And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, September 21, 2015

Exploring History with YWAM

If you look at the curriculum tab above you will see that we have been using YWAM Publishing resources for a few years now. They recently sent us the Heroes of History book Christopher Columbus: Across the Ocean Sea along with the corresponding  Unit Study Curriculum Guide CD to review for the Crew. Although we've read many of the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series and some of the Heroes of History books, this was the first time we tried one of the unit studies. 
YWAM Publishing Review
In the past, Apple has read the YWAM books on her own as part of her studies. Last year we got some of the Heroes for Young Readers and read them aloud. For this study, I read a chapter per day to both kids. There were 15 chapters. This was a very informative book about the life of Christopher Columbus. I wanted to have the children do some study of explorers this year so we got a great start with Columbus. Each chapter was packed with information about his family, his voyages, his faith, and the various stories about his life. 

Janet & Geoff Benge did an excellent job putting together this history of Columbus. This book incorporates geography, history, religion, and even vocabulary. The book is recommended for ages 10 and up, but it was completely appropriate for Speedy (age 8) as a read aloud. As we finished, I felt like both kids had a better grasp of what Columbus was looking for, what he actually found, and how he got there. 

The Unit Study Curriculum Guide came in CD form. The CD will run on Windows or Macintosh. It is also available to purchase as a download. You can use some portions of the study on the computer and many parts can be printed. We primarily used the Unit Study Part 1 and Part 2 that came on the CD. Unit Study Part 1 included questions to ask at the end of each chapter, related themes to explore, related resources, and writing and project ideas. Unit Study Part 2 gives you the link to print a timeline, maps, and a fact sheet for Christopher Columbus. Apple filled in the fact sheet as we read through the story. The disc also gives you an option to download the files onto your computer. There are links with suggestions on using the resources in your homeschool as well as links to Bonus Materials. 

The questions for each chapter include a vocabulary word. We did a discussion on these at the end of our daily reading. The kids were easily able to answer the questions orally and usually had some questions of their own to ask. We also used some of the additional project ideas, and Apple gave a presentation on Juan Ponce de Leon the day after we finished reading the book. Her project helped her gain a better understanding of the Age of Exploration and also went right along with another book she is reading right now. I love it when it all comes together!

The reason we've been using the YWAM biographies so long is because they are interesting and informative. They are little unit studies all by themselves. Adding the actual unit study guide just kicked it up a notch. After all we've done on Christopher Columbus the last few weeks, I'm certain the kids will retain a lot of the information they learned about him. From printables to questions to writing ideas, the study guide CD was a wealth of resources and ideas. Occasionally the kids get frustrated with the extra work included in study guides, but this time they found it all fun and interesting. It certainly gave me a break because I could just dole out assignments as I saw fit. I didn't have to come up with questions or activities myself. That's always a plus. 

I have always loved history. Even though our main history focus this year is state history, the extra study on Christopher Columbus was a great bonus. Much of our Tennessee history has focused on explorers and settlers coming to America and driving out the Native Americans that already lived here. Reading Across the Ocean Sea gave Apple and Speedy a better understanding of just how that began. One of the beauties of homeschool is taking time to indulge in interesting unit studies like these aside from our "regular curriculum".

YWAM offer Heroes of History books for over 20 historical people from Christopher Columbus to Ben Carson. They also offer the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series with 42 books to choose from on people like Corrie Ten Boom and William Booth. These books are a great way for your readers to learn more about those who have come before us and made an impact on the world. They are all recommended for ages 10+. I can assure you that they will continue to be on our yearly curriculum lists for a long time to come!

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