Tuesday, April 26, 2016

YWAM Publishing: Christian Heroes: Then and Now- C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller & Unit Study Curriculum Guide {Review}

Our first experience with YWAM Publishing was when we reviewed Heroes of History George Washington: True Patriot several years ago. We enjoyed that review and they recently sent us the book Christian Heroes: Then and Now- C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller and gave us access to the online Unit Study Curriculum Guide (you can see a sample of the C.S. Lewis guide at the book link above) that accompanies the book to review.

The Book
C.S. Lewis Master Storyteller chronicles the life of C.S. Lewis and is recommended for ages 10 and up. In 189 pages, the Benges explain his early life living in Little Lea (his childhood home), his mother's fears of rain, his imagination as a child, early interest in reading and writing, the loss of his mother, boarding school, his time as a soldier in WWI, Oxford studies, his devotion to his promises, his Inkling writing group, the home guard, atheism, his professional writing, his relationship with Tolkien, his wife and step-sons, and his death.

There are 17 chapters which include:
  1. A Lively Imagination
  2. Big Changes
  3. New Schools, New Trials
  4. "Old Knock"
  5. Into the Trenches
  6. An Oxford Scholar
  7. Leaving Ireland Behind
  8. A failure of Imagination
  9. Inklings
  10. War Again
  11. A Radio Star
  12. A Children's Fairy Tale
  13. Chronicling Narnia
  14. New Opportunities
  15. The Two Weddings of C.S. Lewis
  16. Some of the Happiest Days of His Life
  17. In the Shadowlands

Digital Resources
There is an online portal to access more information about the book and author. It is also where you will find the Unit Study Curriculum Guide. The C. S. Lewis digital portal includes the sections:
  • Short biography
  • Unit study: part 1 and part 2 & guides for classroom & home use and small group.
  • Meet the Authors: Janet and Geoff Benge
  • Reader Reviews
  • Bonus Materials with word puzzles, crossword puzzles, coloring pages, overview guides, answer keys, samples, heroes for young readers companion cd track, maps, chronological overviews, chronological listing of publication dates, and information and sign up for book of the month club.
  • More Heroes takes you to biographies of the Christian heroes that they have written curriculum for
  • About YWAM has more information about the company

The Overview Guide for Classroom and Homeschool Use
This is a brief overview for how you can use the book and study guide to utilize all of the components when working with students at varying ability levels and with various learning styles. It contains a sample 13 week schedule for 45 minutes, once a week with third and fourth grade levels and fifth and sixth week levels.

The Unit Study Curriculum Guide
The Unit Study Curriculum Guide is designed to accompany the book and to be a resource to teach history, geography, essay writing, creative writing, reading comprehension, public speaking, drama, and art. It is over 80 pages and full of ideas. In fact, there are so many suggestions that you will want to select the ones that best fit your family's needs, your child's learning style and grade level, and how you will fit it into your study time. The easiest way to do this to read through the entire guide.

Some of the options to choose from are:
  1. Key Bible Verses which can be memorized, used as conversation starters, used for devotions, and put on display.
  2. Creating a display corner. Kids can add anything that is interesting to them about Britain (like people, places, events, items, and tea), UK maps, copies of books written by or about C.S. Lewis, information about WWI and WW II, pictures from C.S. Lewis' homes, stomping ground, and war events, and even examples of things from his life (Latin and Greek sayings, slate, and chalk, etc.)
  3. Chapter questions with answers (recommended for the end of the chapter readings) can be used individually or for groups. There are several kinds of questions: vocabulary, factual, comprehension, and opinion/interpretation. The questions have two levels; the first three are for younger students and the second three are for older students.
  4. Student Explorations that include: essay writing question prompts, creative writing assignments (realistic story, fantasy story, journal entries, letters, poem, obituary), hands-on projects (crossword, play, timeline, book display, writing group, diorama, cover art), audio/visual projects (powerpoint, radio show, debate, perspective writing), and arts and crafts (portrait drawing, story quilt, paper-mache model, relief dough map).
  5. Community links have steps for taking a field trip and suggestions: visit a Anglican or Episcopal Church, tea house, walking tours of open spaces, radio station tour, interview British citizens, talk with those that have visited the UK, get acquainted with a literature or creative writing professor or publish author, and listen to a National Guard member present. 
  6. Social Studies includes places (locate and mark places, calculate position, construct a key, pinpoint places), terms/vocabulary (define, make a reference book, play games), geographical characteristics (use an atlas to identify land forms and features), and conceptual questions (write, present and discuss). There are reproducible pages as well; a United Kingdom Fact Sheet, a blank line map of Europe, and a blank line map of the UK.
  7. Additionally there are related themes suggested with a web to show you how you can make your study cross curricular.
  8. A final Culminating event is recommended and idea sparks are provided: food, music, presentations, display, clothing, and cultural activities.

There are lists of books and resources that complement the set: other books about C.S. Lewis, related books, related movies and documentaries, other books in the series, related National Geographic articles, and related internet sites. 

Our Experience
Ceesa was very excited about the display corner. She made a list of things she wanted to put into it and the assignments that she wanted to put into it.

She used a slate from my grandfather's barn roof.

She gathered up some of the books that we owned that C.S. Lewis wrote.

She researched English teas.

She used a picture of C.S. Lewis that was included in the unit study curriculum guide.

She wrote Latin sentences.

Then she looked up information about England.

And she looked at the land forms and features of the UK on an atlas.

We put the display on one of our kitchen counters.

After finishing the book, she says that the most interesting thing to her is that he knew Tolkien and that for a time they were friends.

She said her favorite part of the display corner was working on the research and finding out more information.

Hmm...writing and research are two of her favorite things, maybe we are on to something that she would enjoy for a career? :)

This is a wonderful resource. The books are well written and the unit study curriculum guide provides a tremendous amount of options for study. The Christian Heroes set could easily be a complete curriculum when you include the cross-curricular map suggestions (just sprinkle in some math and science for good measure).

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

There are over 25 different titles that the crew reviewed. Click here to read about some of them from Schoolhouse Review Crew. 

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