Friday, October 11, 2013

YWAM Publishing - George Washington: True Patriot Book and Unit Study {REVIEW}

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YWAM stands for Youth With a Mission.  It began in 1960 and is now a Global Christian Ministry with 17,000 volunteer staff that are in over 140 countries and 900 locations.

YWAM Publishing is a division of YWAM that produces and distributes books that help encourage Christians to make a difference in today's world.  Their books cover missionaries who went to different countries to share the gospel, educational purposes, prayer, discipleship and mercy ministries. 

Over the past several years of homeschooling, I have seen the YWAM Publishing books advertised in many resource catalogs.  It wasn't until 2 years ago that I actually got a set of them as part of a curriculum we were using.  We loved them.  My oldest was really into the stories we read aloud that year. 

As part of the TOS Review Crew this year we were offered to do a book review and unit study review.  Our family chose George Washington: True Patriot.  We received the ebook format and also the unit study to work on with our review.

The book George Washington: True Patriot is part of the Heroes of History series from YWAM Publishing.  There are 19 books currently in the series.  From George Washington, to Harriet Tubman, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ronald Reagan, those are just a few of the Heroes of History you can learn about with this line of books.

The book starts out in 1775 during the American Revolution and George Washington was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  He reflects about being born a British citizen and growing up wanting to join the British Army.  How things had changed as he grew up in the colonies.

So many factors that altered the path that he had thought he was going to take.  When his father passed away, his hopes of going back to England where his half-brothers attended school were dashed.  His mom wanted him home with her.  (can't say that I would blame her either)  So he stayed and helped manage the properties that were in the family with his two half-brothers. 

George got his first opportunity at adventures by working as a surveyor.  After his father had passed, he found some old surveying equipment that belonged to his father and he started to teach himself how to use the tools.  He figured that since he loved math, he would be able to do it well.

He got his first job as a surveyor for Colonel Fairfax.  They would cross the Blue Ridge Mountains and map out the Fairfax land in the Shenandoah Valley.  George was a bit nervous though as he wasn't sure his mother would permit him to go.  She would be nervous about him crossing mountains, trappers, Indians, illnesses, and who knows what else could be out there?  However, she did agree to let him take the job.  After all he wouldn't be crossing the ocean.  He would just be going over the rivers and through the woods (so to speak).

George has all sorts of adventures on this job and even caught smallpox. That was not fun.  He returns home to a brother whose health was failing and winds up taking over the roll of his brother after he passes away.  George at the time has no military experience.  So he goes to Mount Vernon (which was left to him by his brother) and starts studying books on how to drill soldiers and strategies for battle.

Now I don't want to give much more of the book away (because there is SO much more to this book) but George winds up going on some more adventures including a secret mission.  He shows mercy to an Indian and grows in the qualities of a great leader.  It talks about why he joins the colonial patriots. 

There is so much history in this book.  It also covers geography, science and character traits.  I loved reading it with my children.

So you may be wondering about the George Washington Unit Study Curriculum Guide.  Well, I had heard about these guides but never got the opportunity to use one until now. 

For me I really wanted to see how much my oldest son, Jonathan (11), would remember as I read aloud.  And even Jordan who is 6.  The unit study provides a section on chapter questions to ask after each chapter.  Though I will admit that I did ask Jonathan a couple of them ahead of time so he could be listening for the information. 

Jordan was more intrigued with the story and adventures of George Washington.  The second chapters starts with George being 6 and that really connected to Jordan.

We used the book to find areas that were mentioned in the book.  At one point they talk about George and another soldier crossing the Allegheny River.  The boys LOVED this part.  Why you might ask?  Well, we live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and cross the Allegheny River several times a week.  We have made it a point that the boys know that where we are in Pennsylvania there are 2 rivers that form 1 river.  Those are the Allegheny and the Monongahela and the meet at the Point in Pittsburgh to make the Ohio.  I can't tell you how fast their ears perked up at the reading of the words "Allegheny River".

The unit studies also include ways for you to incorporate creative writing, drama, history/geography concepts and several other ways to use it.  I also liked that there was a fact sheet about George Washington for the kids to fill out and also maps of the area being talked about.  We have a global map and an atlas that we used to find many of the areas that were mentioned.  There are also supplemental books listed as well to help you delve deeper into the person being studied.

We mainly used it for the history/geography and also the reading comprehension portion.  I do plan on doing more with this as we will probably read it again near George Washington's Birthday in February.

Overall, I would say that this set was a great hit with our family.  We definitely plan on getting more of the books for our family.  They are well written, keep the attention of our children and incorporate a lot of facts and things to talk about as we study the main character of the book. 

The unit studies are definitely something I am going to consider purchasing as well for our other books.  Especially as we do more unit studies with our children.  They like spending time on subjects for longer periods so they can really investigate them. 

The Kindle version of  George Washington: True Patriot is $6.99 (this is what I received)
They also have a paperback, Nook and audio version of the book as well.  You can find all of these here at this link.

The Curriculum Guide is available here and is $7.49.  It is available only in paperback currently.

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