that the books facilitate teacher-directed doctrine. For example, the subject of the Sabbath was addressed without suggesting any denominational teaching, just biblical facts about it's place in the Old and New Testaments.

Teacher guides contain goals for both teaching the material and also for the growth of the teacher in ability to study and teach the Bible. The notes in the front of the book hold a supply list and information that keys the teacher in to what the periodic reviews should yield from the students as far as knowledge and understanding. Reviews and mini-reviews are interspersed throughout the teacher and student books, reinforcing content memorization. The recommendations in the teacher guide were “spot on”. The only thing I would suggest for the usage of the curriculum is to request permission to photocopy the charts into a larger format if your children have difficulty with fine motor skills. They may need a larger place to write their answers and draw their stick figures. If you purchase the electronic format then this may be easier. Personally, I had no difficulty in using the space provided in the charts but my children did.

The Multi-Level studies are listed as appropriate for ages 7 and up but there are also specific, age-graded studies on several topics as well as tools for learning biblical geography and basic Bible content. Topic overview is relevant for ages five to adult. You will want to determine which format fits your needs and budget. GrapeVine Gang will help to assess what might work best.

The author, Dianna Wiebe, was very personable. One way that GrapeVine Studies helps to support their customers is through a newsletter to which customers can subscribe and receive offers of discounts and coupon codes as well as some great freebies from time to time-a lesson of the week. To show you how much they appreciate you, they are offering a special 30% discount if you purchase materials within thirty days of reading this review.
Just go to their website at: http://grapevinestudies.com/ and enter “crews” in the coupon code box when checking out. Be sure to investigate all the links on their website as they have some marked down products as well. Check them out. I was so impressed with this study that I hope that my family is able to take advantage of sales items and obtain more of their products.

On my rating scale, Grapevine Studies Biblical Feasts and Holy Days receives four "grape bunches" up.
Here's how you can contact them.

VENDOR: Grapevine Studies
EMAIL:http://www.blogger.com/grapevinedi@yahoo.com PHONE: 307-259-9429
WEBSITE: http://grapevinestudies.com/home/

To read what other crew members are saying about this product and more, go here. http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HomeschoolCrew
To see other vendors and products recommended by The Old School House Magazine, visit their catalogue at: http://www.theoldschoolhousestore.com/index.php

No comments: