Grapevine Studies Birth of Jesus Review

Grapevine Studies Review
 

As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I had the opportunity to review the Birth of Jesus, Beginner Edition from GrapeVine Studies. I have used GrapeVine in the past and was excited to review this study, just in time for the Christmas holiday season.

WHAT IS GRAPEVINE STUDIES?

GrapeVine is a Bible study curriculum designed for simplicity, engagement, and effectiveness. Through the use of a timeline and simple stick figure drawing (anyone can do that!) students learn the major characters and events of the Bible. There is plenty of review, and as the children get older they are introduced to Bible geography, in addition to scripture.

Grapevine Studies Review
 

USING THE BIRTH OF JESUS STUDY

The Birth of Jesus studies are designed to give the student a thorough understanding of who Jesus is and how his birth came to be. but also who the important figures in his life at the time of his birth. But it doesn’t stop there. Students also learn about the important, pivotal figures in Jesus’ life at the time of his birth.

Students will learn about and better understand the roles of

  • Mary
  • Joseph
  • Jesus’ Birth
  • The Shepherds
  • The Temple
  • The Wise Men
  • Herod

Here’s where I admit I’ve used GrapeVine Studies products before, even before this review, and already loved the quality and heart of their products.

Even so, I was really impressed with this study. It’s simple yet effective. You can simply stick to the basics or you can go deep into discussion and the Word. It’s versatile, and easy to apply. And, I loved that there was attention given to areas of Jesus’ birth that are often overlooked in children’s Bible studies. Like Anna’s declaration and Simeon’s proclamation.

Grapevine Studies Review

WHY I RECOMMEND GRAPEVINE STUDIES

There are many reasons to love GrapeVine Studies, but this is why I personally love their curriculum…

Caters to all ages: This is a program you can use with the whole family, and that grows with your children. I enjoy finding what we like and sticking with it for as long as it works. Plus, when I had 3 teens in the house, in addition to the two little ones I’m now teaching, it was nice to be able to sit down and study together.

Works With Any Denomination: Each lesson gives the parent a Bible scripture to focus on. It’s completely up to the parent how they apply that scripture, how deep they go, what translation they use…it’s ALL up to the parent. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re Baptist, Catholic, or Non-Denominational. This can work for you.

Any Order You Want: This is probably my favorite part. You can tackle GrapeVine Studies in two ways. You can learn in a linear fashion, starting at the Old Testament and following it through the New Testament. Or, you can mix it up and do their topical studies on specific Biblical figures like Joseph, Ester, or Jesus. Some even choose to follow a linear study and then go deeper into the specific Bible characters as they reach them.

Grapevine Studies Review
I hope you’ll check out the Birth of Jesus study! It is a truly wonderful study for the advent season that is sure to bless your family, and help you children focus on not only the true reason of Christmas, but the intricacies of the story behind the reason.

I am just one of 100 bloggers who were blessed to review Grapevine Studies products. See what other items were reviewed – and why so many families love Grapevine Studies!

You can also follow Grapevine Studies on social media:

Grapevine Studies Review
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Brinkman Adventures Audio Dramas : A Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was given the opportunity to review an audio drama series from Brinkman Adventures: Season 3. See below for my thoughts and impressions of this product.

Christian stories on CD

Audio dramas are a fun way to enrich any homeschool curriculum! They can also make bedtime more fun for the kids, and easier on mom and dad. Do you use them? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments how you use audio dramas and what your favorite genres are. 

I was given the opportunity to review the third season of audio dramas from the popular Brinkman Adventures. Why are these audio dramas so popular?

First, because they’re quality. Well scripted, developed characters, and wonderfully animated with talented voices.

Second, because they’re wholesome. Brinkman Adventures audios are dramatized stories of the experiences of modern Christian missionaries.

I took advantage of the long drive to the 2:1 Conference to listen to my CD copy of Brinkman Adventures season 3 recordings. This season’s episodes include:

  1. God’s Mule
  2. Mountain Mover
  3. The Silent Ambassador
  4. Translating Trouble
  5. Man-Up
  6. Acorns & Oaks
  7. A Saint’s Story Part. 1
  8. A Saint’s Story Part. 2
  9. Untouched
  10. Busy Bees and a Bullhorn
  11. Missionary Tourist Part. 1
  12. Missionary Tourist Part 2

As I sat and listened to the story unfold I was impressed by the quality of the voices – great voice animation and fun but clear accents (where accents were needed). That was the first thing to catch my attention because, as you know if you’ve tried audio dramas before, sometimes the voices will be dry, withheld, and mundane.

These voices were able to keep my attention, and I was happy for that.

I was also impressed by the diversity of the stories. Brinkman Adventures tells the stories of many missionaries I’ve never heard of. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t tire of hearing about Gladys Aylward, but I love learning new things. And it was refreshing to be mentally whisked away to unfamiliar times and countries, with new and exciting challenges.

These are not biographies, so you won’t learn about a specific person – that is the one drawback for me. However the stories are based on true missionary accounts, the challenges they face, and how God always shows Himself mighty.

Brinkman Adventures

If you’re concerned your child may not sit still long enough to listen to an audio story, feel free to take advantage of the fun extras Brinkman Adventures has to offer. They have downloadable coloring pages for their first six episodes from season 1.

They also have informative behind the scenes information for all seasons. Like this one, providing background information about Tomas, the real-life Bible smuggler in God’s Mule from season 3.

And, you can take your Brinkman Adventures wherever you go by choosing physical cd’s, or MP3 downloads. They make it easy!

I’m not the only blogger to review Brinkman Adventures audio dramas. Click the image below to see what others are saying. And, be sure to follow Brinkman Adventures on Facebook to stay up to date on all their products and sales.

Brinkman Adventures Season 3 Review
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Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom Review
As part of the TOS Review crew, I was given the opportunity to review Reading Kingdom Online, an online program designed to teach children ages four to ten how to read to a third grade level. Reading Kingdom uses a six-pillar approach for success.

ABOUT READING KINGDOM ONLINE

Reading Kingdom Online focuses on six different reading skills: Sequencing, Sounds, Writing, Grammar, Meaning and Comprehension. The reason behind their unique approach is due to the complexity of the English language. While phonics are important, there are many words that don’t follow the phonics “rules”. Thus making them difficult, if not impossible, to sound out based on phonics alone.

Reading Kingdom combines their 6 pillars to offer a well rounded approach, in an effort to help children master reading without being confused by rule breaking words.

These 6 pillars were formed by research from Dr Marion Blank, an expert on literacy and developer of the Light on Learning Institute at Columbia University.

HOW WE USED IT

Reading Kingdom

I used Reading Kingdom Online with Bram, my 8 year old, 3rd grade, super-active, kinesthetic learner. Learning to read has proved challenging for Bram, so this program had it’s work cut out for it from the beginning.

To start, Bram took the built-in assessment so the program could gauge at what level to start him. The assessment was thorough, and I feel it did a good job of accurately assessing Bram’s strengths and weaknesses.

After the assessment we jumped into the actual lessons. The Reading Kingdom Online lessons are incremental. They focused on much more than I expected. For example, they make sure your child knows to always read from left to right. That may sound simple, but for struggling readers, that concept can be difficult to master.

Another benefit I wasn’t expecting was the focus on keyboard skills. I haven’t worked with Bram on keyboard skills as of yet. So, when he had to identify his answers using letter keys on the keyboard it really slowed him down, and mama became a little nervous.

However, I was pleased to see that the program made it easy as it could be by visually demonstrating what letter, in what row, was needed.

As we continued through the lessons I was able to see how Reading Kingdom Online focuses on mastery. Each level Bram completed was scored and recorded. Then, based on how well Bram scored, he either repeated the lesson until he mastered the concept, or moved on to the next level.

OUR IMPRESSIONS

Reading Kingdom Review
Overall, I liked this program. I plan to continue using this as a supplement with Bram. I can easily see the wisdom behind the 6 pillars, and the fact that the students will learn so much more than phonics. They learn reading skills that will serve them in the functions of reading, not simply sounding out words.

I enjoyed the way Reading Kingdom Online progressed in small increments, and appreciated the focus on mastery.

I was also very excited about the built-in keyboard skills as that is something that will serve any child in the future. However, if your child is not at all familiar with keyboards, manipulating a mouse or using a touchscreen, this may be more of a challenge than a benefit at first.

Bram however, was not terribly impressed. The program moved too slow for his active self. And he did not like having to repeat the exact same lessons before he could move on. But, repetition is what builds mastery.

WHAT ELSE IS OFFERED

You can find Reading Kingdom Online on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to follow their tips and insights. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial to try it out for yourself. Then, if you choose to subscribe the cost for the first student is $19.99/month or $199.99 per year. You can add additional students for $9.99/month.

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, be sure to check out ASD Reading as well.

And, I’m not the only blogger to review Reading Kingdom Online. Click the image below to see what others had to say.

Reading Kingdom Review
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