Monday, April 30, 2018

Reviewing Heroes of History: William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All from YWAM Publishing

YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographies

Living just a short distance from Pennsylvania helped me decide from all the wonderful books that YWAM Publishing offers in their Heroes of History and Christian Heroes: Then and Now lines. Our family reviewed Heroes of History William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All by Janet and Geoff Benge. We also received a Study Guide to go along with the book which provided discussion questions, vocabulary words, geography activities, and lots more to help teach our children about the life and times of William Penn.


YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographies

The Heroes of History is a biography series of 28 books recommended for ages 10+. In the Heroes of History series one will learn about explorers, pioneers, presidents, inventors, and more. Individuals that your family can read about include: Billy Graham, Harriet Tubman, and William Bradford.

YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographies

The Christian Heroes: Then and Now line has a total of 46 books recommended for ages 10+. "These books answer today's call for positive role models and for opportunities to see how God works through the lives of those who follow him" (YWAM Publishing). Personally, I am looking forward to reading books in this series in the future like that of C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller and Eric Liddell: Something Greater than Gold.




Reading the Book


YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographiesWilliam Penn: Liberty and Justice for All is a well-written book that is enjoyable even for adults. The background history of England is provided without confusing the central story - the life of William Penn.

It is available in paperback, e-Book, and audiobook formats. William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All is also available in Spanish.

The story starts with William Penn in prison at the Tower of London and then takes us back to a time when his father, Admiral William Penn, was a national hero. While living in Ireland, 12-year-old William Penn heard Thomas Loe, a Quaker, speak at his father's estate. The idea that one could talk directly to God was spoken of and this provided relief for young William because he had been praying directly to God himself.

The story continues detailing the time William Penn spent attending Quaker meetings, writing tracts, and speaking at meetings. Unfortunately for Penn, much of the book details his legal proceedings as well as his time in and out of jail. Penn spent some time in the famous Tower of London while arrest under for "unlawfully and tumultuously" assembling even though all he did was lead a prayer meeting on a street corner. It was events like this that pushed Penn to founding Pennsylvania, named for his father, as a Holy Experiment where Indians would be treated as friends and there would be freedom for people to practice their religion.

The concluding chapters detail Penn's time traveling back and forth between Pennsylvania and England to work out problems regarding land ownership as well as problems that ensued with the changing of the monarchs in England.

Curriculum Unit Study


In addition to reviewing the book, we also reviewed the Curriculum Unit Study. The Heroes of History offers three overviews – Small Groups (good for Sunday School or Scouts), Classroom (for larger classroom settings), and Homeschool. The Christian Heroes: Then & Now series offers two guides – Classroom & Home and Small Group.

YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographiesIn each of the overviews, information is provided for using the Heroes of History Biographies and Unit Studies in a different setting; for determining what the role of the teacher, group leader, or parent can be; and for how to teach social studies and language arts using the Unit Study Curriculum Guides. Each book from the Heroes of History series can be used to study a specific time period, social studies topics, or character traits. William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All is set in the years 1644-1718, discusses the fight for religious freedom, colonial times, 17th-century religious conflicts and convictions, the Black Plague, and the histories of England and Pennsylvania. The two character qualities that could be focused upon are: tolerance and fairness.

Our teen attends public school, so we did not use as much of the Unit Study Curriculum Guide as I would have were he homeschooled (like his younger siblings). In addition to asking him to read William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All, he completed the fact sheet and timeline that accompany the Guide as well as tried his hand at fancy lettering with the key quotes listed in the Unit Study.

The Unit Study also includes ideas for a display corner – objects that relate to the times and places in which William Penn lived. We were able collect a number of the items suggested, including facsimiles of colonial money, a copy of the Bill of Rights, books on London, and books about people who lived during the time period. The collection of these items provides great opportunities to discuss other subjects while reading the book about William Penn.

YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographies

With our younger son, who is soon turning five, I introduced some of the terms and vocabulary used in the book to practice writing and teach him new words. And because he loves maps, we labeled the blank map of Pennsylvania that was provided.


YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographiesIn addition to ideas for a display corner, the Unit Study provides a chapter explaining different ways students can further explore the biography. "Student Explorations are a variety of activities that are appropriate to a wide range of learning styles." If your children enjoy writing, there are essay questions and creative writing ideas such as writing letters, journal entries, or even a resume for Penn. For children who prefer more hands-on projects, one could create a topographical map of Pennsylvania, write a one-act play about an event in Penn's life, or try calligraphy to write the charter of Pennsylvania.

Great Features - What We Like


One of the things I liked the most about the Unit Study Curriculum Guide is that there are four chapter questions provided that relate to vocabulary, factual information, comprehension, and one question that seeks "an opinion or interpretation."

A great aspect is that you could use the entire Heroes of History series as your core curriculum for US History such as by reading at least one biography from each time period and completing the accompanying activities provided in the Curriculum Unit Studies. Or your child could read more than one book from a time period to gain multiple perspectives such as reading the biographies of Ronald Reagan, Louis Zamperini, and Billy Graham from the time period of The Future of a Nation.

Our teen really likes the fact that William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All was told in a sequential order with very little sidetracking to discuss different times. He found the book easy to understand and comprehend and enjoyed the way the book was organized.

In the Unit Study Curriculum Guide, there is a list of other biographies of William Penn that might be of interest. Accompanying each biography is a synopsis and comments on the book. This is very useful in seeking out additional information.

I would recommend William Penn: Liberty and Justice for All for families, youth groups, and schools who wish to learn more about Penn, England during the late 1600s, and Colonial America.

YWAM Publishing, Christian heroes, Christian biographies, biographies for children, Christian heroes then and now, heroes of history, true biographies, Heroes of History, Then & Now, Christian Heroes: Then & Now, bestselling biographies, Hero biographies

To learn more please visit the following sites:


To read reviews of some of the other books in the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes: Then & Now Series, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew.



Friday, April 27, 2018

Engaging History: Renaissance


This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

History has always been one of my favorite subjects. Studying the Renaissance provides a fantastic opportunity to study literature, art, architecture, history, the lives of individuals, and more! In this last post of the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop, I will provide activities, journal-writing opportunities and questions, ways to include geography, music, and literature in your lessons, and projects for your children to complete to help bring history alive. I urge parents to preview books, movies, and other resources and references prior to sharing with your children. Only you, as the parent, know what your children are ready to read or view in a movie.


Carole P. Roman, Children's Books

A great place to start is If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy by Carole P. Roman with illustrations by Silvia Brunetti. This book offers so much valuable information for studying the Italian Renaissance – from a glossary in the back of the book to information on the Medici family, who sponsored many artists of the time period. 


Activities 
  • What is the Renaissance? What are some of the words that might be studied during a unit about the Renaissance? 
  • Read over my notes on the Italian Renaissance. 
  • Create a timeline – write down the significant events of the Renaissance. 
  • For children who enjoy geography, label a map of Europe with the nations that existed during the Renaissance. You can further this by labeling how Italy was divided during this time period. Be sure to include important Italian cities! 
  • Research your name. Is there an Italian equivalent to your name?
  • Research the traditional foods of the time period and prepare a Renaissance-themed dinner party. Maybe your guests can even dress up as important people from the time period. 
  • Design and sew traditional Italian Renaissance clothing. 
  • There were many famous artists and inventors who are remembered for their work during the Renaissance. Visit a museum to see their paintings or sculptures or visit the library to borrow books about them.
  • Build a replica of the common Italian home – the palazzo. Be sure to include the bedrooms, a place for your father's business, kitchen, and more! 
  • Create a schedule to follow the subjects typically taught during this time period: grammar, philosophy, arithmetic, Latin, and public speaking for the boys; art, music, dancing, and needlepoint for the girls. 
Children's Book, History, Elizabeth I

  • And don't forget about looking at the Renaissance England! How can we forget leaders like Queen Elizabeth I or writers like William Shakespeare? 
  • One of my favorite things to do with students when I was teaching high school, was to introduce them to primary sources like speeches, letters, and diary entries. There are so many great speeches of Queen Elizabeth I to read including her speech on religion of 1583
  • Attend a live performance of a Shakespearean play, read one of the works, or view one of the many movies produced. 

Art 
  • Sistine Madonna by Raphael 
  • David by Donatello 
  • Hands of God and Adam by Michelangelo 
  • David by Michelangelo 
  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci 
  • The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci 
  • The Ditchley Portrait of Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger 
  • Illuminated manuscripts 


Resources and References 

The National Archives' Elizabeth I's Monarchy

Spartacus Educational: Queen Elizabeth I

Vatican Museums - Sistine Chapel

History's The Medici Family




Please visit the links below to read more posts from the Homeschool Review Crew as we come together for the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop during the week of April 23, 2018. And make sure to stop back here each day this week for more great ways to bring history to life with books, movies, and more! 





Thursday, April 26, 2018

Engaging History: Colonial and Revolutionary War Era America

Valley Forge National Military Park, Revolutionary War

History BooksThis post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

History has always been one of my favorite subjects. Now that we have reached Day Four of the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop, I will provide activities, journal-writing opportunities and questions, ways to include geography, music, and literature in your lessons, and projects for your children to complete to help bring Colonial and Revolutionary War period of American history alive. I urge parents to preview books, movies, and other resources and references prior to sharing with your children. Only you, as the parent, know what your children are ready to read or view in a movie.


A time period of American History that offers a lot of resources is that of Colonial and Revolutionary War Era America. But what if you don't live near the many historic sites and battlefields along the East Coast? There are still many opportunities to study Colonial America and the Revolutionary War with your family.

There are several books that can aid you on your journey to introduce how people lived in Colonial America and during the American Revolution.

Children's Books, history books, Colonial America,

From the If You Lived Series
...If You Lived At the Time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore and illustrated by Daniel O'Leary
...If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern and illustrated by June Otani

From the Adventures in Colonial America Series:
Seventh and Walnut: Life in Colonial Philadelphia by James E. Knight
Boston Tea Party: Rebellion in the Colonies by James E. Knight






American Revolution Activities

  • Discuss the different names given to the American Revolution including the War of Independence, Revolutionary War, and American War of Independence. 
  • Label a map of the early United States colonies. In order to better understand how the colonies were separated, shade the New England colonies blue, shade the Middle Colonies yellow, and shade the Southern colonies green. 
  • Research the clothing and accessories of the time period. Design, sew, or create your own Colonial period clothing. 
  • Research the uniforms of the soldiers. Create your own uniform as either an American soldier or British soldier. 
  • In a journal, write about something you would be willing to give up or boycott to express your displeasure. Think beyond giving up your least favorite vegetable. 
  • Create your own New England primer for yourself or your younger siblings. Teach them the alphabet using it. 
  • Visit one of the many historic sites such as Historic Jamestowne, Yorktown Battlefield, or see the historic sites in Boston. And of course if you are studying the American Revolution, be sure to visit Philadelphia and the Independence National Historical Park

Independence Hall Philadelphia PA
  • Create a chart to compare and contrast the differences between the Loyalists and the Patriots during the War. 
  • Read the Declaration of Independence. If possible visit plan a visit to the National Archives Museum in Washington DC. 
  • During the American Revolution, if possible, nothing was wasted by the citizens. They made do reusing or re-purposing all they owned due to the boycotts and lack of trade. Do you think your family would be able to spend a week trimming down the amount of waste in your own home? Reuse or re-purpose clothing that is outgrown, find a use for leftovers, or use dishes and flatware rather than disposable ones. What else could you do? 
  • Make your own George Washington craft with your younger children. 
  • Read about Patrick Henry and perhaps try your hand at memorizing his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech.  
  • Read through some of the sayings from Poor Richard's Almanac and illustrate them together as a family to hang up in your home. 

Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac


Resources and References 



Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation at Red Hill

Colonial Williamsburg Colonial Dress Codes

Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, PA

Mount Vernon - The Home of the Washingtons

Franklin Institute


George Washington


A Mom's Quest to Teach Posts 



Trips: Washington Crossing State Park

George Washington's Birthday Craft

Drive Thru History Adventures - A Homeschool History Curriculum







Please visit the links below to read more posts from the Homeschool Review Crew as we come together for the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop during the week of April 23, 2018. And make sure to stop back here each day this week for more great ways to bring history to life with books, movies, and more! 





Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Engaging History: Middle Ages

History books, children's books, Carole P. Roman, Blog Hop

This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

For Day Three of the 5 Days of....Homeschool Blog Hop, I will share activities, journal-writing opportunities and questions, ways to include geography, music, and literature in your lessons, and projects for your children to complete to help bring the Middle Ages alive. I urge parents to preview books, movies, and other resources and references prior to sharing with your children. Only you, as the parent, know what your children are ready to read or view in a movie.


For many years, historians referred to the Middle Ages as "the Dark Ages" because they only saw it as a period of time between the wonders of the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans and those of the Renaissance. It was seen as a period when people were superstitious and were making no advancements in technology, art, or literature. This is far from the truth!

Carole P. Roman, Middle Ages, History Books, Children's books

Middle Ages, Carole P. Roman, Children's books, history booksThere are several resources I want to share with you to bring the Middle Ages to life for your children. One resource which provides lots of information is If You Were Me and Lived in...the Middle Ages written by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Mateya Arkova. This children's book, perfect for an elementary-aged child, details life for a young girl living in the year 1072 in England. There is so much interesting information that even parents might learn a few new facts about the Middle Ages!


Middle Ages Activities 
  • Vocabulary – Fiefdoms, Knights, Vassals! What do these words mean? 
  • Build or draw a castle based upon the Motte and Bailey design. Be sure to label the different parts! 
  • Talk about family trees. During the Middle Ages families often had a very complicated family tree as death was a frequent companion. Use the family described in If You Were Me and Lived in...The Middle Ages to create a family tree or draw your own family tree. 
  • Do your children like music? Why not take a listen to music created during the Middle Ages? Listen to Gregorian chants or the music of troubadours as they share famous stories of the time. 
  • Research the battles of the era. Draw maps, create dioramas, etc. Have fun! 
Battles of the Medieval World, History Books, Homeschool

  • Research some of the famous individuals who lived during the Middle Ages and create your own Middle Ages 'Baseball' Cards collection. Who was Hildegard of Bingen, Clovis, William the Conqueror or Joan of Arc? Do you and your children know who Bede, Eleanor of Aquitaine, or Christine de Pizan were? What about Charlemagne or Charles the Great? So many interesting characters to study. 
  • For teens and adults you can read Einhard's biography of Charlemagne (The Life of Charlemagne). Einhard was a contemporary of Charlemagne. Or one can read The Letters of Abelard and Heloise – Letters between a scholarly French monk and his pupil (who eventually becomes a nun) from twelfth-century France. 

  • Design and create your own tapestry. (I have made the Tapestry Directions and Rubric that I used when teaching World History available for you.) 
  • Plan and cook a traditional meal of the Middle Ages. 
  • Design, plan, and sew period-piece clothing. 
  • Design and create your own coat of arms. (I have made the Coat of Arms Directions and Rubric that I used when teaching World History available for you.) 
  • Write a "Day in the Life" report for one of the following individuals: nobleman, member of the clergy, a peasant, or a merchant. 
  • Visit an art museum to see some works from the Middle Ages. 
  • For older teens and adults, you can view Blackadder Season One which is set in the time of Richard III of England. There is some crude humor so please use your own discretion as to whether or not you wish to view and share with your older teens. 


Resources and References 



Please visit the links below to read more posts from the Homeschool Review Crew as we come together for the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop during the week of April 23, 2018. And make sure to stop back here each day this week for more great ways to bring history to life with books, movies, and more! 



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Engaging History: Modern America

History, children's books, Homeschool, Blog Hop

This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

History has always been one of my favorite subjects. During the presentation of ideas in my Engaging History series, I will provide activities, journal-writing opportunities and questions, ways to include geography, music, and literature in your lessons, and projects for your children to complete to help bring history alive. I urge parents to preview books, movies, and other resources and references prior to sharing with your children. Only you, as the parent, know what your children are ready to read or view in a movie.


Often in schools, the events past a certain point in American History are often skipped, abbreviated, or ignored – depending upon time constraints or teachers' personal preferences. When homeschooling, one can focus upon the entire history of their nation or just discuss what interests the child or children being taught. In this post, I will share several different books and ideas for teaching events and topics in post-Civil War American History (the event that usually divides US I and US II history courses in traditional school settings).

Blog Hop, History, Children's Books, FDR, New Deal

An interesting but sometimes overwhelming topic to teach is the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt following the Great Depression in America. One resource is FDR's Alphabet Soup: New Deal America, 1932-1939. While the book is not necessarily a place to start for children unfamiliar with the events and topics of the time period, it is a good resource which provides a lot of details, timelines, photographs, political cartoons, election buttons, and definitions. Tonya Bolden presents the first 100 days of FDR's presidency and more as she explains the various New Deal problems for ages 12 and up.

New Deal Activities 
  • Research how Herbert Hoover received the nicknames: Great Engineer and Great Humanitarian. Write an introductory speech for him as he is being inducted into the Hall of Presidents. 
  • Listen to one or more of FDR's fireside chats. Pretend you are living in the 1930s and write in a journal your thoughts and feelings about what he is discussing. Is America going to pull out of the Great Depression? 
  • Frances Perkins was the first woman to hold a cabinet post. Read more about her. How did she try to help America during this time period? 
  • Eleanor Roosevelt was published in the August 1933 Woman's Home Companion with an article entitled: "I Want You to Write to Me." Nearly half a million letters and telegrams were sent to the Roosevelts following the inauguration. By the end of 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt would receive over 300,000 letters. Write Mrs. Roosevelt a letter discussing how your family is coping with the Depression. What do you want her to know about her family, friends, and town? What would help your area of America during this difficult time? 
  • Kings of Swing – Listen to the music of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. How do they compare to today's musicians? 
  • Read a book published during the time like Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth or watch Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. How do they reflect the time period? Or if you are interested in horror, watch Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in The Black Cat
  • There were several individuals like Huey Long, Father Charles Coughlin, and Dr. Frances Townsend who were critics of the New Deal programs for a variety of reasons. For older teens and adults, there is the Robert Penn Warren book, All the King's Men, which is a fictionalized account of the life of Huey Long. There are also two movies based upon the book: the 1949 release starring Broderick Crawford and the 2006 release starring Sean Penn as Willie Stark. 
History, Children's Books, New Deal, FDR, Buttons, Homeschool
  • There are many resources when studying history but sometimes the unconventional ones are the most fun when studying history. One of the popular methods for campaigning during the 1930s and 1940s was the use of buttons. One can very easily demonstrate who they were backing for president by wearing a small (or large) button on their lapel. Design your own campaign buttons for a past election or an upcoming one. Think about colors, the message, and an imaginary slogan you might want to include. 
  • Vocabulary 
  • Create a timeline of the New Deal programs. 
A New Deal, FDR, history, books

Presidents 

There are many different ways to study the presidents of Modern America. A simple way is to check out age-appropriate biographies from the library to read and review.


Richard Nixon 
  • Read Richard Nixon (The United States President Series) by Tamara L. Britton to find out more about his early life and the events prior and during this presidency. 
  • The Nixon family were Quakers. Research the Quaker religion. How might that have impacted Richard Nixon? 
  • View the famous Checkers Speech. You can read it here at The History Place or at The American Presidency Project. If you do a search on YouTube, you will find several videos of the speech uploaded.  (Note: Please preview any YouTube videos prior to sharing with your children and maximize to full screen so any inappropriate comments will not be visible.) In this speech, he addresses contributions and gifts from taxpayers and discusses their dog, Checkers. 
  • How did the use of television change the way in which people responded to politicians? In 1960, two presidential candidates debated on television for the first time. Richard Nixon debated John F. Kennedy and the opinions regarding who won the debate differed depending on if someone heard the debate on the radio or watched it on TV. 
  • Create a timeline of the events leading to Nixon resigning from office. 
Famous Citizens 

Since teaching the history of Modern America can often seem daunting – because there is a wealth of information you might want to teach your child, taking a look at individual citizens who impacted history is a good way to teach to their specific areas of interest while providing useful background information on the time period. The great thing about teaching from this perspective is that there are so many interesting people to study! And don't just study Americans...there are so many interesting people who impacted history from around the world.

Planning on studying the 1950s with a children who loves sports?
  • Interested in baseball? Read more about Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, or Richie Ashburn. 
  • For fans of ice hockey be sure to read about Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Terry Sawchuk, or Jacques Plante. 
  • Is your child a fan of track and field? Why not read more about the Czechoslovakian long-distance runner Emil Zatopek or the American sprinter Bobby Joe Morrow? 
Do you have an artist or architect in the family?
  • Review the work of Louis Kahn including the Salk Institute in California. 
  • Or visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House
  • Compare and contrast such painters as Mary Cassatt, Norman Rockwell, or Grant Wood. 
If you plan on studying the Civil Rights movement, be sure to read biographies about Rosa Parks,
Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, or Thurgood Marshall.


Resources and References

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum: Audio and Visual Collection
Addresses and fireside chats can be found, along with photographs and other useful information.

Frances Perkins Center
This site offers a biography, photographs, links to primary and secondary resources, and more.

Time's The Long Story Behind Presidential Campaign Buttons and Pins
Provides a brief look at the history of presidential campaign buttons through the years.

The Official Site of the Hockey Hall of Fame 

National Park Service's Civil Rights in America 


Please visit the links below to read more posts from the Homeschool Review Crew as we come together for the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop during the week of April 23, 2018. And make sure to stop back here each day this week for more great ways to bring history to life with books, movies, and more! 



Reviewing the Planet 316 Story Bible and the Companion Planet 316 Story Bible App

Interactive Bible, Bible Story Book, Children's Book, Planet 316

Our children enjoy listening to and reading Bible stories, so we were very excited to be able to review the interactive Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App from Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals as a family.

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's BooksThe Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App is written by "a team of talented writers and artists who share a love for technology and a desire to make the Bible approachable and engaging for children" (Worthy Publishing Group). The Bible contains more than 100 stories from the Old and New Testaments and is "paired with a free downloadable app that brings the stories to life through the use of augmented reality" (Worthy Publishing Group). The free downloadable app allows your children to interact with characters, animals, and objects in the stories with additional sounds and dialogue to bring the stories to life.

It is a hardcover book recommended for ages 4 to 7 years. The illustrations are bright and colorful and cartoon-like in nature. The text is in an easy-to-read but not extremely large font and the pages are made of a thick quality. Depending on the nature of the original Bible story, the story might be broken down into further sections. For example, the story of the Birth of Jesus is 16 pages long and subdivided to tell the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph visited by the angel, the birth of Jesus, the visits of the shepherds and Wise Men, and the escape to Egypt.


Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books
I love the fact that my kids want to sit on the sofa and read the Planet 316 Story Bible with me. We read several pages or stories together and then take out my phone to check out the Augmented Reality offered. While my children love touching the characters, listening to the music, and seeing it all come to life, I admit that it is rather difficult to balance two children, a hardcover book, and my phone all at the same time. With this in mind, I would recommend the Planet 316 Story Bible with Augmented Reality for families with children who can operate a phone or tablet with less supervision. While my son, who is four, could use the app on his own with very little trouble, I think older children will be more successful at taking advantage of the technology.

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books

If I had to pick a favorite story from the Bible as illustrated in the Planet 316 Story Bible, I think it would be the Book of Ruth. The sadness of Ruth and Naomi's faces as the story begins turns into joy when Ruth meets Boaz and they marry. The colors of the workers, Boaz, and Ruth in the wheat field are vibrant and jump off the page (even without using the companion app!).

Our four-year-old's favorite story is that of David and Goliath. He particularly liked when I read the part of Goliath in a booming voice as well as seeing David as king in his robe and crown.

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books

Our two-year-old daughter loves pointing out the different characters throughout the book and sharing what she remembers of each story. She really likes looking at the cover and pointing out the Holy Family, Joseph, and Jesus.

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books
My husband has also been reading to our children from the Planet 316 Story Bible and finds it to do a good job retelling the Bible stories for children. When I asked him about the companion app, he said it was awkward to use. I would agree. If a child is using a tablet or cell phone on their own, then I think it would easier than a parent trying to juggle the book, the electronic device, and one or more children trying to access the screen.

Another favorite aspect of the Planet 316 Story Bible is the music that accompanies with the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App. It is very fitting for each story being shared.

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books

I think there are many ways to use the Planet 316 Story Bible:
  • Bedtime story reading 
  • Morning time 
  • Sundays for church or family worship time 
  • Character education 
  • Introduction or review of Bible stories 
  • Sunday school 


While this is a Story Bible for children, the scriptures are referenced with each story. For example, for the story "Jesus Walks on Water," the following Gospels are referenced: Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-56; and John 6:15-21. 

I would recommend this book for families with children ages newborn to pre-teen. It would also make a nice addition to a church, nursery, and daycare who wishes to have a children's story bible on their shelves. 

Planet 316, Interactive, Story Bible, Children's Books

To learn more about the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App please visit these sites:

Website - Facebook - Twitter 

To read more reviews about the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App from Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals please visit the Homeschool Review Crew



Monday, April 23, 2018

Engaging History: American Civil War

history books, children's books, history videos, Civil War, Underground Railroad

This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

History has always been one of my favorite subjects. There are so many exciting ways to study and teach history. During the presentation of ideas in my Engaging History series, I will provide activities, journal-writing opportunities and questions, ways to include geography, music, and literature in your lessons, and projects for your children to complete to help bring history alive. I urge parents to preview books, movies, and other resources and references prior to sharing with your children. Only you, as the parent, know what your children are ready to read or view in a movie.

There are so many fantastic resources when one wants to study the American Civil War: museums, military parks and monuments, fiction and non-fiction books, movies, music, poetry, reenactments, and more.

Civil War, Underground Railroad, Children's Boks

When studying the Underground Railroad, I found North Star to Freedom: The Story of the Underground Railroad by Gena K. Gorrell to be a valuable resource. North Star to Freedom, originally published in 1996, is written for children 10 years and older and includes personal accounts and experiences, photographs, and illustrations that depict and explain the life of slaves as they escaped from the South and journeyed northward to Canada.


Civil War, Underground Railroad, North Star, Freedom, Children's Books

Underground Railroad Activities
  • In a journal, answer the following question: What does freedom mean to you? 
  • On a map of the United States and Canada, trace the route an escaped slave might take on their journey northward from slavery. 
  • Preview the movie Amistad. Please keep in mind this is rated R. If you think it is appropriate to share with your children, you can watch some or all of it with them and explore how some slaves attempted to gain freedom through the court system. (You can also read about Dred Scott and discuss his court case of 1857.)
  • Many of the plantations where slaves worked grew crops like coffee, sugar, rice, and tobacco. If you live near farms that grow these crops, see if they offer tours. Research how farms grow and manage these crops. One place you can visit that is a former rice plantation is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
  • Research how the network of the Underground Railroad formed – people were from all different races and religions. Have your child prepare a presentation to share the information that is learned.
  • The book describes the Underground Railroad as "a fellowship of goodwill and sympathy" (63). In a journal, describe what that might mean. 
  • While studying slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the American Civil War, one can also read Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book had a huge impact on how individuals of the time felt about slavery. 
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Underground Railroad, Freedom, Civil War 

  • There are many events prior to the American Civil War that impacted how citizens felt about slavery and whether or not it should continue in America, be limited to the South, or allowed to expand to new territories. Events and topics include the Kansas-Nebraska Act and "Bleeding Kansas," the Dred Scott case, and John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry. 
  • In a journal, write about the problems that escaped slaves faced once they found freedom. 
Gettysburg, Lincoln, Children's Books, History BooksAnother valuable resource I picked up is The Gettysburg Address in Translation: What It Really Means by Kay Melchisedech Olson part of Fact Finders' Kids' Translation series published in 2009. In three of its chapters, it explains what the Gettysburg Address is, what it means, and how it came to be for children ages 8 and up.

It answers questions like:
  • Did Lincoln live in Gettysburg? 
  • How long is four score and seven years?
  • For how long did Lincoln speak at the Dedication ceremony? 

Gettysburg Address Activities 

Civil War, Gettysburg, Lincoln, Children's Books, History Books

  • Read and memorize the Gettysburg Address. 
  • Use the Gettysburg Address to practice penmanship. 
  • Research Mary Virginia Wade, also known as Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed at the battle of Gettysburg. 
  • Visit the National Military Park and Cemetery. 
  • Read other speeches given by Lincoln and compare and contrast them to the Gettysburg Address
  • Create a timeline of the events leading up to the dedication ceremony on November 19, 1863.
  • Visit the town of Gettysburg, PA for Remembrance Day (November 19).
Gettysburg, Civil War, Historic Parks, History

Movies 

There are many movies about the American Civil War. Some that sit on my shelves include:
  • Gods and Generals
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Gettysburg
  • The Blue and the Gray
  • Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All 
  • North and South 
  • The Civil War: A Ken Burns Film 
Resources and References 


Even if you cannot visit and take the tour, the website offers several photographs of what the cabins look like that were home to slaves and former slaves who worked on the rice plantation

Gettysburg National Military Park: National Cemetery Virtual Tour
This site provides current and historic photographs of the cemetery, as well as a copy of the Gettysburg Address and the only known photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken at the dedication ceremony. 



Please visit the links below to read more posts from the Homeschool Review Crew as we come together for the 5 Days of...Homeschool Blog Hop during the week of April 23, 2018. And make sure to stop back here each day this week for more great ways to bring history to life with books, movies, and more!