Category Archives: history

Project Passport: The Middle Ages ~ a Crew review

The Middle Ages

Home School in the Woods is a hands-on history company that we absolutely adore getting to use. Each time we receive a product from Home School in the Woods, we know we are going to be immersed in the history of the era or place that we are studying. We are never disappointed. Project Passport World History Studies: The Middle Ages has been a fabulous study and Miss E is looking forward to continuing on with it.

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Home School in the Woods is a family run company that is dedicated to creating hands-on products for learning history. A visit to the blog of Home School in the Woods will show you just how rich the love of history is in this company. One things that I really like about the products is the enrichment options that are included. Living book lists are often included as one of the pages in a product but you don’t have to wait to get your hands on a list – visit the blog and read about adding living books to your studies. You can also find a post about teaching different styles of learners – a fabulous post if you have a kinesthetic learner or an auditory learner. And these product work great for teaching different learning styles. Read on to see more about Project Passport. 

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Project Passport: The Middle Ages is one of five world history studies in this series, which is intended for grades 3-8 but can easily be adapted. They include Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, Ancient Greece, Renaissance & Reformation, and their newest one – Ancient Rome. You could also purchase a bundle of all five. Each of these studies is meant to immerse the learner in the culture and time period being studied. This happens through timelines, reading, listening, lapbooks, maps, writing, drawing, cooking/baking, crafting, and more.

The Middle Ages comes as a downloadable, zipped file. You must unzip it before trying to use it. Then, after it is unzipped, one of the files is titled Start. Double click that and the program will open up in a browser window. Start there! This is by far the easiest way to figure out the series and projects. From there, you will be able to just work your way down the program, working through each stop. As is hinted at by the name Project Passport, the program takes you through many stops, just like a tour would. There are over 50 projects and activities to immerse the student in The Middle Ages. 

Topics and activities include:

  • Introduction (setting up some of the main parts that will be used throughout several stops along the tour)
  • BarbariansThe Middle Ages (1)
  • Family Life
  • Clothing and Food
  • Community
  • Crime, Punishment, Entertainment
  • Towns & Guilds
  • Merchants, Trade, & Exploration
  • Science & Invention
  • The Arts
  • Education
  • Medicine & Disease
  • The Church
  • The Crusades
  • Knights
  • The Vikings
  • Wars

As you can see, it is a fairly thorough trip through the age and life. In the 25 stops along the way, the student learns much about The Middle Ages.

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Miss E, 15, has been using The Middle Ages and absolutely enjoying it. We are treating this as enrichment; it is not serving as a high school credit. She will work for 3 or 4 hours at a time, listening to the audios and working on her chosen activities and keeping them in a binder. We have learned through the years of using the Project Passport series that we cannot do every single activity. It is too overwhelming. That also means that not every project is a good fit, so it feels like busy work and the student doesn’t learn anything from it. Miss E was given the choice of what she wanted to complete, knowing 20190706_100105

that she will complete enough on each stop to thoroughly understand the topic. We can do this with her as she has shown herself to be trustworthy in the way she handles schoolwork. 

To get started, we taught her how to download the files onto her laptop and unzip the files. Then, she set off to work. I did help her print the PDF files for the projects she was working on but she had the instructions and information she needed to tell me what to print and how many, then to put each piece together. She has completed 10 stops, I believe, working hard. She enjoys this so much that she would choose to work on this in her free time. Home School in the Woods just makes history so much fun with their hands-on products.

Image of a stop and related files

Itinerary imageFor each stop, Miss E would read the history of the topic on her computer (Guide Book Text); we did not print these. She would then open up the instructions (Travel Itinerary) and set to work on the projects she had chosen. Each stop included her adding pieces to her timeline. She would read the postcard for the ones that had it, choosing not to print them. Then she would maybe make a castle or read about the different guilds. Even when she chose not to create one of the projects (such as the board game), she would print out anything that might be good reading (such as the different types of occupations). Each stop was a little different but that variety adds interest. There are pictures along with each project to help you know what the finished project should look like.

hands-on history

We have used several products from Home School in the Woods and recommend any of them. You can read about the products we used by visiting our blog posts:

As you can see, Home School in the Woods is a company that we enjoy using and highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Homeschool Review Crew has been using several of the products from Home School in the Woods, including:

Please click on the image below to read more reviews.

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Crafty Classroom USA Bundle ~ a Crew review

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When the USA Activity Bundle Pack came up for review this year from Crafty Classroom, I knew it was a product I wanted to use. It is a fun way to approach learning about the United States. The bundle includes three PDF files:Screenshot 2019-07-17 at 12.45.08 PM

  1. USA State Birds
  2. USA 50 State Mazes
  3. USA Activity Pack

50 state mazes

USA 50 STATE MAZES

20190629_151857This file includes one maze for each of the 50 states. The maze is in the shape of the state. In the process of working through the maze, the student views the shape of the state and can become more familiar with it. Each maze is challenging yet fun. I do believe that the size at which you print these will make a difference in the challenge level. I printed them at half-size, two to a page and made a booklet out of it. This definitely added to the challenge of the mazes but it was fine for my 10 year old.

50 state birds

USA STATE BIRDS

The realistic art cards for the state birds includes a picture of the birds that are the symbol of a state (so less than 50 since several are shared by states), space to write facts about the bird or describe the bird, and a set of small cards with the name of the bird on one and the picture of the bird on the other. I again printed this half-size and made it into a booklet. I am not fully happy with this version of it. The writing lines are a better size for Miss J at this size but it makes it harder to color the bird with all its markings. Also, in a booklet form, we cannot cut the smaller cards out to use in a matching game. Miss J really wants me to take this to a printer and have it printed in color for the matching cards.

50 states activity notebook

USA STATE-BY-STATE ACTIVITY NOTEBOOK

This PDF file contains one page for each of the 50 states. Each page asks the student to identify several symbols for the state. There are several activities for each state.20190710_153706

  • a flag to color
  • a place to color the state on a map of the US
  • a map of the state to mark the capital, rivers, lakes, and mountains (if desired)
  • a place to mark the state abbreviation, the state # of when it joined the union, it’s nickname, the state bird name, and the state flower name
  • a picture of the state bird to color
  • a picture of the state flower to color
  • lines to write a fact or two about the state

We pulled a book about the 50 states off of our shelf to use with this activity. Each state has it’s own few pages so it works easily.

The State-by-State Activity Notebook also includes two games at the end of the file. One is USA Bingo and there are several bingo boards to print and use. The other game is Roll Across America, a board game where you would roll a die and move a certain number of spaces. You will need to provide the markers for the bingo game and the die and pieces for the board game. Both games provide variations to learning the states and/or capitals and facts about the states. These would be fun games to have printed out larger than I printed the rest of the file.

We have been using the program informally this summer. Every few days Miss J will pick up one of the booklets and work for a bit on it. She has really enjoyed the mazes. She has done several at one sitting a few times. She has also enjoyed the USA State-By-State Activity Notebook. She spent quite a bit of time working on each state that she has completed. I have allowed her to skip the writing part since we are being informal this summer.

I do plan to use these a bit more formally when we start school in a few weeks. I plan to have her complete three states per week, completing the page in USA State-By-State (include the fact writing), doing the maze if it is not already done, and completing the page in the bird book (if it isn’t already done since some of the states have the same state bird).

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Miss J’s thoughts:

I like this, even though I am not really far. I really like the mazes. The state facts were really fun. It was kind of helpful having a book to do it with. It would have been harder without the book. I really liked the birds and flowers and stuff. There wasn’t really enough space for me to write a fact about the state because there were so many facts to choose from. It would be wise to add another page to the state of just lines to write facts on.

My Thoughts:

This is a neat set to use to highlight the US. We had planned to take a trip this summer through several states and I was going to use this for her in each state we entered. (Plans change when home air conditioners need a major repair, though.) As far of the use this fall, I am going to have her trace our Mega Field Trip from last fall and find each of those states.

This is a neat set that has so many possibilities. There is a lot that could be done with it and it can be adjust and modified to fit the age you are working with and the need you have.

A couple of years ago, we reviewed another product from Crafty Classroom – their paragraph writing program titled How To Write A Paragraph. There are lots of other products available so be sure to visit the shop.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other products from Crafty Classroom that were being used for summer learning. The products include:

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook K
R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1
Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K
Alphabet Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Bible Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Sight Word of the Week Program
Pattern Block Activity Bundle
Fables & Tales
USA Activity Bundle Pack

Click on the banner below to go to the link up for Crafty Classroom.

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The Heart Changer (book) ~ a Crew review

 

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Books that get their start from a person or idea in the Bible can be a unique way to Screenshot 2019-07-09 at 7.13.01 PMimagine what things might have been like during that time. The Heart Changer is one such book. Written by Jarm Del Boccio, Author (who is also a SchoolhouseTeachers.com teacher), the story imagines what life would have been like for the people mentioned in II Kings 5. This is what most people know as the story of Naaman and the healing of his leprosy.

It is a good idea to start by reading the Bible story so that you are familiar with the history before beginning this fictional recounting. The author has done a good job of keeping the details of the setting and time as accurate as possible but it is still an imagining of people and places. Historical fiction such as this does a wonderful job of helping the reader understand much more about the time and people, while still keeping the history as accurate as possible. Since the story in II Kings 5 is not highly detailed, it allowed Jarm Del Boccio, Author, to image parts that don’t affect the Biblical integrity of the story.

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The Story:

The story begin with a young girl named Miriam, the name chosen for the servant girl in II Kings 5. Her village is being invaded and she is captured. She is given as a gift to the commander, Naaman, who was wanting a young girl to assist his wife. She is taken to Syria where 20190709_174438she is to serve. She struggles with some of the other servants who resent her presence. She remembers the loving training her mother gave her and treats everyone with kindness, even when they are doing less than that for her.

Eventually, she settles into the home. One day, she overhears that the commander is dealing with leprosy. She tells her mistress that there is a prophet in her home country that could help; the Lord could heal him. They eventually listen to her and travel back to her home town. After a time, Naaman is able to see Elisha and get the prophet’s instruction. He is upset that it is a menial act in a dirty river. He is convinced by his servants that he would do it if it were a much greater thing so why not do this simple thing. Naaman does and is healed. The story ends pretty quickly after that, with a little bit of wrapping up of Miriam’s story.

This is an interesting way to look at the history from the Bible, though it is important to recognize how much of it is imagined. The story is an enjoyable read and is appropriate for upper elementary through struggling high school readers. Addressing issues of loss, hurt, and forgiveness, this is a story that many readers will enjoy.

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Teacher’s Guide:

On The Heart Changer website, you can access a teacher’s guide by clicking on the white box that says “Teacher’s Guide.” The guide has a wonderful interview with the author, providing insight into the appeal of the story and how it came about. There is a section on getting to know Miriam with some information about who she was imagined to be and then asking the reader to consider some questions and ideas about Miriam.

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There is a section on names and their importance, asking the student to consider different names from the story and from the Bible.

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There is also a section on researching time and place. This is a helpful bit if a research paper is going to be written.

Also included are a few questions about the heart, a couple of Syrian recipes, and a page for notes. The guide is simple but effective in helping students dig deeper into the ideas and themes of the story, as well as applying those to their own lives.

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Miss E’s thoughts: (age 15)

I really liked the idea of this story, the setting of Naaman’s leprosy and finding out who The Heart Changer post imagethe servant girl might be. It is a great idea and I was really looking forward to reading this. However, I was a bit disappointed. It was missing a rich character development and there were too many secondary characters that had no significant purpose in the story.

I also wanted to get to the actual Bible story and see how it was portrayed. The Bible story part felt really short. I know that in the Bible it was only a few verses, so there was not tons of material to go off of. Still, I expected that to be featured more prominently.

This was a good fiction book, without enough basis to call it historical fiction. It was a little young for me, but for a younger reader, or a delayed reader it would be excellent. I think that it would also be a good fictional resource for introducing the Bible story of Naaman’s leprosy.

I don’t think that I had ever read a book set directly in a Bible story. I’ve read a few set right before or right after, and they were really good. With only this book to base off of, I don’t know which I prefer, but I don’t think that I will be completely closed to reading another book like this one.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to click the image below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew and read more reviews of The Heart Changer from other families.

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American Moonshot ~ Book Club

 

American Moonshot Book Club

Well, July 4th finds us on another Book Club post day. I think today would be a great day to share about the book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley.

I had a Young Reader’s Edition but it was still pretty detailed and in depth. There is an adult version of the story but I haven’t read it yet. This one did a good job of challenging me and helping me understand history.

This is the story of the intersecting of President Kennedy’s life and the shot for the moon that he challenged the US to. Only it starts way back in WWI and at the start of President Kennedy’s life. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to people who were influential in either the moonshot or to President Kennedy. And there were a bunch.

As you read through the story, you find the connection between world politics and US life intertwining. We see how the surrender of Germany at the end of WWI and then their defeat at the end of WWII both played powerful roles in America being able to put a man on the moon. The scientists worked hard, no matter which country they were in, to do what they had in their sights, even trying to convince people of the worth of their rockets for both military and non-military uses. Because they knew what could happen but had to convince others of it, too.

I had no idea just how interrelated the space program was with the Cold War. Once again, I can see where my lack of teaching had left me without knowing much about the Cold War and where America truly was as they left the 50s and moved into the 60s. The scientists were so important in all that was going on in politics.

American Moonshot was a really interesting book to read. As the 50th anniversary approaches of the moon landing, this would be a really good book to have a middle school or high schooler read. Really, it would make a good read aloud also. I found it fascinating and am glad I picked it up when I stumbled across it while waiting on the girls in the library one day. It is a very good read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

New Mexico Bucket List – Q ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

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Up to a hard one – Q. It is always hard. We are going to take a look at Gran Quivira.

What we call Gran Quivira is really the Gran Quivira Ruins. They are a set of partially excavated pueblos in the central part of New Mexico. If you are looking for it on a map, look about 25 miles south of the town of Mountainair. There is a small visitor center and a short trail through the area.

This pueblo was fairly large, considered a city unto itself, prior to Spanish contact in the late 1500s. The Spanish tried to convert the Indians but seem to have somewhat unsuccessful. They added missions, churches, and other buildings to the area. By the mid 1600s, the area was abandoned. This could be due to drought, ambushes by other native groups, and disease. What is left is the ruins of Gran Quivira and the other parts of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

There are many legends and stories related to the place, including one about Billy the Kid. An example of why these ruins are so important is Mound 7. It has over 225 rooms in it and has been fully excavated. This pueblo shows the importance of the area.

That’s it for Q but see you soon for the next installation.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet Q image

Note that the linkup is closed for joining but you can visit to see what others had to share.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

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You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

New Mexico Bucket List – P ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet P image

I am so far behind! Y’all, summer caught me. I should be on the letter S this week, I think, so I am going to try to catch up. We’ll see. 🙂

P brings up a really fun place in New Mexico – Pie Town.

Pie Town sign

No really! Pie Town is located off in the remote parts of southwestern NM. It is a fabulous stop for those that are riding or hiking the Great Divide Trail, which run along the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. It is also a fun place to go just because you are seriously craving the best pie anywhere. There is, according to internet legend, a local joke that when they are describing how to get to Pie Town, the locals say “3.14 miles from the middle of nowhere.”

a patch that reads

The legend says that Pie Town is named such because long ago a local started making and selling dried apple pies to those who managed to locate the small little pioneer town on their way through.

Nita, who owns the Toaster House, at the Pie-O-Neer cafe making sure dad was able to taste the famous pie.

Nita, who owns the Toaster House, at the Pie-O-Neer cafe making sure dad was able to taste the famous pie.

My dad was one of those who stopped in Pie Town on his way through on his bicycle while riding the Great Divide. He definitely had good things to say about the pie. The Pie-O-Neer is one of the best places around for pie. The service is amazing. The Pie-O-Neer was closed when Dad got there but he was staying at fun place called the Toaster House.

Nita, who owns the Toaster House, went to the Pie-O-Neer and was able to get him pie and ice cream. Now how is that for taking care of folks!

Kathy, owner of Pie-O-Neer, serving up pie and ice cream, even though they were closed when dad rode through there on the Great Divide ride.

Kathy, owner of Pie-O-Neer, serving up pie and ice cream, even though they were closed when dad rode through there on the Great Divide ride.

If you are craving pie, Pie Town, NM is the place to go. If you go the 2nd Saturday in September, you will find yourself in the pie festival. Now what could be better?

If you want to read a couple of other blogs from folks who have been to Pie Town, check out Road Unraveled and Serious Eats.

Pecos Wilderness Area is another beautiful, wild place to visit in NM. Located inside the Santa Fe National Forest, the Pecos Wilderness is a popular place for backpacking, hiking, and equestrian trails. It is managed by the Forest Service.

The terrain varies greatly. It includes mountains, canyons, mesa tops, forests, and rugged rocky areas above the timberline. It is beautiful. Be prepared if you go, taking the necessary precautions as it is a wilderness area. But it is beautiful and worth the time.

If you are looking for a museum on NM history, you need to visit Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. Constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s seat of power in the area, this museum chronicles the history of the state and the region. It was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1960 and an American Treasure in 1999. The adobe structure is the oldest continuously occupied public structure in the US, according to some reports.

There are plenty of collections in the building to keep you occupied for a while. The museum covers a long time period and has many interesting pieces. The exhibits do change so check the website to see what is there at the time you wish to visit.

I found an interesting note that says that during his time as governor, Lew Wallace wrote some of the final scenes of Ben Hur in the Palace of the Governors. It was during the Lincoln County War and he took refuge in his writing. He evidentally used one of the safest rooms in the palace, with the thickest adobe walls, fearing bullets as repercussions from the war and the things going on with Billy the Kid. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea but it is interesting to think on. ( Since this part came from Wikipedia, who knows if it is true.)

Please note that according to the website at the time of this writing, the Palace of the Governors is closed for renovations but put it on your list for later. It is a really neat place to visit.

Hope you got some interesting ideas of places to visit. I will return soon with the next installment of the New Mexico Bucket List.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet P vertical image

Note that the link up is closed for joining but you can still visit to see what others had to share.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.

abcblogging image lg

You can also join us and link up your own Blogging Through The Alphabet Post!! Just be sure to follow these simple rules–

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

The Wars of the Jews (Memoria Press) ~ a Crew review

Wars of the Jews FB

Memoria Press is a classical education company that publishes high quality materials. We recently received The Wars of the Jews set to review and it was the perfect finish to Miss E’s 9th grade literature for the year. This is a ten lesson course that takes a look at the historical fulfillment of the prophesies regarding the fall of Jerusalem, which happened in AD 70 at the hands of the Roman empire.

Wars of the Jews Pin

The Wars of the Jews is recommended for grades 9 and up, which seems to be a solid recommendation. The set includes three books:

There are samples on the website for each of these books.

The text The Wars of the Jews: The Fall of Jerusalem is an English translation (by William Whiston) of the writing of historian Josephus. Josephus was a Jew who was captured and became a Roman advisor and citizen. He is considered to be a leading historian of the times and was present with the Roman army at the siege and fall of Jerusalem.

The 141 page long soft cover text is Book V, chapters 6-13 and Book VI, chapters 1-10 of Josephus’ writings. There are also endnotes in the text. This is an historical text and as such, it presents some challenges. The language or phrasing can sound different to our ear and that means that it is sometimes beneficial to read a passage out loud to help understand it. Also, there are many people presented that had a role in this event and it takes some effort to keep them straight.

It is a classical text and so is not a fast read. The time spent in reading the text helps the reader to really understand why Jerusalem was an important city and why it was one the Romans felt it necessary to overtake. The Jews were fighting a lot amongst themselves and the Romans really benefited from this disunity. The text begins by introducing us to the Jews in the city. It then carries us through the Roman siege, the change in leadership of the Roman army, and the final destruction of the city.

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The text has included helpful maps of Jerusalem so that students can understand the movements of the Romans and the Jews and how the strategy of attack worked. There are photos of historical sites, such as the wall of Jerusalem and the site of Antonia. There are drawings of what the temple looked like and Roman siege weapons such as the catapult. There is also pictures of statues such as the one of Titus and another of a curved trumpet. These all help the student to understand the historical context and importance of this event.

Wars catapult

The endnotes are related to people and places in the text that benefit from further explanation. They are correlated to the text through numbers and are easy to find. They are helpful and interesting.

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The start of the endnotes section in The Wars of the Jews.

The Student Guide for The Wars of the Jews is also a softcover book that is about 8 1/2 x 11 inches. It includes 26 pages of work for the student. It has a Table of Contents, the lessons, and a review. Each lesson covers two pages. The lesson includes Facts to Know, which are important people, places, words, and quotes. It then has several comprehension questions with blanks for the student to write in.  Some of the lessons include vocabulary words. The final review is three pages long and reviews all ten lessons in preparation for a test.

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The Teacher Guide is the same size as the Student Guide and is almost an exact replication of it. The difference is that the Teacher Guide includes the answers to each of the comprehension questions and part of the review. It also includes a reproducible test and test answer key.

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Our Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this text and appreciated that it was a short study to fit nicely at the end of the school year. Miss E was able to complete the study in about three weeks, working on one lesson per school day.

We had listened to an audio drama earlier this year about the fall of Jerusalem so it was good to be able to follow that up with the historical account of the events. That kind of connection is beneficial.Wars of the Jews Teacher Guide

One thing I would love to see included in the Teacher Guide is a page number reference for where the answer is within the text for the comprehension questions. I read through the text and I struggled to help Miss E with some of the questions that she had because I couldn’t find the passage. I could read her the answer from the Teacher Guide but it always makes a lot of sense to be able to go back to the text and read the passage, putting the answer in context.

Miss E’s Thoughts:
The Wars of the Jews was really interesting. I did find some of it hard to understand because of the language. I have read, and really enjoyed, a fiction book that was set right after the fall of Jerusalem. Some of the characters in The Wars of the Jews were mentioned in the book I read. This gave me a little bit more of an insight into everything that had happened before the start of that book. I think that this was a really good “school thing” but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone for just reading, though I have a friend who would probably enjoy reading it for pleasure. It would be a good fit for probably as young as some 7th graders (my sister could have used this set) and be too easy for some high schoolers.

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We have had the pleasure of reviewing many things from Memoria Press. These include:

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews from other families who reviewed The Wars of the Jews, as well as

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