My son truly admires Abraham Lincoln Perhaps its because he did not have a great deal of “schooling”, it is likely in part it is because he himself was a homeschooler, self taught (can we say homeschool hero?). I cannot think of a better man for my son to hope to emulate. I mean, a self-taught lawyer, wise and Godly, eventually leading the United States, finding himself at the center of the greatest debate the America had ever faced.So of course we were quite eager, when the opportunity presented itself, to review, Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom by Janet and Geoff Benge, one of the many “Heroes of History” in the series available from YWAM Publishing. We also received a corresponding Digital Unit Study, which really made this amazing and ey opening book, even greater!
If you are not familiar with YWAM Publishing, you really need to check them out! They are committed to the production and distribution of books that encourage Christians to make a difference in a needy world. They specialize in books that focus on the topics of: evangelism, educational training, prayer, discipleship, and mercy ministries. The Christian Heroes series and the International Adventure series are wonderful ways to introduce your family to stories of real people who have heard and answered God’s call to missions. Regardless their books provide inspiration and are excellent tools for helping to disciple our children (and ourselves even) so that we may reach out to the world around us.
One of my goals for our home school has been to do a lot more reading aloud. Especially when it comes to history. There are so many amazing books out there and to “read more” and “keep reading what better way for our kids to learn and grow a passion for history than from amazing books that bring it to life? We really do love history around here; my oldest son tends to be a very reluctant reader and my younger two are not quite reading on their own yet. But I love to read; my hubby jokes with me about the number of books that are all about the house (and having been introduced to YWAM, many of these are being added to our library now). Initially my kids really weren’t that excited about this, aside from my oldest, but as we began to read, it was amazing how all of them just curled up with me and begged me to “read more”. This was one of those books that we read in about a week because they just didn’t want me to stop. The story was amazing; it was full of factual information, very historically accurate and yet also so enjoyable to read! We were drawn in and by the end of the book, Honest Abe, was like a friend to us.
The Heros of History comes with a great Homeschool Curriculum Guide for Homeschoolers (you can also get this for small groups and classrooms) which really helps you get a better idea as to how to use this whether as a history program, family read aloud, or character/social study. It also covers key themes and skills within the program, parent and student directed study methods, ho to use it with a variety of ages and abilities; using this guide we are really guaranteed to get so much out of this! Since we do not do a lot of unit studies ourselves (although I always mean to, I admit) this was very helpful because I admit, sometimes I see the book as a book. Sometimes I forget that the story of Abraham Lincoln (or any other historical time and figure) is about so much more than just that. If you struggle with this as I do, this is a wonderful way to open your eyes, or be reminded, of how much more we can learn from one story. SO many important things we can glean from within the pages of this one book. Some of the areas covered within the unit study that accompanies this book are:
- Movie critiquing
- Reading comprehension
- Essay writing
History and geography
There is also opportunity for copywork and memorization here as the unit study incorporates some very powerful quotes many relating to his life and great for discussions. Since my children really enjoy stamps and coins (we are new to collecting) right now it was a great opportunity for them to learn that, in 1909, Lincoln was put on the penny and to learn how the first postage stamp to honor Abraham Lincoln was issued April 14, 1866, one year to the day after his death in 1865 or thereabout. Since we often are in Illinois, my son enjoyed learning about how and why the state is called the Land of Lincoln where he lived from the time he was 21 years old until he became President. There is also a chapter full of discussion questions; also testing how much is being comprehended of what is being read (we do more narration ourselves using this as a guide). One of my son’s favorites, was Student Explorations which encourages our kids to create. Within this section there are projects like writing and illustrating a children’s book, making a scale map of Lincoln’s journey, recreating the “Great Debates”. These are all so fun; great ways to encourage our children to learn and explore in a fun way. There are also lots of Community Links which encourage visits to a civic center, meeting elected officials to learn how to government operates, even locating civil war museums (reenactments, etc). These are the things that encourage my son; real life historical figures, who lived in places we know and were real people, just like us. How fun is it when our children see that connection, feel they can relate to someone who did such great things so long ago. This is how history comes to life and becomes powerful!
While this is recommended more for older elementary youth, I have to say my younger two enjoyed the story quite a bit too; as I mentioned before my kids would not let me put this one down so I consider that a huge win! We really liked the study guide that came with this too. As I said before, I always mean to do more with unit studies and so this is just the encouragement I need to really do it! And we definitely are planning on enjoying more of the Heroes of History series (placing our order very soon for Billy Graham and Benjamin Franklin too! Love history? Have a love of missions? These are definitely something you don’t want to miss out on.
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