Drawing through Scripture is a great way to teach the Bible in your homeschool, and using stick figures makes it easy for mom and kids!
Bible Time is part of our homeschool Morning Time. For years, when we meet together at the start of our homeschool day, we ALWAYS begin with our Bibles. Even when I needed these morning meetings to be super simple (like when I was pregnant, nursing, or both!), they ALWAYS included learning about the Bible.
READ >> Making Morning Time Easy
The kids who can read, read in their Bibles on their own according to what is assigned in Tapestry of Grace, but for these morning meetings I like to have everyone together learning the same thing and using materials and resources that are easily adaptable to all ages.
When I started researching what I wanted to do for Bible Time this year, I landed on something I thought would be fun and easy to teach – GrapeVine Studies!
After looking through the website, I decided I wanted to start in the New Testament since that is what we are currently studying in History. However, if you don’t want to start with such a massive project, you could try one of their smaller topical studies (scroll down a bit on that page to see the smaller studies) or try a free sample.
How to Choose GrapeVine Studies for Multiple Ages
As I mentioned above, I chose the New Testament because we are currently studying the early church in our homeschool, and last year we had studied most of the Old Testament via our history lessons, so I didn’t want to go back over it so soon.
After looking around the website, I decided I needed the New Testament Master Teacher book that covers grades 1-8, the Middle School Student ebook (so I could make as many copies as I wanted), and the Early Elementary Traceable ebook (also digital so I could make as many copies as needed).
This would allow me to teach the widest range of ages at one time:
- Big kids drawing their own stick figures, with extra research pages.
- Middle kids drawing their own stick figures, and listening in on research discussions.
- Little kids tracing stick figures on their pages that match their older siblings so they don’t feel left out or frustrated by the work.
You can see the Master Teacher Book and the Middle School student book HERE. (You can buy hard copies of these student books as well if you don’t want to print.) The traceable student book options are HERE.
You can also purchase a New Testament Master Teacher Bundle that includes a timeline you can put on the wall and flashcards to quiz your kids. All you have to do to make it a complete program is to add on any of the student books you would like – they ALL correspond to each other!
You can buy the Super Bundle that has ALL of the student ebooks and the Master Teacher book, along with the timeline and flashcards! (That was easy!)
Why I chose Middle School
If you’ve been a reader of Raising Arrows for very long, you know I try to find ways to teach as many subjects corporately as possible. My philosophy is to “teach down” and “supplement up.”
Currently, my students are 16, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4. While stick figures might seem too elementary for high schoolers, my kids are actually enjoying it because I let all of them embellish their drawings. There are also extra research questions in the middle school book that are great for teaching my high schoolers how to use concordances and commentaries.
So, buying the Middle School book gave me a higher level option for my older kids that I could “supplement up,” and buying the traceable book gave me a great way to “teach down.”
How I use GrapeVine Bible Studies During Morning Time
We homeschool 4 days a week, which actually fits quite well with GrapeVine. Here’s what a typical week with GrapeVine looks like:
At the beginning of the week, I print off the pages each child needs, which is usually 4 each for the week and 2 each for the little girls. I staple them and hand them out.
On Day 1, we do the Timeline Review and usually 1 more lesson. The Timeline Review helps connect what we’ve been learning to the new week’s lessons. They are drawn on “scrolls” and match the wall timeline.
It is easy for the little ones to follow along because all the information and stick figures are on their pages, just printed lighter so they can trace and add their own embellishments if they like.
On Day 2, we do a couple more lessons that usually involve reading a passage of Scripture, discussing what we’ve read (there are scripted synopses for you to read), and drawing our stick figures.
I ALWAYS draw the stick figures on a dry erase board since I have so many students. The kids get a real kick out of this!
I prefer to use an 11×17″ unframed dry erase lapboard to draw on like this one:
Perhaps if I had a dedicated school room, I’d get a dry erase board that attaches to the wall, but since we school in the dining room, I like having one I can easily slide alongside the homeschool shelf when not in use. Buying a board that is unframed makes it nice and slim and easy to store.
On Day 3, we finish up the drawing lessons for the week. By the way, I have the kids take turns reading the Scripture for the day. The passages aren’t long, and that makes it a nice Bible reading practice for my younger kids.
On Day 4, we go over the Quest Page and the Review Questions. GrapeVine suggests using a certain set of resources, but we decided to use BlueLetterBible.org and the corresponding app to find our answers. It has been a really great resource for my older kids to learn to use! And it is FREE!
You could easily stretch the lessons out for a 5 day-a-week schedule, and you could even condense them if you have a shorter homeschool week.
Why I Like GrapeVine Bible Studies
I have to be honest, I heard about GrapeVine Studies YEARS ago at a homeschool blogger’s conference, and for some reason, it didn’t click. But this past year, I ran across them again and I was sold! What is there not to love about stick figures and the Bible?!
But, I want to give you a better idea of my Pros and Cons, so you can decide if this is something you’d like to try in your homeschool!
- I don’t like the Quest Pages being at the beginning of the lesson. Because we are doing the curriculum all together, I would prefer if these “digging deeper” questions were at the end of the lesson because many of the questions correspond with something you learn later on. So, when I print off our lessons for the week, I put the Quest Page as the last page when I staple them together.
- The Master Teacher book doesn’t lay flat. Not a huge deal, but spiral-bound would have been a little easier to use.
- You don’t want the ebooks if you don’t like to print off lessons. I’ve gotten very used to using digital products, but once upon a time, this would have bothered me. If you don’t like printing, you will need to buy the physical student workbooks.
- I’ve had a bit of trouble “teaching up.” As I mentioned above, I like the “supplement up” for my older students. GrapeVine is REALLY good for elementary ages, but I’ve struggled a bit with how to incorporate the Quest Pages as part of our Morning Time so that my older kids are getting enough “meat.” These pages should probably be handed out and finished separately during my older kids’ private Bible time, but I don’t do that because they already have quite a bit of Scripture work with their church history lessons in Tapestry of Grace. I’m still mulling over the best way to “supplement up” for my high schoolers.
- It’s easy to use! It is very open-and-go, which is exactly what I need! I do not have to prepare for the lessons at all.
- I like the simplicity of stick figures. No one has to be an amazing artist. No one feels like the lessons are too hard. And my kinesthetic learners are eating it up!
- It gets the kids’ minds AND bodies engaged for the day. I read a lot during Morning Time, so it is nice to start out with something that engages both their minds and their bodies. We aren’t just reading Scripture, we are DRAWING it! I may be fooling myself, but it seems like the kids are able to listen to our history readings for a much longer time before they start fidgeting since we began using GrapeVine.
- Value, value, value! The New Testament Teacher Manual is a BIG book with 180 lessons! This will easily take you through your entire school year, and you can rotate back through these lessons for years to come.
Overall, I am very pleased with GrapeVine, and intend to do more studies when we finish the New Testament. I think it would be a good idea to have both the Old Testament and the New Testament programs in my homeschooling library!