I'm always looking for new ways to share the story of Christmas to my girls. We love Christmas and they have heard all about it since they were first born in various forms. My girls can recite it backwards and forwards, and even enjoy acting it out with their toy nativity sets. They love the meaning of Christmas, and I don't want it to become so familiar that they lose the wonder that God with us still holds for me.
I had seen on several homeschool blogs that there are a lot of families using Grapevine Bible Studies for their Bible curriculum. Our base curriculum has Bible woven into everything so I hadn't looked outside of that for Bible studies for my girls. They get a lot of additional Bible at church through Sunday school, the church service, children's church, AWANA, and family devotions, not to mention our day-to-day conversations. Yet I was still intrigued by the rave reviews I kept hearing about Grapevine Bible Studies.
After checking out their site I was further intrigued and I liked the idea of how the studies were laid out. I think the idea of a timeline for Bible stories is a great way to help kids make connections in Scripture. So many times the story is divided into small, teachable chunks, but not always connected together. Timelines really help all of us see the flow of the entire story. I also like that the timeline is revisited frequently throughout the study, which lasts for several days. I adore the stick figures. My girls enjoy drawing people and are already all about stick figures, so this was a great way to move them into a new way to study the Bible.
With Christmas approaching so very quickly I was running out of time to find a new way to present the story of Christ's birth. This seemed like a great opportunity! The multi-level version of The Birth of Jesus was a great fit for us even though my girls are young. Both Rose and Beth are reading well above their official grade-levels (2nd and Kindergarten) and are so steeped in Scripture and theology that it was a natural fit for them.
Gathering supplies was a breeze. One of my favorite features of my Kindle is being able to access pdf files without needing to print pages or use my computer. I only needed to print the student pages for my girls, pick up a Bible, make sure the girls had some colored pencils, and pull out my whiteboard markers. Talk about easy! This is about as effortless as a Bible curriculum for kids can get.
I love how simple the layout of the lessons are. So many times I find myself rereading curriculum for clarity, but these studies are very much open-and-go style. Although I did read and review the lesson before teaching it, everything was so clear I could have taught this without any preparation.
When the whiteboard markers came out Rose, Beth, and Grace were convinced this was going to be good! I'm not sure why the white board is so impressive to them, but they eagerly sat down and couldn't wait to get started!
I didn't have different colored markers, but I told them which colors to pick for the different characters they drew as we went studied through the Birth of Jesus. As you can see, you don't have to have great artistic ability for this to succeed!
All three worked diligently although each insisted on taking a turn erasing my pictures! Rose enjoyed answering my questions about the story and drawing the pictures, but she kept trying to jump ahead. She started adding extra details to her stick figures as she waited for her sisters to finish up.
The stick figures are very simple to make and yet clearly represent the key points in the story. My sweet three-year-old, Grace, did an amazing job with this. She has been drawing pictures of people for a while, but I was very impressed with her ability to follow the directions for drawing. She was the first to lose interest, but she is three after all and this is geared for older kids. She thoroughly enjoyed being included in this!
My middle daughter also did quite well. She is in a phase where she gets frustrated when she doesn't get something perfect. This was good for her because she felt from the start she could succeed. She was very particular about copying my drawings exactly. Her favorite part to draw were the baby bumps on Elizabeth and Mary. She even put a smiley face on one of the bumps because she was sure Jesus was a happy baby!
Grapevine Bible Studies are a great way to engage students of Scripture for many ages. Although my girls are young, I am sure this would be fun for older students as well. It definitely gave me a new way to teach the familiar story of Christmas to my girls. They were so excited they eagerly retold what we had learned to the mother of one of my piano students. It was great to see how they could narrate the story in their own words to someone else and be so very accurate in the order!
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Do you want to try Grapevine Bible Studies before you buy? For a limited time you can download the lesson The Announcement to Mary for free!
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I received a free copy of this product from Grapevine Bible Studies in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. No other compensation was received.