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Click on a title for reviews in that area, or on "REVIEWS" to return to the main reviews page.

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History  / Government / Civics Reviews
Ancient China: To the Great Wall and Beyond
Beautiful Feet History Review
Bonhoffer: The Cost of Freedom
Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers
Destination: Moon
Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts
For The Layman: A Survey of the Old Testament
Genevieve Foster Series
Government 101
Holling C. Holling Series
Hospital Sketches
How Should We Then Live? (VHS)
In Freedom's Cause (cassette)
John Smith
Landmark Books
Marrin History Books
More Perfect Union
Mystery of History, Volume 1
Of Plymouth Plantation
On to Oregon!
Oregon Trail CD-ROM
Reformation Overview Curriculum
Simply Stated
Sower Series
Streams Of Civilization Volumes 1 & 2
The Annals of the World
The Cat of Bubastes (cassette)
The Five Thousand Year Leap: The 28 Great Ideas That Are Changing The World
The Hiding Place
The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci
The Magna Charta (and two others)
The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Logos Edition)
The Noah Plan: Literature Curriculum Guide
The People, Places and Principles of America
The Real George Washington
The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters
The Story of The Trapp Family Singers
TruthQuest History: A Chronological Investigation Enlivening the Truths of History
Understanding the New Testament Without Attending Seminary
Understanding the Times
Valor
World Landmark Books: A Homeschoolers' Guide
Your Story Hour: Cassette Series

Ancient China: To the Great Wall and Beyond
by Judy Wilcox
A review by Dean Andreola


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Ancient China: To the Great Wall and Beyond
Judy Wilcox / Zeezok Publishing / Paperback / 2003
Ancient China: To the Great Wall and Beyond is a 12-week unit study on the major Dynasties of China for K-6th, designed to demystify for western eyes this once forbidden land. It is also a good model to judge other unit studies by. Some unit studies are little more than glorified blank books, while others overwhelm student and teacher alike with the amount of research required. That is why I recommend Judy Wilcox’s book for fans of the unit study method. The daily outline & teacher’s notes are simple to follow, and the activities are fun and doable. Yet she still covers a broad range of disciplines within her topic including history, geography, science, health, culture, the arts, and many more. Extensive book suggestions with descriptions, a glossary of terms, timeline illustrations, quizzes, maps and supplemental material for grades 7 through 12 complete this interesting and noteworthy study-help.
– Dean

Beautiful Feet History Review
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
Beautiful Feet History Review

Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
Beautiful Feet Books

During rare moments when a busy homeschooling mother is able to sit down, it is likely she will be found on the sofa with a picture book in hand, her young children close beside her. Cozy and sweet? Yes, it is. Reading aloud has been one of my favorite homeschool pastimes. These cozy times, however, should not be underestimated in their ability to secure interest and to train children in the habit of attention. And picture books and/or story books have a wonderful way of introducing a subject to children, especially history. Actually a knowledge of history is gained through the unfolding of a story (see the word “story” in history?) For this reason let no history be read to young children unless it is in literary language (story form).
Focusing on the story part of history allows children to develop their powers of imagination. The use of imagination will be an advantage to the intellectual activity of the student years later when there are few pictures in his books. Save the serious side of history, the details of politics and philosophy, for the older student. While children are in their early elementary years let them have the story. Through a well-written story they can learn to see the connections between events, and to trace causes. And they can learn to tell the story back in their own words (narrate). Describe what conditions were like at Valley Forge and tell how the solders survived can be one narration request made to a young student after reading a few pages from George Washington. Along with the enjoyment of the story comes the mental profit gained through narrating it. For a mother to hear her student narrate is the best way to find out what he knows.
The following titles are a collection of historical biographies that we enjoyed when my children where smaller. These beautifully illustrated picture books were created about fifty years ago by an enthusiastic husband and wife team. Their accurately told stories are making their way into the homes of children again. I think you would find them to be an inspiring addition to yours.

Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom (cassette)
Focus on the Family Radio Theater
A review by Sophia Andreola

homeschooling
Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom - A Focus on the Family Radio Theatre Audiodrama
Dietrich Bonhoeffer / Focus On The Family / 1997
Focus on the Family Radio Theater presents us with the thrilling life of a great thinker, Dietric Bonhoeffer. This dramatization helped me understand World War II through the eyes of a German who loved his country so much that he laid down his life for her.
As a boy Dietric felt called to be a minister. After graduating from seminary he visited America where his religion became real to him. Hitler began to gain power in Dietric’s home land of Germany. When the persecution of the Jews started Dietric could no longer be silent. He could have safely stayed out of Germany by taking refuge in America but he thought God wanted him back in his homeland. In Germany he watched with sorrow as his countrymen were swept away with enthusiasm for Hitler, and the German church was taken over by Nazi elders. Thus he began his fight to save his country from the greed, ambition, and racism it was being led into.
Shortly after his engagement to Maria he was arrested and imprisoned for two years. Just weeks before the war ended Deitric was executed for treason.

Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers
by John Eidsmoe
A review by Karen Andreola


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Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers
John Eidsmoe / Baker / Paperback / 1995
Every once in a while I come across a gem of a resource but think, “How can we fit this, too, into our already full syllabus?” But I buy the book and worry about that later. Eventually I make it fit somehow. We may not read all of it, but we do read enough of it to give our children a good taste of it. Christianity and the Constitution is this sort of book – an absolute gem of a resource. Consider fitting it into your syllabus. It will deepen your knowledge while it deepens your faith. Mr. Eidsmoe surrounds us with a cloud of witnesses. His easy-to-read documentation on how the lives and words of the Founding Fathers bear testimony of a strong faith in the Biblical God is inspiring and reassuring. Only by seeing America as the Fathers saw America (through Christian colored glasses) can we understand the original intent of the Constitution. By reading this book we dig up the tarnished treasure (the truth) that is kept buried by modern secular textbook committees and deliberately and determinedly hidden from most American children today. What is the truth? If it wasn’t for men with strong moral and religious convictions we wouldn’t have the constitutional freedoms we enjoy today. What a good beginning we had! Let’s unearth it, value it and preserve it. For high school & above.
- Karen

Destination: Moon
by James Irwin
A review by Dean Andreola


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Destination: Moon
James Irwin / New Leaf Press (Master Books) / Hardcover / 2004
I met James Irwin in 1989 when this book was first published, at a Christian booksellers convention. I was so excited I could barely speak, but did manage to ask for his autograph. With a humble smile he reached into a box and pulled out a photo of himself standing on the moon next to the lunar module, Rover and the American flag. As I left the little booth I looked down to see what he had written. It read: ‘Dean, Jesus walking the Earth is more important than man walking on the Moon. Jim Irwin.’ This world-view is the theme of this wonderful book. He recounts with simplistic detail his boyhood dreams of space travel, his work as a test pilot for top-secret airplanes, surviving a near fatal crash, rigorous astronaut training, all the way to the ultimate adventure. Landing on the Moon! This hardcover book, brimming with glossy color photos will get you and your children as close as they may ever come to reliving this rare event. But more importantly it reveals the love and sovereignty of God by proving there is nowhere man can go and nowhere man can kneel to pray, that God cannot see, hear, and answer! Jim went to be with the Lord in 1991 but we are thankful he left us with this inspiring and touching testimony.
- Dean

Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts
by Dave Stotts, Jim Fitzgerald
A review by Dean Andreola


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Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts #1: Rome If You Want To
Dave Stotts, Jim Fitzgerald / Tyndale House / DVD / 2004
homeschooling
Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts #2: Greece is the Word
Dave Stotts, Jim Fitzgerald / Tyndale House / DVD / 2004
Wow! This is a terrific series. Are you planning a trip to Mars Hill this year? No? The let Dave Stotts, our animated guide, take you on a fast pace tour through ancient history in his Mimi-Cooper. While visiting actual historic sights in Rome and Greece, he embellishes his narrative with descriptions of the local culture, great leaders, military conquests; architecture, and the myths and legends that helped shaped the world of the early church. Dave can exercise a keen sense of humor, when he graphically retells the mythical story of Romulus and Remus for example. Yet he can movingly recount for us the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem as depicted on the sculpture of the Arch of Titus. This compelling use of secular evidence to support Biblical events; empowers each lesson as a faith builder. I even enjoyed the liner notes, and the special feature that enabled me to view the series again with additional running commentary by Dave and his producer. Rome focuses on the strength of the Empire and its clash with the early Church. Greece contrasts pantheism with the message of Paul, then highlights his life and missionary journeys. Although it was produced for junior and high school age students, the live footage, dramatized scenes from history, art masterpieces, modern graphics and the occasional Bible reading by John-Rhys Davies (of Lord of the Rings fame) makes this a winner even for men in the forties like me, with A.D.D ! Includes 3 thirty-minute lesson-tours per DVD, and a discussion guide. (From Focus on the Family)
- Dean

For The Layman: A Survey of the Old Testament
by Kenneth Levy
A review by Karen Andreola

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For the Layman: A Survey of the New Testament--Workbook and Audiocassettes
Kenneth F. Levy / Great Expectations Co / 1994
All during their growing years my children have been hearing the stories of the Old Testament. I decided it was time my junior high and high school students were given a systematic overview to pull these stories together. For the Layman met my expectations. I found it to be more interesting and clearly presented than the survey course I took in college!
Three mornings a week we listened to a portion of one of the four cassettes. (We took the course in smaller bites than suggested). On the tapes the author Kenneth F. Levy explained to us the significant historical events of the Hebrew people. We were lead through all the books of the Old Testament. I like Mr. Levy’s gentle enthusiasm. It’s contagious and testifies of his reverence for the Word of God. His purpose for the course is both for information (for the head) as well as transformation (of the heart). Questions on the weekly written exams include those of spiritual application. For example, the questions: “How many sons did Jacob have? Which of these sons held a position of high authority? Through which son did the Messianic line come?” were accompanied by, “Explain what is meant by the Promised Seed and how it illustrates the love of God.” At the end of the semester I happily ordered a handsome certificate from For the Layman for each of my students. After using this stimulating yet non-intimidating course my children are prepared to go on to more in-depth and theological material.
-Karen
(This course is presented in a non-denominational, non-doctrinal format from conservative evangelical scholarship.)

Genevieve Foster Series
A review by Karen Andreola

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Abraham Lincoln's World
Augustus Caesar's World
George Washington's World
The World of Capt. John Smith
The World of Columbus and Sons
Genevieve Foster / Beautiful Feet Books / 1965
Have you or your children ever felt lost in a string of names, dates and political events that crowd the page of a history textbook quiz? Genevieve Foster's books take the "lostness" out of history. Large line drawings illustrate each book, but it is especially the full-page "dates & events" illustrations that coordinate the characters in history so beautifully. Her colorful characters are the "historical figures." They act in episodes we call "historical events." Her books have a time line feel because she weaves characters from around the world in and out of her central story giving us a broader scope of the times. We may even exclaim with delight, "Oh, that's how 'So & So' fits into the picture!" By the time the story is finished we are amazed at how many 'So & Sos" we painlessly remember.
In Augustus Caesar's World - 44BC to AD14 (for example) we are taken on a bird's eye tour of the world. Not only do we learn about life in Rome, we are also privy to the culture of the Hebrews. We view Antony and Cleopatra's grasp for power, how the ancient Germans and Britains lived, Virgil and his poetry, Greek philosophers, the Mayan's life in America, silk in China, Confucius, the caste system in India, Buddha, a boy of Nazareth named Jesus, and more. (Note: The author places all religions on equal standing with Christianity.)
Can children gain knowledge outside the textbook/workbook regimen? Yes, if we give them schoolbooks that are not (necessarily) "fun and easy" nor "grueling and tedious," but interesting. If a schoolbook isn't interesting, find one that is. Try one by Genevieve Foster.
"But where are the quiz pages?" Rather than multiple choice quizzes, use narration. Write out the names, dates and/or events for the child. Then require him to narrate the story behind them (orally or in writing). Ask, "What else?" if you want him to tell you more. "How" and "why" questions are good, too. After all, matching names to dates and events is insignificant, if we don't know (and can't tell) the story behind them.
For the home teacher who takes joy in reading aloud or joy in seeing an older child curled up in an out-of-the-way corner intently reading a schoolbook.
Fourth grade and up. About 350 pages each.
--Karen

Government 101
by Laura Petrisin
A short review by Dean Andreola

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GOVERNMENT 101 PACKET
Laura Petrisin / Press On
Immigrants applying for citizenship seem to know more about how our federal government works than many highschool graduates and adult voters. As homeschoolers it is important that we understand our federal government so we can work to improve it and limit it’s power as the framers of our constitution intended. An informed citizen becomes a conscientious voter. This is not a “Cadillac” course, just a concise little overview, with questions, worksheets, exam and answer key. You will learn how it all fits together, who does what, where and when. A handy refresher course and reference guide to supplement your government studies.
-Dean

Holling C. Holling Series
A review by Karen Andreola

When I am invited to speak at homeschool conferences, I talk about "living" books. To give an example of a living book, I hold up for all to see one by Holling Clancy Holling. His books present factual information clothed in the literary language of a story. His books have "the imaginative grasp" and that "touch of originality" of which Charlotte Mason spoke. She said that these kinds of books make the best schoolbooks because they open the door of a child's mind.Living books make it easier for a child to
narrate (to tell in his own words). A child's telling, describing, or explaining secures knowledge, and calls the facts and information to remembrance long after the story is over. With fondness, my mother recalled reading Paddle-to-the-Sea after 40 years had passed. The best books stand the test of time. Written and illustrated between 1942 and 1957, these books are filled with wonder and adventure, with an intriguing combination of geography, history, and nature. The following set of books is still available for this generation of readers.

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The Holling C. Holling Series
Holling C. Holling / Houghton-Mifflin

Paddle-to-the-Sea
A young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle journeys from Lake Superior all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by the story, we drew a big blue map of the Great Lakes.
A Caldecott Honor book

Seabird
The history of America at sea is presented through the travels of Seabird, a carved ivory gull that serves as the mascot for four generations of seafarers—aboard a whaler, a clipper, a steamer, and an airplane.
A Newbery honor book

Minn of the Mississippi A snapping turtle hatches at the source of the Mississippi and travels downstream through the heart of America to the Gulf of Mexico.
A Newbery Honor book


Pagoo An intricate study of tide pool life in the Atlantic Ocean, presented through the story of Pagoo, a hermit crab. This humorous story made a lively addition to our science curriculum. You'll find more detailed information on tide pool life here than in any elementary textbook.

Tree in the Trail
The story of a cottonwood tree that witnesses the pageant of history of the Great Plains and Santa Fe Trail for over 200 years.

64-96 pages each, five softcovers from Houghton Mifflin.


Hospital Sketches
by Louisa May Alcott
review by Yolanda Andreola

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Hospital Sketches
Louisa May Alcott / Applewood Books / 1989
During junior high I read three classic novels by Louisa May Alcott. Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. I loved getting to know the characters. Miss Alcott wrote very descriptively about what she was familiar with—New England family life in the 1850s’. Little Women is about four sisters with four unique personalities, very much like Miss Alcott’s own sisters. Little Men tells how one sister, Jo, manages a school of rambunctious boys. Jo’s Boys is how these same school boys turned out, and is filled with Jo’s motherly advice.
Then one year my mother handed me a short story by Louisa May Alcott that few people know about. She made Hospital Sketches part of my high school English course. In Hospital Sketches Miss Alcott’s unusual vocabulary and long descriptive phrases can be difficult to understand, but I soon found myself in the middle of the story, and could hardly put it down. This book gives us a true account of Miss Alcott’s experience as a volunteer nurse during the civil war. Calling herself Nurse Periwinkle, she tells about caring for “her boys”—the wounded Yankee soldiers. She writes, The sight of several stretchers, each with it’s legless, armless, or desperately wounded occupant, entering my ward, admonished that I was there to work not to wonder or to weep... Nurse P. was sister and mother to those who suffered horrible pain and loneliness, those dying boys who could not even see their families before they passed on. This is a little book that tells a lot.
96 pages, Applewood Books, paperback
- Yolanda

How Should We Then Live? (VHS)
A review by Sophia Andreola

homeschooling
How Should We Then Live?: Video Curriculum
Francis Schaeffer / Gospel Communications Int'l / 2001

My father tells me that he saw these films in church over 20 years ago, before the invention of video! (Wow - he's old!) Now they are available for home viewing to a whole new generation. After 40 years of study in theology, philosophy, history, and the arts, Dr. Schaeffer shares his knowledge and expertise with us to present his analysis of the rise and decline of Western thought and culture. Carrying us through 2,000 years of human history, Dr. Schaeffer proves the importance of God's absolute truth as revealed to us in Christ through the Bible. He delivers his message while walking through the beautiful European countryside or visiting cathedrals, museums, and other historical sites. Theatrical film footage is woven into the narrative to add drama. With the vast amount of reading that has to be done in high school, it is nice to have a break and enjoy watching a film. The presentation of the message is a memorable one. I learned that a civilization that rejects God eventually crumbles from the inside out. The same happens in the lives of individuals, for without Christ man is left with no hope or direction. Man will try to find or put meaning into life but it will never truly satisfy him.
This series includes three videos, each featuring four segments, such as the Roman Age, The Reformation, the Scientific Age, and the Age of Personal Peace and Affluence. An interview with Francis and Edith Schaeffer introduces us to the work of L'Abri Fellowship. They share their thoughts about living with suffering and sickness and about recognizing God's leading in our lives.
Three slipcased videocasettes, 6 hours total


In Freedom's Cause (cassette)
by G.A. Henty
Read by Jim Hodges
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
G.A. Henty Audiobook Series
read by Jim Hodges

For a fine introduction into the exciting world of G.A. Henty historical novels, I recommend Jim Hodges new Henty books on tape. Jim is a retired Navy veteran and homeschool father of three with a passion for history. His narration is clear and compelling. When I was a boy (of eleven or so) I enjoyed listening to a local radio station that aired unabridged novels read bit by bit over the course of a week or more. Although there was no back ground music, sound effects, explosions, etc. I was still drawn in to the story by the use of good old fashion listening skills and my imagination. Listing to Jim’s reading of In Freedom’s Cause The Story of Will Wallace and Robert the Bruce reminded me of those earlier radio broadcasts. Also handy for rainy days, and long trips.
Eight cassettes in a vinyl case.


John Smith
by C.H. Forbes-Lindsay
A review by Nigel Andreola

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John Smith: Gentleman Adventurer
C.H. Forbes-Lindsay / Prestonspeed Publications / 2000

John Smith was the son of a British duke. When his father died he sold his schoolbooks and became a tramp. Later he went through extensive training to become a professional soldier mastering the battle-ax, sword, and musket. His battle strategies against the Turks were excellent, so the army made him a captain. He even fought duels with the highly skilled Turkish captains and generals—fifteen in all—a world record for winning the most duels. Later he boarded a ship to America with a group of men to form a colony. When the people in charge of Jamestown died John confidently took leadership. He built up Jamestown and made peace with the Indians. John taught them to regret attacking the settlers for no reason. For years he governed the town wisely. But when he died other less-skilled men took charge and the people were reduced to….better read it yourself and find out what happened!
Paper back


Landmark Books
by Random House
An introduction by Dean Andreola

homeschooling

Landmark Books Series

Random House, Inc

When we began homeschooling, Karen and I used to spend a lot of time in local bookstores and libraries. We were hunting out good “living books” for our young children that could become some of the core curriculum in place of textbooks. These would be books of fiction or non-fiction usually written by a single author about a subject of keen interest to him. The enthusiasm shared by the author for his subject can often spill over into the mind and heart of the reader. These types of books can help our children gain knowledge from what they read and study. One such series of books we were always on the lookout for was Landmark Books from Random House. If we were diligent in our search, we could sometimes find a Landmark book on a subject we were studying. But the sad part is most Landmark books are now out of print, hard to find and expensive. Homeschoolers still seek them. Thankfully, some of the more popular titles are still available. Maybe someday the whole series will again enjoy a wide readership. Until then it may be a good time to snap them up for your homeschool library.
-Dean


Marrin History Books
by Beautiful Feet
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
Marrin History Books

by Beautiful Feet

Although I grew up “watching” the Vietnam War on the six o’clock news, the answers to the big questions were shrouded in mystery. I wanted to know things like “Who started it?” “Why is it taking so long and why aren’t we winning?” “Are the protesters right?”. Well it’s about thirty years later and I have just finished reading America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger. Now I know! Albert Marrin’s “living” history books are not mere sugar coated liberal diatribes. They are painstakingly researched. He writes with passion, honesty and well-balanced reason. Weaving eyewitness accounts, photos, and news items from the period into his narrative you can almost smell the gun smoke, and hear the cries of the innocent. There are moral lessons to be learned here that will not be found in a politically correct high school textbook. There is also much to parallel regarding our current crisis is the Middle East and our search for understanding and solutions. Parents please be warned. My recommendation is for mature high school teens only! The books contain graphic descriptions of war, the brutality of dictators, and first hand accounts from prisoners. (Some occasional harsh language appears during these interviews.)

More Perfect Union (VHS format)
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation (Video)
National Center For / 1989
Watching this film is like entering a time machine and opening its door to the summer of 1787. You and your children will witness a bit of the drama that led to our nation's founding. Meet the main characters - James Madison, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin (to name a few)—and marvel at the amount of painstaking research, heated debate, and humble and godly wisdom that went into the making of our Constitution. Survey the underlying principles that formed our union and protect our freedoms, even to this day. Filmed in Philadelphia's Independence Hall and other historic sites, the movie boasts exquisitely re-created sets, accurate dialogue, and authentic costumes.
This movie answers the concern that cropped up during and after the 2000 presidential election—namely, the lack of knowledge and confusion we Americans apparently have over the intentions of our Founding Fathers. Were the drafters of our Constitution simply idealistic dreamers—primitive thinkers? Did they have any understanding or vision of what would be required in governing a growing and powerful nation? Should we give in to the liberal pressures and simply do away with the Electoral College (and whole segments of our Constitution) because it is inconvenient for a political party or because many people do not understand it?
Our Christian homeschool students can be led to understand our Constitution and be ready to defend it as responsible adults and voting citizens. And this film offers an excellent introduction to that awesome privilege and responsibility.
VHS: 114 minutes.

Mystery of History, Volume 1
by Linda Lacour Hobar
A review by Dean Andreola


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Mystery of History, Volume 1
Linda Lacour Hobar / Bright Ideas Press / Paperback / 2002
I can still remember the day when my high school history teacher called a young lady to the front of the classroom to find Egypt on the big wall map…of South America! Flustered, she finally gave up and returned to her seat amidst the laughter of the other students at her expense. She just couldn’t “get it”, and like so many of us, probably grew up thinking history was tedious or dull. Well it is never too late to form new opinions as we learn along with our children. The Mystery of History is a chronological study of God’s intervention in human events from Creation to the Resurrection. The heart of this course is a well-researched and lively text ideally suited to be read aloud and discussed. Timeline projects, study questions, vocabulary, maps, and quizzes, tests and numerous activities for a broad age/grade range are included. Bite size weekly lessons cover the entire school calendar. Bible stories, characters, and events are fully integrated with prominent “secular” history themes answering the most important who, what, where and when questions. Some amazing and fun facts are thrown in just to keep us on our toes. Finally, The Mystery of History reveals that the study of history is really a beautiful picture of God’s Sovereignty where there is never a truly “dull” moment to be found. (grades 4 to 8 or beyond)
- Dean

Of Plymouth Plantation
by William Bradford
A review by Dean Andreola

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Of Plymouth Plantation, Hardcover
William Bradford / The Vision Forum, Inc / 1909

Of Plymouth Plantation is the firsthand account of William Bradford's history of the Plymouth Settlement of 1608-1650. This is no watered down, modern revisionist, cartoon version of history. This is the real thing. For many of us who remember this important part of our Christian American heritage as only a sketchy blur of names, dates, places, and events (e.g., Squanto, Myles Standish, John Alden and Priscilla), I invite you to read this 1909 modern English translation. Governor Bradford brings to life the hardships and many struggles the Pilgrims endured for the cause of religious freedom. Whether we live in times of peace and prosperity, or impending disaster, it is good to pause and reflect upon the lives of those Christian bothers and sisters who faced the unknown with courage and resolve. The Pilgrims believed that God was in control and active in the lives of those who diligently sought Him. Their example stands as a great testimony for us today. The nature of the persecution they endured in Europe and the details of their journey in search of freedom in the New World are clearly presented from a decidedly Protestant perspective. This book includes Bradford's forty-two-year historical account and numerous rare excerpts from letters and correspondence of the time. Recommended for middle school, high school, and adults.
353 pages, beautifully bound and illustrated hardcover with ribbon marker from Vision Forum, Inc.


On to Oregon!
A review by Yolanda Andreola

I read On to Oregon! years ago when I lived in Oregon, I was fascinated with the difficult journey the Sager family encountered, especially as it was based on a true story. John, the main character, was born on an Ohio farm in 1831. When the book begins he is age thirteen, the eldest of the six children. He always seems to get in trouble for trying to get out of his chores. On top of that, he isn’t very respectful to his parents either. When his dream of traveling the Oregon Trail becomes a reality, he discovers what a huge job it is. Then something horrible happens. His father becomes very ill and dies. Soon after his mother has a baby girl and in her weakened before she dies gives her baby to John to care for. With both parents gone he regrets that he hadn’t been a better son to them. This makes him more careful and responsible. Does he and his six brothers and sisters turn back or do all seven of them ford rivers, cross prairies and mountains, and face the freezing cold of the winter looming ahead?
-Yolanda


Oregon Trail CD-ROM
A review by Dean Andreola

Sometimes when the Maine weather was nasty, our children would enjoy staying indoors to travel the Oregon Trail. This interactive CD-ROM enables children to experience in sight and sound, a little of the trials and tribulations of the brave pioneering families that pushed westward in search of a homestead. In the beginning of the adventure you must buy provisions from the supply shops and then wisely use your wits and resources or suffer the consequences of being alone in the wilderness without food, medicine, or protection. But there is help along the way in the form of trading posts, wagon trains, and other travelers offering advise on the best routes to travel, favorite hunting grounds, etc. The challenge is ever present to keep up your provisions, and your health, while learning to evaluate the advice offered by other travelers along the way. And sometimes their advice is not altogether helpful—just like real life. Beautiful scenery and tranquil lakes could be just around the corner, but so could a host of dangers. Along the way you visit (now famous) forts, and landmarks, and with a bit of skill and good reasoning will come to the West Coast to begin a new life.
This game teaches a bit of history and geography, while challenging the player to use a bit of math and reasoning skills. We are very selective in our family when it comes to computer games. We would prefer that our children spent 100% of their time reading great literary classics, playing classical music, or carrying out leftovers to the garden compost heap. But when a little diversion is needed, we have a very small handful of computer games and The Oregon Trail is one of them.
-Dean


Reformation Overview Curriculum
An article & review by Karen Andreola

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Reformation Overview Video
Vision Video / 1995

So much of the freedom we enjoy today as Christians is the result of godly men—giants of the faith—who have come before us. The Bible translated into English—or the language of the common people—is one of the most prominent reforms of the church. It is a precious gift we can be more thankful for when we know the drama of its history. For hundreds of years those who translated, copied, smuggled, or preached from the Holy Scriptures in the common language were considered outlaws and heretics. Many were tortured, drowned or burned at the stake for it. And yet the work of sharing God’s Word in a language people could understand continued. In the words of one reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, “The Word of God is as unstoppable as the Rhine [river].” Who were these men able to stand in the face of opposition—stand for what they believed to be God’s truth as revealed in the Bible?
One October, during Reformation week, our family took the course Reformation Overview. We thought it good to be reminiscent and appreciative of our Christian heritage. This curriculum features six Bible study topics with six thirty-minute video segments designed for adult Sunday School. The video dramatization is a picture of the life and times of the Prodestant reformers, their emotions and struggles. Excerpts from full-length films are used. A professional cast plays the parts of the reformers quite well. They enable us to witness faithful men proclaiming enlightening ideas, persevering even when tormented to recant. With Wycliff we learn the importance of studying Scripture. With John Hus we ask what is the church?” Martin Luther’s topic is justification by faith alone. With Calvin and Zwingli comes God’s providence. The Anabaptists focus on a heavenly kingdom. Tyndale stresses the priesthood of all believers. Warning: there are short scenes showing death by fire and other cruelty.
We tailored the course for home use. In the evenings we watched the video segment. Mornings were our time for the Bible study part of the course. Daddy had a bad tooth-ache that week so Mom helped read aloud to the children from the Teacher’s Notes to introduce the ideas in the video. After the video segment we chose some discussion questions provided in the Leader’s Guide. During morning Bible study we each had verses to look up and read out loud. Looking up all the verses and answering all the questions could take well over an hour. I recommend shortening the lessons when younger children are participating. Some ways to do this are: to assign questions for the older children to do on their own, pick out just a few key ideas, leave off cross references.
Full length versions of the films can be purchased separately. Reformation Overview is an introduction and meant to be a springboard to further exploration into Protestant church history. We think it will inspire you to do so.
-Karen


Simply... Stated
by Katie Campbell and Sidney Douglass
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
Simply . . . Stated!
Katie Campbell & Sidney Douglass / Kreative Simplicity / 2002

The simplicity of this course is appealing and especially that it guides the homeschool teacher to use real books. What a treasure awaits children at the libraries across the country! Yet this treasure of picture books, biographies, historical fiction novels, etc. is undervalued. Therefore these books take second place, if any place at all, in a child’s education. As much as 100 years ago Miss Charlotte Mason sanctioned the use of real books in the curriculum. Even today, so many years later, it requires an adjustment in thinking to agree with her statement that any really good book “has the right to be called a schoolbook.” Simply Stated enables you to glean your local library of its wonderful array of picture books, fiction and non-fiction. Put together by a couple of homeschool moms it is a list of carefully selected books, categorized by state.
Keep maps and facts handy if you like but also, make room for real books. And like the authors’ children your children will be introduced to prominent people, historical events, geographical details, weather conditions, animal behaviors, as well as the virtues of Americans who overcame adversity—all by means of delightful picture books! It is a lovely list in itself, for young children, even if you weren’t exclusively studying the states.
- Karen

For the elementary years.
Kreative Simplicity
86 pages


Sower Series
With a word about biography
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
Sower Series
Johannes Kepler
Isaac Newton

TINER / Mott Media, Llc / 1977
One of the most rewarding things we've done in our homeschool is to read biographies. Some years we've only read two or three. One year we went "all out" reading more than a dozen. We built upon earlier years of Nature Study by taking a close look at the lives of scientists and inventors. Various books and our biographies replaced the textbook entirely, that year. What freedom! It was still studious work but work of a different kind.
How do we come to have wonderful knowledge in science? Two scientists from the Sowers Series in particular answered this for us. Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler gave us a greater appreciation for scientific knowledge. They believed that because this is God's world it is worth investigating. Louis Pasteur and George Washington Carver were two others in our pile of books as well as Archimedes, Da Vinci, Galileo, Edison, Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, Curie, Einstein and others.
Have you noticed that individual accomplishment is glossed over in most textbooks? In secular textbooks, individual accomplishment is intentionally suppressed by the modern socialist/communist agenda. Their focus is collective contribution. Any "positive" Christian motivation or conviction is left out too. Yet in our homeschools we are free to examine the lives of individuals and be inspired by them.
Students need far more than facts and information alone, if they are going to "like" their schoolwork. They crave what biographies offer. Hope, adventure, and examples of determination, commitment, diligence, and exertion, are demonstrated through the memorable lives of those, who it cost something, to persevere in their callings.
All the lives in the Sower Series are worth delving into (not just the scientists). Look for other lives in the CBD catalog as well. Take courage to stray from your textbook. You won't regret it.
--Karen

Stream Of Civilization Volumes 1 & 2
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
Streams of Civilization, Volume 1
Mary Stanton / Christian Liberty Press / 1976

Streams of Civilization has been used by homeschoolers and Christian schools for a long time, and with good reason. It is still one of the few world history texts that integrates a Biblical worldview, Creation Science, and Church history. These texts do not shy away from the positive contributions made by Christians throughout the centuries. Students will acquire an understanding of the scope of human events from the creation of man to our most current news headlines. Major world cultures, religions and their development are explained with the aid of maps, timelines, and graphics. Like many texts however, this is a snapshot view of civilization therefore, I recommend spending more time on selective chapters of interest. Use the text alongside of some well-chosen biographies, films, historical fiction, picture books, etc. Have the student write in a composition notebook their personal summaries. Encourage them to share verbally what they are learning. It makes good dinner conversation, and helps them remember and apply what they are reading! If history is destined to repeat itself when we do not learn from its lessons, then this is one valuable course of study for our future generation!
Ages 14 and up
Note: Karen says the Teacher’s Guides were written for the classroom and would be overwhelmingly busy for the home teacher, so use them sparingly if you must.


The Annals of the World:
James Ussher's Classic Survey of World History

A review by Dean Andreola

You'll learn about Alexander the Great, the Caesars, and no less than six Cleopatras!

homeschooling
The Annals of the World:
James Ussher's Classic Survey of World History

James Ussher / New Leaf Press (master Books) / 2003
A homeschool mom called the other day and asked if I knew of any history books that reference the Bible and other authoritative sources from Biblical times. While she was speaking, I just happened to be looking through a newly printed copy of Annals of the World. This massive historical work, originally published in 1658, has been newly translated into modern day English! It chronicles world history from Creation to A.D.70. Little known details (not found in standard texts) of the Egyptian, Greek and Roman struggles for domination are cleverly woven into the narrative. This edition is fully indexed, and includes over 10,500 footnotes from ancient historians, now keyed to the Loeb Classical Library, (Harvard Press) and over 2,500 references from the Bible and Apocrypha. Rev. Ussher, language expert, doctor of Divinity, and Archbishop of the Church of England, traveled the world over in order to collect the facts he needed. Includes a CD-ROM with additional timelines and charts, graphs and study notes. Learn about war & peace, heroes & villains and kings & kingdoms of Biblical times in graphic detail. This beautifully bound, 960 page, gold trimmed masterpiece is destined to become a collector's item! (Recommended for the serious student of history!)
--Dean

The Cat of Bubastes (cassette)
by G.A. Henty
Read by Jim Weiss
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
G.A. Henty Audiobook Series
read by Jim Weiss

We have another Henty book on tape now available from Preston Speed, the people who publish the Henty books. They have chosen The Cat of Bubastes, the exciting adventure set in ancient Egypt at the height of their civilization. This careful abridgement has been reenacted by award winning story teller Jim Weiss who is well known to homeschool audiences nationwide. I once saw Jim act out from memory the entire Sherlock Holmes story The Blue Carbuncle to a spell bound crowd. It is a delight to see him bring his unique talents to the world of G.A. Henty.
ISBN: 1-887159-58-4
Six hours on 4 cassettes or CD-ROM


The Five Thousand Year Leap: The 28 Great Ideas That Are Changing The World
by W. Cleon Skousen
A review by Sophia Andreola


homeschooling
The Five Thousand Year Leap: The 28 Great Ideas That Are Changing The World
W. Cleon Skousen / National Center For / Paperback
Recommended for all students of history, future leaders, and well-informed citizens!

Our founding fathers were serious students of world history and God's word. They sought the answers to age-old questions. "Which style of government endures, prospers and guarantees liberty? What mistakes did nations and leaders make in antiquity that eventually pulled them down?" Never in history was there such a combination of great ideas and high ideals drafted into a new nation's government. Because of this, Mankind took a great leap forward in technological innovations, health and prosperity, in other words, the blessing of God. What were these "great" ideas? What did the founding fathers discover? Cleon Skousen reveals the 28 great ideas that are even now changing the world. Reading The Five Thousand Year Leap gave me a deeper love and respect for my country. It has encouraged me to uphold the Godly principles of government and conduct that our founders gave us for a legacy. Each new generation must ask; "Will we be good stewards of what God has given us and continue in His bountiful blessings? Will we continue to move forward?" Inspiring chapters include: The Genius of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, The Founders Common Denominator of Basic Beliefs, Virtuous and Moral Leaders, The Role of the Creator, Equal Rights, Not Equal Things, Limiting and Defining the Powers of Government, Strong Local Self- Government, Protecting the Role of the Family....
- Sophia

The Hiding Place
by Corrie Ten Boom
A review by Sophia Andreola

homeschooling
The Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom / Random House, Inc / 1982

I like reading books about the lives of real people—heroic people—people who are willing to deny themselves common comforts in order to follow God’s leading. Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place is the story of her experience of the second World War.
Corrie and her family lived in the Dutch town of Harlem. Her father was a watchmaker. Corrie and her sister Betsie never married but stayed with their father and helped him with his business. When Holland was taken over by Nazi Germans Corrie’s family watched helplessly while their country was being crushed by the German’s tyrannical laws. The Jews were being persecuted the worst. The ten Booms began hiding one or two Jews but soon their house became something like Jewish hotel. A secret room was built into the back of Corrie’s bedroom. One day while Corrie lay sick in bed she heard the sound of many feet running up the stairs . She opened her eyes and saw the Jews running into the secret room. A few moments later a German officer was striking her in the face, trying to force information out of her about the hidden Jews. Corrie played innocent. Her family was sent to prison and later to consternation camps. Betsie and Corrie went though great suffering that tested their faith and in the end strengthened it as they learned that “no pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”


The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci
A review by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci
Questar Video

I first viewed this series on television in 1972. It made such an impression on me that, years later, I was searching libraries for a copy to view with our children. Then to our surprise Questar released the series on video—four and a half hours on three tapes.
In this sensitive portrayal of Leonardo da Vinci we gain rare access to the life of an extraordinary man. Filmed in Italy, using over 100 original Renaissance sets, the film transports you to 15th century Florence. The film is dubbed into English from Italian. A narrator in modern dress moves among the Renaissance characters. He often quotes directly from Leonardo’s personal diaries. There is a delicate blending of emotion by the actors with fact and information by the narrator. These work together to let us know Leonardo’s thoughts and to show us Leonardo’s great contributions in the arts and sciences while the melodrama of his life unfolds. Our children enjoyed learning about the secrets behind his many inventions: Chain-Link Drive, Clock, Drill Press, Flying Machine, Parachute, Helicopter, Machine Gun—as well as the stories behind some of his greatest works of art, such as The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and The Adoration of the Maji. (Be informed: there are two short scenes depicting death. The word “bastard” is spoken several times in reference to his unfortunate social position.) This film is not a fast paced, action-packed cartoon. It is an artistically crafted, slower paced docu-drama that demonstrates how great thoughts, inventions, great works of art take patience, care, and perseverance. More often than we would like disappointment and failure are part of the process. It is clear to me that lessons learned from the life and accomplishments of this self-educated Renaissance man are apply suited for the modern homeschool family. All this for the price of a good book!


The Magna Charta
Of Courage Undaunted: Across the Continent with Lewis & Claark
Poor Richard

Three books by Newbery award-winning author James Daugherty
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
Three books by Newbery award-winning author James Daugherty

Beautiful Feet Books

Liberty and justice for all, is a potent phrase that used to be spoken (not too long ago) by millions of children within our U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. Liberty and justice for all, are what the English wanted way back in the 1200s—the days of knights and castles. The Magna Charta was supposed to secure this—it was supposed to hold deceitful King John accountable. But just as liberty and justice are not easy to come by, they are not effortless to secure. Read the dramatic tale that surrounded the signing of this important document. It will help you and your children appreciate the influence it had on the centuries (and documents) that followed.

The Magna Charta—History doesn’t have to be a dry overview of events. Attention and memory are sparked by interest in the unfolding story behind the events. Two of Mr. Daugherty’s other history stories will (like The Magna Charta) go into far more adventurous detail than is typical of any textbook overview. In all three books both Mr. Daugherty’s writing and drawings are filled with action. His paragraphs are packed with sumptuous vocabulary.

Of Courage Undaunted—Across the Continent with Lewis & Clark is a month by month thrilling account of exploration.

Poor Richard is a lively biography of Benjamin Franklin.
Grade 5 up.


The New Fox’s Book of Martyrs (Logos Edition)
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
New Foxe's Book of Martyrs, Softcover
John Foxe / Bridge-logos Publishing / 2001

Books about death and dying are usually not the kind of book I reach for once the children are in bed and I can quietly curl up for a few moments of a peaceful read and a cup of chamomile tea. They are usually not the kind of book I read aloud to the children, either. Fox’s Book of Martyrs is one exception, however. It is a book that challenges my soft, comfortable American Christianity. Here is a record of some faithful men and women who were persecuted for remaining faithful to their belief in Jesus Christ, who would rather choose death than renounce Christ, who endured great suffering for the sake of the gospel, who made great sacrifices for the advancement of the kingdom of God. It’s “a legacy of inspiration and courage” for all who believe today - all who pray to stand boldly though it be politically incorrect to do so.
Puritan John Foxe wrote about religious events that swirled around him in the 16th century. He also recorded events that came before his time. During the last 400 years his book has been periodically updated This new edition includes more recent accounts as the church continues to be persecuted throughout the world. Anyone studying 16th century history or Protestant church history will be surprisingly informed. I believe this classic book to be essential daytime reading (perhaps not bedtime reading) for any family wishing to discover who in history paid a high price for believing and sharing the gospel so that the wonderful truth about Jesus could be passed down person to person, generation to generation—so that we might believe and have life everlasting, too.
-Karen


The Noah Plan: Literature Curriculum Guide
by Rosalie Slater
A review by Karen Andreola


homeschooling
The Noah Plan: Literature Curriculum Guide
Rosalie Slater / F.a.c.e. / Paperback / 1997
Are you looking for a K-12 scope and sequence for literature and history? Are you attracted to the literature approach (whole books not fragments) and notebook approach (whole writing not multiple choice)? If you are nodding a "yes" then you will be grateful for The Noah Plan. Whether you use it as a reference of plentiful suggestions or follow it to the "T", you have a lot for your money here. Richly Biblical in perspective, it is more explicitly so than any work I've read to date. It is filled with "read-at-a-glance" charts and outlines, some highlighting the key ideas of an age and how they contribute or compare with Christianity and our American government. I like the articles. Some are on fairy tales, poetry, Dickens, Shakespeare, the ancient Greeks, King Alfred, etc. Many will appreciate the book lists and especially the sample pages of a young student's notebook, handwritten and illustrated. A big book of guidance for all grades, The Noah Plan has generous portions of challenging high ideals of virtue and American patriotism. Few plans, I've seen, are this extensive. You won't be bogged down, however, if you go slowly to glean a little at a time. Rather, you will be empowered and equipped because Rosalie Slater's Noah Plan is a neat scholarly work with a friendly tone of writing.
- Karen

The People, Places and Principles of America
A review by Yolanda Andreola

homeschooling
People, Places & Principles of America: The Discovering Volume 1
Paradigm Accelerated Curriculu / 2000
What makes this series unique? Each chapter has a Life Principle highlighted in a frame. Two examples: Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned by the …sacrifices of his friends. -General Dwight D. Eisenhower. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. –Anon. The AMERICA series is written from a conservative Christian perspective, and does not edit out the opinions and contributions made by Christians in the founding and advancement of our nation. Along with major events and the people that shaped them are chapter sections and facts on agriculture, great discoveries in science and medicine, famous explorations, government & economics, art, entertainment, architecture, and fashion to name a few. Volumes 1 and 2 cover the Colonials days to late the 1990s. In high school, while studying the late 19th century to the present I used volumes 3 and 4 of the series. It provided basic structure. To these we added “living books”—two biographies, some historical fiction novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird and selected magazine articles.
(Includes black and white line drawings, photos, maps and timelines).

The Real George Washington
by Andrew M. Allsion
A review by Nigel Andreola

homeschooling
The Real George Washington: The True Story of America's Greatest Diplomat
Andrew M. Allison / National Center For / 1991

My parents bought me a large portrait of George Washington called The Prayer at Valley Forge for Christmas from the CBD catalog. It takes up half my wall! They thought it would be good for me to start reading in more detail about his life. There are a lot of books about Washington, but we choose The Real George Washington because it is filled with real letters and things he wrote. Part one of the book is mostly about his education, the Revolutionary War, forming our new government, and his presidency. I learned a lot of new things about Washington. I think it is important for boys and girls to read about him and what was going on during his time. I liked the descriptions of the battles, and the other Generals—that's a real plus for us boys! His life is an example for us to stick up for our country and for freedom even in the toughest times. Part two of the book is a sort of dictionary put together from interesting things from Washington's own writings. It's like getting two books in one. So if you want the ideal book on George Washington, this is the apex! Also available: The Real Thomas Jefferson & The Real Benjamin Franklin.


The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters
Thrilling Stories of the Survivors
with Photographs & Sketches

Reviews by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters
Logan Marshall / The Vision Forum, Inc / 1998

The title sure says a lot! This book has been reprinted from antiquity to begin a new movement among Christian boys and men in order to revive the principles of Christian character trait that endeavors to put “woman and children first”. This group, The Christian Boys’ and Men’s Titanic Society is a project of The Vision Forum Inc., started by Doug Philips, a popular speaker and homeschool Dad. Children will learn about love, duty, courage, endurance and hope as they read first hand accounts of genuine survivors of big ship. The book includes numerous charts and photos, and exciting interviews direct from the year 1912! An added bonus is the Christian introduction to the book written by Dr. Henry Van Dyke, author of the Christmas classic, The Story of the Other Wise Man. He beautifully sums up what we should be striving for in our walk of faith when he writes, “Only through the belief that the strong are bound to protect and save the weak because God wills it so, can we hope to keep self-sacrifice, and love and heroism, and all the things that make us glad and not afraid to die.” A “read aloud” for the whole family. It is bound in an antique style quality hard cover binding with large readable type face, photos & illustrations.
355 pages.
-Dean


The Story of The Trapp Family Singers
by Maria Van Trapp
A review by Sophia Andreola

homeschooling
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers
Maria Augusta Trapp / Harpercollins Publishing

As long as I can remember our family has spent a week with our Grandma and Grandpa at their summerhouse at the New Jersey shore. I not only looked forward to swimming and building sandcastles but to watching the same film. It is one of my grandmother’s favorites—The Sound Of Music. Therefore when I found The Trapp Family Singers in my stack of history materials I was surprised. I didn’t know there was a book. In it I learned the true story of the Trapp family. I learned that Maria had three of her own children, emigrated with her family of nine (soon to be ten) children to America and started a summer music camp. Her devotion to her family, strength of character and faith in God make this an inspiring story.


TruthQuest History: A Chronological Investigation Enlivening the Truths of History
by Various Authors
A review by Karen Andreola


homeschooling
American History for Young Students I (Exploration-1800)
American History for Young Students II (1800-1865)
American History for Young Students III (1865-2000)
Ancient Egypt & Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome
Middle Ages
Renaissance/ Reformation/ Exploration
Age of Revolution I (1600-1800)
Age of Revolution II (1800-1865)
Age of Revolution III (1865-2000)

Truth Quest History / Paperback

Spread a feast of good books and history is fascinating to children; biography, historical fiction, picture books, etc. Perhaps you've tried using "real" books but hit-or-miss attempts brought uncomfortable feelings of insecurity. Author, Michelle Miller takes the hit-or-miss out of history. Her guides make it much easier to be consistent, chronological, and thorough. This veteran homeschool mom and children's librarian, lists oodles of good books (and some key films.) Our choices are plentiful. But she adamantly advises that we are NOT to read them all. Each book is marked with a reading level. This enables moms to combine children of different ages into a study of the same time period. We've always enjoyed using a mix of reading levels in our homeschool. For instance, I've learned not to undervalue picture books. Even a 32-page picture book, that zeros-in on a historical character or event, can offer us more interesting detail than the typical textbook overview does. Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow is a picture book (poem) for all ages, for example. Mrs. Miller's commentary introduces each new topic and connects important events. It is Christian and politically conservative. Her ThinkWrite exercises invite the learner to be discerning and require thinking upon higher things (ideas and principles). She suggests the method of narration be employed with what is read. I second the motion. We may wish to put on skits, make timelines, publish a newsletter, eat historical food. Or, we may simply partake of the feast of books and talk about them.

- Karen


Understanding the New Testament Without Attending Seminary!
By Ken Levy
Update by Dean Andreola

homeschooling
For the Layman: A Survey of the New Testament--Workbook and Audiocassettes
Kenneth F. Levy / Great Expectations Co / 1994
If you have been looking for an affordable yet superior survey course of the Bible, allow Ken Levy to become your family’s personal tour guide. Unlike college or seminary, a cassette player and a desire to learn more about God’s Word are the only entrance requirements needed for this course!
Studying through Ken Levy’s New Testament course will give you and your children a greater level of understanding of major Biblical events, themes, and characters and provide a foundation for future studies. His method helps the student view the Bible as a whole, rather than as unrelated bits and pieces.
This 6 hour cassette presentation comes complete with workbook, charts and notes, and is divided into five segments: the life and ministry of Jesus, the early church, the letters of Paul, the letters of the other writers, and prophecy. The emphasis is Biblical history. But the greatest advantage of this curriculum is Mr. Levy’s clear, concise, non-intimidating oral presentation that enables students from teens to adults to learn at their own pace. Also ideal for busy Dads who desire to lead their family in Bible study, because Mr. Levy has done all the work, no preparation is needed.
-Dean

Understanding the Times
by David Noble
A review by Sophia Andreola

homeschooling
Understanding the Times
David Noebel / Harvest House Publishers / 1994

If, like myself, you are a Christian young person entering college or the job market, or starting a family of your own, it is essential to have at least a basic understudying of world view. With this knowledge we will be armed against the lies that the world will subtly and not so subtly throw at us all our lives. Most Christian homeschoolers watch very little television but even while reading, listening to radio, or checking the internet from time to time it is harder than ever to keep worldly philosophies from influencing us. In addition to being able to defend our faith but we need an understanding of the difference between our faith and other worldviews. This makes us a better witness for God because we can stand fast in our faith while getting to know unbelievers. Also, when we're able to trace the opinions of persons running for office, back to a particular worldview, we will be more informed voters—responsible citizens. Understanding the Times clearly and simply explains the philosophies of the major worldviews—where they stand on issues such as: Theology, Ethics, Biology, Politics and History.
-Sophia


Valor (vhs)
A review by Nigel Andreola

homeschooling
Valor (video)
Vision Video
Boys my age will find this film to be inspiring as it shows that men gave all they could (their lives) to God, to serve their country. My friends at church liked it a lot. The veterans, who tell their stories in Valor, are winners of the Medal of Honor, the highest award given in the USA. Some fought in battles. Others were medics. Their stories are of bravery, patriotism and most of all, their faith in God. I liked the brief history these men told with real film footage from the battlefields. They couldn't have done what they did if it wasn't for their faith in God and God's amazing providence. This film truly reveals that faith can move mountains (and Rescue Helicopters over Vietnam).
60 minute video
--Nigel

World Landmark Books: A Homeschoolers' Guide
by Karen J. Thiessen
A review by Karen Andreola


homeschooling
World Landmark Books: A Homeschoolers' Guide
Karen J. Thiessen / Pure Joy Publications / Paperback / 2004
There is a catch-phrase, one hundred years old, that I’ve tried to live by. “We are educated by our intimacies,” said Charlotte Mason. Today we call it “being immersed in a subject.” If the history textbook presents a shallow smattering of fact and information, go deeper. Get in touch with the struggle and toil of those who made history and something wonderful is added to education: sympathy. When children sympathize they care. Do you want your children to care about what they are learning? History stories like those of the Landmark Books series will help. Most Landmark Books are out-of-print. Those who seek, however, will find them in used bookstores or library sales. And this guide will direct you to the ones that will be most useful. My son read war correspondent Quentin’s Reynold’s incredible firsthand view in his book, The Battle of Britain. He was left with an impression of WWII that gave him a more intimate knowledge than he would have had otherwise. Christian author, Karen, J. Thiessen, surveys sixty-three of these books. She provides a synopsis on each story and makes suggestions of related reading; books that ARE in print. The web sites she recommends have been carefully researched. She dedicates her guide to “homeschooling parents everywhere who know there is a better way to study history.” Pure Joy Publications, 214 pages
- Karen

Your Story Hour: Cassette Series
A review by Karen Andreola

homeschooling
Your Story Hour Volume 1
Audiobook

Your Story Hour / 1998

Hero-admiration was an important factor in Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy. Children had their heroes in art, fiction, history, myth, legend, and science. The heroes followed some element of truth. Some were Christians, some were not, but the children—through contact with those who made great contributions or who behaved with nobility—learned to admire all of truth's most glorious advantages. Whatever is noble, true, and pure should be considered and appreciated, because it all comes from God, whether it's delivered to us by a believer or a non-believer. Charlotte's students had a "good" education because they were soaked in goodness through the Bible, humanities, nature study, and hero-admiration. This soaking is what makes a school a "good" school.
An easy way for me to give my children an array of heroes and enable them to choose a favorite has been through listening to dramatized audiocassettes of Your Story Hour. Many of these stories have been heard on the radio since 1949—you will recognize the dated style of the sound effects and musical interludes. However, the acting and scripts are of professional quality, complete with emotion and suspense. Because the true-life adventures of Your Story Hour do not hide the fear, pain, struggles, and even character flaws of their heroes, the triumphs are all the more inspiring. They encourage us to believe we can develop a more godly character and succeed in our endeavors.

We've been entertained by the following educational stories on long summer car trips:

#33355 Volume 6 Heritage of Our Country: Christopher Columbus, The Early Pilgrims, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln at Gettysburg (including his address), Booker T. Washington, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, The Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and three others.

#33388 Volume 7 Patterns of Destiny: John Bunyan, George Mueller, Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Louis Pasteur, Dwight Moody, Joan of Arc, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and four others.

There are other tapes to explore for those who can't get enough of a good story. The Bible Stories of Volume 1 are also very good ones (though a few liberties are taken for dramatic effect.) Each set features 12 one-hour audiocassettes in a storage case.

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Homeschool Highlights provides homeschooling resources for home schooling parents and students. This site is hosted by Dean and Karen Andreola, noted authors who brought to light the works of Charlotte Mason. They also review "living books" and homeschool curriculum materials for Rainbow Resource Center.

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