Tag Archives: history

Drive Thru History® – The Gospels ~ a Crew review

The GospelsHow does history go from “ho-hum” to “Wow! What else can we learn?!?” Just put on an episode of Drive Thru History®.

Host David Stotts drives the viewers around various history sites related to a given theme; in this case it was Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, though he has also hosted a number of others from American History, to Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. (We have used all of these at one time or another and they are fantastic!)

watching The Gospels

Drive Thru History® brings history to life by taking you to the places where history happened. Visually appealing and content rich, this series will bring history to life while you can just sit back and watch. Being able to see the sites where history was made helps the viewer really understand and remember. Viewing it all through a biblical lens strengthens the worldview, as well.

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is a set of 3 DVDs that brings you 18 episodes of about 30 minutes each. In these episodes, Mr. Stotts takes you to visit over 50 sites where important events took place in the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. With visually stunning video, the sites come alive with Mr. Stotts retelling of the happenings right where they would have taken place 2000 years ago. Geography, history, archaeology, and art show the life of Jesus and prove the truth of the Bible.

DVD images

With over 9 hours of video, there is so much to be seen and learned. The Gospels comes with a study guide, neatly tucked inside a hardcover book that houses the DVDs. There are stunning images and art work reproductions throughout the 118-page guide. Each episode has a section that includes scriptures to read about the people and places in the episode, 5 questions relating to each episode, a quote, and historical side note.

We enjoyed using this study guide after each episode. It was simple to use and did not take us long, yet it was a good reinforcement for what they had just watched.

 

Drive Thru History The Gospels

One note – The episode relating the sites and direct activities about the crucifixion has a warning on it about its graphic nature and violence. I appreciated this as I have some very highly sensitive and emotional children that feel things very deeply. I watched this episode privately first to decide whether it was appropriate for them all to see. Most of the episode I would not be concerned about but there are several minutes that are video reenactment of the crucifixion. These are extremely graphic. Miss E watched the episode but, at this time, I am not showing the episode to the other girls. This is a decision for each family to make on their own.

This series is just so fascinating. I can’t say enough good things about it. We loved Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” so much that we are planning a small group Bible study for homeschoolers next fall using these DVDs as our core. Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts is a video program that you can feel good about your students watching. If you can’t travel to the historical sites yourself, this is perhaps the next best thing – being taken there through well-done video tours full of explanation, history, and insight.

answering questions from study guide

Now for the girls’ take on the series:

  • Miss E – age 13: Drive Thru History’s Mr. Stotts is funny and I didn’t want to stop watching when it was time for school lessons. I learned about The Gospels because Mr. Stotts brought us to where it happened. When you read it in the Bible, you know it happened, but when he is showing me where it happened and I see people doing things somewhat related to what actually happened, it makes it feel more real to me. A lot of the time in my Wednesday night Bible class, my teacher says “Check the Bible. Some people say things wrong. Sometimes they say the wrong thing on accident.” And I felt that the statement at the end of each episode was saying the same thing – Read it yourself; check the Bible. This statement was accompanied by Bible passages to read about the people and places from that episode.
    I didn’t like how it showed John the Baptist pouring water over Jesus’ head at his baptism instead of immersing him. I did not really liked the fact that Mom made me wait to watch the crucifixion episode, but I understood why she did.
  • Miss L – age 10: I like Drive Thru History – The Gospels. I appreciated Mr. Stotts’ sense of humor, even if I didn’t get all of his jokes. He had a very creative and descriptive way of saying things that made me excited to hear his next sentence. I learned a lot of history with this series of DVDs in between the Bible lessons. I liked how he actually went to places instead of just telling us a little bit about each place and then saying a few words and stopping there and moving on. I really felt like he was excited to show us each place and actually enjoyed being there and getting to show us all of the places. I really appreciated that. It is much nicer to get to have a person who clearly likes his job and wants to be there teaching. I liked the part at the end where the statement said, “This show hopes to provide some illumination on The Gospels but there is no substitute for reading The Gospels yourself.” It made it feel like they really cared if you learned the truth about The Gospels and the Bible, in general.
  • Miss J – age 8: I liked that he walked around in the actual places and didn’t just stand in one spot. I liked that he walked around in the Kidron Valley. I liked how they drew the pictures about in the same places as they were talking about. There was not much that I did not like; I really liked Drive Thru History – The Gospels!

When you get this kind of praise from all three of the girls, it is a definite winner. Please visit Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” to learn more.

At Home.

Want to know what others thought? There were 100 families reviewing Drive Thru History. Click on the banner below to read their thoughts.
The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
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Books and Resources for Ancient Greece – Middle School Monday

When Miss E began her study of Ancient Greece with the Home School In The Woods program (you can read our review), we grabbed a few extra resources to supplement. You know – more books = more opportunity = more exposure. Here are the titles that we brought home from the library or pulled from our own home library.Books and Resources for a study on Ancient Greece

We also accessed Drive Thru History: Ancient Greece. Each of those episodes were fantastic, taking us to various places and ruins from the history of Greece. I would highly recommend this series to view the sites that help bring history alive.

Drive Thru History

You can visit the British Museum online. It is a simple to explore set of links in the left side bar that cover some of the people and places of Ancient Greece.

Another fun site is the BBC Bitesize history page. You can follow links to view information about various topics. In this case, the link will take you to Ancient Greece topics, though our family has used this site for other topics, as well (including WWII).

Don’t forget that if you need to do some research on a particular topic, SchoolhouseTeachers.com now has World Book online. If you choose membership with SchoolhouseTeachers, you get full access to not only over 300 courses (some of which are Drive Thru History courses, like the Greece one above) but to all of the 10 different World Book libraries, which more than doubles the content. If you choose to do so now, as of the time of this writing, they are on sale for $99 for the year, which is significant savings. You will have to visit SchoolhouseTeachers.com to get the code to use at checkout.

We have really enjoyed the study of Ancient Greece and Miss E is taking her time with it, really absorbing it all.

At Home.

Bessie’s Pillow ~ a Crew review

Bessie's Pillow review

History came to life. It truly did, when we were reading Bessie’s Pillow. This story, from Linda Bress Silbert and Strong Learning, Inc., is about a young lady who immigrates to America just after 1900.

For our family, that is very personal. My husband’s great-grandmother immigrated to America, through Ellis Island, just before 1900. So this story became something that we could easily relate to and brought us a greater understanding of all that their family would have gone through. This ability to relate so personally to the story made this true story of Bessie very real and very alive.

with the drawing of the shipby the passenger list

The main character in the story is Boshka Markman and her story begins in Vilna, Lithuania in 1906. 18 year old Boshka is leaving Vilna because it has become so dangerous there. The progroms and war have invaded their lives but far away, America beckons. Boshka begins her immigration journey to America. But before she boards the train, an older lady from the village asks her to deliver a special pillow to a son in America.

“May this pillow bring you peace.”

This story is not just a story. It is history. The history of a family, the history of nations, the history of the world at that time. And it pulls the reader deep into it all.

Bessie's Pillow cover

We are engaged in the story and through it we see the dangers of the world. The difficulty of a young girl traveling by herself, bravely facing all that comes her way. We walk with her through the invasive medical exams she was forced to endure in order to board the ship and the nervousness of waiting to see if she is allowed to live in America. Though her name is changed (she becomes Elizabeth Markman at Ellis Island), she boldly moves forward to live a new life in America.

She faces the dangers of a young lady in New York but finds employment and a safe place to live. Through her, we see the horrible working and living conditions but we also see the unconquerable human spirit and the will to push through towards a dream. Finding a way to deliver the pillow entrusted to her back in Vilna, she travels to New Rochelle and encounters a new life. The story of her life, lived with the same boldness she came to America with, is what this book is about.

Bessie’s Pillow touched me a lot. The true story of someone who would have been so like my husband’s great-grandmother was intriguing to read, to experience. Written by the granddaughter of Bessie Dreizen (the married name of the main character), this story has the twists and turns of the most creative novel yet is history, family history. And while this story is personal for her, it is one that most everyone in America should be able to relate to in some way.

exploring Bessie's America

Found online and in the back of the book, Bessie’s America is a collection of short articles and websites full of historical tidbits, links, and videos to help us get an more complete look at the life Bessie would have lived and the world she lived in. From the progression of film (from a silent movie that was shown in the theater in New Rochelle to early cartoons and talking movies) to music and dancing (we watched a video of Nellie Melba and looked at images of Carnegie Hall), from news of the day to famous people of the day, from housework to health and hygiene – Bessie’s America was very different from what we know today and this look back at the time in history of this story gives the story even more context and gives us even more understanding.

Bessie’s America really enhanced the book and we found a number of interesting things to read about and websites to visit. This is not a necessity for reading the book but it definitely gives extension to the book and understanding to the reader who takes the time to read and visit the website.

Bessie’s Pillow  is a wonderful, engaging read that is so full of history – our history – that I highly recommend it to everyone. I will note that there are some discussions early on in the book about incidents that caused Vilna to be unsafe for her, as well as New York to be unsafe (mention of attacks on girls and women), working conditions and the dangers that were faced, as well as some undesirable locations that people frequented. I would not just hand this book to anyone under the age of about 12 but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good books for them to read. I suggest reading it yourself first and deciding if it is right for your child and/or doing it as a read-aloud so that you can edit the parts that may not be right for your family.

My 12 year old read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She read it quickly (perhaps a day) and wanted to talk about it. We had talked about our family history and that made this book even more desirable for her. There is much to be gained from reading history that comes alive as Bessie’s Pillow does.

At Home.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews} 

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WASP WWII Museum – Middle School Monday

WASP field trip

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were a group of women who did great service for the United States and its Allies during WWII. After the men had left for war, there was a great hole left and these women trained to fill that hole. Over the course of the years, over 1800 were accepted into the training program and about 1100 graduated, going on to serve on various bases around the US.

The WASPs ferried aircraft around the country, served a tow-target gunnery pilots, some as test pilots, and in various other capacities. They flew military planes though they were only recognized as civilian pilots. Over all, they flew over 60 million miles in 78 types of aircraft. These aircraft went from the smallest trainers to the fastest fighters and the heaviest bombers of the time. 38 WASPs gave their lives during this time.

In 1977, the women pilots were finally recognizes as WWII veterans. In 2010, their contribution to the war was recognized with a Congressional God Medal.

Sweetwater, TX, and Avenger Field is home to the WASP WWII Museum. In a 1929 hanger set on a hill, there is a small collection of interesting displays highlighting and honoring these women and all that they did for the war. The museum admission is free but they won’t say no to your donation. We also purchased a book titled “We Were WASPS” by Winifred Wood with drawings by Dorothy Swain, both WASPs.

We found the example of the barracks very interesting – one of the girls kept commenting on the cots they slept on. We saw examples of the types of transmitters and other communication boxes. We viewed a memorial to the women who lost their lives during the WASP program. We read about Jacqueline Cochran, who began the WASP program (interesting story and background!). We were able to view a film about the program with footage from Avenger Field. The girls sat in one of the trainers, or simulators, that were used and there were handprints from some of the WASPS along with their biographies. We were able to see pictures of many, if not all, of the graduating classes and textbooks that they used.

It did not take more than an hour to dawdle our way through the museum but we did enjoy it quite a bit. I had been wanting to stop since we pass it every time we make a trek to New Mexico. I am glad we were able to make the stop this time and enjoy this bit of history.

At Home.

GIANTS : The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

This month, Wendy and I decided to read separate books to share about. We have very different tastes, which is really good. However, she had one she really wanted to read and I did, as well. So, we each read our own and are sharing about them today. Wendy wrote about The Girl On The Train.giants-the-dwarfs-of-auschwitz

GIANTS: The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – The Extraordinary Story of the Lilliput Troupe
by Yehuda Koren & Eilat Negev

In most books, I don’t read the Foreword or the Introduction. This one, however, was filled with fantastic information. Telling the background of how this story came about was fascinating. So, I start out by saying, “Don’t skip this.”

Meet the Ovitz family. Meet each of the interesting people, these unique souls. It begins in 1866, long before the horrors of the story come about. We meet the ancestors who formed the character of the Ovitz family and the fortitude with which they faced life.

The Ovitz family was made up of seven dwarfs and their tall family members. They are an all-dwarf performance group during the 1930s and 1940s in Eastern Europe (Transylvania, specifically the town of Rozavlea). They traveled all over and we very well known.

However, one major problem arose for this well-known and loved group – they were Jewish and they didn’t fit the Nazi German idea for a normal person. This family was rounded up with so many millions of others and sent to a concentration camp – Auschwitz to be specific. They stayed together, as their mother so often had reminded them to do before passing on from this life. And that probably saved their lives. Seven dwarfs in a single family arrived together and caught the attention of those who were told to watch for twins for Dr. Mengele.

Dr. Mengele was very happy to have a group of so many dwarfs, along with their tall siblings, to add to his medical experiments. While the dwarfs lives were spared for these experiments rather than being sent to the gas chambers or the incenerators like 9 out of every 10 who arrived at  Auschwitz, their lives were made absolutely miserable (not a good word but no other word comes to mind) by this doctor. They were poked, proded, injected, had specimens taken from them, and a million other variations of private invasion to see if the doctor could determine just what he wanted to know.

This family survived and were able to leave the concentration camps but they still had a long road ahead of them. These who were so well-off before the Nazi invasions were now destitute. And in a world where everything they needed had to be specially made, this was a great hard-ship, even with their able bodied siblings alongside. Moving to Israel, the family begins the slow process of rebuilding their lives.

My thoughts:
This story was absolutely fascinating, though incredibly difficult to read at points. I still struggle to understand how the world had something like the Nazi regime occur and how the atrocities that went on were approved of by men who thought themselves right. The awful, disgusting experiments that were done on the Ovitz family and so many, many others are unbelievable. But this story is one that will touch you deeply.

The love of the family for each other and for their heritage and religion is beautiful to read. I enjoyed reading about the Ovitz family because it brought another layer of understanding to my knowledge of WWII. To read about the world this family came from and the one they died in and all that was between is to read and feel the human story of life in some of the brightest days and some of the darkest of humanity.

I highly recommend this book to adults. There is certainly too much in it for most teenagers to be reading when it comes to the detail of the experiments that were performed. But it is a good book to read and see the resilience of humanity and the neighborliness that can exist, even when things are dark.the-whistler

Next Month:
In April, we will posting about the book The Whistler by John Grisham. This will be interesting. I used to love to read John Grisham so we’ll see if I still enjoy it. 🙂

At Home.

book club button 200

 

Ancient Greece ~ a Crew review

ancient-greece-review

History is a favorite topic around the three giggly girls and the opportunity to review HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods was one we were more than happy to ask for.

Home School in the Woods is a company we have reviewed for in the past so we are well acquainted with the high quality of their products and the information they include. When you choose a product from Home School in the Woods, you are getting something that has been thoroughly researched and well written, with illustrations that are classic and realistic as well as accurate. Home School in the Woods is the family business of the Pak family. Headed by Amy Pak, the history products are packed full of learning through timelines, maps, reading, listening, and creating. A true hands-on product, Home School in the Woods brings history to life. HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece is a combination of a timeline project, learning through hands-on projects, and reading historically accurate information about a time period. Throw in some crafts and a lapbook and you have the gist of Project Passport studies. We were sent the link to download the study and it downloaded a zip file. We then unzipped that and following the instructions, it opened the study in a web browser. From there, it is easy to open each time and to navigate through the study.ancient-greece-opening-page

Once I had the study opened in the browser, I spent a little bit of time getting familiar with the project and reading the Introduction, Travel Tips, and Travel Planner. I then printed the binder information for Miss E, the student who was going to be traveling to Ancient Greece through Home School in the Woods. I also printed off all that was needed for the first two stops.

Each lesson in Ancient Greece is labeled a stop. Each stop has several parts to it. There are 25 stops in the entire study. Most stops include timeline work, writing something for the newspaper, a postcard from a famous person related to the theme of that stop, and some minibooks or activities associated with the theme. A few of the stops include an audio tour, as well. Some of the stops have taken a couple of hours but most stops are less than an hour. It all depends on how artistic and creative your student desires to be with each part of the stop.scrapbook-of-sights

So far in the stops, Miss E has visited Athens, Sparta, learned a bit about the Archaic Period, Greek Government, and everyday life in Ancient Greece. These are the first 7 stops. Miss E is working on stop 7 at this time. We are averaging just over one stop a week, with each stop broken up over a couple of days. Other topics still to come include: farming, business, and transportation; education, oration and literature; science; medicine and disease; the arts; philosophy; religion; and warfare. Each topic has readings and activities to really help you get into and learn about history and the people.map-work

There are some things that we really, really like about the HISTORY Through the Ages programs.

  • They are rich with well-researched history and cultural information.
  • The activities are so widely varied that the interest in continually renewed.
  • The program is so well laid out that it is easy for me as the teacher to get what the student needs without having to spend a lot of time fumbling through files. However, if the program didn’t open right or something goes wrong with it, I can still access each of the printable files from the zip folder.
  •  It is easily adaptable for the student. If they don’t do well with writing, you can leave out the newspaper or assign it in a different way. If they don’t like to draw, you can just have the student read the postcard; they don’t have to illustrate it. If a mini-project is too difficult or really not interesting, you can skip it because there is so much more in each stop. Adapt and change to meet the needs and interests of the students – key quality!
  • The timeline is thorough and full of information. This alone makes the program a very good investment. If all the student did was read the guide book and do the timeline, a very good knowledge of Ancient Greece would be gained.
  • The activities are fun.
  • The audio “tours” are lively and interesting.
  • It is easy for the student to self-pace the program so I don’t have to be hyper-focused on which piece she is working on each day.
  • While it takes quite a bit of printing and paper, it is used to create a final product that the student will be proud of having created.

timeline-and-more

As far as dislikes, there just aren’t many. I do wish there were an easier way to get started. The first two stops are labor intensive because you are setting up so many of the projects that will be added to or worked on throughout the entire project. From the timeline to the maps, these things take a bit to set up. But, they are very worth it as you add to it and work with it throughout each stop. We do have a wish to see the Postcard Rack redone. It just doesn’t hold the postcards. Miss E created a page with a little envelope on it where she places the postcards after she has designed them. That works much better for her and she doesn’t lose the postcards this way. But that is it!

Miss E says, “It is a fun way to learn about history.” When asked about her favorite parts, she said that the Snapshot Moments (timeline) and postcards are her absolute favorites but that she really likes all of it. Some of the newspaper articles are hard to write but others are easy and fun and she really enjoys doing the illustrations. All in all, she gives this two thumbs up and thinks that lots of other students would enjoy it as well.

Home School in the Woods has a wonderful set of learning programs with their HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study. Whether you choose Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, or Renaissance & Reformation, there is much to learn and enjoy.

And as a note of interest – Home School in the Woods is working on Ancient Rome, which is scheduled for release in 2018!

At Home.

You can also read our review of Ancient Egypt.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the other places you and your students can visit with the HISTORY Through The Ages programs. Just click on the image below.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

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Visit the World Through Video

visit-the-world-through-video

This week on the Virtual Curriculum Fair, we are talking about Exploring Our World: Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences. Be sure to visit the Homeschooling Hearts and Minds to catch all of the posts related to this, and all, themes of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair.

week-4-exploring-our-worldSocial studies, history, geography – these are all favorite topics of mine both for teaching and learning. There is so much to be gain from any contact with these. Whether it be  reading a difficult text and getting through it or just having fun with a simple game, I enjoy just about every aspect of learning about the world. One of my favorite ways is to watch a video about it.

We keep our Netflix handy and have recently added Amazon Prime. We have shelves stocked with documentary videos and a library system that we pull videos from often.

Nothing can bring you more information about a place than seeing it. But what do you do when you cannot visit in person? Watch a video on it.

smartkidz-media

Other than the previously mentioned resources, we have a couple of other that have proved to have a lot of fantastic videos for learning about our world, geography, and cultures. SmartKidz Media Library has been one of those. We reviewed it a couple of years ago and we still find things on there that complement what we are reading and learning about. Recently it involved castles. I am currently browsing for things on Greece. They have a couple that we will check out soon. Another fantastic resource for video based classes is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We are so blessed with this resource. They include Drive Thru History as part of their course options and these are going to be fantastic! A third resource that we have access to (through SchoolhouseTeachers) is Right Now Media. There is a large variety of religious resourced at this site, some of it highly applicable to a middle school or high school level history. Missionary stories make a wonderful cultural resource, as well.

schoolhouseteachers-geography

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com geography courses

schoolhouseteachers-history

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com history courses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delving a bit into the science end of the topic (which really isn’t where this week goes but fits with the theme of visiting the world through videos), we have a number of interest DVDs that we enjoy pulling out. Titles of some of our favorites are:

  • Planet Earth
  • Flight
  • Metamorphosis
  • Living Waters
  • Curiosity Quest

Each of the previous resources also have a number of options for science titles.

I just think there is no substitute for seeing something. And when you can do so in person, it is a great option to pull out a video that will show it to them. So, don’t be afaid to pull out those videos and spend some time exploring that place you just read about in literature or a history text. My girls always remember more when it is tied to something else.

At Home.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

What A World by Jennifer King @ A “Peace” of Mind

If you have written a post related to the theme of Exploring Our World, please link it up!

An InLinkz Link-up

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