Review of My Story 1 by Craig Froman and Andrew Froman (Master Books)

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Social Studies Curriculum

Early Elementary

Recommended!

What could be more exciting than a treasure-hunting curriculum full of stunning illustrations and photos?!

The students will go on four “quests”: Quest 1 begins with the student’s family, community, city, state, and country. Quest 2 travels around the Americas, Antarctica, and Africa. Quest 3 explores Canada, Russia, China, India, Indonesia, and Australia and Oceania. Quest 4 begins again in the USA, then goes to Greenland, Iceland, around Europe, and back “home” to the USA.

As students travel around the world, they will explore modes of transportation, cultures, languages, foods, wildlife, land features and habitats, traditions and responsibilities, weather, jobs/careers, water safety, time zones, continents, directions, and many other aspects of community, geography, and culture.

Students begin each quest with a clue card of questions to search for throughout the journey. The activities range from coloring, short answer, puzzles, copywork, oral discussion questions, vocab/spelling words, reading and drawing maps, and journaling. The curriculum is also biblically grounded, with Bible verses and stories throughout.

I most love the colorful pictures–this is a beautiful book (worth students having their own consumable copies)! I also appreciate the lighthearted adventure of learning, the age appropriateness, the strong faith element, and the honor of other cultures. Plus, everything is included within the single book (lesson plans, quizzes, answer key, etc.). And there are some great suggestions of (optional) field trips, for exploring aspects of community. I anticipate we will have a lot of fun with this!!

Level:

The worksheet sections are written for students who can write on manuscript ruled paper (K-2). Writing full sentences is not a requirement. Most questions could be answered in a single word or short statement. There is also copywork in every chapter to practice writing new words. This would be perfect for 1st-2nd grade, depending on the ability and interest of the student.

I’ll be using this with a kindergartener and a 3rd grader. The youngest will love it as is, and the writing will be a little easy for my 3rd grader, but I think he will be engaged by the subject matter.

Methodology:

We homeschool with a mix of Charlotte Mason and Classical methodologies (with Classical Conversations), and will be adding this as a supplement to CC Foundations Cycle 1 this coming year, which I expect will be a great complement considering its world-wide focus.

My Story 1 is a fun-loving curriculum, with lots of hands on exploration, and activity suggestions, which would fit well with Montessori, or other kinesthetic approaches. It has a large emphasis on oral and written narration, and story-telling, reminiscent of Charlotte Mason or other literature-based methodologies. It is also very comprehensive, without the heaviness of some Traditional programs.

Explore Master Books’ website here.

I received a complimentary copy of this curriculum from Master Books.

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Review of The World’s Story 1: The Ancients (Student Book) by Angela O’Dell

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Genre: Ancient History Curriculum/Christian Worldview

Highly Recommended!

I love everything about this curriculum. The student book is filled with photos, illustrations, and maps that are as stunning as they are helpful and informative. The lessons are engaging, without being overwhelming. And the material of the Student Book is written in an accessible narrative form that could easily be used with multiple age groups or a full-family study. I also love the narration breaks and connection points within the text, which provide helpful markers for the parent-teacher (or independently working student) to pause and reflect before moving onward.

While many textbooks covering ancient civilization include a focus on mythology, this one is awesomely biblical-centric. It more-or-less follows the biblical timeline from Creation through the Roman Empire, with an emphasis on the Hebrew people and their neighbors (Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, and others in between). I love the addition of apologetics and archaeology, and the emphasis on a relational/Hebraic worldview of Scripture. Every chapter goes back to Scripture in some way–even ancient cultures that are not directly tied to biblical accounts (like China, the Celts, and tribes in the Americas) have a mission-focus, and/or demonstrate humanity’s need for God in a direct manner. I really appreciate this perspective, and the way faith and Scripture are woven throughout the lessons.

My kids are going to have so much fun with this. I can’t wait for volumes 2 and 3 to be released!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Master Books.

 

PS: Those interested in using this as a homeschool curriculum should consider purchasing with the corresponding Teacher’s Guide, which includes a suggested 180 day schedule, assignments (aimed at 5th-8th grade), and supplementary ideas.

You don’t have to homeschool to enjoy this! Read the Student Guide alone as an engaging devotional resource on ancient history from a biblical perspective.

Explore Master Books website here.

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Review of Answers for Homeschooling: Top 25 Questions Critics Ask by Israel Wayne

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Genre: Homeschooling/Christian Life

Recommended.

This is a great resource for Christian families considering homeschooling, who are unsure about certain aspects or capability, as well as for those actively homeschooling who don’t know how to respond to critical comments. It is written in a conversational manner, and includes references to other beneficial resources for new homeschool families.

I appreciated learning the history of homeschooling, and the great risks of many homeschool pioneers in gaining this freedom. This foundation was a great way to begin the book, as it left me with a deeper awareness and gratitude of this privilege.

I am also especially impacted by Israel Wayne’s commentary on socialization, which comes up frequently in my own experience. He lays a persuasive biblical foundation of the quality of companionship within the social experience, and the necessity of having proper relationships in place for learning to be possible. The argument of being “salt and light” in the world (public/private schools) is similarly addressed in a compelling manner.

Some sections caused me to think differently about certain aspects of homeschooling (e.g. whether or not to accept government funding–I hadn’t considered some of the negative implications). Other areas were less relevant to me (e.g. I’m not concerned about my teaching/academic capability, although many readers may find this very encouraging; and my husband and I have a system in place regarding our educational roles, which is different from the author’s suggestion, but works for us personally).

Overall, I was surprised by the helpfulness of this resource in addressing issues I would not have considered to ask, and providing new information interwoven with spiritual encouragement and a biblical precedent for homeschooling. I am more inspired than ever by our commitment to this form of schooling, and found the book freshly edifying.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Master Books.

 

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Review of the 10 Minute Bible Journey by Dale Mason

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Genre: Family Devotional Bible

Highly Recommended!

I’ve been asked several times recently whether I have a favorite Bible devotional for homeschooling, and can tell that this is going to be our new favorite. It goes through the Bible from Creation to “Forever” in 52 stories of the biblical accounts, plus an additional 8 bonus sections on select topics, and a 2.5 foot fold-out timeline.

Each devotional can be realistically completed within 10 minutes (I timed myself reading a few of them, with an average of about 6 minutes each in my “mom” voice). They also include enough depth and detail to draw out into an extended conversation if preferred.

I most love: 1) the fantastic illustrations, 2) the Creationist/apologetics perspective, which even includes commentary on related issues such as the Ice Age, 3) the narrations and details within each story line (date ranges based on Ussher’s calculations, ages of characters at the times of each event, etc.) bring the accounts to life, 4) the historical chronology is thoroughly presented, even including the division of the Kingdom of Israel, 400 years of silence, and other stories that are often omitted from children’s Bibles like Isaiah’s ministry in the nude, King Josiah’s reign, and the stoning of Stephen, 5) controversial areas of theology such as the charismatic gifts, and eschatological perspectives are neutrally presented–everything follows the Bible pretty closely without adding to the story, and 6) reading the Bible itself is encouraged with a plan of daily Scripture reading, as well as footnotes for further study, and suggestions for using this devotional within a small group environment (including discussion questions).

I do have minor constructive feedback from a Messianic Jewish perspective: I do not love the word “convert” as used in the account of “The Conversion of Saul,” considering that his spiritual revelation opened him up to a born again experience, but not a new religion. He was more in line with the intentions of Judaism after recognizing Jesus as Messiah than beforehand in his legalism. Similarly, there is a negative widespread implication regarding the Pharisees. However, Paul considers himself a “Pharisee” even after becoming a Christian (Acts 23:6, Phil. 3:5), so the Pharisees are not “bad” in and of themselves, rather it was their hypocrisy and legalism that were problematic, leading them away from recognizing the Lord, rather than toward Him.

Overall, I’m very excited about this resource! You can find it at Master Books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing.

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