Tag Archives: history

Lost Civilizations Unit Study

Lost Civilizations Study

We strive to meet the interests and needs of our girls individually. When chatting with Miss L about what she wanted to take a look at for history this year, she said she wanted to study lost civilizations. When we went a little bit further in the discussion, I determined that this meant the civilizations that just kind of disappeared from a very long time ago. So, that is where our name came from. This does not include ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Rome, or Greece. Those are a different category for her.

So, what we did first was to list the group she knew about. Those were:

Aztec
Maya
Inca
Viking
Cliff Dwellers in American SW
Anasazi
Mesopotamian

Then we listed out what she wanted to know about them. Here is the list of questions:

  1. Where did they live?
  2. What were their homes like?
  3. What did they eat?
  4. Do we know of any myths or legends surrounding this civilization?
  5. What is their lifestyle – agrarian? nomadic? village? hunter? gatherer?
  6. What type of climate did they live in? How did that affect their lives?
  7. Did they have a known family structure? Was there a patriarch? A matriarch?
  8. Find a map that includes the area(s) they lived and mark it with what you know, both from their time and present day.
  9. What did they wear? What was their clothing made of and look like?
  10. When did their civilization begin? When was its peak? When did it disappear?
  11. What are the theories of why the civilization disappeared?
  12. Are there any remaining important landmarks or ruins? What are they? Describe and/or draw them. Mark them on the map.

Lost Civilizations plan

We found some websites and bookmarked those but our greatest reliance has been on physical resources from the library. We have checked out several books for each different group, though some of them overlap. I can list these out but it is really quite dependent on what you have access to. There are none that are just fantastically detailed, extremely helpful. What we have found is that there are several good bits of information in several different books but none are a complete resources. So, find what you can around you, use the internet, and enjoy the process.

Miss L is taking notes along the way. Then she is writing a report in a notebook on each individual civilization. She likes having all her research in one place and since she enjoys writing, this is perfect for her. And it was her choice.

This process has been interesting and, I hope, fun for her. I know she has learned quite a bit about different civilizations. It has been a good process and I hope this gives you some ideas about creating a study about something that has piqued your student’s interest.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

 

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Carole P. Roman books ~ a Crew review

author Carole P. Roman books

Whenever I think about reading a book on another country or culture, the first books that come to mind are by author Carole P. Roman. The Carole P. Roman books and collections are award winning books about lots of different people and places, as well as fiction stories (some with great morals), and we are blessed to review these three this past month:

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

We were asked which books we might be interested in and these were our top three choices. Why? Because each of these countries were affected by World War II and Miss J has been studying WWII. This gave us yet another literature correlation to our study and I knew for a fact that they were quality literature. In addition to have an easy-to-read text, the If You Were Me series are written from the viewpoints of children and are written in a way that children can relate to them well. As you open each book, there is a map (not drawn to scale but still helpful) of the country, followed by a page with a globe that shows where the country is located. The books are well-researched and a pronunciation guide with definitions are provided with each one to help the readers understand a bit more about the culture. The illustrations are engaging and colorful, enhancing the enchanting text, bringing it all together.

Carole P Roman Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

The book about Russia covers a lot of family words, like mother and father. As you read along, words are incorporated naturally. In talking about going to the store, the book mentions the word for a fur hat and that you would use rubles to purchase it. Major landmarks are included such as St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, and the Kremlin. Food is not left out and descriptions of borscht, piroshky, caviar, samovar, and more are included. Favorite pasttimes for children are mentioned and include chess, playing with kuklas (dolls), and ice hockey. The new year is a big holiday and much of the details of it are included, from the gift bringer Ded Moroz to the New Year tree, favorite foods and the fortune teller tradition.

This was a simple look at a complex society so it is definitely not comprehensive. Yet, it is a good way for children to get a look at another culture and some of the ways in which children from there are like them and different from themselves. The text itself is not difficult but because there are a number of Russian words with pronunciations included, I would not recommend a child try to read this book alone. Guidance would be greatly beneficial for children under the age of about 10.

Carole P Roman Germany

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

The book on Germany actually begins with a bit of history about the country itself, where it and its name originated from. There is also information about the city of Berlin and its importance. Boy and girl names are shared, as well as other family names including mother and father, grandmother and grandfather, and aunt and uncle. The beautiful castle Neuschwanstein is pictured (an actual picture, not a drawing – I like that it shows it accurately this way) and the history is shared. Euros and marks are talked about and why the change was made. Food, of course, is covered including hunger-inducing dishes such as sauerbraten, sauerkraut, dumplings, and apfelstrudel. (This made Miss J ask her daddy to make her some apple strudel and it was yummy!) Activities such as fussball (soccer) and going to Oktoberfest are part of their lives. It closes out with a bit more history and several interesting facts about Germany.

Carole P Roman inside Germany Book

I like that this story contains so many bits of the history of the country, as well as the information on the actual culture that we would expect. Between the history, the food, and all the words, I feel like this is a good book to help someone know a bit more about Germany. The story is engaging and easy to read, though the pronunciations of the foreign words will make it a bit more difficult for a child.

Carole P Roman Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

Poland was one that I chose solely due to the involvement of the country in World War II. It is often mentioned so I felt it would be a good one for Miss J to know a bit more aobut. This book definitely did its part for that, without getting so much information that she didn’t understand any of it. One of the fun bits about this book on Poland is that backgrounds of almost all of the pages are actual photographs that have drawings on top of them. This allows the beauty of the country to be seen clearly.

The book, like the Germany book, give a lot of history about the country. From the various names for Poland itself to a legend about how the city of Warsaw got its name, the text is engaging. Because much of Poland’s interest includes famous people, the book includes people such as the composer Chopin and the astronomer Copernicus. Sports are important to these people and so football (pilka nozna), skiing, and sledding are featured, as well as ice hockey. Food is shared through a trip to the grocery store and dinner at the grandparents. From mleko and hleb (milk and bread) to rosol broth, makaron, sledz and pierogi, hunger creeps up reading about the food. Bird watching and a game called “spot the gnome” are fun activities for all ages in Poland.

Carole P Roman books

Overall Thoughts

While each book contains many of the same types of information, each one seems so very different. That is partly because of the different culture of each book but I also feel that Carole P. Roman does a great job of writing the differently, with a slightly different focus that helps you get a feel for things that are important to that culture. For example, Germany seems to have a big focus on history while Poland’s focus in on activity and outdoor sports. This keeps each book in the series fresh and new and exciting, even when you are reading several of them back-to-back.

This is a wonderful series for children to learn more about other cultures around the world and is a great supplement to any country or continent study that you may be doing. As I mentioned, we pulled a bunch that we already had on the shelf for our WWII study and then added these when they arrived at th house. A couple of years ago when we were doing a continent study, I put the various If You Were Me books that went with the continent in the basket along with the other items to help us get a feel for what the continent was like. These are so very flexible and packed with such good information that I highly recommend them.

And one of the best parts – they get read and enjoyed! When these three books arrived at the house, they disappeared into one bedroom and the another and were read by two of the three girls within two hours of receiving them. The other young lady had read them in a couple of days. The appeal of these books is strong and since the content is quality, I don’t mind giving them free rein to read them.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to read more about the Carole P. Roman books and collections that Homeschool Review Crew families were reading. We have read and reviewed books by this author before, both 2017 and 2016, and always enjoy them. Some of our past reviews include

 

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Home School in the Woods Á La Carte projects ~ a Crew review

Home School in the Woods is a tried and true company in our home. We were thrilled to be able to take a look at two of their Á La Carte products for this review

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte productsHome School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

The  Á La Carte projects are small chunks of a study – a game, a timeline, a short lapbook, a project. These small chunks of learning are great for when you are looking for an extension of a study you are doing or wanting a hands-on project of some sort. They cover some really good information but are not long, extensive studies. The Á La Carte projects are often included in a larger, more in-depth study if you are looking for more.

Home School in the Woods is a company that creates digital, downloadable projects and studies dealing with history – from ancient history to present day. Each project is well researched and you can feel confident that the information given is accurate. The projects are all downloaded to your computer so you can print at home and get started right away. The instructions for each project are included in the files and are very understandable.

On to the projects!

HSITW completed WWII timeline

Miss J has been studying World War II and we were just finishing up the unit study we were on when this timeline from Home School In The Woods arrived. It is fantastic!

A Timeline of World War II is a downloadable product, purchased directly from HSITW. Once you download it, you can print it directly from your home. We chose to print it on colored printer paper, using blue for the timeline and neon green for the pieces we were glueing on.

HSITW timeline of WWII ready to go

To get started, I followed the printing directions and then the cutting and taping directions to get the long timeline put together. We taped all the pieces of the timeline together and the it folds compactly for storage. It goes neatly into the notebooking notebook that each girl keeps. So Miss J has a wonderful timeline to add to her notebook now.

Each day, we would pull out the timeline and look at the dates. We started back in WWI and looked at people and events that impacted the start of the war. It really did start back at the end of WWI, as the policies put in place then impacted various countries and caused hardship and discontent. Miss J would give the date and then read the placement on the timeline. She then got the pages of the pieces to cut out and glue on, searching for the right piece. She cut it out and glued it on. Then we would do an online search to find a short article or video on that event, place, or person. We would watch it or read about it. After that, we moved on to the next spot on the timeline. We would do six or eight items per day. It was a manageable amount for a 9 year old.

HSITW timeline of WWII working and watching

This was a wonderful resource to learn a lot about WWII. In doing the timeline this way, combined with the research, Miss J had a very thorough grounding of the causes, actions, events, and people that influenced the war around the globe. I learned a ton, as well. There were a number of people I knew of but didn’t know their exact contributions to the war. I highly recommend studying history this way. It was a manageable chunk of history, yet it was very in-depth.

What Miss J thought about the timeline:

It is lots of fun. I got through it kind of fast. It was kind of fun to learn about the people (like Hitler and Anne Frank). And it is fun to learn about people I didn’t know and didn’t know were there (like Joseph Stalin who was a very bad man).

Now that we have finished the timeline, I am considering purchasing one I just noticed: WWII: On the Home Front Lap Book/Notebook Project. It is right up Miss J’s alley and continues on with the time period we have focused on for the past little bit.

HSITW finished quilling projects

We also chose The Art of Quilling project to try out. Quilling is using paper strips, curling them, and then gluing them into a pattern. I have always wanted to try quilling because I remember a beautiful quilled piece that hung on the wall of my home growing up. We read a bit about quilling from the file and I talked about remembering the hanging growing up. We took the time right then to call my mom and ask her about it. She talked with Miss J about it, remembering creating it, and finishing it the way she did. She told Miss J about the process and what she remembered. It was a neat family connection that brought this project to life.quilling project start

After the phone call and getting a text with a picture of the piece, we printed the quilling pattern, and then got started. I had purchased a quilling tool at a local hobby store for just a few dollars along with pre-cut strips of paper. It took a few tries to figure out how to curl the strips and then to adjust them to various sizes for the pattern. We learned a lot as we went along such as

  • You have to have a liquid glue that comes out well.
  • Curling tighter is not necessarily better.
  • Curling, adjusting, and shaping is all something that has to be worked on and manipulated for each place on the pattern.
  • Age 9 was good for trying this out, with a simple pattern. If it were much more complicated or detailed, it might be a bit trying for Miss J. I would love it, though. We plan to try out more patterns if we can find some online.

We chose the quilling project because it fits with the time period and activities of some of our reading and history lessons. From the 1800s – 1970s, quilling was fairly popular in various places. Since we were working on WWII and had just finished a book about pioneer times, it fit well. And it was fun to try something that people would have done during those times, as well as something that grandma had tried.Home School in the Woods quilling project

What Miss J thought about quilling:

That was awesome! It was fun. It took a long time, forever! But it was fun. It took two days; my final project was pretty.

The Penny Rug Notebook/3D Project looks like another project that would be fun to tackle while sticking to the theme of WWII and thriftiness or using what you have.

Home School in the Woods has wonderful  Á La Carte products and these  Á La Carte projects are often part of a large study, if you are looking for more. We have used Project Passport: Ancient Greece, Project Passport: Ancient Egypt, a la carte Erie Canal, Make-A-State, and more. Other Homeschool Review Crew families were trying out various other Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte projects. Definitely go see them. These are an easy way to find a project that fits right in with a subject you may be studying without committing to a full year curriculum or a long-term study project.

 Blessings,
At Home.

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Drive Thru History Adventures ~ a Crew review

experience history

History is one of those things that we either tend to love or hate. Drive Thru History Adventures is a program that helps foster that love of history; it brings history to life.

One of my favorite Bible teachers has always said “Put on your Greek glasses, your Roman toga, and your Jewish sandals to understand the Bible.” Drive Thru History Adventures basically allows us to do this and shows us what it is like because of that. We get to visit the places history happened, listen to experts who know what life was like, and read about the accounts of history by those who saw or experienced it first-hand. And all of this happens through the genius of the Drive Thru History Adventures online curriculum site.

You can access the Drive Thru History Adventures site through an annual subscription or with a monthly subscription. This subscription gives you access to the Drive Thru History Adventures site and also to Adventures TV. What are these two areas? Read on.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Drive Thru History Adventures site

This site is the hub of all adventures. It is the setting for the three courses currently available – Bible History, American History, and Ancient History – and their other materials. Each course has a series of videos that is accompanied by additional resources and materials. In Bible History, each lesson includes:

  • video
  • a piece of artwork
  • summary of the lesson
  • Bible readings that cover the lesson topic/time
  • Side Road – something related to the time or place of the lesson
  • Discussion Questions – a few questions, generally about 5, to initial discussion and thinking deeper
  • Printable worksheet and answer key
  • Dig Deeper

As you scroll through the lesson, there are images, artwork, and pictures that help you place the history in context and get a feel for what it was like. The lessons are set up like this in all three of the curriculum topics.

Bible curriculum

Bible History – This 18 week curriculum takes you through the life of Jesus, through The Gospels. It is the same video series we reviewed last year but it is now part of this curriculum, as well. These videos are so jamb-packed with material that you can watch over and over and learn more each time. Adding these to the curriculum on the Adventures site means that there is even more perspective and understanding being built. The readings for each of the videos is from the Bible, from the gospel accounts. These are done in readers that are embedded right in the site so you don’t have to leave the site to do the readings. Same thing with the additional videos and articles – the Adventures site is hosting them so you stay on their website while doing all of your work with this curriculum. It does take you to a different page for each of the articles or additional videos so you will have to navigate back to the episode or lesson you are working on to access the next resource in Dig Deeper. This is the one thing that I wish were more streamlined but it is not that big an issue; we have a back arrow, right?

American History – This 12 week series take you from Columbus thru the birth of America and the Constitution. We have not watched these in order at this point. We have ventured into this area and watched a couple that went with a discussion we were having. I noticed that the readings are often primary source documents here – for example, the Mayflower Compact is one of the readings. This really helps build the foundation of understanding of the background and growth of America.

Ancient History – This 12 episode series takes the students through the ancient societies of Greece, Rome, and Asia Minor. While our family has watched several of these at one time or another, we have not ventured much into this curriculum area during this review period.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Each of these are appropriate as a curriculum for age 12 and up. High schoolers will possible need to do some additional work if you are looking to count this as a credit but it is a solid foundation towards that or as a supplement. A couple of suggestions on the site include doing additional research and writing papers. Younger students can definitely benefit by watching the videos and there is much to learn. My youngest enjoys these videos and can even answer some of the discussion questions without any problem. There is much here to be used by the whole family.

When you are logged into the site, there is a plethora of information that is available in addition to the curriculum mentioned above. There are expert papers and articles, research, side roads, dig deeper, worksheet and answer keys, and more. Many of these are the same material that is found in one of the curriculum topics but these make them available outside of those curriculum lessons. You can access them by what you are looking for (say a side road or an article) or from the Dashboard.

The Dashboard gives you access to the newest videos or featured videos quickly and you can scroll down and find more. Drive Thru History Adventures has done a fantastic job of putting up some videos to help you get started by taking you around the site and showing you where to find things once you are there. It is an easy start program, for sure.

Drive Thru History Adventures

Adventures TV

This is a streaming site for Drive Thru History Adventures. It is only streaming; you do not have access to the curriculum resources (if you click on curriculum at the top, it takes you away from the Adventures TV site to the regular site) but you can access the videos. In fact, I love the way Adventures TV is set up. It groups the curriculum videos by time period, puts all the Side Road videos together, and all the Dig Deeper videos are together. Each is labeled with its topic. There are videos for additional adventures Dave has taken that he wants to share and some Behind the Scenes videos on things like the Museum of the Bible and the upcoming series on Acts to Revelation.

This site has been where my youngest and I have spent the most time together. From here, it is easy to access a video that might be of interest or might fit something we are talking about in another subject. That makes this a wonderful supplement to many other programs. We have greatly enjoyed the videos related to holidays (Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day). We even may have watched some related to the Christmas holidays because they were interesting.

dashboard

Our Family’s Thoughts

Miss E is in 8th grade and wanted to go through the Bible History curriculum for history this spring. She really enjoyed learning about the background to so much of Jesus’ life when we reviewed The Gospels last year that she felt she would really enjoy going through the curriculum created to accompany it here on Drive Thru History Adventures. She is going through about three lessons every two weeks. She is accessing it each day and working for 20-30 minutes. The first day she watches the video and reads some of the selected readings. The second day, she finishes the readings, prints out and answers the questions and goes through the rest of the material in Dig Deeper. Sometimes, this takes her into day three if there are several additional resources in the Dig Deeper section. She has been using the printed worksheet to take notes on the additional resources. If you have to keep track of work, this is a great way to do it.

One thing that helps me see how good a program this is? I do not have to ask or remind her to work on her history program. She enjoys it so much that she does it every day. Sometimes, she completes an entire lesson in one day. It is a great fit for her!

Her thoughts:

watching Drive Thru History Adventures

I like it just as much as I did last time we watched the videos. A lot of the material that is in the video is found in the side roads and Dig Deeper, yet it is presented differently. I like that. I like how the whole video isn’t just Dave talking but it includes some fun extra stuff (such as the Car-B-Q). While younger kids could watch the videos, they might have to have things explained to them. I think this is a good level for junior high/middle school students and I really like this.

My thoughts:

Any time we can find a program that takes us right into the thick of history and shows us things we cannot easily see on our own, we have found a treasure. The history presented is clear and based on what really happened. It is a trust-worthy company that shows us Christ throughout time and how God’s hand is in all of the world. This is a Christian company with a Christian perspective. I am pleased to be able to say we fully enjoy this company and think that their new Drive Thru History Adventures site and Adventures TV are fantastic.

Blessings,
At Home.

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Wulf the Saxon (Heirloom Audio Productions) ~ a Crew review

Wulf the Saxon review

Experiencing history is a memorable way to understand it and Heirloom Audio Productions treats their listeners to an experience of history each time you turn on one of their audio theater productions. Wulf the Saxon follows the tradition of great productions that Heirloom Audio has created. This 2 CD set brings your family almost 2 1/2 hours of entertainment focused on history, values, and adventure.

Heirloom Audio Productions has created a series on The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty, based on the novels written by G.A. Henty. Henty was an adventurer who traveled around the globe to find out as much as he could about the truth of the past and then he wrote novels based on those happenings. Heirloom Audio has taken those wonderful novels and with the help of fantastic script writers, great researchers, and amazing voice talents, they have created a series of audio theater productions.

These are much more than audiobooks; these are audio adventures. The voice talents that participate create an atmosphere that brings the listener right into the story, complete with sound effects and a soundtrack of music that adds to the story. The listener is transported into the story.

Wulf the Saxon

In this case, we are transported into the events and battles leading up to the battle in which the Normans beat the King of England, and then William the Conqueror is named king. At the beginning of the story, Wulf the Saxon is a young man and Edward the Confessor is on the throne of England. Wulf is a thane. He is well liked by the people who work his land and he is considered a fair-handed ruler who keeps his promises.

Wulf is a thane under Earl Harold and spends much time with him. Harold and his men went sailing and were blown off course when a storm came. They ended up in Normandy and were imprisoned. Wulf and another young man escape and are able to make it to the home of a nobleman who is friendly to Earl Harold. He secured the release of the Earl and treats them all well until they are able to return to England. During their time there, there is a battle in which Wulf shows how good his instincts are. Wulf is a significant contributor in the battle win. Harold and his men return to England.

Before too much time passes, the Welsh invade England. Wulf the Saxon once again shows his knowledge and instincts by securing the castle of Prince Lewellyn without any bloodshed.

After about a year passes, the northern areas are in a rebellion against the crown. The king becomes very sick and must pass the power of the crown to Harold. When the king dies shortly thereafter, Harold is named king. Wulf is right there in support of this man who had always treated him and others fairly. As king, Harold almost immediately has to fight off the Norsemen invading the north and finds out that the rulers betray the crown. A slaughter occurs and while this is going on, William of Normandy sails to invade.

King Harold assembled his men to fight when he realized that the Normans were going to take advantage of their weakness. They fought bravely but lost and the king lost his life. While protecting the body of the king, Wulf and others were saved from certain death by the Baron who rescued them years before by providing ransom in Normandy. He took them as captives and returned to his home. This was quite advantageous for Wulf as he had fallen in love with the Baron’s daughter. The end of the story is lovely in that Wulf and Agnes are able to marry for love.

inside CD case of Wulf the Saxon

This is a story that rises and falls with the crown and its power. It takes you on a ride, for sure. There are a lot of people in this story and it isn’t easy to understand who they all are. It is still a captivating story and you can’t help but learn more about the history of England. There were themes thrown into this story that are great life lessons. Some of these:

  • Sacrifice is not in vain – good things can come out of your sacrifice and your sacrifice doesn’t make your life worth less.
  • Love vs. Patriotism – which is more important and how do you make the decision; was it right for Edith to sacrifice her own love and happiness for England when it hurt others?
  • Loyalty – how do you show loyalty? why is loyalty important? when you look at others, how do you determine their loyalty?
  • Betrayal – what is your word worth? what do you do when someone betrays you?
  • Friendship – the ways in which friendship is shown is strong, courageous, and bold in many places in the story.

As always, the minute the CDs arrived, they disappeared into the bedroom of Miss E and were not seen again until I asked for them, knowing I needed to listen to the story for this review. She adores all of the Heirloom Audio Productions and knows so much history because of them. She was able to help me place where this one falls in the timeline of the Heirloom Audio stories.

As a parent, I like knowing that there will be no questionable material on the discs when they come from Heirloom. I can trust that the girls will be exposed to solid history and when appropriate, the Christian values of the characters are brought out. This particular production does not have as many obvious Christian elements as others they have done in the past but it is still full of quality values. As a parent, you will want to note that there are several battle scenes in this, and while they are not gory and blatant, Heirloom does a solid job of sound effects that add to the reality of the scene and experience.

Miss E’s take on this story –
My favorite parts were the beginning and ending scenes where the two young brothers were talking with Mr. George before and after the story. During the story, it was kind of confusing to try to keep track of who was who and what they did. I did like this story but it is not my favorite of the Heirloom stories.

Heirloom Audio Adventure Club

Heirloom Audio Productions has an online community: Live the Adventure Club. As a member of the Live the Adventure Club you will have access to digital files of the stories, listen and learn script read alongs, quizzes that go along with the adventures, and materials to further the learning related to the adventures such as Thinking Further and Defining Words.  There is also access to old-time radio programs, encouragement and devotional thoughts, and other parenting materials. The community forum is also a place where members can chat about the adventures, education, and other topics of interest to them.

other adventures

Heirloom Audio Productions does not disappoint with their latest audio adventure, Wulf the Saxon.

Blessings,
At Home.

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The Tunnels ~ Blogging for Books review

When I was in high school, one of our teachers took his family (which included a girl my age) to Germany so he could teach English. Shortly after they arrived, the Wall “came down.” They were there for that historic moment and they were able to send back a piece of the wall to our high school, along with some written memoirs about what they had seen, heard, and experienced. Talk about history coming alive!

When I saw this book, The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill, written by Greg Mitchell, I was pretty intrigued. Perhaps because of that connection my old English teacher created for me. Whatever it was, this book sounded fascinating. It was.

Screenshot 2018-02-07 at 9.55.48 AM

This book covered many of the secret tunnel attempts from West Germany into East Germany in order to help family, friends, and others trapped in the East escape into freedom. Many of these tunnels were compromised and lives were lost. Many were successful and many, many lives were freed. The bravery, courage, and perseverance of those who built the tunnels is chronicled here very well.

What is also clearly in evidence here is the courage and dedication to freedom of those who escaped. They endangered themselves and others trying to get to freedom but they kept at the attempts until they were free. This is also documented well in this book and it is easy to see why they risked it all.

What was covered in this book that I didn’t really expect is the Cold War, the nuclear threat, and Cuba. One of my shortcomings in history is an understanding of the nuclear threats and the Cold War and Russia. I had no idea just how closely tied Cuba and Germany were. The book taught me a lot about the seriousness of the nuclear threat and how close we truly came to WWIII during this time frame. I have an even greater admiration for JFK than I did before. President Kennedy had to make many decisions related to Berlin and the threats of the Wall with Russia and nuclear missles clearly in his mind. He had to go against what many thought because he had a bigger picture in mind – keeping the world intact and stopping nuclear war. I did not realize just how much was resting on his shoulders.

The TV stations play into this story and how it is related to the White House in that they were trying to cover some of the sensational stories of escape from East Berlin. Some of the stations wanted to film it. The White House saw this as a potential national security threat. So it brings up the question of freedom of the press – how far should they be allowed with freedom and when should they monitor their own and make decisions for humanity, not just a dollar? All of this is deeply ingrained in the story of The Tunnels.

There is so much in this book. I learned a ton and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was not a fast read but it was a good one. Highly researched and documented, this book is one that taught me a lot and I will recommend.

Blessings,
At Home.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Unit Study on India

India unit study

We recently studied India as our family’s country of choice for the International Feast Night we had with some other homeschool families. We had a blast and learned so much about India. We kicked it off by reading The Hidden Village by Bonnie Rose Hudson. Read my review to learn more about that book.

book cover

After learning about Manju and the world he lived in, we watched some videos. These videos taught us a lot about West Bengal, the part of India that the book was set in. We learned about Bengal Tigers, jute harvesting, the uses of jute, mangroves, markets in West Bengal, foods, mongoose, and more. There are a lot of things to learn about.

We also learned that West Bengal is just one of the part of India, which is extremely diverse. To learn about other parts of India, we used several resources from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a site that we use often through the year and it provided us lots of good information on India. From the video titled India Unveiled in a series titled Trek to the Holy Land to a history study titled A Splash of Geography with a section on India, we had access to lots of good information and images. We looked at, but did not use, lapbooking sets on the rhino and the Bengal Tiger, both available at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. By far, the best resource on this site was Asia: Trade Route Safari (also by Bonnie Rose Hudson, who wrote The Hidden Village that we kicked the study off with). We learned a ton from the India sections of this study.

our display on India

We used an art project that is available as a lesson from ArtAchieve. In level 1, there is a study of wood block printing in India. This is how they print fabric for the saris. Miss J created this print using the techniques of this art lesson and some videos from their cross-curricular materials.

Miss L studied the sari and decided to duplicate it with material on two of our 18 inch dolls. They were adorable.

dolls in saris

We also used a set of notebooking pages from Hip Homeschool Moms titled Around The World Notebook Pages. These were neatly put together. The girls were able to research information for them easily and it was easy to for them to complete the pages.

As this was a feast, we took food from India that we had cooked, as well. Our menu consisted of:

  • Butter Chicken
  • Picnic Rice (rice with curd/yogurt)
  • Apple and Raisin Chutney
  • Naan
  • Gajar Halwa Ladoo (Carrot and coconut truffles)
  • Bhapa Doi

foods from India

The recipes came from these two food blogs from India – Chef de Home and Fun FOOD and Frolic. There are tons more recipes on these two blogs and I would definitely like to try a few more.

the girls' display on India

At the feast, the girls set up a display table with their information and projects. Each family also took a few minutes to talk about what they learned, giving each child a few moments. (Great public speaking practice!) The students also had to introduce their menu and describe each of the foods so that everyone could know what they were eating. This was a fun night.

Hopefully, this will give you some resources for your own study of India. This is a very large, diverse country and we have barely touched on it. Perhaps we will cover some more during the springtime when we need a diversion one day. So much more to learn!

Blessings,
At Home.

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