Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review: Birth of Jesus study

How is your Christmas season going?  Are the commercial aspects becoming too important, in spite of your vows to focus on the reason for the season?

Somehow, the materialistic aspects of our culture seem to rear their ugly heads each December no matter what I intend.  But it is not too late...

Today, I'm reviewing an inexpensive resource that is very easy to use, and it is focused on the birth of Christ.  Grapevine Studies has three different "Birth of Jesus" studies available.  I recieved a Beginner level intended for 5-7 year olds and a Multi-Level one, intended for ages 7 and up.  I recieved these as e-books... and since I have two who fit the age range for the Beginner, and 4 who fit the Multi-Level (Richard, 7, could do either... so those numbers do NOT add up to equal the number of my living children!) I had to make some decisions.

One was that in the craziness of the holidays, I really was not likely to keep up with both studies.  So I had to choose.  Sort of.  You know me... I can't do anything as written.  So I totally tweaked.  My kids love these studies...  Stick figuring through the Bible, how much better does it get?

The beginner level consists of seven lessons, intended to be done over two days each, plus a final review.

The Multi-Level consists of a timeline intro (8 pages), four lessons intended to be done over four days each, and a final review.

I ended up using the Multi-Level, but skipping the introductory timeline, going straight to the lessons.  I think, after we complete the lessons, we are going to go back to the overview timeline.  Maybe.

For Trina, I will use the Beginner Level review (I may use that for Richard too), and I'm not expecting the same detail in some of the lessons.

Let's take a quick look at lesson 2...
  1. The first day is a review of the timeline, so we spend time talking about Mary & Gabriel, and about Mary & Elizabeth, and we go over the memory verse, Luke 1:31.  This lesson does not take long at all.
  2. Lesson page 1 consists of four separate scenes, all involving Joseph... hearing the news, making a decision to divorce Mary quietly, Gabriel visiting, and Joseph's new decision.  This lesson also includes reading Matthew 1:18-24.  And there are five words to look up in a Bible dictionary.  I *love* that we are getting into some real Bible resources.  There are things to discuss.
  3. Lesson page 2 consists of three scenes, from the census decree to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  You read aloud Luke 2:1-7 and Matthew 1:25.  There is a mapping assignment on this day, and you work on memorizing Luke 2:7.  Plus discussion for each of the scenes, and some review questions.
  4. Student Drawing Page is where the student chooses their favorite part of the lesson to draw again, and you work more on the memory work.  This day is also usually pretty short.
The Beginner Level covers all of the same "scenes"... but those are completed over two lessons.  Basically, these younger students are doing no more than two drawings in a day, and skipping all of the review.  So Joseph, for instance, looks like this:
  1. Two scenes, that of Joseph hearing the news and making a decision to divorce Mary.  You read Matthew 1:18-19, have discussions about these, and look up two words in a Bible dictionary.  You start memorizing Matthew 1:24.
  2. Two more scenes, with the angel visiting Joseph and Joseph & Mary together, including discussion, and the reading of Matthew 1:20-24.
The Beginner Level does not include mapping assignments.

Both of these levels also have suggestions for doing this as a weekly class...

If I were to start this week... I think I would consider one of two things.  Either do the Multi-Level starting with the lessons, doing each lesson over two days, to complete two this week and two next week... and I'd spend the week after Christmas doing the final review.

Or, I'd go ahead and start with Lesson 1 tomorrow... doing a day each day, five days a week... which would get you through the shepherds going out and proclaiming Jesus' birth.

Then I'd follow up with all the "after" stuff (visiting the temple, the wise men, etc.) after Christmas.

In other words... it isn't too late.  And this study is really inexpensive.  Get the e-book version so you can have it almost immediately, and so you can print out copies of the student pages for each of your students.  Right now the teacher book and student book are on sale, and would cost just under $11.

There is also a Level 5 set available... meant for teens and adults.  I adore the Level 5 studies I've used, so if your children are older, this one would be my recommendation.  Sight unseen, I know I can say that!

What I love most about these studies is that other than being sure to have my Bible, a Bible dictionary, and some colored pencils handy, I really don't have to do any prep work.  Or maybe I most love that my kids think it is fun and they really remember what we have stick-figured.

Check it out.  And Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer:  I did receive the products as mentioned above for the purpose of a review.  All opinions are my own.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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