Tag Archives: high school

Illuminating Literature: Characters In Crisis ~ a Crew review

A variety of literature is something we want our children experience. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis provides high school students a thorough study of a variety of genres. Writing with Sharon Watson provided us a fantastic set of materials to use in studying literature and so far, we have been pleased.

Characters In Crisis set of books

Sharon Watson created Illuminating Literature for high school students, though we are using it with our 8th grader (13 years old). Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis is a study that can be used in any year of high school and is the second in the Illuminating Literature series, though they do not have to taken in order. (We have not yet used the first of the series  Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide.) It is a full year study/two semesters and is written from a Christian worldview. The completion of the course is worth a full course credit. Featuring full selections, the course teach over 100 literary terms and devices. Visit the website to get a complete list of the selections and the terms/devices.

The course is comprised of the student textbook, a teacher’s guide, and quizzes/tests. The quizzes and tests can be taken online for free on the Illuminating Literature website.  There is also a free downloadable Novel Notebook that goes along with the study and is optional. It is found on the Writing With Sharon Watson website.

You will need the texts for the literature selections. Several are included in the textbook or available online and others you will need to borrow or purchase. It is recommended that you use a specific version of the texts so that page numbers align correctly and it is easier for the students to follow in the lessons. I highly recommend this.

We have a copy of Frankenstein and I looked at it to see if it was usable for this. One of the questions said to read a particular paragraph on page 38. I looked and looked in chapter 1, which is where that page was in our book. In fact, I looked all the way back to the beginning of the book and about 10 pages farther into the story. I could not find it! When our recommended version arrived, I looked it up. It was in chapter 5 and 20 page numbers different. I am so glad I spent the $6 to purchase the recommended version!

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisStudent Textbook –

The student textbook is written to the student. The lessons are clearly marked, as is which story the lesson accompanies. It begins with an overview of the course and follows that with a lesson on character labels and forces of antagonism. These are pretty big concepts and the student applies them first to a story of their own choosing that is familiar.

learning stitches

After the introductory lessons, the student begins with “A Jury of Her Peers,” a short story. Before reading the selection, which is included in the textbook, the student is given some background on the time period and pertinent information that is helpful for reading the story. After the reading, the student is asked to rate the story for themselves, do some work in the downloadable Novel Notebook, and then apply some of the literary terms and character labels that were learned in the opening section. Students take a quiz on the story and another on the literary terms, then hold a discussion about the story using questions included in the textbook. Finally, the student selects a project to complete as a response to the story.

 

Frankenstein will work much the same way. There are a couple of differences. There is a section that gives the student some information to help in the reading, chapter by chapter. The questions for discussion are also listed by chapter and there are a lot of them. So many, in fact, that it is recommended the teacher pick some. At the end of the lessons on Frankenstein, there is a book list of other titles that are similar.

The textbook is where the student writes their answers and ideas, where the background information is found, and where the introductory and follow up materials are found. There is also a week by week schedule for the student to follow, if you choose to use it. It is an essential part of the course and quite well done. Downloading a sample of the textbook will be very helpful for seeing what it looks like.

student textbook

Teacher’s Guide –

The Teacher’s Guide has been terribly helpful. I struggle, as does my daughter, in applying some of the deeper thinking ideas and answering some of the questions. Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis

The Teacher’s Guide gives me a place to start so that we can delve into some of the ideas and explore their value in relation to the selection. The guide is well-marked and it is easy to find what is needed. The chapters, lessons, and questions are all marked to correspond to the Student Textbook and the Novel Notebook.

The Teacher Guide includes key themes that are specific for each story. Along with the weekly schedule, the guide includes most of the information that is in the student textbook. It gives plenty to know what the focus of each lesson in the chapter is on and to help you guide the students. Each of the discussion questions and the Novel Notebook questions have answers to go along with them. At the end of each chapter, there is a rubric for that particular selection that makes it easy to assign grades.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in CrisisQuiz and Answer Manual –

One neat feature of Illuminating Literature is that the quizzes and tests are all available online. The student logs in and takes the quiz and it is graded. The grade is then sent to whatever email the student logs in with. However, that is not always the best way and so there is a Quiz and Answer Manual available for purchase. This has blank quizzes that can be copied within a single homeschool as needed. The book also has an answer key in the back that includes answers for each of the quizzes in the book.

 

Novel Notebook

Novel Notebook –

The Novel Notebook is available from Writing With Sharon Watson as a download from the site. It is another way to delve into the story. It includes questions that help the student explore the meaning of parts of the story and characters, as well as helping them move through the novels a bit at a time. Throughout there are questions that help the student apply an idea to their own life or to someone’s life around them. It helps the student to personalize the story and ideas. Some of these were pretty difficult to answer but it allowed for good discussions.

working in textbook

My Thoughts –

I really like having a literature program that pushes my advanced reader to think about what she is reading. I also like that this program includes some pretty challenging literature, as well as a good variety. Knowing that something different will be up next on the reading list makes it a bit easier to engage my student in the current selection if she is struggling.

Because each of the selections is so very different, this review has been difficult to write. We have really only used the opening chapter on introducing character labels and forces of antagonism and the chapter “A Jury of Her Peers.” We are just venturing into Frankenstein. With each chapter being a different genre and therefore the types of questions and the application of the ideas being so different, this doesn’t feel like a very thorough review. So far so good, though, and we will be continuing to use this program.

A Student Viewpoint –quilt block

“I still don’t like literature but this is better than the last thing I did. I like the activities that are at the end of each lesson series. I thought the bonus information was interesting. For example, the information about the play that “Jury of Her Peers” was taken from or information on the setting. I liked how we applied the terms and character labels to a book that I was familiar with before trying to use them with the stories that were new. I probably should have chosen a stand-alone book instead of a series and it would have been easier. Most of her writing is easy to understand, though I have had to reread a couple of the sentences before moving on. Overall, I like it because it is different than what I have used before.”

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See what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought about Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis.

Illuminating Literature: Characters in Crisis {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

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Innovators Tribe ~ a Crew review

Innovators Tribe course

Fridays are a “different school” day for us: we are intentionally giving the girls hands on learning in science, technology, and art. Innovators Tribe had given us a wonderful opportunity with their program titled Thinking Like an Engineer, which we have been reviewing for a few weeks.

Thinking Like an Engineer

Innovators Tribe is an online curriculum designed to foster the thinking skills needed to bring creative thinking from the head to the hands. Created by Wayne Kroeplin, known as Mr. K., students are guided and taught the thinking skills needed to become an innovative thinker and a problem solver. The courses offered by Innovators Tribe are designed for 6th – 12th grade students. Because it is an online program, you will need a reliable computer and internet service as it is not a downloaded program.

We have been using Thinking Like an Engineer  during our Fun Fridays. Each Friday, we log into our course dashboard and click the link that continues us in the course right where we left off previously. The course is a good mixture of online learning with recorded lessons from Mr. K., slideshows, and videos to explain various concepts. There is also a printable unit journal that has questions for the students to complete. These questions help to focus the student’s attention on certain parts of the lesson, highlighting important terms or ideas. In addition, there are research and hands-on challenges that allow the students to put into practice the concepts discussed in the lessons.

tower challenge

Topics that are addressed in Thinking Like an Engineer  include what is an engineer (professional problem solver – I LOVE this description!), types of engineers, types of problems solved or studied by engineers, and real world examples of the application of engineering and problem solving thinking. Hands-on opportunities include things like building tower of books standing on only one piece of paper, making a tower of paper over 5 feet tall using minimal materials, creating a water filtering system, and these are just the ones we have encountered in Unit 1. (Looking ahead there is a bridge challenge and a roller coaster challenge, too.)

The challenges require some basic materials, though if you want to try the water filtration system, you will probably have to go shopping for some things. But overall, it is just paper and tape for the challenges.

book stacking challenge

We have begun Unit 2 and this is where we got to download the 3D software. We are extremely excited to learn how to use this software and find out what it can do to increase our problem solving abilities. The 3D software is used to design models of ideas for solutions. So many possibilities! There are several instructional lessons using this program and also some challenges with it.

As I mentioned earlier, we are using this program for a couple of hours each Friday as part of our STEM learning. This is being used by an 8th grader, a 6th grader, and a 3rd grader. They watch the lesson online together and then we talk through the questions in the Unit Journal related to that lesson. Finally, they tackle the challenges as a team.

research

Though she is below the anticipated age of the program, the 3rd grader is doing really well participating and helping out. She is not doing the writing in the Unit Journals, though we are talking about each question out loud and so she is participating in the discussions. She is also a big factor in the solutions with the challenges so far. She is just jumping right in, paying attention, and having fun with the learning.

Mr. K. really wants his students to learn and does an amazing job of assisting the students in that. For one of the questions in the Unit Journal, Miss L needed to research the engineering related to a topic she enjoyed. She chose dance. Well, let’s just say that is not an easy internet research topic. So, we took Mr. K. at his word about sending an email his way when we needed something and we had a very quick response that was just amazing.

He responded to Miss L with a video message in which he talked directly to her, addressing her need in such a way that she was empowered to go do the rest of the research needed to answer the question. He did not just tell her what to go look up but rather talked to her about how to think about the topic in a way that she could figure out what to go look for.

Innovators Tribe

This is a great example of how he teaches – he doesn’t lecture and tell you everything he wants you to know. Yes, there is some of that because there is just no way around it sometimes. But, he addresses the “how” of the thinking and gives the students the power and ability to think about the problem differently and in a way that allows solutions to be imagined. That is powerful!

I encourage you to find out more about Thinking Like an Engineer by visiting Innovators Tribe.

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Read more reviews by families who have been using both Innovators Tribe classes:  Thinking Like an Engineer and Thinking Like an Architect.

Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

No-Nonsense Algebra ~ a Crew review

No Nonsense Algebra
As we continue on in our quest to learn the various math concepts, anything that presents in a new or different way is a potential treasure. When Math Essentials was up for review, the No-Nonsense Algebra looked like a very good possibility to assist us with some pre-algebra concept review.

No-Nonsense Algebra is a book that begins at the pre-algebra concepts necessary to be able to learn algebra. From there, it goes all the way through quadratic equations. That is a huge span of material but it is a compact, straight-forward presentation. Each lesson is a page or two long and consists of a written instruction, examples, exercises, and review of previous concepts. There is also an online video lesson to assist in the teaching.

This is more of a text book than a workbook, as there is not a lot of space between each equation or question. Additionally, the student is encouraged to copy down and work each step of the example, as well as showing all work for each exercise and review. The pages are definitely not spacious enough for that and using notebook paper or graph paper allows the student to keep their work lined up nicely and neatly.

video lesson

The video lessons are accessed with a code that is found inside the book. With that code, you just head over to the No Nonsense Algebra website where you will be able to create an account. With your code, you will have access to the videos for each of the lessons. The videos seem to run around 10 minutes in length, some a little more, some a little less. It is a video of a smart board with a voice walking you through the steps as they are shown on the board. It is a no frills video and the voice is straight-forward. The videos are not just a repeat of the written examples; they are an instruction in the concept.

HOW WE USED THIS BOOK

Since Miss E is working in pre-algebra, we asked to use this book as a concept review of the materials and concepts she has covered so far. We knew we would probably only get through the first chapter and a little into the second during the review period since those are the concepts she has worked with. We especially knew we would need additional work with negative integers.

What we found is that the videos confused Miss E a lot. For some reason, the instruction confused an already weak concept when it came to negative integers. With this being the very first lesson, it made the book a difficult one for us, as it brought tensions and tears. We pushed through the lesson over a few days, walking her through every example, exercise, and review.

I then took a look at the table of contents a bit more closely than I had and decided that we needed to work through the first chapter out of order. I found that the number line review was not first even though the first lesson of adding integers teaches and refers to the number line. Some other concepts such as the properties of numbers, greatest common factors, and least common multiples were pretty far down in the chapter yet those concepts were needed to do lessons that came before that in the chapter. This is a definite weakness of the book, in my opinion.number line lesson

Noticing that allowed me to reorder the materials in a way that made sense by concept and we tackled the book again. This time, we worked up through the materials, reviewing items that were the stepping stones to the next concept and it all made much more sense to Miss E. Her confidence grew and when we came again to the integers and dealing with negative numbers, while it still wasn’t easy for her, she didn’t have such a bad time of it.

WHY THIS BOOK?

If your student is ready for Algebra I or higher, this book is right up your alley. There are no frills. It is straight-forward. The videos are designed to help with instructions. No-Nonsense Algebra covers

  • Necessary Tools for Algebra
  • Solving Equations
  • Graphing and Analyzing Linear Equations
  • Solving and Graphing Inequalities
  • Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Polynomials
  • Rational Expressions (Algebraic Fractions)
  • Radical Expressions and Geometry
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Algebra Word Problems

Included in the back of the book are the solutions (but no explanation of how to get the correct solution if you make a mistake), a final review, glossary, tables of important formulas and symbols, multiplication table, and squares and square roots.

With all that this book covers, I can imagine that it is a good review for a student who has completed algebra courses and is taking, or preparing to take, college entrance exams. It would definitely provide a thorough review.

All in all, this is a good book that just didn’t fit my girls’ needs. But, I am going to keep it around as I can see it being a lot of help in a few years as college exams approach.

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Read additional reviews of how other families use this book by clicking the banner below.

No-Nonsense Algebra {Math Essentials Reviews} 

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Fun-Schooling for Everyone

thinking-tree-journals-2

I had hoped to publish this review last week but here it is now. Three additional Thinking Tree journals for you:

We have used each of these in quite different ways than the previous review so we’ll just jump right in.

Mom’s Fun-Schooling Handbook

moms-fun-schooling

This is a very thick journal – about 130 pages, front & back – of help for the homeschooling mom. If you are looking for a relaxed format to help organize your thoughts, this is it. Designed to inspire you, it is an open-and-go journal for mom (or dad, even).moms-fun-schooling-basket-page

It starts out with some ideas to help find joy and feed curiosity in both you and the student. From creating beautiful baskets of learning to thinking about how learning occurs, guidance is done gently through both written and visual prompts.moms-fun-schooling-visual-list

There are a variety of pages that repeat throughout the journal. These include finishing doodles, creative journaling, coloring pages, to-do lists, and more. A couple of my favorites are the word studies and the “learn a new skill” pages. They pique my interest and encourage me to keep learning myself. Page titles include: Finish the Doodle, Creative Journaling, Reading Time, What’s On Your Mind, Funschooling Ideas, Color Together, Learn a New Skill, Fun Things to do Together, Thinking Time, A Hope/Prayer/Memory, Illustrated To-Do List, Goals For My Home, Mom’s Word Study, and Listening Time.

The one think I have not figured out with this journal is how to use it consistently. The pages, while repeated, do not seem to be repeated in any specific or consistent format or order. Which for me means difficulty in finding a daily – or even weekly – use for the journal.

This journal is truly designed to encourage creativity, turn a new twist to learning, and add plenty of fun. If you are looking for something different, this might just be for you.moms-fun-schooling-written-list

Travel Dreams Fun-Schooling Journal

travel-dreams

Travel Dreams is “an adventurous approach to geography & social studies.” This funschooling journal is packed with 30 different cities from around the word to study. Each city is approached the same way through journal page themes repeated for each city. There are also several blank pages at the back to choose other cities of interest to your family.

At the beginning of the book, there are a series of maps. These maps are used to mark the locations of the cities studies. The maps are separated by continents (mostly) with a page for each map to list the cities that are found there.travel-dreams-page

For each city you will study food, clothing, landmarks, the flag, events, and a quote or proverb. There are pages for documenting the cooking of a food you choose from that city and writing the recipe and step-by-step preparation instructions. For each city, the students choose what should be known about the city if you were planning to visit as well as studying up on an event in that city’s history. There are also pages for the students to document the resources consulted for the study of each city.

We have been using this as a family, studying a city by watching documentaries and visiting websites. The girls take turns drawing and writing the necessary information. Preparing traditional foods has definitely been the most exciting part so far. This is a fun, relaxed way to approach geography and social studies.

The Four Seasons Spelling Time

spelling-time

Spelling Time is a journal that gently encourages and reinforces spelling in youngsters. Miss J, age 7, is using this book daily as part of her spelling work. This soft back journal is about the size of a piece of notebook paper. The pages are white with black printing and are numbered, which is unusual for Thinking Tree journals.spelling-time-example

The book approaches spelling through a few different activities. The first is rhyming poetry set in couplets. Each poem relates to a particular month, starting with May and going to April. We haven’t worried about trying to line up the month to what month we are in but you certainly could. The poem is covered twice, with specific words boldly written in highlighting for copying. First, the words are outlined so the student can trace and color the letters. The second time, there are blanks where the words go and the student writes the words in. Each poem has an activity page to accompany it. The page might be a coloring page or it might be one where the student completes the drawing.

The second section dwells on the four seasons. Each season has some words to focus on that are then used in a four-stanza poem. Each poem page is accompanied by a color or activity page.

The next section is one where the student takes some responsibility for words they need to learn to spell and they write them into a list so they can practice them. Then the student begins to use the words in writing a story. There are other writing prompts, too, such as “make a list of 15 things to do in spring.”

The final section allows the student to create their own calendar. We plan to begin this in January.

Throughout Spelling Time encourages students to use words, not just learn to spell them. Gentle and easy to incorporate, this has been a great addition for Miss J.spelling-time-writing

So, there you have them – three more journals from Thinking Tree. These have been an interesting additional to our family and our learning times. I still struggle with the Mom Journal but I really like it so am working hard to find a way to make it a productive addition. The Spelling Time – it has been fabulous and Travel Dreams is a fun alternative for days where we just need a change of pace.

Thinking Tree has lots of other journals. Be sure and check out all that they have created. There is something for everyone and it is a pleasant shake up for your homeschooling routine.

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Working It Out (Everyday Education) ~ a TOS review

working-it-out-title-image

Most of the reviews that I share with you involve curriculum or other products for the giggly girls. While Working it Out: Poetry Analysis with George Herbert is definitely a study that can involve the whole family or even high school students on their own, I have been using it for my own Bible study, reading, and devotional. Everyday Education, LLC has introduced me to a fantastic Christian poet that I didn’t even know existed. It has been lovely.

kindle-with-book-coverWorking It Out is a poetry study written by Joseph Womack that focuses on the poetry of George Herbert. Herbert was a 17th century poet. He is a favorite poet of many well-known authors including C.S. Lewis. Coming from what was considered a distinguished family, being a scholar at Cambridge and a member of the English Parliament, and finally a priest in the Anglican Church, Herbert spent much time in poetry pondering and “working out” his salvation. He dealt with spiritual conflicts, many which waged in his own soul, according to his own writings. This is likely where Joseph Womack took the title of this poetry analysis course from.

The poetry of Herbert has been a very interesting read, though not easy in the least. I spent much time reading and rereading each poem before I even began to dig into the meanings and movement of thought within each one. Working It Out brings together many of Herbert’s poetry with the direction in analysis from Joseph Womack. Womack works through each of the poems in the same way.

  • Poem
  • Big Picture
  • Parts of the Picture
  • Parts of the Picture Come Together

image-of-poem-on-digital-pageAfter the analysis of the poem, there are two more sections that are a bit more focused on the devotional aspect of the poetry.

  • Reflection questions
  • Scriptures for Further Reflection

In order to gain as much as possible from each poem, I worked through them as suggested, focusing carefully on the analysis provided by Womack. I would often find myself wandering back through the poem as I read the analysis and saying “Wow. That is wonderful.”

The Poem sections is just that – the poem. The Big Picture is a short overview of what the poem is about. The Parts of the Picture is a stanza-by-stanza breakdown of what the poem is discussing, including the literary elements, devices, and techniques used. This is also where the parts that I seem to be most confused about are discussed and defined. The Parts of the Picture Come Together takes the breakdown and puts it back together, producing a more meaningful understanding of the movement of thought through the poem.

Reflection Questions and Scriptures for Further Reflection often brought a very deep and meaningful conclusion to the poem for me. More than once, this is where I had that “a-ha” moment of understanding. More than once, I had to immediately stop and email someone because that poem coupled with those scriptures felt like just what God was wanting me or someone who was hurting to hear right then.written-poetry

I have been working through approximately 2 poems per week, spending about 30 minutes per session on the poems. I say approximately 2 poems per week because some poems don’t require as much thought from me and others have required quite a bit more. If you work through this as a course and as suggested, there is plenty of material to cover a year’s worth of time. There are 51 poems in this book and it is suggested to work through one per week.

In the introduction, Janice Campbell (Everyday Education, LLC) gives a number of suggestions to make the study even more meaningful. I have taken these suggestions to heart and have definitely gotten more out of the poems that I have written out long-hand or read aloud.

Working It Out is available as either a printed book or in digital format as a PDF. It is over 200 pages and features 51 poems with analysis. You can find a sample of this poetry study at Everyday Education.

 

miss-l-readingThis has been a terrific blessing to me. And to Miss L. She may be 10 but she loves to read and write poetry. We have shared some of the poems in Working It Out and talked about their beauty and meaning. She did not delve into the analysis with me but more than once, she enjoyed reading some of the poetry and understood innately the beauty of Herbert’s words.

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Be sure to read additional reviews of Working It Out, as well as Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting and Excellence in Literature Handbook for Writers from Everyday Education, by the Homeschool Review Crew. Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

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The Rhetoric Companion ~ a review

the-rhetoric-companion

Rhetoric is something that I believe is highly misunderstood. Maybe just by me, but especially by me. I found this book to be interesting but extremely challenging.

Timberdoodle sent me The Rhetoric Companion set which includes both the student book and the answer key. This is a high school level course to guide students to become skilled in the power of persuasion.

If you are like me, you tend to expect rhetoric to be an attempt to persuade you to believe someone else’s version of the truth. I tend to think of it as carefully crafted statements made by politicians to make you believe something without knowing any of the truth or having any kind of support. I am happy to tell you that true rhetoric is not that at all. Turns out, I could really benefit from this course.

rhetoric-companion-coverThe Rhetoric Companion is written to teach high schoolers so it is on a bit higher reading and comprehension level than most books you will pick up. Expect to be challenged with your reading and don’t be surprised when you have to go back and reread paragraphs to get the entire meaning. I have had to work at memorizing words that I have heard but not really understood before due to the fact that they are used quite often in the teaching of rhetoric. This is quite the challenge.

Presented in a logical manner, the lessons in The Rhetoric Companion are classical education from a Christian standpoint. Carefully thought out statements are the crux of the teachings in each lesson. From understanding the history of true rhetoric to how to incorporate the five canons, these lessons guide the students through true training in crafting a presentation that is arranged correctly and worded strongly. By the completion of the course, the student’s ability will have grown by enormous bounds.

rhetoric-companion-quote-and-lessonWith 31 lessons and an appendix on language study, this book is a full year’s study. Each lesson includes approximately four pages of reading followed by a listing of suggested readings, several exercises to complete, and review questions. The answer key is simply that and gives the suggested answers for the review questions. Throughout each of the lessons, there are tidbits of wisdom and quotes of great authors sprinkled at the edges of the page. I have gotten almost as much out of these little snippets as I have from reading the lessons.

Expect challenges. Expect hard work. Expect the exercises to stretch and push you. Expect growth. If you are expecting those things, The Rhetoric Companion set will be of great benefit to you.

Timberdoodle has provided a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. They have The Rhetoric Companion as part of their 12th Grade complete curriculum package. Timberdoodle has also generously offered to send two (2) readers each one (1) copy of The Rhetoric Companion. This is open to US mailing addresses only. This softback book will be a grand addition to your own learning or that of your student. Please click on the following link to be taken to the Rafflecopter entry form.

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Courage & Defiance ~ Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

The next book on the list for Book Club was Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson. This was a page turner, for sure! I read it in about 3 days. If you enjoy true stories and learning more about World War II, I think you will enjoy this one.
Courage and Defiance
Courage & Defiance is about the ordinary Danish folks who refused to just sit back and let Hitler and the German war machine take over their land and their lives. They fought back, sometimes in small ways and sometimes by being a part of something bigger. These are true stories of true “courage and defiance” that made a difference in the lives of others. There were thousands of people who were saved by these folks. Their stories show us how acting on a thought, without analyzing it too deeply, can be a very good thing; how thinking of others will inspire you; how seeing evil will propel you forward into action, even if you have no clue what you are really doing.

I don’t want to give too much away about the book up front so I’m not going to just keep rambling on. But, really, this is one that I think is a must read for any pre-teen or teenager who is studying WWII or interested in the ways that people were treated.

There was a very interesting section that I want to share. On page 239, one of the men who had been arrested and sent to prison talks about the process of entry into the camp.

The prisoners had their hair shaved. “There is something strange, alienating and demeaning in being shorn of one’s hair.” It was, Niels reflected, “the first step in a process of methodical dehumanization, of converting us from ordinary healthy citizens into creatures merely caricatures of humanity.”

I know why this struck me so strongly but I don’t know how to put it into words very well. God created all humans to be beings who worship and honor him. The Nazis did all they could to suck the faith and humanity out of the Jews and anyone who tried to help the Jews or oppose the Nazi regime. There was nothing left for them if they lost their hope in their creator. We encounter this in our world today. We need, desperately, to learn the lessons that are there to be learned from the past. We need to learn what God can show us through the way the Nazis treated others.

So, on with the Book Club selection. Let’s get to the questions.

1: When you think of the Holocaust, what do you think about? Does this book fit with those thoughts? In what ways does it fit or diverge?
Nope. Not at all. I had no idea that there were smaller groups of individual, or even the more organized resistance groups, that were fighting against the Nazi regime. I knew about the people who stepped up to hide the Jews and other who were caught helping them but I didn’t know there were folks actively working to disable the Nazis. Makes sense but I never really thought about it.
2: Much of what drove these people was emotion and response to what was going on around them. How does emotion drive action?
If you have no emotion about something, it doesn’t move you one way or the other. However, when something sparks emotion in you, especially strong ones, you have to act. Without emotion, you are completing tasks but you have no connection and no purpose other than fulfilling someone else’s requirements. When emotion is attached to action, it is stronger, more purposeful, and often, more effective. You are also more likely to continue that action when it is driven by emotion.
3:Considering the smallness of the acts by individuals in the grand scheme of things, why do you think they continued?
I think these resistance fighters continued because it was something they could do. Even if it protected one person, it made a difference. That is what drives these acts. They could help, even if it was small. On page 243 Niels Skov talked about the horror of the Nazi prison camps and it brings to mind the reason they continued these acts in spite of the fact that they were small in the grand scheme of things: “We never before had come close to realizing the merit of our cause.”
4: The bravery these men and women displayed is hard to understand. In what ways do we display bravery or courage?
We show bravery or courage when we state something that needs to be said, especially when it is not popular opinion. Things like speaking out about sin that is being spoken as truth (i.e. homosexuality) takes bravery and courage. Sometimes is it doing something that you are afraid of or that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe it is teaching Bible class. Maybe it is learning a new task or skill. Maybe it is educating your children at home. Anytime you go against the grain or popular opinion or, in some cases like this book, against the governing group, it takes bravery and courage.
5: Were you in the shoes of these young folks, would you prefer to act alone, as Niels Skov did, or would you rather be a part of a larger, organized group, as Jorgen Kieler was? Why?
I would rather work with a group. While I like doing many things along, if I am risking something, I want to have the support of a group.
6: Have you read other books set in World War II? Which ones and would you recommend them?
We truly enjoy reading about World War II. I think it is because there are so many people who acted heroically, whether that be fighting actively as soldiers and these resistance fighters did or by doing something like taking over factory jobs that were abandoned when men had to go to war as so many women did or by planting a garden so that less food had to be transported or doing without pantyhose so that the soldiers could have what they needed.
I really liked Monument Men. I don’t remember who wrote that one but it was fascinating! I have read a number of books about Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom. The books about the von Trapp family and those were lots of fun. Zlata’s Diary is also set in this time but in Russia. That was an eye opener, for sure, since I didn’t realize all that went on there. We have checked out a number of non-fiction books about WWII in general and those were interesting. Miss L has been very interested in WWII and wrote an essay about Joseph Stalin. Ummm – had no idea what an evil man he was!
7: Which of these Danish resistance fighters do you most admire?
Jorgen Kieler. He showed courage and a positive attitude throughout everything he had to endure. He was full of hope and always on the lookout for ways to escape the prison camps. But not just for himself. He was always looking for ways to help others and his fellow countrymen. He never gave up.
8: p. 120 “Only a drop in the ocean, that what they say. Well now, the ocean consists of drops.” – Morgan Fog on the use/effectiveness of Danish resistance. 
    What was his purpose in this statement? Do you agree? Why or why not?
This statement fascinated me. We talk about how things are small and don’t make a difference. This statement reminded me that every little drop counts and when we add them all together, they make a mighty force. That is why it is so important to act, even when you think you are all by yourself. There are many others who feel the same way but when you put it together, what a force! I think Morgan Fog was right on the money. Each act might not have had a major effect on the Nazis but when you put a whole bunch of smaller ones together, a large crater has been created by the effort.
I hope you give this book a chance. It was a fascinating read and brought a whole new light to WWII and all that the victims of the Nazis went through. While it is technically listed as Young Adult nonfiction, there is plenty of meat to this book to be a solid read for any adult who is interested. Especially when you consider that this is not a part of WWII that is often shared or talked about.
Head over to Wendy’s blog, Ladybug Daydreams, and see what she thought about this Book Club selection.
My Life In France
Next month, we will be tackling Julia Child’s book My Life In France. You can find the questions we will be working on here.
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