Monday, April 8

C.S. Lewis & YWAM Publishing {Review}

In the past two years, my boys have really gotten into Narnia & Tolkien, and while I'm not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy (they tell me there's a difference), I AM a fan of reading!  So it is rather timely that we had the opportunity to check out Christian Heroes- C.S. Lewis, from YWAM Publishing’s Christian Heroes: Then & Now!  The book even comes with a Unit Study Curriculum Guide, with many ideas for creating a full biographical study of one of the world's most-remembered storytellers...

We read the book together as a read aloud over a week-long period, following 'bunny trail' conversations about how you can see his life in his works.  I used the study guide comprehension questions - mostly with the younger one - as we went through the story.  I would ask him questions from the prior day's reading to be sure he was with us (recollection can be somewhat of an issue for him).  We also used the biographical sketches and mapwork included in the study guide.  Naturally, to finish this unit, we had to watch the Narnia video!

Book Description
Combining history, biography, and action, this is the story of C.S. Lewis and how he acted as a hero during the war.  From his earliest childhood, C.S. Lewis loved to hear and tell stories. Persuaded that stories could reveal the truth about the real world in a unique way, the literature professor wrote more than thirty books, including science fiction, theology, literary criticism, and fantasy.  In an era marked by two world wars, Lewis attacked tough questions about life and faith headfirst. Convinced that the story of Jesus Christ is the truest of all stories, and known for searching out the truth with honesty, clarity, and imagination, the former atheist would become one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century.

Jack's mind began to churn with ideas. What could he possibly do with an umbrella-carrying faun running through a snowy wood and a group of evacuee children who were bored living with an elderly professor? Soon Jack had the hazy outline of a story that would draw millions of children into the magical land of Narnia.  (book excerpt)

Geared to students ages ten and older, C.S. Lewis and the accompanying Unit Study Curriculum Guide are a fun way to learn more about one of the world's beloved storytellers.  The chapter book is written in a narrative style, and while there are no pictures beyond the small black-and-white line drawings at the beginning of each chapter, you’ll be so busy learning that you won’t notice!  
We loved the book, but only used the study guide as a sort of foot note.  I appreciated the Chapter Questions section, because it’s always nice to review comprehension and tie everything together through further discussion, and mapping activities made for some hands-on learning, but the rest of the guide was not as useful for us.  If we were using this book in small group setting, or homeschool co-op classroom, many of the activities would be more applicable.  There are a lot of great ideas offered for groups of children working together to learn about the same thing!

There are several biographies in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series, from the 19th century's David Livingstone and Lottie Moon to more modern-day Nate Saint and Betty Greene. There’s even a chronological list so you can easily add them to your existing history curriculum.  If you want to use that list to create a year-long course, the Unit Study Curriculum Guide comes with a guide for using all of the books in homeschool, co-op, and school settings. The unit study itself is broken down into eight major sections, as shown below.

Key Quotes
This section has quotes from other famous figures that are offered up as examples of what may have inspired the hero. 
Display Corner
Suggestions and examples of items to collect for display are offered. 
Chapter Questions
Each chapter is allotted four questions to help students focus on vocabulary, factual information and opinion/ interpretation of the information.  Answers are provided at the end of the book.
Student Explorations
     -  Essay Questions
     -  Creative Writing
     -  Hands-on Projects
     -  Audio/ Visual Projects
     -  Arts and Crafts
This section is divided into several sections with writing prompts, research probes, map-making projects, play and script writing, and other crafty projects.
Community Links
This is basically a ‘field trip’ section. 
Social Studies
     -  Places
     - Terms/ Vocabulary
     - Geographical Characteristics
     - Timeline
     - Conceptual Questions
This section offers more traditional and familiar study tips for understanding the geography of the area.  The Conceptual Questions section involves more short projects to help students dig a little deeper in the politics and geography of the area.
Related Themes to Explore
This chapter allows you to see other topics (specific topics in science, history, geography) that can be tackled during your unit study.
Culminating Event
These are ideas for closing out the unit study. 
See what others are saying about YWAM Publishing over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Crew DisclaimerStudy Guides - Christian Heroes Then & Now & Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

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