History is one of our favorite subjects. There is just so much to be explored! We particularly love unit-study type lessons because they allow us to go off on so many rabbit trails. My youngest boy enjoys learning about heroes from the past, so I knew this curriculum would be right up his alley. For this review, we go to check out, Daniel Boone: Frontiersman from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing, including the book and the corresponding Unit Study Curriculum Guide.
The Heroes of History series focuses on numerous American heroes, with inspiring biographies of their lives. I chose Daniel Boone because my son is an avid outdoorsman himself who loves fishing, camping, climbing trees, and just being outside in general. I thought he would relate to Boone’s love for the outdoors and his desire to explore the wilderness.
The set comes as a book and a CD, or a download. The book is 19 chapters long, and I thought it was very well-written. My son (an 8th/9th grader) could have read it on his own, but we like to do history together, so I read it aloud to him. He found Daniel’s adventures to be very exciting. The pace of the book was very good, and the chapters were perfect for daily reading.
The disc includes some short background info on Boone (perfect for an introduction) and a detailed overview with suggestions for how to use the guides. Of course, you can create your own routine (which we did), but if you are new to unit studies, this part is very helpful for scheduling purposes. The first part of the unit study contains the bulk of the information you will use, including Key Quotes from well-known people like authors and statesmen that somehow relate to the book, chapter questions, ideas for essays, creative writing, and projects, field trip suggestions and ideas, mapping activities, cross-curricular themes to explore, and an idea for a culminating event for the unit study. The appendix lists other resources you can use with the study including internet websites. The second part of the unit study contained some printables like a Daniel Boone fact sheet and maps.
Now, one thing I love about this unit study is the plethora of information it provides, but it can seem a little overwhelming at first. Remember that you do not have to do everything. You can pick and choose which parts of the study you want to do based on the time you have available, and the age and interest of your child. For young children, you may just read the book, ask some of the questions aloud, and then do some hands-on activities. And that’s fine. Since my son was older, we were able to utilize a lot of what YWAM had to offer, but even we couldn’t do it all!
I actually started with some of the websites listed in the appendix to let my son gather some of his own information to pique his interest before we got into the book. Then as we read the chapters, we answered a lot of the questions orally, with him writing down some of the facts on his sheet as we went along. He has also been mapping some of Daniel’s journey, and since we live in Florida, he took a particular interest in that part (I never even knew Daniel Boone came to Florida!). After reading the first few chapters, I decided to assign one of the creative writing tasks, keeping a Daniel Boone journal, to my son. So now, after each chapter, he writes an entry in the journal from Boone’s point of view. I figure this will make a nice keepsake and a good way to evaluate his understanding of the book at the end.
Looking ahead, I know that when we get to the end of the book, I am going to assign a few of the essays as a sort of “test” at the end, and probably have him choose one of the projects as well, but he likes those. We will also complete the mapping activities as well. In all, this will have covered the first couple of months of history for us (doing history 3-4 days per week), and I think we are both very satisfied.
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To see what other members of the crew had to say about Heroes of History and the other programs we got to check out, click here: