Monday, May 12, 2014

Golden Prairie Press: Heroes and Heroines of the Past {A Review}

Golden Prairie Press sent us access to Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum ($98.99) ideal for grades 1-6 to review. We received the ebook version which is in color. Printed books are available in black and white.

Summary of Curriculum
The Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past curriculum comes as 5 downloads (pdf and MP3). It has stories of heroes and heroines of American history. It teaches utilizing old stories, modern stories, documents, speeches, songs, hymns, historical art, recipes, bible memory verses, games, maps, crafts, experiments, quotes, definitions, and more.

What's Included

  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1~388 pages~ebook containing American History from 1000-1837 and designed to be used the first half of the year.
  • Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 ebook~408 pages~ebook containing American History from 1837-present day and designed to be used the second half of the year. 
  • Historical Skits~ebook with nineteen skits. Skits require two to ten characters. 
  • Additional Materials~collection of time lines, instructions, video access  information, art, coloring page, excerpt from book, book reading, hymn, game, and maps.
  • Sing Some History~MP3 audio download containing the songs referred to in the ebooks.
  • Listen to Some U.S. History~ MP3 audio collection of original speeches, poems, sermons, and documents that are referred to in the ebooks. 

Lesson Organization
Each of the history lessons have 2 parts or a combined reading: a basic overview for 1st and 2nd grades and a more advanced section for 3rd through 6th grades or 1st through 6th grade information

Each lesson follows a similar format: overview and/or information. The overviews and information contain pictures and visual aids to reference while reading. Then follows all or some of the following: directions for incorporating the additional materials and MP3 files, questions, writing topics, memory verses, recipes, games, timeline, literature recommendations, geography activities, puzzles, songs, recommended resources, dictation/copywork, and lots of others.

Time Frame
Lessons can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes with some parental assistance. There are 30 sections total, so if you are working throughout the year you'd complete about 1 section a week with breaks sprinkled throughout the year.

Additional Materials Required
  • pencils, paper, crayons, etc. 
  • computer and printer
  • organizational materials for storing the things you wish to print 
  • individual supplies for activities vary and are listed at the beginning of each week. 

Children's Literature Suggestions

Ten Great Adventurers by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
Ten Girls from History by Kate Dickinson Sweetser edited by Amy Puetz
Heroines of the Past: Bible Study by Amy Puetz
Two Little Americans in Spanish California by Frances Margaret Fox
Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

How we Used it
The girls are at different points in their history studies, so we opted to focus on different sections for each of them. We also could have chosen sections that they've both studied before and gone over those lessons together, but I wanted to keep them at the time in history they are currently studying. We worked throughout the review time on the lessons provided.

Ceesa's Experience

Ceesa used section 25 about Annie Wheeler, William McKinley, Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus), and Theodore Roosevelt and section 26 about William Taft, George Washington Carver, the Gilded Age, Woodrow Wilson, and Herbert Hoover. 

Here is some of the work Ceesa produced and completed...

From Section 25 Lesson 1: Write a story from this picture~a picture is provided and Ceesa made up her own story.

Bill and Jill's Adventures
Bill and Jill were sister and brother and were very, very, very close. Bill was older then Jill. He was 14, she was 11. One day as they were taking a walk, they came out on a sudden drop! Bill was able to stop, but Jill did not stop in time and she slid over the edge. Bill screamed, "Jiiiillllll!" Bill ran to the edge and gasped. It was a cliff. "Jill! he cried. "Hellllllllp!"screamed Jill. Bill ran down a hill-like place that lead down to where Jill had fallen. He searched and searched. Finally, he found her. She was unconscious. He carried her home. When she became conscious she said that she had fallen in a  tree and then hit the ground. She passed out then. Bill and Jill praised God that she was alive. It was a miracle. Bill had trusted God that Jill was going to be all right! And she was!

Bible Verse: 2 Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock ; in him will I trust; he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior thou savest me from violence.

From Section 25 Lesson 2: Games of the Past~Taboo
This is a game played by asking a question that can only be answered without using a certain letter. You decide the letter and the hard part is the obvious answer to the question would be the one that has the letter that you can't say. Here were our obvious answers and how we got around that tricky letter...
toad-hopping amphibian

bear-growling mammal
balloon-oval floating plastic

May-4 weeks of flowers

octopus-eight legged sea creature

From Section 25 Lesson 3: Sing Some History~Listen to Shenandoah. We read the lyrics to Shenandoah that were provided and then we found a version online for listening.

From Section 25 Lesson 4: Listen to Some History and Draw Some History~Ceesa listened to the story of "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby" from the Additional Materials download and drew her version of Brer Rabbit.

From Section 25 Lesson 5: Games of the Past~Hide-and-Go-Seek~This is a game the kids play a lot, so an excuse to play during school was just what they wanted.

From Section 26 Lesson 1: Cook up some History~Rusk. Ceesa worked on this recipe for breakfast one morning (although it was a tea time bread). Li helped. We found that it actually needed an hour instead of the 30-40 minutes baking time.

From Section 26 Lesson 2: Cook up Some History~Sweet Potato Pone. Ceesa made this to take to a church dinner. We made a double batch. It is delicious and tastes a lot like pumpkin pie.

From Section 26 Lesson 3: Games of the Past~Day and Night. The girls adapted this game some since it is designed to be played with a large group.

This lesson also talked about Kate Douglas Wiggins, the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. We decided to read this book and loved it!

From Section 26 Lesson 4: Writing Topics~Imagine riding in a car...for the first time when they were first invented. Ceesa decided to write a story to continue from her original story.

Bill and Jill's Adventures
Bill and Jill were in a car, the first ones to be in a care (besides the inventor)! Then Bill cried, "Lake!" Their father did a swift turn, but Jill fell over the edge of the car! "God help her!" cried bill as he jumped out of the car as it was still moving! "Jill!" He screamed. He saw Jill holding onto grass, half handing over the drop that lead to the lake. The grass held until Bill grabbed her. As Jill climbed over the edge, she said, "Thank you God!" And Bill agreed, "Thank you God!"

Bible Verse: Luke 10: 27: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

From Section 26 Lesson 5: Toys of the Past~Optical Illusion. Ceesa and Poppa read the directions and put this fun game together. You simply put the pictures back to back and twirl the string.

Jo-Jo's Experience
Jo-Jo used individual lessons from different sections and studied: Leif Erikson, Pocahontas, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln,  
Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Fanny Crosby.  

Here is some of the work Jo-Jo produced and completed...

From Section 1 Lesson 2: Make a Viking Ship (We used beeswax clay, but a recipe for homemade play dough is included.)

From Section 3 Lesson 3: Examine Historical Art~Pocahonatas at the Court of King James by Richard Rummels~Jo-Jo answered questions and then compared the painting to another on a similar topic.
This sample is from the wikipedia; The print is included in the curriculum pack.

From Section 18 Lesson 1: Cook Up Some History~Fricasseed Chicken. Jo-Jo helped prepare one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite meals from Mary Todd Lincoln's cookbook Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie. Poppa helped Jo-Jo. He is such a great fry cook. Poppa and Jo-Jo made a great team. It was delicious and is going in our recipe box.

From Section 23 Lesson 2: Sing Some History~Listen to Uncle Sam's Farm. We listened to this pioneer song by Jesse Hutchinson on the Sing Some History download. Because Jo-Jo had never heard the term Uncle Sam we looked up the orgins on the History Channel website before we listened. We really like the Little House Books and never knew that Laura kept a list of scriptures in her Bible. We added some to ours.

Ceesa read through this too! She loves the Little House series.

From Section Lesson: Fanny Crosby Copy work~Jo-Jo choose this verse to write by Fanny Crosby for a copy work activity (there were several others to choose from) and she decorated it.

What Ceesa has to say
Ceesa was very excited from the beginning. She started with the Annie Wheeler lesson and was amazed by her ability to save her brother even when the doctors said it was hopeless. Heroines will always be a great way to clinch her interests. 

"The rusk was delicious. It was really good. We almost forgot to add the butter and brown sugar. I recommend you have 2 slices and try it both ways with and without the butter and sugar."

"I liked the writing parts. I'm starting my own stories about Jack and Jill's Adventures now. I hope to be an author some day so I liked that opportunity to write."

What Jo-Jo has to say
"I liked making the chicken and the viking ship out of clay. It was fun to learn about the copy work and the Bible verses Laura wrote."

My Thoughts
I'm impressed with Amy Puetz's writing style. History coming alive through literature is important to us and most of the writing fits the bill.

The interactiveness of the activities is just what we like best...drawing, music, cooking (the recipes that we tried were all delicious), games...hands-on fun.

We hoped to find all of the songs included in the curriculum. Shenandoah was not and we needed to look for it online. The words were provided with music, but we are slowly learning music together and it was more difficult then we could play ourselves.

This would be a terrific and affordable stand alone type of unit for an entire year. It incorporates all subject areas (with the exception of math) in an engaging, meaningful, and hands-on way.

We use literature for our history readings and study geography along with our readings. This curriculum has some interesting tie ins to what we've learned and will be learning. Instead of using it for a year, we will spread it out and use it as a resource for when we study the topics.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

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