Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
It is no surprise to those of you who read this blog that our family enjoys the YWAM Publishing biographies. We have a shelf full of these biographies and we look for them everywhere we go. Each of the biographies they publish, whether part of the Heroes of History or part of the Christian Heroes series or part of the series for the younger students, are well-written and interesting to read. Combined with the unit study materials, these biographies make for a great study with your students of any age. We received the Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate biography, along with a download of the unit study. (The site says that you must be a register user to take a look at the available unit study.)
YWAM is a company with a mission to reach the people of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They train many people to go out to share the gospel but they also publish materials that help students see the Christian character of many people from our history. That is what their unit study and biography series is all about.
The Milton Hershey biography was a joy to read. My youngest daughter, 12 years old and in 6th grade, read it with me. We thoroughly enjoyed reading about the life of Mr. Hershey and all the challenges he went through. It was quite a surprise to us both to learn how many business failures he had in his life and how much he had to overcome in people not believing in him. We marveled a his perseverance and success, and applauded how his mother and his aunt and a couple of friends continually assisted and encouraged him. We were startled to learn that Mr. Hershey was first successful with carmels, not chocolate, and that he lost a huge amount of money at one point. We were thrilled, though, when he weathered that storm with the full support of his workers and came back stronger than before. We were surprised to learn that he built a huge factory in Cuba to provide the sugar he needed at his Pennsylvania factory.
But most of all, we were so please to read about his philanthropic adventures. While his success in the carmel and chocolate making businesses were exciting to read about, it was heart-touching to read about the ways in which he paid back (plus!) the people who invested and supported him – how he provided for his mother and his aunt beyond anything anyone expected of him; how he set up a town (Hershey, PA) to provide a beautiful, wholesome place for his workers to live, so unlike his early experiences of company towns; how he created a place to work where the employees shared in the success and were fully invested in the business.
But again, there was one thing above all else that we marveled at – the foundation he created to care for orphan boys. This foundation was probably the thing that was most successful for Mr. Hershey and his wife, Kitty. It was where their impact lived on the most. They touched the lives of hundreds of young boys and men who needed it, providing healthy and wholesome food and education, teaching them how to be strong, productive members of society. The boys made him proud!
The Milton Hershey biography is a joy to read and we are so happy to add it to our shelf. In addition to reading the biography together, Miss J used some parts of the unit study to further enhance her learning. She worked on the biographical sketch of Mr. Hershey. She completed the printout of the timeline of Mr. Hershey’s life and work, along with some of the more important world happenings, like wars and economic hardships. She marked the included map for important places from the story. She created a piece of artwork with a saying from Mr. Hershey. We talked about some of the questions from the unit study that go along with each chapter of the book. We did a taste test of a couple of different chocolates and read up a bit more on the processes of making both caramel and chocolate. We made some caramels. (They definitely were not soft ones, though!)
The unit study is a downloadable product. There are two parts to it that are most applicable to the book. One is the blank maps, timeline, and biographical sketch to fill in. The other is the unit study that includes suggestions on teaching the book and unit, as well as additional suggestions for supplemental books, sites, and resources. There are 8 parts to the study guide.
- Key Quotes
- Display Corner
- Chapter Questions (answers are included)
- Student Explorations
- Community Links
- Social Studies
- Related Themes to Explore
- Culminating Event
As you can see, the unit study provides a lot of material to use as you feel is appropriate for your students. It is highly adaptable and can be easily modified to fit your students, age levels, interest levels, or ability levels. There is plenty here to fill a week or a month, depending on how you choose to use it. It worked well to allow us to take a much needed 2 weeks break from our normal history curriculum to work with this unit. Miss J had a good time and was able to choose activities that really brought the story alive for her.
We are always pleased with the biographies presented by YWAM Publishing and recommend them for all ages. I even enjoy reading them myself. The Heroes of History series includes a large number of people who have influences the history of America. If you would like to see other ways to incorporate the YWAM biographies and unit studies, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew and click on any of the links in the link up at the bottom of the page. Each link will indicate which biography they reviewed so you can find some that sound particularly interesting, or just randomly choose a few to see what they did. Either way, you’ll see real families incorporating these great products into their educational times.
Lori, At Home.
Want to read more about the biographies we have used? Check out these previous reviews.