September 21, 2015

Daniel Boone ~ Unit Study from YWAM Publishing {Product Review}

We love history--I've said that many times in previous posts. And lately, Little Britches has decided he adores biographies (Yay!). I was very happy to be picked to review one of the books from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing and wasn't very surprised when Little Britches decided on Daniel Boone: Frontiersman. We DO live in Kentucky just 2 hrs east of Fort Boonesborough you know...LOL.

Daniel Boone: Frontiersman...a Unit Study product review

Product Summary

YWAM Publishing is known for their fabulous biographies on famous men and women throughout history. Two of their most popular series are Christian Heroes: Then and Now and Heroes of History.
The Christian Heroes series focuses on men and women who were instrumental for spreading the word of God throughout the world--people like Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, D.L. Moody, Jim Eliot, William Carey and more! Heroes of History focuses on the famous men and women who shaped our world no matter what time period they lived in--people like Daniel Boone, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Carson and many more.

The biographies are geared towards the 10+ age group and there are Unit Study Curriculum Guides available for many of them--turning these biographies into homeschool curriculum.

The paperback biographies are available for $7.50, while the Unit Study Curriculum Guides cost $5.49 (downloadable) or $7.49 (physical CD). Beware though that they are phasing out the physical CD and moving to exclusively offering the downloadable--so you won't find the physical CD option for all of them.

We were given 40 biographies to choose from, and Little Britches decided he wanted to review Daniel Boone: Frontiersman, from the Heroes of History series. We were also given a physical CD of the Unit Study Curriculum Guide to review.

How Did I Use the Product?

I was eagerly waiting for this to show up, and when it did, I was happily surprised to see that the curriculum unit study came as a CD, as I was expecting a digital download! When I opened it up on my laptop (I use Windows 8 and didn't have any issues), I discovered there was a lot of information on the CD for my perusal, but it was very easy to find the curriculum unit study. I clicked on it and saw that I had the option to either open and print from the pdf, or download it to my computer. I opened the pdf and discovered it was going to be much easier to just print out what I needed and leave everything else to be perused as needed. The unit study was in two parts--the second part simply had the four pages of the appendix which was the maps.

Once I had everything printed I looked through it and noted what was to be done from the beginning, while the book was being read, and what needed to be done after the book was completed.

For this curriculum, I decided to simply begin with the book as a read-aloud and then work through the comprehension questions for each chapter. To keep track of our answers, we used a composition book .

It was suggested by the curriculum that younger students might do best with the first 3 of the 6 comprehension questions for each chapter. After looking over the questions, I decided this was a great idea and using the notebook, copied down the first three questions for each chapter before we read the book. The first question is always a vocabulary word from the reading--with instructions for them to look it up and then use it in a complete sentence. 

I had Little Britches use his dictionary since we have been following this method for our other vocabulary words. Some of the words had more difficult to understand definitions, so at times I had to translate what it meant--and give guidance for the sentence. We also found that if we re-read the sentence the term is used in within our chapter, this helped with comprehension. I appreciated having each vocabulary word's location noted on the question.

Once Little Britches recorded his answers for the other two questions, I encouraged him to orally answer the other three more difficult and open ended questions. This worked very well for us.


There were a few other activity pages--like a bio, timeline, and maps--which I chose to work into our study here and there. I decided to save the larger projects for later, possibly waiting until we finished the book before we did them.

After seeing the length of the chapters, I decided we would work through a chapter each day--and we worked on it 2-4 days each week. To begin with, I read each chapter aloud, but as we continued, I decided that the reading level was on par with where Little Britches was at, so I would have him begin our readings every time from that point on. He usually read 3 pages and then I would take over and finish the chapter. This system has worked well for us.

The first activity that we did, was to guide Little Britches through researching the details of a flintlock gun. We went to the library and did some research using the books and encyclopedias they had. He drew a diagram of the gun, labeling the parts.
Drawing the firing mechanism
The next activity we are going to tackle will be a craft stick fort. We aren't done with the book yet (but we are close) and when we are done we will work on the fort. It will really help that we have actually BEEN to Fort Boonesborough and have REAL photos for him to reference.

This was great since one of the ideas was to (if possible) take a trip to Fort Boonesborough, so we took a "visual" one and enjoyed looking at our photos again.

The original site of the fort right by the Kentucky River

The back entrance to the Fort Boonesborough replica...opens to the stockade

Front Entrance to the Boonesborough
As of right now, we are on Chapter 16. I think we will finish the book in a week or so.

What Are Our Thoughts on the Product?


Little Britches: "I loved learning about Daniel Boone and doing the projects, but I don't really like writing down the questions or looking up my vocabulary."

Me:
I think this is a very comprehensive history/literature curriculum. It would be easy to use these books and coordinating Unit Study as a full curriculum--if you purchased several of them for your school year. Our book has 19 chapters, and even at 2 to 4 chapters a week, has provided me with about 6 weeks of work! The program is very full and allows for you to add as much as you want--and to spread the learning throughout other subjects. There is so much information and ideas in the unit study--more than you would ever use with one child. It is NOT open-and-go which might deter some, but I am use to unit studies and know that they are giving you far more information than you would ever use so you can pick what will work best.

I think that this book on Boone is more graphic in the descriptions of conflicts with Indians than others for children/teenagers--as it does talk about lightly the type of torture done when someone was captured. I think it was done..tastefully (if I can even use that word) where it brings it out without dwelling on the gruesome aspects. But it does let the reader know these things happened. I didn't have a problem with reading it aloud, though we did do some extra talking about it.

I appreciate that this curriculum is on a CD, so that I don't have to download anything to my computer. I like that it has some extra links where you can learn more about Daniel Boone or Boonesborough online.

So will we continue to use this program?
I have every intention of finishing this book, continuing to use the unit study guide papers for our comprehension questions and projects. I think it's a great unit and I plan on saving it for future use.

Would I Recommend This Product?

Yes, I would recommend this product. I would especially recommend it if someone is looking to combine subjects AND teach multi-age levels. I believe that this product allows you to do that very well. If you follow all the areas of the unit study, you will have social studies, arts and crafts, science and more! It is easily adaptable for different ages making it a cost effective option.

I do think this product is definitely for the recommended 10+ age group with its more advanced story and information (like the less than nice aspects of indian and settler relations). I would put the book at a 5th grade+ reading level.

Want to Learn More?

We reviewed Daniel Boone: Frontiersman book ($7.50) and Unit Study Curriculum guide ($5.49) from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing. You have seen how much we have enjoyed it, so why don't you check out what books the rest of my review crew explored?!
YWAM Publishing Review
You can always stay in touch with YWAM Publishing on these social media sites:

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/YWAM-Publishing-482973445102/timeline/

Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/YWAMpublishing


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Now that we have explored the life of Daniel Boone, we are eager to make the trip back to Fort Boonesborough again to see it through new eyes! It will mean so much more to us, as we walk the fort, see the artifacts, and stand on the ground that Daniel Boone once stood! And I was happy to note that Little Britches STILL wants to read a biography about Daniel Boone on his own...to see what THEY have to say. It also made him eager to dive into his biography he has from the library on Simon Kenton--another famous explorer who unbeknownst to us was a friend of Daniel Boone too! I love it when our curriculum spurs on the love of more learning!
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